Alexandra's Reviews > Equations of Life

Equations of Life by Simon Morden
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Jun 23, 2011

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bookshelves: read-in-2011
Read from June 15 to 19, 2011

Awesome world - post-some sort of an Apocalypse that's kept pretty vague in this novel, although there are references to nuclear fallout and radiation issues. The story takes place in a London that's had all of its parks converted into refugee camps, basically, filled with shipping containers turned into living quarters. The world is technologically-speaking not that far from our own - possibly because the Apocalypse came along and halted development for a number of years, I guess. There are hints that other things have changed, too, my favourite being one of the characters, a nun who identifies as a Joan. Yes, she carries weapons. That's pretty awesome. I can appreciate military nuns. There are also mafia, yakuza, physics doctoral students, weary cops....

Tragically, the story and the characters do not live up to the setting they are given. The story, of the repercussions when a student in the wrong place at the wrong time decides to act the hero, has great potential. How organised crime might work in such a world is a fascinating topic, especially when you add in the option of new and exciting technology and the clash of old and new morals and values. However, this one did not work well for me primarily because it chopped and changed too many times. I don't mind surprises, but they have to make sense in the context of the characters, rather than feeling like the next thing to be dumped on the reader because the plot was slowing down some.

The characters also let the story down. Petrovich, the main protag, is dull and whingy. So is Luke Skywalker for all of Episode IV. Luke though has the advantage of awesome supporting characters. Petrovich has Maddy, the nun; she started off well and just went downhill in terms of attitude and believability. There's the tired cop, probably the most amusing and realistic of the bunch, who gets little screen time, and the PhD student with whom Petrovich shares an office, who again had potential but barely has the dialogue to become a cameo let along anything else.

So. Disappointed? yes. Likely to read the next two in the series? No.
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