Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
on 19 May 2013
This is a fast-paced thrill-ride and Smith wastes no time with lengthy exposition or build-up. A few pages in, and I had no idea who was going to survive or who was going to die, this felt fresh and unpredictable.
Smith's novel has cracking dialogue, with sardonic humour and a world weary cynicism permeating proceedings. The technology is impressive and inventive, and when the action comes, it is desperate and frenetic.
With three plot strands: past, present and future, there is always a danger that reader attention could drift or favour one storyline over the other. Yet, thanks to Smiths skills as a writer, all chapters neatly interweave together and I was gripped throughout.
The gamers influence is strong and integral to the plot. This is a slick action sci-fi adventure that jumps from ancient Britain, contemporary Britain and our future in outer space.
Smith writes characters well, particularly his two main female ones of Britha, an ancient Briton and Beth from our own time. Both are three dimensional humans who really consider their actions and feel the consequences. Both are trying to do what is best for others, and both go through the mill in order to do it.
Other notable standouts are Malcolm Du Bois, a grizzled police detective with a difference, and Vic and Scab, two comic but deadly bounty killers.
The violence is at times shocking, getting so over the top that it almost becomes comic. Whether this is intentional or not, I do not know. There are only so many savage beatings, broken bones, decapitations and dismemberments before you become jaded with it all. The unflinching violence is however integral to the plot so can be forgiven here.
With striking imagery and Smith's incredible imagination, this is a dramatic and exciting slice of sci-fi. Very ambitious in scope and lengthy at over 500 pages, this will reward its readership with a thoroughly entertaining, multi-layered story with compelling heroines and anti-heroes.