Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Incrementalists (Incrementalists, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Incrementalists (Incrementalists, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Incrementalists

(Incrementalists #1)

by
3.27  ·  Rating details ·  1,773 ratings  ·  346 reviews
"Secret societies, immortality, murder mysteries and Las Vegas all in one book? Shut up and take my money." —John Scalzi

The Incrementalists—a secret society of two hundred people with an unbroken lineage reaching back forty thousand years. They cheat death, share lives and memories, and communicate with one another across nations, races, and time. They have an epic history
...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 24th 2013 by Tor Books (first published January 1st 2013)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Incrementalists, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Incrementalists

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,773 ratings  ·  346 reviews


Filter
 | 
Sort order
Steven Brust
Feb 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Yeah, so, this is the first time I've rated something I've written. It goes against every bone in my Minnesota body, but I tell myself that it's Skyler's parts I'm rating.

Several years ago, Tappan King suggested to me the idea of an immortal secret society dedicated to making the world just a little better. After I read Skyler's first two novels (and Falling, Fly; In Dreams Begin) I very much wanted to work with her. Hanging out with her one day, Tappan's idea came to mind, and we started kickin
...more
carol.
Sep 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: not Brust's normal fans
Let me be honest: I’m a fan of Steven Brust. I like his complex world-building, his characters and his willingness to integrate challenging issues of race and class (and occasionally gender) into his writing. Unfortunately, while I was predisposed to love The Incrementalists, it fell flat for me.


Narrative is first-person, shifting between Phil and Renee, often multiple times in the same chapter. Someone decided to use some pretty cursive typeset to head the sections with “Phil” or “Ren,” and to
...more
Jennifer
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jennifer by: Steven Brust
Shelves: nook
Thoughts on The Incrementalists, free of summary, spoilers, or character names (cross-posted from my blog).

First off, this is a great book if you’re into keeping neurotic lists as though you were going to make character trading cards. There’s a strong secret history concept to it, and the way the secret society works involves ‘switches’, sense-memory triggers that can be used to influence people. (My switches would probably be miso soup, lilacs, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, and bi
...more
Robert
Walking around in a constant state of confusion might be the best way to sum up my feelings on this tale. If this muddled state actually led me to some definitive suppositions on the universe, or put me in touch with all the answers to THE INCREMENTALISTS, or even offered me a sense of well-being, I would have been okay with my scrambled brains and possibly the head scratching as well. But that wasn’t the case here. Instead, I felt a bit exhausted after finishing this tale, like I’d been running ...more
Ben Babcock
These people are oddly obsessed with putting bathrobes on after showering. She used his bathrobe, so he had to settle for a towel—what, you don’t towel off and then put on a bathrobe?

I was hesitant to borrow this from the library—the description screamed “generic pseudo–science-fiction thriller.” Neverthless, I resolved to give it a chance. I swear I didn’t notice that John Scalzi had blurbed it until I started reading. And it makes sense that Scalzi would blurb this, because it’s in his wheelho
...more
Kelly
Sep 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
Started out okay, but I found the plausibility of the plot thin. Characters accepted too much at face value and, as more folks were introduced, I had a hard time distinguishing them. Ren and Phil felt interchangeable and their romance convenient and rushed. Weird.

The plot is interesting, but left high and dry while characters run around eating pizza and drinking coffee. The idea of the Incrementalists is also pretty damned cool, but not explored enough for my satisfaction.

I kinda had to force m
...more
Tez
Feb 07, 2013 rated it liked it
As a left-brainer, my thoughts often stop me from fully enjoying stories. I don't need every little thing explained in extensive detail, but something more than vagueness. For a novel filled with symbols and analogies, my experience was less than optimal.

Logic-fail kept me from falling under The Incrementalists's spell. When even immortality sounds more believable than the concept herein, it's a sign the world-building is somewhat flawed. An incrementalist's memories can be implanted into someon
...more
Karyn
Oct 22, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2013
I hadn't purchased a hardcover new release in years, but the flashy cover grabbed my attention in Powell's and it jumped into my cart. The cover (with it's impressive John Scalzi quote) might have been the best part.

Biggest issues:
The book is written in the first person, which is fine, but it jumps between POV several times in a chapter. That would also be fine if it added to the story. But, since the main characters are in a passionate, lust-filled relationship and unable to leave each other's
...more
Thomas Edmund
Sep 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
The Incrementalists is in my opinion a lazy book. Two authors have clearly come up with a brilliant concept - immortal beings who 'meddlework' with us humans, ostensibly for the better, and preserve their lengthy lives by storing their memories jointly in a celestial garden and occasionally trading their psyches into a new body.

