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Neat concept, mediocre execution
on March 21, 2014
I suspect a lot of my blahs with this text come from translation issues, because there's WAY too much exposition in this novel, these infodumps that just absolutely stagger the forward movement of the plot.
It's a shame, because the plot's actually pretty compelling, or at least the idea behind it is neat. But I found it hard to summon any real emotion for any of the characters, like or dislike. The worldbuilding is great, as I've come to expect from the author's previous works, but he fails on characterization.
One thing that bugged me like nothing else was that every time a female character is introduced, the story absolutely positively must stop, to throw us a few paragraphs rating her relative attractiveness and the size of her boobs. This from a narrator we're supposed to think of as a pretty nice guy.
There were a few really great scenes, such as the fight in the cafeteria, and when he writes those shorter sections, that move the plot along fast, they are compelling and vivid. You just have to slog through needless bits of reported backstory (like the pages and pages of Rita's history which could be summed up as she likes coffee and pigs and is fighting because she lost her family) to get to them.
If you want really compelling sci fi battle stuff, that does WAY more accurate and gripping a job of suit-combat, you can't beat Heinlein's Starship Troopers. That was the standard by which I measured this book and, well, you can see, it didn't measure up.