I was ambivalent about the general plot of the book, but I figured I'd give it a try anyhow. And in the end, well - I've read better, and better with...moreI was ambivalent about the general plot of the book, but I figured I'd give it a try anyhow. And in the end, well - I've read better, and better with similar plots. This was a bit simplistic for me, and I kept sensing the author fall into tangents that weren't really needed. This did resolve itself a bit as the book continued, but I admit, I figured out what was going to happen VERY early on, and a lack of suspense can make me wonder why I'm still reading (this was a problem that continued into book 2).
If you're looking for something similar, try Biting the Sun by Tanith Lee - though Biting the Sun does take this existence a step further. (less)
The Practice Effect is a pseudo-sci-fi, maybe a bit more of a fantasy book, about a scientist who travels to a foreign land where the laws of physics...moreThe Practice Effect is a pseudo-sci-fi, maybe a bit more of a fantasy book, about a scientist who travels to a foreign land where the laws of physics are ever so slightly different than they are on earth. We follow Dennis, our scientist, as he tries to make his way in this new and crazy world, often landing in a lot of trouble. Look, it's really hard to describe this book without giving anything away, considering that Dennis himself takes a large chunk of the book to figure out exactly how this world is different. And it's an interesting idea, and I had fun figuring it out as I read, so you'll have to forgive my vagueness in this review.
To begin, I'm a lover of all things Brin - but this was not my favorite work by far. You may have noticed even my very first sentence felt a bit confused. The book sells itself as sci-fi, but in all honesty, that's just a shiny little wrapper on a very fantasy feeling book. Not that I mind, I love fantasy too - I just felt a little... short changed here, no matter how much I liked the idea of how 'magic' works in this book (yeah, it's not really magic, but seriously - it is).
I also felt the writing style itself wasn't very Brin - there were occasional flashes where I could see the direction my beloved author would develop, but overall this felt like a more crude, rough draft of something that could become Brin down the road. The characters were a bit harder for me to care about, were rough sketches themselves, the writing style was more coarse, the plot didn't quite flow right and in the end felt vaguely... if not deus-ex-machina, then at least as though the author went "how do I wrap this up? In a sci-fi way? Because didn't I say this was sci-fi?"
Don't get me wrong - I did enjoy the book for the most part. It just wasn't as good as it could have been, as I'd hoped it would be, as Brin is capable of making something.