Jason's Reviews > The Lazarus Effect

The Lazarus Effect by Frank Herbert
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's review
Apr 07, 09

Recommended to Jason by: Sid Meier (more or less)
Recommended for: Adults, Sci fi fans, Frank Herbert fans
Read in April, 2009

I loved the Dune books when I was a teenager, and I know that Frank Herbert is an amazing writer. When I learned that the video game Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri was inspired by The Jesus Incident, I thought I would like to read it. The library didn’t have it, but it did have the sequel, The Lazarus Effect.
The story is original. In the far future, human beings have been deposited on the ocean-world of Pandora, where they split into different factions over the years. I am not sure how The Lazarus Effect plays into the wider mythology, but it’s a good story.

4 Characters
Very good
I loved these characters. Queets Twisp was my favorite, but Brett (who I keep imagining looking like Brent Sienna), Scudi Wang, Shadow Panille, Ward Keel, they were all excellent. They feel real in every possible way. I do think Scudi and Brett both have a problem of “first love” though, and I wonder if it could last. She was only sixteen.

2.5 Pace
Satisfactory with positive exceptions
This story has a good pace, and I was interested even though it took me a while to read through it. It picks up toward the end, and Herbert/Ransom introduces exciting situations at the beginning of each chapter that is explained in a mini-flashback.

3.5 Story
Good with positive exceptions
I really enjoyed this story. Herbert/Ransom (I suspect Herbert did most of the actual writing) spins an amazing tale of an alien world. Without much in the way of description (it is never over-descriptive), the environments and the situations feel alive. I actually found comfort in the living islands.
I don’t understand Herbert’s fascination with sex though. I agree that it is a special power- a holy power, but it seems to form the crux of human relations in several of his stories, usually without acknowledgement of its true purpose (procreation).

3 Dialogue
Good
The dialogue was good. It felt realistic, and I wasn’t confused. There were a few moments when it felt too heavy (mostly from Scudi, but Brett falls into the trap too).

5 Style/Technical
Very good
Herbert is an amazing writer. Everything is clear. His technique of explaining a situation and then reversing gears to describe how it came about before returning to the actual story is a trick I wish I could learn.
The storytelling here isn’t poetic like Sabatini, but there all kinds of little tricks that help tell the story that an average reader probably doesn’t even notice.

3.6 Overall
Good with positive exceptions
The Lazarus Effect is a good book. I really enjoyed reading it. It transported me to Pandora, where I walked the living islands and explored the merman bases. I will definitely need to read the other books in the series.
Queets Twisp was easily the best part of the story for me, though I liked all the characters. The general setting was alien at first, as was the presence of the mutants, but once I was accustomed to the setting, it was an amazing ride.
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