Fantastic. Books about books have a special place in my library (thanks, Jasper Fforde), and this one is about books, readers and writers and much mor...moreFantastic. Books about books have a special place in my library (thanks, Jasper Fforde), and this one is about books, readers and writers and much more -- a fantastic adventure, defying genre classification, it's got a bit of everything. It's been a long time since I've been as engrossed by a novel.
Set in post WWII Barcelona, the book begins with a boy being led to the secret library of forgotten books, by his father, a bookseller with a small shop. The boy is supposed to guard the book and tell no one where he got it, and in this case, the book he chooses actually requires these things to keep from being destroyed by a disfigured maniac, who has targeted the works of the author for destruction.
Thus begins a mystery into which the boy is swept along with his friends and neighbours, drudging up forgotten (nearly) secrets of the forgotten (nearly) author of his book. Parallels and coincidences abound, and the twists keep the story moving and irresistible.
An outstanding read - highly highly recommended. Much like the protagonist, I will be looking for more books from this new (to me) author who hooked me from the beginning pages.(less)
The follow-up to Altered Carbon, joins our hero, Takeshi Kovacs some 30 years afterward, where he is back in the soldiering game, and joins an expedit...moreThe follow-up to Altered Carbon, joins our hero, Takeshi Kovacs some 30 years afterward, where he is back in the soldiering game, and joins an expedition to explore and capitalize on the profits from a Martian ruin. Explores further the Martian civilization hinted at in the first book, and looks at life in the colonies this time, where a war is being fought between religious extremists and capitalist interests. Kovacs is a very sympathetic hero, and while his Envoy-training makes him a tough guy hero, he is also limited by the sleeves he inhabits, as well as his own crises of faith and his sympathy for those who are hurt in the name of war and profit. Less detective-y this time around, though still lots of intrigue and noirish elements, highly recommended.(less)
Very impressive debut by Morgan. I had already read Thirteen, and was very impressed with his ability to combine hard SF with noir, and this book show...moreVery impressive debut by Morgan. I had already read Thirteen, and was very impressed with his ability to combine hard SF with noir, and this book shows that he's had that ability since the beginning. Set about 500 years in the future, Morgan extrapolates an Earth where humanity has come across abandoned Martian technology and used it to colonize the galaxy. As well, technology of our own development has enhanced and extended life, as people's lives are recorded in cortical "stacks" which can be removed at death and implanted into "sleeves" -- real bodies vacant of life, synthetic models, or clones. Travel between colonies is prohibitive in terms of time, but there is a hyperspace equivalent which can be used to transport the personalities of people across great distances at FTL speeds. So, although our hero, Takeshi Kovacs was born in the outer colonies, he is able to be transported to Earth to investigate the suicide of a powerful Meth (Methuselah, or very long-lived and powerful human), who doesn't believe he committed suicide, but was murdered. Kovacs is an ex-Envoy, a specially trained operative of the UN Protectorate, and makes the perfect detective with his enhanced senses of intuition. Altered Carbon gives a very bleak and realistic picture of our future, where the rich have become even richer and more powerful, and though immortality is for all intents available, it is still limited to those who can afford to pay for it. Great noir, and great SF, all rolled into one - highly recommended to those who like either or both of these genres.(less)
Amazingly funny, and far more sympathetic and adventurous than I was expecting - if the Gospel of Biff had been around years ago, I might still be in...moreAmazingly funny, and far more sympathetic and adventurous than I was expecting - if the Gospel of Biff had been around years ago, I might still be in the church.
I was prepared to be disappointed in this book, based on other reviews I've read, here and on other sites, reviews which accused the author of degener...moreI was prepared to be disappointed in this book, based on other reviews I've read, here and on other sites, reviews which accused the author of degenerating into an anti-religious screed and/or leaving his characters stunted in development or rushing the plot.
Thankfully, I found none of the above to be true for my own interpretation. I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books in the series, and found this an achingly poignant conclusion. Without delving into too much detail, (no spoilers), I will just say that I found the characters, both protags and antags, to develop in delightful ways, to grow as people, and each to face various tragedies in realistic ways. The ending stayed with me for days, and continues too.
As for the anti-god aspects, Pullman dealt with religion harshly throughout the series, but I feel like these books were more anti-religious than anti-God or anti-faith, and I really can't find an argument with that -- he even dealt sympathetically, I felt, with God. There was a whole lot of redemption in this book.
But really, I was was extremely pleased and gratified to find that the conclusion of the series lived up to the potential promised by the first two books, and was a lovely, sad, uplifting, hopeful book.(less)