This story will make no sense unless you've read the previous Rain books and at least have some familiarity with Delilah. My 4 stars assumes you haveThis story will make no sense unless you've read the previous Rain books and at least have some familiarity with Delilah. My 4 stars assumes you have and that you like Rain as a character and also that you're clear this is a short story, not a novella (there are some complaints in other reviews that this is short. Um... folks?)
Presuming you have read the prior Rain novels, this shows the culmination of Rain and Delilah's relationship which is under tension because Rain wants to stop being an assassin and Delilah feels she can't stop working for the Mossad because she's helping protect her country. Neither is right, neither is wrong -they just have different paths.
The story itself is straightforward - they're in Paris having dinner, Rain notices suspicious activity. He and Delilah, after some tense conversation, get out of the trap because their opposition has no idea of who they really are. At the end, Rain walks away from her because they have fundamentally irreconcilable goals.
Not complex, but a nice short chunk of Rain fiction. If, like me, you've read most or all of the Rain novels and missed this it's well worth $1. If not, skip until you have read the earlier Rain novels which are quite fun....more
Hmm... my browser ate my earlier review. OK, here goes again... 4.5 stars. Mason's book does many things right. First off, the prose - it's reminiscenHmm... my browser ate my earlier review. OK, here goes again... 4.5 stars. Mason's book does many things right. First off, the prose - it's reminiscent of Gibson in his Virtual Light era which is a high compliment in my mind. It feels futuristic without being twee, using made up words or any of that. Second, the setting. This is definitely SF - we have AI, nanotech, etc... but they're part of the world and not shoved at us. The AIs are enigmatic, definitely NOT human and mostly don't communicate with people. In fact, one of the main characters is special because she CAN somewhat communicate with the AIs in this world. These AIs design things we can use but often we don't really understand how those work, a nice touch that emphasizes how different we and they are from one another. Similarly, nanotech robots create buildings but these just exist, doing their thing - Mason doesn't do a deep infodump about them, etc. They're a part of this world in much the same way that mobile phones are just a part of ours.
Finally, there are brain implants but unlike, say, Neuromancer, these are not a common thing. In fact, they seem to be uncommon in the extreme and rather dangerous since they don't work all the time and often damage or kill the recipient. We follow three people, two of which have implants and Kern, a self-taught martial arts addict who starts out an enforcer for hoods and becomes something more. In fact, it might be Kern's story that is my favorite here.
The book follows three unrelated stories that come together eventually. This structure can be annoying because the reader can be very much into the story and A but then is forcibly switched the B's story. Mason avoids this - there are no real cliffhangers where one character is facing death or something and then we are moved to another story.
All in all, a breath of fresh air showing us a world that's plausible without being unremittingly dark (like reality, the world of Void Star has both dark and light), that avoids feeling like a retread of some well worn plot and whose prose is simply a joy to read....more
A fun, suspenseful read with a cyborg security unit which is supposed to be nothing more than a guard for some surveyors except it's hacked it's goverA fun, suspenseful read with a cyborg security unit which is supposed to be nothing more than a guard for some surveyors except it's hacked it's governor unit and become independent. But when you've never been independent of orders who are you? What do you want?
Wells does a good job of exploring this as Murderbot is confronted, along with its team, with some life or death issues. Apparently someone has hacked the information databases about the new planet they're surveying and left out some pretty vital info. Who did this? Why? And how do they not die while trying to answer those questions? That's the main through plot and it's well done. What makes this really good, though, is that Murderbot comes across as a convincing character with depth. It's not at all emotionless but it's not just a human with some spare parts attached either....more