Dan's Reviews > The Dervish House

The Dervish House by Ian McDonald
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's review
Jun 16, 12

bookshelves: e-books, planning-to-re-read, science-fiction
Read from May 26 to June 16, 2012

How is it that Ian McDonald still has not won a Hugo award?!?


This is an awesomely well-crafted book. The characters are full and vibrant; the interweaving plots are all interesting; the future tech is just futuristic enough that it helps drive some of the plots, but not so over-the-horizon as to be unbelievable. But perhaps what makes this book so enrapturing is the way McDonald makes the city of Istanbul a character in its own right.


I recently read Deep State by Walter Jon Williams, much of which was also set in Istanbul. In my review of that book, I complimented Williams for doing "a nice job of sketching out the various locations in which the narrative occurs, providing enough detail to help the mind's eye without getting bogged down in florid detail." McDonald, on the other hand, paints deep, rich, vibrant pictures of Istanbul; I almost feel as if I have visited there myself. Yet he never lets this word-painting get in the way of allowing the plot to move forward. I am in awe at his masterful balance.


[Note: If/When I re-read this book (as I fully intend to do), I will give it five stars. It's just a personal rule of mine that I only give that rating to works that I return to.]
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