Deborah Coates's Reviews > The Informationist

The Informationist by Taylor Stevens
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's review
Jul 10, 2011

There was actually quite a lot I liked about this book. So I'm going to talk about that first. Then I'm going to go on, perhaps endlessly, about what didn't work as well.

First, this was an audiobook and the narrator, Hillary Huber, was fantastic. I might have given up on this book if I'd been reading it, but I stuck with it. Second, the author's knowledge of modern Africa shines through, not just the physical landscapes, but the people and the infrastructure and the ways everyone survives and, sometimes, thrives. This another thing that kept me going when other things were not working as well.

Though much of the writing was acceptably workmanlike and occasionally good, some of the dialogue was cringe-worthy, only saved for me by the aforementioned narrator.

But the thing that was ultimately most problematic for me was the narrator. She's billed as being similar to Lisbeth Salander and superficially they do have a lot in common--they're both brilliant at getting information. They're ruthless, dirty fighters. However, Lisbeth works for me and Vanessa 'Michael' Munroe does not. The two big issues: 1) Michael is awesome at EVERYTHING and all the boys LOVE her and 2) very much in the first half of the novel and mostly through the whole thing Michael is all 'me, me, me.' Lisbeth actually does some non-selfish things early on and she has powerful enemies. No one is more powerful than Michael Monroe and everything is about her, her angst, and her awesomeness.

If you want action set in a realistic Africa and you're not concerned about sympathetic characters, this might be the book for you!

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