This, the second book in Sawyer's WWW Trilogy, is another exception to the rule of trilogies. It's actually a better read than Wake, the previous volu...moreThis, the second book in Sawyer's WWW Trilogy, is another exception to the rule of trilogies. It's actually a better read than Wake, the previous volume.
The plot focuses on Caitlin Decter and her relationship with Webmind, an emergent artificial intelligence spawned from the World Wide Web. Both these characters are extremely well-developed, although Sawyer seems to have given up trying to write a teenage girl and Caitlin talks more like a grad student. Most of the minor characters from Wake get some attention as well. Even the new characters, consisting primarily of a group of US government officials who discover Webmind, and Caitlin's new love interest, are detailed well. Although recently, developing romances in Sawyer's books seem to follow a formula: a meet-cute, a few chapters where our lovebirds debate science and philosophy, a misunderstanding that is quickly cleared up and laughed over, and blissful committed monogamy. The sideplot with the ASL-speaking chimp/bonobo is still here, though its connection to the main plot hasn't been revealed yet.
The plot really picks up in this one, and Sawyer, as usual brings a number of esoteric concepts down to earth. The concept of creating a benevolent all-powerful AI as a character is still very intriguing.(less)
The surviving members of a Soviet-era Spetsnaz unit of supersoldiers struggle in post-Cold War Moscow, as a cop, commando, mob boss, and bodyguard. In...moreThe surviving members of a Soviet-era Spetsnaz unit of supersoldiers struggle in post-Cold War Moscow, as a cop, commando, mob boss, and bodyguard. Inevitably, they are all reunited for one last mission with possible ties to their unit.
The plot is almost an afterthought, as most of this book focuses on the characters--especially Kris, the fatalistic protagonist--and their relationships. The level of detail Lewis and Leon give to post-Soviet Russia is incredible and contributes highly to the verisimilitude of the story. Most of the book is confused and messy but I'm absolutely convinced that it's by design.
You might find the first three books a struggle in comprehension, but the explosive climaxes of the last two books are worth it. (less)