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220 pages, Paperback
First published May 1, 2006
I tried to chalk my dislike of this novel up to the fact that military sci fi isn't really my genre, but that's not it. I don't dislike military sci fi when done well. This book was simply not done well. However, if military sci fi is your genre, you might be able to overlook some of its flaws.
First of all, the book is riddled with typos and quite poorly written. I kept getting pulled out of the story because of the awkwardness of a sentence, or because a passage was rendered incomprehensible on first read by a grammatical error (I am, of course, hyper-aware of my own writing after this criticism!). Even without the typos and errors, the writing was clunky. Additionally, the story transitions between character perspectives, which are not well marked. I read it on a kindle, so it's possible that a print book would be better demarcated, but even so, the fact that I couldn't tell there had been a perspective shift until several paragraphs in is not a great sign.
In fact, that brings me to my next criticism: the characters could hardly be differentiated between. They had different skills and different locations, so they were useful for explaining different parts of the story, but they did not seem to have different personalities. The sociopath, the formerly tech-resistant convert, and the soldier all read as basically the same.
The aliens whom the humans are fighting are so cartoonishly evil that I kept rolling my eyes a bit at their over-the-top absurdity. They have no redeeming qualities and, while they are portrayed as aggressive and skilled fighters, their lack of imagination and inability to adapt in the face of human ingenuity suggests to me that they should have been defeated by basically every alien species they've encountered.
It gets two stars instead of one because I didn't loathe it - I just didn't particularly enjoy it. And I do think that readers for whom military sci fi is what the traveling fantasy epic is for me would like it. It's fast-paced, and there are some intriguing moments, particularly in the exploration of the "alien" nature of the Prador, although I found them ill-developed and unexplored.
Newsnet services she auged into carried the same incredible comic-book stories. [...]and later on:
The images she saw were just too cartoonish, too ridiculous, so the only explanation seemed to be that her aug was somehow scrambling up the newsnets with a fantasy virtuality.
"Fuck me, B-movie dialogue."Asher's language is utilitarian. His characters are distanced and not engaging - hell - the cartoon aliens are emotionally more interesting than the humans!