James's Reviews > Gridlinked

Gridlinked by Neal Asher
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's review
Jan 28, 2012

liked it
Read from January 26 to 28, 2012

I have a really mixed opinion on this book. On one hand I found it slow and hard to really get to grips with. On the other hand I found it fast and enthralling and left me wanting more and more. If I was to put this into perspective it would be like this; first half of the book? Two Stars. The second half of the book? Four Stars. That makes it relatively easy to make this Three stars.

So what was so wrong with the first half of the book? Well, to be honest, there wasn't much going on that interested me. It became quite clearly that this first half was all about setting the scene for the second. The interesting events were few and far between, and the majority of the first half was padding - I thought - to make the timeline correct. The reason I think this? Most of the first half of the book was about Pelter and his mission of vengeance. Look, I don't read an Agent Cormac novel to hear all about a criminal vendetta. Sure, it is part of the story. Sure, I need to know about it. But no, I do not need that much information. (view spoiler)

Now, the second half, that was fun. It bounced from action to action. Pelter and Stanton's scenes were relevant to the plot (I even think Stanton is going to be a big part in the subsequent novels) and were fun to watch. What was even better, was that I was actually getting what I wanted. Cormac. He was finally getting the screen time you would think a main character would deserve. Brilliant. The intrigue about the Maker and Dragon was great, and by now Cormac had mellowed into more of a human being; which I admit, the first half of the book made this good as it showed the contrast.

Overall, I found the first half dragged and I had to work by way through it. In comparison, the second half picked me and didn't let go.

But what about the characters. I admit, this book's characters aren't amazing. Yes, the primary's are great; Cormac, Pelter, Stanton, Dragon (who I loved) and Blegg to an extent. Actually, add Mr Crane to that - I loved him as a character and enjoyed his every involvement. As for the rest? The AIs were interesting, but were never going to be blow me away. I found Thorn et al to be interesting, but once again, not amazing. Mika was... she grew on me towards the end, but really didn't do much or show much personality but to act as the scientist and to spout her opinion that she trusted Cormac completely. The one character that really bugged me, and I mean really bugged me, was Caraline. It was if Asher set her up to be the foil to Cormac's less-than-human attitude, bringing him back on side, but she was just dropped as a character after a while and played no part or showed no 'character' at all. Quite disappointing.

As for the writing. This hovers somewhere between acceptable and poor. I have three types (poor, acceptable - which is the majority - and amazing). There were time where I did feel a little jarred and out of it, but for the most part it was good, solid writing that didn't interfere. So, yeah, acceptable.

So, should you read this? Uh... if you love/like this genre then please, go ahead. It is a great tale. If you are new to the genre, or are just getting to grips with it, I suggest you go elsewhere till you are embedded as a fan. Whatever you decide...

Have Fun Reading.

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