Brasyl was one of this year's most anticipated reads for me.
With River of Gods, Ian McDonald raised the bar rather high, and I was wondering if the author could come up with something as good. It never occurred to me that McDonald could write a better novel. And yet, somehow, he did!
Brasyl is a mesmerizing ensemble of three different tales. On takes place in Rio de Janeiro in 2006, as an ambitious reality tv producer finds herself in the middle of a conflict that could unravel reality itself. The second story takes place in Sao Paulo in 2032, as a man is thrust into the dangerous universe of quantum computing and he'll never be the same again. The third storyline occurs in Brazil in 1732, as a Jesuit Father is sent to bring back a rogue priest to face the justice of the religious order.
I was astonished to see the tale unfold, to see how McDonald yet again captures the essence of a country and its people and weaves it in a myriad of ways throughout the novel. The author paints a vivid picture of South America's largest country, depicting the past, the present, and the possible future of Brazil in a manner that makes everything come alive as you read on. Every plotline is tied to the others. Indeed, everything is linked together across time and the fabric of reality, thanks to quantum physics and the multiverse that surrounds our existence.
The worldbuilding is "top notch." Ian McDonald deserves kudos for his brilliant depiction of Brazil during three different epochs. As always, the author's eye for exquisite details adds another dimension to a book that's already head and shoulder above the competition.
Of the three main characters (one for each era), Father Luis Quinn steals the show. Funny how a Jesuit priest from the 18th century should become the star of a thought-provoking scifi masterpiece! The supporting cast consists of a few interesting characters, chief among those Dr. Robert Falcon.
You'll be amazed to see how the various plotlines come together to form a dazzling whole. This book blew my mind even more than River of Gods. Seriously, I didn't want it to end!
Brasyl deserves the highest possible recommendation. It will surely be one of the best -- if not the best -- science fiction novels of 2007.
Without the shadow of a doubt, Brasyl is one of the books to read this year!
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