The laziness is apparent in the book lacking anything other than a great concept. The characters have little personality (despite the constant discussions about personalt
...more
Karen
Sep 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I got to read an advance review copy of this book some time ago, and as I am drawn to books that not only defy genre, but actively buck it, The Incrementalists and I quickly became fast friends. Brust and White have created a complex and fascinating world that kept me thinking about it long after I put the book down. From a plot perspective, there's plenty here to keep you reading -- secret societies, mystery, romance, and a fascinating premise -- but it's the deeper threads and questions that s ...more
Andrew
Feb 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
40000 years ago, some folks figured out how to archive memories in the collective unconscious -- up to and including their own personalities. Result: a gang of more-or-less immortals, slipping under the radar of civilization, not trying to rule the world (their hold is not so sure) but to make it suck a little less.

This is a strange, low-key book. It doesn't much resemble SF or fantasy, although it works hard to make the memory-architecture of the Incrementalists feel like an interesting "magic
...more
All Things Urban Fantasy
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy

THE INCREMENTALISTS novel is one of those novels I expected to pick up and immediately love. I mean, c’mon, it’s set in Vegas, involves secret societies and is co-written by the amazing Steven Brust. Needless to say my hopes were extremely high when I started this book and then they quickly came crashing down.

I freely admit that my score for this novel is partly based on the expectations I had for THE INCREMENTALISTS. Reviews are entirely subjective and
...more
Dave
Sep 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
THE INCREMENTALISTS is not an easy book to talk about. From the blurb, you get pretty much everything you need going in: secret society, two main characters, subtle magic, modern day.

What you don't get is the beauty. The way the early confusion unfolds like a night-blooming desert flower, revealing not just cleverness but compassion for the reader. You don't get the laugh-out-loud jokes and the quiet harmonies. You don't see two masterful writers using all of their art to create a work of treme
...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 stars. My copy of this book was an ARC I received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Tor Books and NetGalley for making that happen! My recent positive experiences with the Vlad Taltos series by Steven Brust had made me curious about this novel, so I was looking forward to checking it out.

The concept behind The Incrementalists is a very interesting and original one, and it only gets wilder as you read more of the story. Phil and Celeste are part of a secret societ
...more
Hallie
Aug 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
When I get on with Steven Brust, we get on extremely well. Although it doesn't happen as often, when I don't get on with him, I get really, really aggravated, as happened here. (No idea how much of that was the co-author.) The book sounded very interesting, but I didn't kill it with high expectations - just couldn't understand why this group of special people was supposed to be anything other than arrogant creeps. Add to that writing that seemed designed to leave the reader following with maximu ...more
Mihir
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was ok

The Incrementalists was a book that I was very excited about. Its was co-written by Steven Brust whose Jhereg series was intriguing. This book however failed to capture my attention throughout.

The book has a very interesting take on immortality & human perceptions in regards to immortality. I couldn't connect with main two characters through out the story and in the end at least for me this book was something that I finished reading but didn't want to review.

This will have its fans &
...more
Cynthia
Jun 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting concept, strong start- weak finish...
Kate Stone
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading Steven Brust's most recent work and finding it intriguing but ultimately a little incoherent, I was delighted to go back and discover one of his earlier works that reminded me why I find his work so compelling. It's especially remarkable given that it tries some of the same narrative tricks, notably that it's written in first person from two different perspectives. The technique gives it something of an off-balance feeling that worked better for me with the story being told. It may ...more
Matt
Nov 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
I sometimes wonder if book critics know something I don’t. Michiko Kakutani, New York Times book critic. Holder of secret knowledge that permits her to appreciate the literary tomes too serious for dilettantes such as myself. Let me join you, Michiko. Take me on a spirit quest.

I wonder the same thing about authors. Authors rarely give books negative reviews. Is it because, learned as they are in the art of writing, they better understand what their fellow writers are trying to do with a particu
...more
Maine Colonial
Oct 04, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
What a terrific premise, I thought, when I read the book description. A secret society--the Incrementalists--has existed for all of human history and they "meddle" with people with a goal of bettering society. Sometimes that works out well, sometimes not. Incrementalists have finite bodies, but their memories and wisdom are immortal, because they are "stubbed" into a new recruited Incrementalist.

Celeste, Phil's lover for the last 400 years, give or take, has died in her physical body and Phil ch
...more
Harris
Dec 05, 2013 rated it liked it
The Incrementalists creates an interesting vision of a secret society of individuals who have unlocked the potential of the human mind. Not only are they able to subtly influence individuals - a process they call "meddling" - to do their bidding, but they have learned how to store and access memories remotely through The Garden... essentially a communal memory palace. Moreover, they're capable of actually cheating death by implanting the memories and personality of dead members in a new body.

So
...more
Chris Bauer
Sep 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Immediately after finishing this work by Steven Brust & Skyler White I felt as though somebody had scooped my brains out with a spatula, rearranged more than a few neurons and dumped it back in the cranial cavity.

"The Incrementalists" does so many things "right" on so many different levels, that I'll be pondering it for some time to come.

The duo of authors take common tropes (immortality, secret societies, etc.) and promptly scrambles it all into something new and undone before.

I won't/ can'
...more
Derek
Aug 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Why did I enjoy this book? It beats me. As far as I can tell, it broke practically every rule I have for an enjoyable novel.


