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Entertaining, but left me feeling a bit underwhelmed
on July 9, 2011
This is the first Gould book I've read; I typically read the classics, but having a real love for tv scifi (and sorely missing BSG) I decided to pick up a scifi book.
The world Gould creates is convincing and the story is an entertaining one. That's more than enough for me to feel like I got what I asked for. The language and imagery moves you along briskly in the text and there are very few continuity issues and almost no puzzling contradictions arising from the "bug" premise. (Quite a feat.)
I did find that the asian-martial-arts angle made the characters a little less accessible to me--their teachings and practices seemed so important and ingrained to them that I wish I'd understood them more fully, or, frankly, cared a bit more. I often found myself stopping to ponder the technology challenges imposed by the bugs, but I rarely stopped to wonder how any character was really feeling... and I think that's telling.
The writing is crisp and accessible, though the dialog seems often out of sync with the characters. Children especially seem to be granted the dialog (and occasionally, the wit) of forty somethings.
It is clear that the book is written with sequel(s) in mind, and frankly I thought the "not-_____" plot seemed plugged in as an afterthought. Unfortunately, I think the book needed a stronger plot overall, and the "ending" feels very unfinished. The whole book appears to be background and character development for future works.
All that said, I enjoyed it and will likely take a gander at some similar books by Gould and others.