Top critical review
95 people found this helpful
on October 5, 2010
I found this book difficult to rate. It has its good points and its bad. Ultimately, I felt like this was an enjoyable sci-fi failure.
First of all, the editing of this book is absolutely ATROCIOUS. I do not remember ever reading any published work with so many errors, many of them painfully obvious. This was very noticeable throughout the entire book, and sometimes I had to re-read passages several times in order to get the intended meaning. Normally, a work this poorly written would be tossed aside by me, but I found myself enjoying the story and the world enough to power through this annoyance (and from the view of an avid reader, insult).
The world and story are the redeeming qualities of this book. An interesting and "realistic" view of future incarnation of humanity. If you're looking for a "Star Trek"-like utopian view, keep looking. This world is dark and rife with dangers and injustices. The story is interesting, although not always well written. It follows a few main characters and their companions, but not always with the effectiveness that is needed to convey a clear storyline.
The characters in this story are one of its weakest points. They never really come to life, nor does the reader ever grow to care one way or another about them. The lines drawn between protagonists and antagonists are unrealistically defined and obvious. Their thoughts and feelings are sterile and as you read, you never feel anything any character is feeling, you are simply being told what is going through their mind and heart.
Despite the drawbacks of this book, I enjoyed it thoroughly until the end. The world seemed alive, which was the most redeeming quality about this book. An interesting dynamic of this book is how it pits an extreme socialist/communist society against an extreme caste/monarchy-like one.
This interesting dynamic is however what turns into this books hardest downfall. At the end of this book, the main character has a revelation that ruined my enjoyment of this book. A revelation about freedom and a free nation that once existed. It turned a decent go at a sci-fi epic into preachy, pro-democratic/American propaganda. It would be one thing if this turn in the story fit the story itself, but it doesn't. It kind of comes out of nowhere, and never has a place to settle into the story. It made the book itself drop in value. This is the exact kind of thing that readers of science fiction are trying to escape by reading it. It really killed the book for me, and in one page I went from not being able to wait to read the second book to barely being able to finish the first.
All in all, this was an enjoyable sci-fi failure. This book should have been worked on for a few more years however, both the story and the editing needs a lot of work. And it would have been nice that even if the author's sole intent was to extol the greatness of America & Democracy and vilify other forms of government, that it was integrated into the story more so you didn't feel preached at. In the end, it just comes off as a pathetic attempt to persuade you to the author's ideals.
I should say I don't personally disagree with those ideals, just that they ruined what SHOULD have been a decent novel.