This book started stumbling and tripping over short, awkward sentences. I almost put it down before finishing the first chapter. Then I reminded mysel...moreThis book started stumbling and tripping over short, awkward sentences. I almost put it down before finishing the first chapter. Then I reminded myself of a half dozen other books that I grumbled over openings on then went on to love... and dozens with stellar openings that later fell flat. I pressed on.
Look, I know I only gave the book 3 stars. Parts of the book were too predictable for me *cough love interest cough*, other parts just... felt jerky and weird and left me wondering why they'd made it into the book at all(view spoiler)[, like the little baby lizard who never seems to have actually mattered at all (hide spoiler)]. In fact, vast stretches of the book seem to be of almost no import by the end, and that frustrates me. And I felt like certain events toward the end of the book only happened when the author went "wait. Where do I go from here? What happens in book 2?" Because of those hiccups along the way, this book lost a star for me.
That being said, the main character is a strong woman with a lot of grit. She's not the smartest crayon in the box, but she's stubborn and willing to try and figure it out. She's damaged, bent not broken, and trying to piece herself back together. It's not an easy task. So... I like her, most of the time. And her other companions too. It was a quick, light, easy read. It flew by, and before I knew it I was on to book 2. This is summer beach reading. Or maybe stuck inside on a cold winter day reading. It's not deep, it won't make you think... but boy, it sure is fun. I'm hoping a few loose ends will pick up in future books. I see a lot of potential from tiny little hints in the first book, so here's hoping!
This is the story of a broken man. Two years ago, Titus Quinn disappeared - then reappeared on a planet he couldn't possibly have reached. He claimed...moreThis is the story of a broken man. Two years ago, Titus Quinn disappeared - then reappeared on a planet he couldn't possibly have reached. He claimed to have entered another world, a separate dimension - and though he's lost all memory of his time there, Quinn knows that both his wife and daughter were somehow left behind. Unfortunately, nobody believes him until the opening of this book, when a space station is destroyed by a runaway AI contemplating a simple mathematical question. That question leads the greatest minds to believe that maybe, just maybe, Quinn wasn't so crazy after all. And though it takes a few chapters to get there, those great minds decide to send Quinn back to this mysterious place in the hopes of finding a way to quickly traverse space in our own universe. Quinn, of course, has other goals, mainly finding out what has happened to his family and bringing them home.
The first chapter of this book hooked me, 100%. There was a sense of urgency, a feel of the new and wild, a true vision of a whole world created by the author. I loved the concept of this living AI (Machine Sapients), an entity capable of going rogue, or of being controlled and tame, the way we today would use a horse or other beast of burden... but to control an entire space station. The concept really makes me giddy. I really wish I could have seen more of this idea before the book moved on (it does pop up here and there, but it's a puzzle you're glancing at from across the room, and only when someone goes "I think this piece goes here...").
As I continued through the book, there are things I love and things that... just don't grab me. They aren't bad, but they aren't great. Kay is a fantastic world builder, and this is the way to my heart. But the writing style, both in dialogue and description, feels a bit stiff and stilted occasionally (I did get more used to this as the book went on). It makes it difficult for me to really sink into the book, on some level... even so, I'm really enjoying the story itself, following Quinn as he tries to piece together his forgotten past. I also wish that more had been done with the body modifications Quinn was sent to the Entire with (improved sense of smell). It popped up here and there and was well used, but it felt largely ignored for some reason. Maybe just because I read this book a bit more slowly than normal for me.
My biggest gripe had to do with the sci part of the sci-fi. Overall, the meat of the story is fairly light on the sci-fi which, in and of itself is fine. But some of the science was a bit broken. Later in the book, stars start dying in our dimension - Helice, one of the early characters, stares up at the sky and the dark spaces where stars once shone. She wonders if these dying stars have something to do with the fact that they've just sent Quinn over to the other side. I read this and instantly twitched - yes, the speed of light is fast, but not that fast. Every night when we look up at the sky, we see the light of stars long dead. They still shine in our sky, even though they no longer exist. I mean, after the sun, the next closest star is 4.3 light years away.
I know, I'm being nitpicky... but I just have trouble when the science is bad in a sci-fi book. Overall this was fantastic, but this one little detail drove me crazy. (less)
This is my favorite in the trilogy and, looking back on it, probably was a big influence on my own writing. I think this was likely one of the first b...moreThis is my favorite in the trilogy and, looking back on it, probably was a big influence on my own writing. I think this was likely one of the first books I read that looked at things from an anthropological viewpoint, showing me the reader how to look at a world as an outsider.
I read the book at a time when I was very into all things green - and as such, and being younger, the heavy-handedness of the preservation message didn't quite register as such. I read the book, agreed with the message, and moved on. Yet when I reread the book recently, I did find myself thinking that the authors could have eased up a bit, still gotten their message across, and had a better book for it.
I would definitely recommend this book to young adults: it does provide a few powerful messages, and it's an interesting story. By later in the series however, I started to get a bit bored with what was going on... so you may just want to stop after book one. (less)