To begin, it's told from alternating viewpoints: Phil (I'm betting written primarily by Steven Brust) and Ren (Renée - presumably written by Skyler White). I'm a simple sort, and easily confused, so despite the fact that every section is headed by the name of the first-person character, I fairly often got a page into a change of viewpoint before realizing that I was thinki
...more
Althea Ann
Aug 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
Found an advance copy of this on the ‘free’ shelf at work, and was pretty enthused – I’ve read Brust before, and found his books to be good fun.

However, this one didn’t do it for me. The premise is engaging: an ancient secret society has knowledge of the technique of transferring memories from one body to another (as well as storing information in a kind of mental ‘cloud’ internet). The society is devoted to using their experience and knowledge to become adept at psychological manipulation, whi
...more
Pam
I need to learn not to trust the blurb, let alone the endorsement of people I admire.
What a disappointment this was...boring, muddled and with dialogues that alternate between "look how clever we are" and "sitcom with laugh-track".
We're told the characters are fighting this dangerous and possibly world-changing battle and yet...no urgency, no sense of danger, no energy at all.
The whole Incrementalist idea, this brilliant, brilliant idea is just used as a backdrop for a insta-love romance with se
...more
Jon
Jan 08, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jon by: Martin
This wasn't the book I wanted it to be.

It seemed to start out as a book about a secret society of immortal-ish people who "meddle" in human affairs to make things slightly better. I liked the idea of an Illuminati-lite, and I was willing to set aside the fact that I would have found it more interesting if they actually were immortal, rather than having a weird process of essentially taking over new hosts with old memories when they die.

But the whole process of how the memories are passed forward
...more
Sarah
... Brust and White are a powerhouse duo. The text flows smoothly. Their prose is often hauntingly beautiful and poetic, and filled with atmosphere. While this is a rather serious book that will make you work for it, the authors keep enough humor throughout to keep the serious, deeper notes from becoming too overwhelming. The Incrementalists is a gripping, keep-you-guessing, not-what-you-expect sort of read. It might be confusing. It is definitely deep and thought provoking. The first person per ...more
Fantasy Literature
Dec 03, 2013 rated it liked it
The Incrementalists is collaboration between authors Steven Brust and Skyler White. I was more familiar with White going in, having enjoyed her trippy novels and Falling, Fly and In Dreams Begin. My experience with Brust’s vast catalogue was sadly limited to having read The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars many years ago while obsessively collecting the FAIRY TALE SERIES. In The Incrementalists, Brust and White team up to create a millennia-old secret society dedicated to making the world better... ...more
David
Aug 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: hipsters
Recommended to David by: I liked some of his other books
First Person. Las Vegas. Poker. Secret Society. Immortals. Reincarnation. Insta-Love™. Mind Control. Omphaloskepsis. Power Struggles. Lost Interest.
(view spoiler)
Stefan
Despite some of my reservations, I can’t deny that The Incrementalists is a unique and surprising novel about the power of memory and the impact of even the smallest actions. Its occasionally breezy tone masks a spectacular amount of depth and history. When it allows that depth to shine through, The Incrementalists is at its best. I’m glad I read it, and I’m glad there are authors who still manage to surprise even their long-time fans.

Read the entire review on my site Far Beyond Reality!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
2017 Reading Chal...: The Incrementalists 1 25 Jan 26, 2015 09:13AM  
  • The One-Eyed Man: A Fugue, with Winds and Accompaniment
  • Student Bodies (Poltergeeks, #2)
  • The Woken Gods
  • Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl (Gideon Smith, #1)
  • The Reluctant Reaper  (The Reluctant Reaper, #1)
  • Delia's Shadow (Delia Martin, #1)
  • How To Save The World (Superheroes Anonymous #3)
  • The Younger Gods (Younger Gods, #1)
  • KOP Killer (Juno Mozambe Mystery, #3)
  • The Waking Engine
  • Angel City (The Angelus Trilogy #2)
  • The Land Across
  • Nice
  • Soul of Fire (The Portals, #2)
  • One-Eyed Jack (Promethean Age, #5)
  • Orbital Decay (Near Space, #1)
  • Jack Glass
  • The World of the End
1,717 followers
Steven Karl Zoltán Brust (born November 23, 1955) is an American fantasy and science fiction author of Hungarian descent. He was a member of the writers' group The Scribblies, which included Emma Bull, Pamela Dean, Will Shetterly, Nate Bucklin, Kara Dalkey, and Patricia Wrede, and also belongs to the Pre-Joycean Fellowship.

http://us.macmillan.com/author/steven...

(Photo by David Dyer-Bennet)

Other books in the series

Incrementalists (2 books)
  • The Skill of Our Hands (Incrementalists, 2)
“People trying to force their agenda on my by deciding how I'm permitted to speak is offensive.” 10 likes
“Saving someone's life is a wonderful feeling. Try it. You feel like, if you don't mind a TV reference, a big damn hero.” 3 likes
More quotes…