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Not quite Barry enough
on June 5, 2012
I don't give 5 stars easily. That being said, since I've decided to work dowm my list and start reviewing items, every single Barry book I've read up until this one will be getting 5 stars. When I stumbled upon him in "Jennifer Government," I was hooked, and have read every book he's published. I'd put him in my pantheon of top writers like Gaiman and Vonnegut.
HOWEVER. This. This didn't do it for me. It was OK. I don't want OK, though, I want AWESOME. I know that not everything can be perfect, and that Barry really isn't some sort of god who is supposed to please me or I'll stop giving him offerings. Really, I know that. But Machine Man, it was something that, while I'm not upset that I read it, I wouldn't go back and read again.
I've been following the development of the story for a while, and was excited about it. But when I sat down to read it, well, it didn't really jump out at me. The characters were flatter than his usual characters, and within the first couple of chapters, I'd already figured out the end. This is not always a bad thing, especially if there are enough surprises in between the beginning and end to keep me happy.
Unfortunately, this was not so much the case. As each character was introduced, I could figure out what was going to happen next with them. They were little autonomous programs that would pop up, get through their part, then head back into the background. There wasn't a lot of action; and when tehre was it was mild, a bit stilted and not overly exciting.
I know it sounds like I'm saying that you shouldn't read it, but really, it's worth a plane flight or doctor's office waiting room. Barry has hit many home runs before - this is just a double, which ain't a bad thing. Barry at his most mediocre is better than most people at the top of their game.