Evan Exempt
Evan Exempt asked:

One-third of the way through. I don't care for the main character (Kovacs); this normally wouldn't be such a big deal except for the fact that the story is narrated in first person, so there is essentially no escaping from this socially inept detective character. I personally feel that this novel should have been narrated in third person, which would have offered more narrative flexibility. Anyone else feel this way?

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Lucius Rippeteau i enjoyed the 1st person. it hardened the Sci-fi-noir feel. hard boiled badass with a history and unresolved personal internal conflicts. as if we are hearing this as his friend. and judging as a friend, on a personal level, not on a society level.
Stormrunner Takeshi Kovacs is a Cyberpunk 'hero' -- meaning he's not quite good, and not quite bad. His decisions and moral compass are somewhat driven by survival, and he is a bit of an antihero. This is, to me at least, a common theme in Cyberpunk -- and a desirable one. I like that he has to choose between things often in the book, neither of which are entirely pleasant, or "good" in the traditional sense. To me this keeps it gritty, believable, and helps the noir-esque overtones of the novel.
Aigars Mahinovs He is not socially inept. His training has cut him out of the society and trained him in observing and exploiting any society he might encounter. So he is doing amazingly well for a man in an alien (to him) world on a timer to figure out things that locals can not.
David Clifford Third person wouldn't work because one of the novel's themes is Identity. What is Self in this world of Altered Carbon, where the flesh is nothing. There's a lot of exposition in the way the author uses First Person Narrative but I found it necessary to move the story along and introduce the world. It's a delicate balancing act between info dump and story.
Carla Patterson It's hard for me to imagine not liking Kovacs... he is one of my all-time favorite characters in all of fiction, not just science fiction. When I ride along with Kovacs (in his head as he thinks, feels, acts, reacts), I feel amazing kinship. I have not been a soldier but I have lived a life without the blinders on. To live in this world, as it really is, one becomes an amalgam of situational strategies and complex, if not mixed, feelings. Because Kovacs can inhabit different bodies, he sees life from a perspective much closer to mine than most first person narrators. I grew up mixed race and female in a society where none of that was welcome. I can't turn off the reality of what that means and it's the fact that his breadth of knowledge of what it's like to be different genders, different races, different body types, etc, not to mention what it's like to be in limbo at someone else's whim, that speaks to me so deeply and personally. He has a certain combination of fatalism and optimism which I really like as well. He's been through it all but still wants to live, love, experience new things, etcetera. But, when they go south on him, he has tools with which to survive it. Other people have touched on various other aspects of his being the first person narrator so I won't go into those.
Mike Bennewitz I don't. I like the character. He is a quintessential laconic, sardonic, hard-boild detective with extremely dry humor.
Scott Sancetta I don't know if I "liked" the character, but halfway through, I found I didn't care enough about him to keep reading. (I did finish it, I did enjoy it).
It's interesting how the author chose to either 'soften' Kovacs, or to reveal more of his warm fuzzy side, as we progress through the 2nd half. Maybe that works because we readers like to see characters grow or deepen.
Suzan despite all the answers below, I didn't like him either
Sara Leigh The first person narration didn't bother. I just didn't care about Kovacs or any of the other characters. I found this trite, repetitive, and ordinary. Maybe the Kovacs character would work if the writing was better.
[Name Redacted] That's a common feature of noir, but it's always a crap-shoot. Like the narrator? Well, then, strap yourself in and have a good time! Don't like the narrator? Well, then, you're screwed. I gave up on this because of how little I cared about...er...well...any of the characters. I have better things to do with my time.
Ed Rush I don't think third-person would have helped much.
Clay Hard disagree. The author nails his target, and that's first-person noir antihero (arguably with a heart of gold). There are so many ways that this book is not for everyone, but if you don't care for that form, you ain't gonna like it.
Paul If liking a character was a premise for me reading a book I would have stopped reading years ago. Kovacs is an asshole but he has a moral compass even if the needle gets stuck now and again. I would not call him socially inept. I think he's direct and he's hard which he needs to be considering his former profession and his childhood background. I can take him or leave him. The universe Tak traverses is fascinating in and of itself, rich and superbly well crafted. I love the book and I like it better than the TV show which I thought did a decent job considering the subject matter, but still somewhat missed the mark.
Craig C Absolutely, the reason Hammet and Chandler's books are around 200-250 pages is you can only keep a narrative interesting for so long with one primary detective character. That's why the plot is so convoluted, but it really can't make up for the shallow secondary characters.
Adrian I really had a hard time with the first person too. Probably also because I didn't like Kovacs very much... I now have "pinkeyes" because I must have rolled my eyes at every dialogue found in this book.
White Rose
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Rosemary yes i did also wpuld have enjoyed it in the 3rd person narration
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