Top critical review
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A Good Start?
on August 4, 2014
The first three quarter of the book were a very strong 4 stars. Unfortunately, the novel’s end sank down into the two star category.
The Good Parts: I loved the world-building and weird universe that Asher created. I liked his quirky AI’s. I enjoyed the grit, gore, action and pace. And once I got use to the slightly choppy writing writing style, I liked that too. It had the feel of a cyberpunk novel, but more readable. (I often find cyberpunk intriguing in concept, but difficult to actually read - this was not the case with Gridlinked.) Once I figured out Asher’s rhythm, the pages started to turn.
The Bad Parts: The main character, Cormac, was rather static and underwhelming. The initial concept set up in the very beginning of the book of Cormac being removed from the Grid and going through a withdrawal was sorely underutilized. I mean, it’s the title of the book - you’d think he’d occasionally freak out, or shake, or get the sweats, or try to plug back in, but no. Alas, the only withdrawal symptom was when Cormac inadvertently hurt someone's feelings and he didn't understand why. (I mean, come on - this sounds like me and every girlfriend I've ever had.) Whoop-dee-freakin’-doo. If only all addicts could quit cold-turkey with such ease.
The other bad part deals with the ending: SPOILER For all the buildup, all the scenes where the two antagonists are written as unstable monsters and evil killing machines, their demise was so disappointing as to be utterly laughable. One antagonist is given a few sentences to get ripped apart by two androids without even offering up a struggle. The other antagonist, gets off one shot at Cormac - then Cormac steps out and shoots the bad guy in the head. And I’m pretty sure that my little paragraph here provided more details for the incidents than the novel did. (I’m only exaggerating this a little, not a lot).
Also the plot itself...well, never has such a complicated plot had such a simple, disappointing, and yet utterly opaque ending. You know the ending is confusing, when the author releases a revised edition of the final scene on his website wherein he actually explains all of what just happened. END SPOILER
I don’t know. I’m very conflicted on the novel. As I started the novel, I was really getting into the universe, the characters, and the writing style, but the ending left a terrible taste in my mouth. On the other hand, I wanted to like the book so much, that I will eventually pick up book number two. Hopefully that one will have a proper ending. (If anyone out there who has read more Neal Asher books wants to, shoot me a comment - I’d love to know if his novel endings get better.)
The book is worth picking up and giving a try. If you don’t like it, well, that happens, However, there’s an equally good possibility that book will drag you along for a great ride.