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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars can't wait for another one
I hate to admit to being shallow but I did only by Richard Morgan's first book because of the shinny cover and here the old cliché turns out to be completely wrong.
I loved Altered Carbon and when I found out that a sequel was on the shelves I ran to the computer and got it. Like the last book this one gets you right from the off and refuses to let go. Set in...
Published on 12 April 2003 by Matt Pearson

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I have to agree with the more scathing reviews
I have scanned through the previous reviews of Broken Angels, and I have to side with the dissatisfied minority.

I enjoyed Altered Carbon, with its tight noir plot and atmospheric San Francisco setting. I was anxious to follow up with Broken Angels straight away, to see what would happen to Kovacs.

Unfortunately I found Broken Angels slow (the first...
Published on 2 May 2010 by T. Gomes


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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars can't wait for another one, 12 April 2003
I hate to admit to being shallow but I did only by Richard Morgan's first book because of the shinny cover and here the old cliché turns out to be completely wrong.
I loved Altered Carbon and when I found out that a sequel was on the shelves I ran to the computer and got it. Like the last book this one gets you right from the off and refuses to let go. Set in a future where body swapping is an every day occurrence and you can only truly die if your cortical backup (called a stack, located just under the skull) is destroyed.
Takeshi Kovacs thirty years older since we last saw him, has a new body an is working as a mercenary in a political war on sanction IV. Wounded and in hospital he is offered the chance to get away from the fighting and go on a archaeological dig in the fallout radius of nuclear explosion and for personal reasons he accepts.
From here Morgan goes in to great detail about the lost civilisation found on Mars and how humans spread out in to the universe (something that was glossed over in the first book). It is a different style than Altered Carbon but still written in the first person, less a detective noir and more a political/corporate/military thriller it is never the less intriguing to read about how human civilisation has changed very little in 500 years.
The technology is described extremely proficiently and at no point does anything seem implausible and besides the book is more about the characters than the gadgets. The interactions between the various characters are expertly written (Morgan has a great ear for dialogue), its unsettlingly fascinating to read about them all slowly dying of terminal radiation exposure as they unearth secrets of an alien technology.
The only let down is towards the end of the book the story seems to descend in to extreme violence for little reason but this is salvaged by the excellent final chapter which puts a twist on all of Kovacs’ motivations.
With chapter as gripping as the last, Morgan doesn’t let you stop for breath and its true to say that is I didn’t have to go to work I would have sat there and read the whole thing from cover to cover in one go. I can't wait for a third instalment I need to know what will happen to Takeshi and you will too.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars definitely in my top ten SF ever, 6 July 2003
By 
Daniel Nelson (White Bear Lake MN, USA) - See all my reviews
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I can't wax enthusiastic enough about Richard Morgan and his first two books. I'd just about given up on trying to find any more good science fiction and again forego attempting to find any worth reading for another ten years or so, when I found Altered Carbon. My faith was restored. There was good, plausible, non-Cyberpunk, SF with a messge being published after all. In addition to giving his characters humanity and fallibility in ways that enhance and make more comprehensible his stories,Morgan also quite simply tells some of the best stories written in the last ten or twenty years,and if he keeps up his output and builds on what he's done so far, I believe he could have much the same impact as a Heinlein or Clarke. Instead of the triumvirate of Heinlein - Clarke - Asimov , maybe Reynolds - Banks - Morgan will establish equivalent new signposts in space-opera.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightfully Dark, 15 Sept. 2003
By 
J. Neal "jneal" (Sussex) - See all my reviews
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The sequel to Altered Carbon is actually a better book in my opinion, but that may have something to do with the genre. Okay, so it's based on the same central character, Takeshi Kovacs, and it's set in the same universe [as such] but, unlike the first novel, which is a detective story set in space, this is just out and out sci-fi, and all the better for it. The usual tenets apply here, very well written, with a good tight style, complex enough to be challenging and strong characterisation, with a nice and dark overtone that suits my preference. This novel concentrates mostly on the artefacts left behind by the Martian civilisation alluded to in Altered Carbon and explores man's place in the universe in relation to the other races that went before. The effect is eerie and mysterious, but Richard Morgan hasn't neglected the shocking capacity for violence that made his central character so appealing and repulsive at once in the previous book. Once again, very highly recommended, but read Altered Carbon first.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent continuation of Takeshi Kovacs' adventures, 21 Aug. 2008
By 
A. Whitehead "Werthead" (Colchester, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Thirty years after his trip to Earth in Altered Carbon, ex-Envoy Takeshi Kovacs is fighting for the mercenary unit known as the Wedge in a dirty little war on the planet Sanction IV, between the ruling corporate cartel and the pro-democracy separatists under Joshua Kemp. After being killed and 're-sleeved' one time too many in the conflict, Kovacs is made an offer he can't refuse: to arrange an expedition to recover the most valuable alien artefact in history, a prize that people are willing to kill for, even commit genocide for...

