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on July 12, 2016
First, the placement of "Gridlinked" in Neal Asher's "Polity Universe" is a little odd. According to the Wikipedia entry on the series, this is the author's first novel and the first novel in his "Agent Cormac" series. That series is the first of several currently existing in his whole "Polity Universe" series. But, a good chunk of the way through the "Agent Cormac" series, he went back and (it looks like (I haven't read them yet)) wrote some stand-alone books that flesh out the start of the Polity Universe. So, in the current story timeline, this book is actually the third book in the overall series.

Second, for a first book, "Gridlinked" is darn good. Asher's come up with a really interesting (hard) science fiction/action universe, has some interesting characters and a very good plot. Outside of a few minor continuity issues I'm pretty sure I ran across (along with the 2-1/2 pointless, gratuitous sex scenes (two fairly graphic, one fairly implied, all mercifully short)), my only significant issues are that 1) the protagonist changes tone pretty drastically from the start of the book to the finish (but there's supposedly a mechanism in place that explains that), 2) the human antagonist sort of piffles away by the end, and 3) the over-arching alien characters never get decently explained. Now, the last item, I can sort of excuse at this point in time because there are (currently) another 13 books in the series where that information might exist (again, I haven't read them yet). And, the first two points are acceptable in a first novel. So, I'm happy to rate the book at a Very Good 4 stars out of 5 and will be continuing the series.
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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.
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on May 26, 2015
It took me forever to finish reading this book. It start off action-packed and interesting and then just went into a inner turmoil of the main character no longer being gridlinked. The pace was too slow and I ended up switching to two different books just to read something with more pace than this one. You get introduced with who you think is the main villain until 2/3's into the book and you get blasted with two new villains (one which is killed of course and the other who is determined to be the main villain though the whole series I'm guessing) I think this was the author's first book, I can't remember off the top of my head so I'm hoping the second one is better.

I'm a stickler for my series books to be the same format (since my book shelf is organized by height first then author) but when i went to buy the second book i found out that the rest of the series is paperback and not hardback like the first one. But that's just my pet peeve talking.
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on July 27, 2017
Great book! I can't stop reading. The protagonist's dealings with the various characters is not only entertaining, but also helps subtly increase the knowledge of the Polity. I really enjoy Neal Asher's work. And I've only read Prador Moon and Shadow of the Scorpion to completion so far. Suffice it to say I'm hooked on the fact that the future in these novels is not utopian and more realistic, based on what I perceive anyways.
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on November 18, 2014
While conceptually this is an interesting and creative hybrid of hard science and space opera, Asher's approach to the craft of writing is workman-like at best, with the scientific elements often more of an intrusion or distraction from the underlying and dramatic storyline. Additionally, the author needs to improve his handling of some of these dramatic elements, as well as better avoid predictability and contrivance. Thus, this first novel in a larger linked series reads somewhat like a fledgling effort as well as fails to smoothly or naturally alternate between its more broad operatic narrative and artifice when it comes to its scientific elements. However, I would state that Asher's editor shares responsibility for any shortcomings.

As this is a debut novel and suggestive of imagination and potential talent, I will reserve judgment until I read the most recent, semi-stand-alone tale in the Polity series, especially as it is a prequel. I will also be trying to determine whether or not the thread of fascism that appears throughout the novel is serving dystopian or political ends. But unless Asher's writing skills have improved, do not anticipate reading further...
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on June 29, 2015
The story was fast paced and enjoyable. The only reason I cannot give the book five stars is the somewhat clumsy disposition of the whole Pelter issue. It could easily have been another book with a more meaningful disposition or it could have tied in with Dragon better. After the disposition of Pelter, it felt like Neal Asher was trying to glue two books together with ineffective adhesive.

The story was imaginative and some of the characters worked well. Other characters and character interaction seemed a bit more forced. I am hoping as he matured as an author, Neal Asher matured in his ability to flesh out characters. I would not have rated the book down one star because the character issues however.

I am anxious to read the next installment and will recommend this book to friends.
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on May 23, 2013
I've been on a SciFi Series kick... Stephen Baxter's Xeelee Series, Ian Banks' Culture Novels, Chine Mieville's Bas-Lag Universe, Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space, Lois Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga, and Kameron Hurley's Bel Dame Apocrypha (a trilogy... so far... could develop into a series!). All have had their various and ample charms, but none have quite put it together the way Neal Asher has! In short, Mr. Asher's Polity Universe has it all... everything any series-loving scifi reader could hope for. There are AIs, androids, hive minds, aliens, space battles and more! A wonderfully developed universe inhabited by good characters (strong male & female characters btw... and love the AIs!) involved in intriguing adventures... Simply, space opera at its best!

To think, I almost didn't continue after Gridlinked! For me, this novel, the 1st in the Agent Cormac series, is the weakest. (Note: The novel Shadow of the Scorpion seems to be a prequel or Agent Cormac early years novel). Anyway, please, don't miss out... Read Gridlinked and then just keep going because it just gets better and better... and better! Thank you Neal Asher!!
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on February 25, 2013
I'm a fan of sci fi series that are lengthy, spanning several books. Gridlinked was good enough that I have purchased and am reading the second book (The Line Of Polity)

Some people use the term 'space opera' to describe these types of books. Regardless of what you call it, it is a good intro into a new sci fi world.

I had been looking for a new adventure after reading Peter F. Hamilton's Void Trilogy. While Gridlinked is not quite as good as that series, it is plenty fun. It's a little lighter, and the writing seems a bit more sporadic. Part of this, I believe, is that I purchased the kindle version, and there are a lot of typos. Honestly, an editor needs to just go over the book and fix the issues that popped up when this book was converted to ebook format. lots of rn combined into m, and other issues that make you pause, move past, and then get back into the story.

Gridlinked has some more mature moments, but nothing out of the ordinary for this type of book. Any of the alien life isn't the most creative, but if you can be a little forgiving then it's not a big deal. Overall I really enjoyed the book.
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on June 21, 2017
Neal Asher is complex author writing complex space opera. I like it, but it is a lot to plow through.
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on August 16, 2017
Was slow getting into this but once I got my head around the "hard sci-fi" I really liked it. Nothing too ground breaking but an enjoyable ride through a not-to-distant dystopian future.
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