Nikki 's Reviews > The Half-Made World

The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman
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's review
May 18, 2011

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bookshelves: steampunk, speculative-fiction
Read on July 31, 2011

I'm not sure I enjoyed The Half-Made World. I was intrigued by it, which is something different. There's nothing here to hang your hopes on, to get emotionally attached to: the Linesmen are interchangeable, the Line unpleasant; the Agents of the Gun are as bad or worse, though at least they're individuals; the General is nothing but a tool for the plot; Liv is colourless... Even the Republic is hollow. The narration follows a Linesman, an Agent, and Liv, who is neutral. It really just emphasises that there is no right or wrong: it's a sea of moral ambiguity. I don't even know what moral goodness would look like, in this world.

Creedmore is, despite being despicable, at least an interesting character. His conflict, his relationship with Marmion, his unpredictability and irreverence... If I kept reading for any of the characters, it was for him. He's colourful, at least, even if it's the colours of hell!

The world itself is interesting -- the concept of it, the idea of the Line and the Guns, and the half-made nature of it as you go out West. I was intrigued by the steampunk and Western aspects (though, again, I'm not sure I'd use the word enjoyed). Some of the most interesting things, the Folk, drift around on the outside...

And it's all very inconclusive. Has anything changed, at the end? It doesn't feel like it's waiting for a sequel -- it just trails off.

Despite all of that, which sounds very critical, I was (here's that word again) intrigued: I kept reading, all four hundred and eighty pages of it, which is something.
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Reading Progress

14.0% "Not quite sure about everything that's going on yet, but definitely intrigued. Hoping to finish this all in one day: I originally meant to read it in July, got all fretful and bored about my July books, and moved onto August. Now I feel like maybe I can read this in July anyway."
49.0% "I am lost in a sea of moral ambiguity."
66.0% "It says something about this book that the most sympathetic character is one who basically had his brains blasted out in the first page."
82.0% "Ugh, not even the Republic is worth hanging anything on. Only Liv, and she's a bit of a nonentity for most of the story."
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