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|Print List Price:||$9.99|
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Ninefox Gambit (Machineries of Empire Book 1) Kindle Edition
|Length: 384 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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But the weird weapons are mostly chrome--thought experiments from the writer's toy box, which isn't to say they aren't entertaining since all the deaths and mutilations they cause don't seem particularly real. The affecting deaths generally involve ordinary weapons.
Similarly, the worldbuilding's surface complexity is an impressive pyrotechnic display that will turn off many readers who bother to try to understand it and hoodwink many others who think they do. Underneath it all is a sound character-driven story that focuses on the protagonist, Cheris, and her developing symbiotic/synergistic relationship with a disembodied hero/traitor general, Jedao, kept in storage for military emergencies. Teacher and student, a consciousness ruthlessly determined to survive to accomplish a goal and a young officer with mad math skills. Most readers will sympathize with the goal (not achieved in this book, which is the first of a series that I hope isn't too long because I'm not getting any younger).
Despite the sheer quantity of deaths and sacrifices and murders, I liked Ninefox Gambit mainly because I found it to be unexpectedly funny. It has a great deal of biting satire, wittiness, and situational humor. It put me in mind of Richard Condon (Manchurian Candidate, Prizzi's Honor) as well as the worlds (but not the plots) of Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World.
And don't forget the sentient zooform robots (servitors).
Setting the mathematics/technology to one side, the plotting is strong. There is ample action (with a high body count) and a generous helping of intrigue. Of the book's two central characters, I found Jedao far the more fascinating. Cheris was the kind of point-of-view character that I know I am expected to like by default, but in this case I didn't. (I didn't *dislike* her, but that's a lukewarm recommendation.) Perhaps I needed a moment near the beginning where Cheris actively did something to win my sympathy. I had a similar difficulty when I began Scott Lynch's debut fantasy novel, "The Lies of Locke Lamora." I knew that I was meant to like Locke Lamore, but it took me until page 145 to do so, though I enjoyed the flamboyance of Lynch's style from the start. In the case of "Ninefox Gambit," I reached the end of the book without much warming to Cheris.
For me the book's strengths were Jedao, the servitors (an appealing and interesting version of mobile robots), and several excellent scenes. For example, without disclosing what happened, and despite my lack of belief in the accompanying technobabble, I found the end of chapter 18 brilliant: lyrical, moving, memorable.
Most recent customer reviews
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