Broken Angels is the middle volume of the 'Takeshi Kovacs Trilogy', although it is a stand-alone novel. There are a couple of very vague references to the events of Altered Carbon, but not as many as there are to Kovacs' activities between the novels. Kovacs has been a busy lad, and the man we meet in Broken Angels, although still the same brutally efficient warrior, is somewhat more layered and interesting than the character we met earlier.

Broken Angels is an improvement on Altered Carbon, although it is also a rather different kind of novel. Whilst Altered Carbon was a hard-boiled detective story with elements of noir, Broken Angels is more of a war story, focusing on special operations and mercenaries. Kovacs has a number of allies and is a member of a team this time around, contrasted to the lone wolf operative of Carbon. Whilst the first-person perspective means we get less time with the other characters as we would in a third-person story, Morgan paints Kovacs' new allies quite vividly, giving them decent introductions and motivations.

As with Carbon, this is a hard-edged, violent story which lurks in a grey morass of conflicting morals and ethics. There are double-crosses, deceptions and murky allegiances aplenty. The story twists and turns but never feels contrived, a tribute to Morgan's writing skill. The book also brings some new ideas to the table. We get much more information about the mysterious aliens whose ruins humanity has spent five centuries picking through, and there is a 'big dumb object' in the finest traditions of hard SF which makes the final third or so of the novel fascinating.

Broken Angels (****½) is a fine SF novel, with a sophisticated and well-developed storyline featuring flawed and in some cases broken protagonists who are all too human.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sci-fi Thriller, 14 Jan. 2004
By 
Tom Douglas (U.K.) - See all my reviews
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Altered Carbon was an exceptional debut novel, and Broken Angels, which is a stand alone sequel, shows no reduction in quality.
Once again Takeshi Kovacs is the central character. A former 'Envoy' and all round hardcase. This time he is a mercenary on Sanction IV, and the story line is the classic quest for buried treasure.
While Kovacs was on something of a lone crusade in the last book, this time he is part of a group of mercenaries - as another reviewer astutely put it, this is Aliens compared to Alien.
Comparisons to Altered Carbon are unavoidable, and if you have not yet read the earlier book then you should.
Broken Angels does inevitably lack the wow element of its predecessor - set in the same universe and with the same central character, the only real novelty is the martian artifacts that are the subject of the quest.
The rest of the comparison is straight forward - Morgan has written another cracking page-turner, and its a fairly safe bet that if you liked the first book, you will like this one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shocking, violent, highly readable, 29 May 2004
You'll need a strong stomach in places, this is one of the most shocking and violent sci-fi books I've read. It is very well written. Our hero is hardly a sympathetic character (I think he's a psychopath) but I couldn't help rooting for him. A wonderful cast of grusome characters. Highly recommended.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stunning Sequel, 17 Aug. 2007
By 
Dr. Robert Fisher (Oxford, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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'Broken Angels' is the second outing for Envoy-trained Takeshi Kovacs and is an absolutely rip-roaring continuation from the original 'Altered Carbon'. The plot unwinds with breath-taking speed; the action comes fast and furious, bolstered by excellent levels of technological details and character descriptions.

Yet Morgan's second outing has met with a fair amount of criticism leveled at under-developed ideas or poor style. Both criticisms are unfair and miss the point of what the novel is trying to achieve. 'Altered Carbon' introduced us to ideas of sleeving, cortical stacks and humans being decanted into either real or virtual worlds. Morgan takes this much further in 'Broken Angels' and asks us to think about what will happen to human beings who live at the interface of technologcal developments, and how that technology will affect both what we are as persons as well as our own sense of who we are. The brilliance of 'Broken Angels' is that he asks us these questions via the characters who are working at and in extreme situations where the rules of who we are are constantly being redrawn all the time. And he does it by using the Martians (the Broken Angels of the title) as a mirror of civilisation so far ahead of us, yet still seemingly sharing the same weaknesses and vices.

This is the clue to the style and why he sometimes writes in very short, staccato sentences. As some reviewers have noted he does. Sometimes write. Like. This. But all you have to do is look closely; he only does it when people are speaking. And usually, he only does it when people are speaking under incredibly stressful circumstances or life and death situations. In these situations, people rarely speak in complete sentences. They speak short, quick-fire and often incomplete sentences. This is what Morgan does here - his writing mirrors the reality of the way we speak when stressed and the characters are much more realistic because of it.

