It's rare that I'm ready to give 5 stars to a book just after finishing it. I think it usually need to stand the test of time a little but I have to mIt's rare that I'm ready to give 5 stars to a book just after finishing it. I think it usually need to stand the test of time a little but I have to make an exception in this case.
I loved everything about this book. First the setting is great, Istanbul in the year 2027. Ian McDonald takes you to a place where scifi rarely takes you and does a great job of showing the crease between emerging technology and long standing traditions making the parallel with the way Istanbul bridges the gap between Europe and Asia.
There's not much action in this book and its quite fine as the effort is in the introspection of the characters and the interactions between them.
I loved the technology that is suggested in this book, especially since it doesn't take over the book as the author does a great job of simply melting the new techs within his story as if it had been there all along. The nanobots were especially interesting.
The story follows 6 main characters which at first glance seems a recipe for disaster by trying to tell too much. However, each of the tales is quite simple and easy to follow and it all comes together beautifully in the end.
I got a lot out of this book. It's clear that is has been researched thoroughly by the author who opens your eyes and your mind to a part of the world that is little known for a westerner like me. I found myself constantly trying to get even more info making it a longer read than it usually would have been but a very rewarding read. For example it was the first time I ever heard the legend of the mellified man and I found myself looking over to find more info about it as well as being constantly on Google earth to follow along through the great descriptions of Istanbul....more