Chris Scala's Reviews > Lady of Mazes

Lady of Mazes by Karl Schroeder
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Feb 12, 12

Read from February 05 to 11, 2012

I'm debating on whether to give this book 2 or 3 stars. Normally I'd plow through something this short and accessibly written in a day or two, but I kept finding myself putting this book down to do something else.

I had several issues, but foremost was the fact that for a novel that was billed as "hard sf" on the cover it was remarkably short on science and incredibly long on buzzwords and tropes. You could replace the Artificial Intelligences with Gods or Demons, the 'manifolds' and 'narratives' with astral planes, and nanotechnology with magic and it would quite frankly be a better novel.

My second issue is that I found the characters to be uninteresting and two dimensional. Often if an SF novel is short on the nuts and bolts, you will find that the author has focused on the characters and their interactions. That is the case here as well, really, but it didn't work for me.

Which brings me back full circle to my first issue, which is that to the author's credit he has created a very interesting world, Solar system, galaxy. Actually I'm not really sure what he created, because sometimes he talks about Earth, Jupiter and Venus as if they're very nearby, and other times they seem like they're on the other side of the galactic cluster. Everything is left up in the air like that. There are literally dozens of amazing locales, concepts and ideas introduced, sketchily explained and then ignored except when necessary to prop up the story.

My take: This book would be a MUCH better story if the fluff was trimmed down (there's an awful lot of soul searching, flying houses, unnecessary wooden spacecraft, etc.) and replaced with "nuts and bolts". Exploriation of some of the interesting locales would be a big plus as well.
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