All in all, this book is a welcome return for Kovacs. The character is so much more developed and, for once, we get to see the man's inner thoughts and processes which helps us understand quite how he does what he does and how future genetic conditioning can take human beings in all sorts of unexpected directions. Brilliant, insightful, and highly entertaining. Well worth every penny.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable SF romp. Despite. Rather strange. Punctuation., 14 May 2014
By 
Philtrum (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Broken Angels (Hardcover)
This book is a fairly standard crime/thriller story set in a fairly standard SF universe.

It’s the second of three books by Morgan featuring the mercenary Takeshi Kovacs. Think Jack Reacher in the 26th century.

Humanity has spread out to the stars, following in the footsteps of the (long-departed – or killed off?) Martian civilisation. If you have a ‘stack’ (a black box attached the spine of your neck) then, even if you’re killed, your personality can be loaded into a new body (“sleeve”).

Kovacs is hired by a corporation to be part of a group of crack soldiers (all “re-sleeved” after dying in service in one way or another) whose mission is to investigate a kind of Martian wormhole that’s been found on a planet (Sanction IV). There’s a war on Sanction IV – between the ruling organisation and the revolutionary Joshua Kemp. Though we experience nothing of this war directly. All the action in the book is wholly peripheral to the war.

As you might expect, all is not as it seems. I found the plot interesting enough, and the action exciting enough. To be honest, during the last few pages of exposition, I rather lost track, as Morgan ties up most of the loose ends, but the journey from A to B was enjoyable enough.

If anything, though, Morgan gets a little too tied up in the action and we don’t get enough explanation. If you’re going to set an action story several hundred years in the future, you’ve got to fit the explanations around the plot rather better than has been managed here.

Also, Morgan has adopted in the book the rather. Annoying. Habit. Of using full stops to. Punctuate. Sentences. In an odd. Way.

It’s an enjoyable SF romp, with enough to keep you interested and get you thinking.

8/10
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5.0 out of 5 stars A more satisfying Kovacs novel, 25 May 2009
By 
D. O'Brien "D.O'Brien" (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This is Richard Morgan's second offering in the Takeshi Kovacs series, this time finding our ex-UN Envoy hero as a mercenary on the war-torn world of Sanction IV. Working for the corporate cartel that is exploiting the alien artefacts to be found on Sanction IV - while putting down the revolution against them at the same time - he is offered then chance to make a fortune selling a new find to the cartel, and escape the war permanently. As ever, though, the path of Kovacs life does not run smooth, and he finds himself embroiled in a struggle for control of an artefact that may advance human technological knowledge exponetially. And high stakes always brings out the best, and worst, in Kovacs.

Morgan sticks to his themes of intruige and violence, but ditches the detective noir aspects from 'Altered Carbon'. This story may be read as a stand alone tale, set as it is on a different world and some thirty years on from Kovacs previous adventure, and only a passing mention is made of his history. A reader may, however, be better prepared for what it means to be a UN Envoy if he or she has read 'Altered Carbon' - all I'm saying is that it's not a direct sequel.
What I am confident in saying is that this setting suits the Kovacs character better than a decaying San Francisco, and while the action plods at times during the first half, the rest of the book makes up for this. I was particularly impressed at Morgan's use of the sense of difference between the humans involved and the Martians whose technological remains they hope to plunder. Too many sci-fi books don't take into account the psychological impact of humanity's first faltering steps into a wider universe, and that aspect of this novel elevates it above its predecessor for me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer Brillance, 3 April 2012
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I'm going to keep this review sweet and simple and to-the-point. Richard Morgan, in my eyes, has created an epic visionary blockbuster of a trilogy that should scale the heights of James Cameron's - Avatar.

Altered Carbon, Broken Angels and Woken Furies are fantastic, they deserve to be topping the "Hall-of-Fame". I don't usually write reviews, so it shows how much I enjoyed Richard Morgans: Takeshi Lev Kovacs Series. Me personally, I gave this trilogy a five-out-of-five, simply because it does what any great novel does, keeps me clinging to my seat the whole time.

I was thrown head first into violence and gritty sex. Heart-pumping, sweat-dripping, fist-punching action. I found myself dumb struck by the scope and detail of the books. Read it and encourage others to do the same. You will not be disappointed.

If you like a bit of ethereal music to accompany the atmospheric scenes and action packed adrenaline soaked fight scenes, it would have to be something by:

- Michael McCann - Icarus (The Clinic Scene) - (Altered Carbon)
- Clint Mansell & Sam Hulick - An End, Once and for All (Martian Dreadnought Scene/End) - (Broken Angels)

Those two scenes really stood out for me, simply because I thought they were just phenomenal bits of writing. I remember having those two songs stuck in my head while reading Altered Carbon and Broken Angels, and for me, they went well together. Happy reading :)
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