I'll write a longer review later, but for now I want to say - for those of you who just discovered Sanderson through this, his other work is actually...moreI'll write a longer review later, but for now I want to say - for those of you who just discovered Sanderson through this, his other work is actually better. This one had some shortcomings which I've seen from him before (in The Rithmatist), but which he generally avoids in his high fantasy. So, if you liked Steelheart: this is just the beginning. (you can start, conveniently enough, with Warbreaker, which is available free from his website.)(less)
Alright. *cracks knuckles* Time to get back into the reviewing game.
I have a deep love for the idea of Atlantis. It combines my affection for lost civ...moreAlright. *cracks knuckles* Time to get back into the reviewing game.
I have a deep love for the idea of Atlantis. It combines my affection for lost civilizations with my interest in natural disasters and my boundless enthusiasm for wild semi-magical technologies. More than once I've toyed with Atlantis concepts of my own, and someday I'd like to actually take a crack at writing one, if I can worldbuild it to my own satisfaction. So naturally, when I saw 'book one of the Atlanteans' on the cover of The Lost Code, I knew it had to come home with me.
This book came so close to being what I wanted. So close. The protagonist, Owen, develops gills very early in the book and the descriptions of them and of swimming with them were simply fabulous, as were the descriptions of what had happened to the world following the melting of the ice caps and the subsequent Great Rise. I was excited because look! Science! In a YA book! And there was enough about aquatic organisms and ecosystems that I thought maybe this was gonna go all the way, was going to be the marine-centric science fiction Atlantis that I wanted from it.
And then... around the halfway point, I'd say, came the twist that told me I was wrong. The nature of Atlantis changed and from then on I got a lot less invested. Blah blah blah secret experiments, blah blah blah same old cardboard villain I've seen in a whole lot of other YA books, blah blah blah smoochy romance and romantic! tension! caused by outside forces... blah blah blah huge infodumps. But then the ending was rather snappy, and I came away feeling not-quite-satisfied but plenty entertained, and so: three stars and I'll read the next one because why the heck not; this one went quickly.
A couple of miscellaneous notes, because like I said I'm getting back into the swing of reviewing and the re-entry's a bit rough: - Owen's tendency to describe his body as if it were being run by tiny people was confusing at first, then interesting, then annoying. Unfortunately these hypothetical technicians had more personality in their dialogue than some of the main characters; therefore, his digressions were a problem for me not because of their weirdness, but because I didn't want to switch back to normal Owen-narration. - I like the idea of the 'Cryos' a lot, and their characterization in relationship to their situation. That was neat enough that I'll handwave the unlikeliness that we'd have gotten working cryogenics tech by the time of the Great Rise. - None of the characters had as much personality as I would have liked, but I appreciated the fact that Lilly seemed to have an investigative bent and was suspicious of things, and that she payed attention to her surroundings. I wish she'd had real interests, but I'll take vague personality traits in love interests when I can get 'em, especially since in the beginning of the book she was basically just That One Hot Chick Who's Out Of Owen's League. Any personality is better than that. - Owen's use of the word 'screwed' when wondering about Lilly and Evan's past relationship bugged me. Look, dude, if you're gonna think about whether or not they had sex, think about it that way. This is kind of a personal pet peeve, but I find 'screwed' to be an annoying euphemism. - Lilly's reaction to having hurt and possibly killed someone, even an enemy, was really believable and sympathetic for someone her age and with her background.
I think basically what I felt when I finished this book was that I wanted more, and not in the sense that I immediately craved a sequel. I wanted more worldbuilding, more science, more action (the pacing in this book is pretty weak, though I didn't notice until I finished because gosh those descriptions of swimming were fun), more characterization, more originality. It was competent enough that I'm optimistic about the sequel being able to deliver these things, and readable enough that I'll take the time to find out if it does. (less)