Pulpier than a gallon of Minutemaid OJ filtered through a ground up tree. But that's what I expected, so that's what I got. Not horrible, not great, b...morePulpier than a gallon of Minutemaid OJ filtered through a ground up tree. But that's what I expected, so that's what I got. Not horrible, not great, but probably not something I'd go looking for very often. Some of the language was overblown and stilted, and the character of the Shadow was, by today's standards, absolutely ridiculous, and I often wondered just how Lamont Cranston managed to accomplish anything without everyone automatically spotting him as The Shadow - absolutely no attempt at subtlety, subterfuge, or any kind of ability to hide a secret identity.
But then, I live in an age of "The Gritty Reboot", where fantastic things and ridiculous supherheroes are mashed sideways into the frame of 'reality', given realistic yet still somehow superheroic abilities, gadgets, and plots, and filmed in shadow before being projected onto a screen with all the gamma settings set to zero. The silly, pulp-laden antics of The Shadow wouldn't survive today's grittier-than-a-mile-of-desert-road heroes and superheroes, though I have no doubt that somewhere, some desperate movie executive is trying to finagle the gritty reboot of The Shadow in an attempt at making a quick buck (especially considering that just about everyone has forgotten the ill-fated Alec Baldwin vehicle of the '90s). (less)
There's an adage that says a sequel is never as good as the story, movie, or book that it is based off of. That adage holds very true here. In the fir...moreThere's an adage that says a sequel is never as good as the story, movie, or book that it is based off of. That adage holds very true here. In the first book, I was enchanted with the fact that this was one of the first series of books I had read that was in that gray "middle ground" that seemed rather unexplored in sci-fi. That middle ground where science hadn't progressed to the point where such things as inertial dampers, force fields and gravity generators existed, the way they do in Star Trek or Star Wars, instead leaving the ground fertile for realistic sci-fi. The kind where people who lived outside of Earth gravity evolved differently, where the ultra-fast dispensation of information was hampered by vast, unthinkable distances, where in order to move from place to place on your ship, you had to watch where you were going, otherwise you might crack your skull on the bulkhead trying to stop at your destination.
In other words, sci-fi placed in a time and space between the clumsy, clunky cans-full-of-air of our present age, and the science-magic of transporters and warp drive, turbo lasers and blasters of the future. Overlay all of that with an intriguing mystery/horror story about genetic modification, corporate sociopathy, and alien genetics, and I was fairly entranced.
While this second book takes on all of that and expands on it admirably, it still falls somewhat flat. Some of it was a result of details from the first book being glossed over as inconsequential (the main protagonist's cancer issues from the first book are touched on in the first section involving him, and then never mentioned again), some of it was the far more politically-oriented storytelling of the gamesmanship and manipulation played by people in positions of power (some of which can be minimally fascinating, but is overall rather dull and lifeless to me), and some of it was a sense of disjointedness and a lack of focus. I stopped reading at one point because the image of the authors going "wait...you mean the first book was successful? Crap! We've got to crank out another one! Get writing!" There were also little action-movie throwaway tropes that stuck out to me and made me shake my head slightly when I noted them.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this book, and even with its flaws, it continued the themes and story of the first one more than adequately. Even weighing in at around 600 or so pages, I chewed through the book in about a week. I usually go two or more, in most cases. (less)
Not the best of the Clockwork Century series that I've read, but not bad in general. My one major complaint is that there seemed to be a lack of tensi...moreNot the best of the Clockwork Century series that I've read, but not bad in general. My one major complaint is that there seemed to be a lack of tension towards the latter parts of the book, making the whole thing seem like one big amusement park ride, rather than a submarine adventure story.
Other than that, I can't really say much more about it. Maybe on further readings, I'll be able to come up with more. (less)