Most Helpful First | Newest First
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab!,
This review is from: Shadow of a Dead Star: Book One of the Wonderland Cycle (Kindle Edition)Deeply layered and very thoroughly thought out - on all levels - SHADOW OF A DEAD STAR is a heady mix of noir, cyberpunk, and elements of prophetic scifi that takes you on the kind of journey you'll not want to end.
If you are a fan of William Gibson, Philip K. Dick, and Raymond Chandler, then you'll love SHADOW OF A DEAD STAR.
I enjoyed this book immensely, and will be checking out the rest of Michael's work out as soon as I have time.
As another reviewer said somewhere, "If it gets into enough hands, Shadow of a Dead Star is going to have a huge following."
I can't disagree. It would be a crime for this novel, and this talented author, to go unread by the masses. Michael deserves every bit of praise he gets for his work here in this fine book.
I for one can't wait to see what he has up his sleeves next.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Debut Novel,
This review is from: Shadow of a Dead Star: Book One of the Wonderland Cycle (Kindle Edition)This was originally published at Deadinkbooks.com
Science-fiction has often been disregarded as a sub-genre of fiction, a sideline to the mainstream literature that most readers will know and love. It comes as no surprise, given that most of the world's literary prizes such as the Man Booker Prize, the Costa Award and the Nobel Prize in Literature often go to "mainstream" fiction rather than to the lesser known sub-genres of literature. Science-fiction, however, has always had a cult following who find pleasure in the works of Iain M. Banks, Isaac Asimov and Philip K. Dick. It is a genre that produces the most memorable and, perhaps, absurd plots and stories in literature and it does so with pleasure. Science-fiction provides writers with an opportunity to explore the deepest recesses of their minds, to tap into the wealth of dark and sinister ideas that are hidden and locked in a mental vault.
Shadow of a Dead Star fits this bill to the core. In this thrilling and captivating novel, Michael Shean creates a dystopic and post-apocalyptic vision of the world where libertarianism has been taken to the extreme, where biological implants are the norm and society is dominated by the idea of consumerism and commercialisation. It's a world we all know and have seen before but the messages that Shean brings across in this novel haunt us.
The opening chapters of the novel introduces us to Thomas Walken, a federal agent in the Investigative Security Bureau, a division of the police force that explores and protects people from contraband and illicit technology. Like many science-fiction novels, the protagonist is "different" from his fellow men. He sees the world differently. He refuses to accept the changes to society, remaining distinctly natural in a world where the unnatural is the accepted - sexual fetishes involving mascot heads, nerve implants that blur the line between pain and pleasure, recreational drugs in excess. It's a world that, for some, is perfection but this isn't what makes this novel distinct from other science-fiction or dystopic works. H.G. Wells did it in A Sleeper Awakes, Aldous Huxley in Brave New World, George Orwell in 1984.
What makes this novel distinct is how vivid and graphic this world is. Shean portrays a world that is shockingly brutal and Walken is in the centre of this brutality. In Shadow of a Dead Star, Walken faces another attempt to bring contraband technology known as "Princess Dolls" into Seattle which are bio-implanted robots that were once small girls. For the ultra-rich, they are presents for their children. For sexual deviants, they are paedophilic toys to be abused and enjoyed. When Walken gets involved in this case, he soon discovers that these Princess Dolls are different and, as he becomes more involved in the case, it becomes a twisted and decadent example of how people will do anything to achieve their interests.
Shean, like most other science-fiction writers, has created a world that is bordering on the apocalyptic and, in doing so, is drawing parallels to the current. Shean is engaging in a social commentary about technology and its advances, whether consciously or not. What's more, the novel reeks of an author's political views engaging in the novel - socialism versus consumerism and libertarianism. That's not something unusual in science-fiction but it soon becomes frustrating. At every turn, Walken seems to be the voice of socialism in a world where local government has been replaced with corporate business, where policing has been sub-contracted to private security firms.
Fans of Iain M. Banks and his Culture novels will find the voices similar. The truth of the matter is that, even despite the political under-tones, it's a powerful and brilliant novel. It revels in the glorification of sexual fetish, the dystopian being utopian to some. Michael Shean is a promising writer who could very well be a future star in the science-fiction genre if he continues in this line of writing. An excellent debut novel with technological fetishism and sexualisation as its forefront - too graphic for some, delightful for others, a thrilling read for all.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cyber noir stunner.,
This review is from: Shadow of a Dead Star (Wonderland Cycle) (Paperback)Shadow of a Dead Star is the first book in his Wonderland cycle, in a genre I can only describe as cyberpunk sci-fi noir.
Set in Seattle in 2078, Shadow of a Dead Star follows Industrial Security Bureau agent Thomas Walken. Walken is the grizzled, cynical hero who fights to keep black-market technology from making its way into the mainstream. When he intercepts a smuggled shipment of little girls hardwired as sex toys, he finds himself tumbling down the rabbit hole into a nightmarish world of synthetic humans, hard-talking hackers and the kind of technology you thought only existed in Blade Runner.
Surrounded by conspiracies and caught on the run between three sectors of Seattle, each as brutal as the other but in completely different ways, Walken's resolve, abilities and strength are severely tested. He's not entirely on his own as his world crumbles around him - fate sends him Bobbi, a sparky young hacker with a sharp tongue and impressive tech skills. Question is, can Walken and Bobbi get to the bottom of the madness before a termination order is put on the Agent?
Science fiction is a genre I enjoy watching at the cinema but it's not usually a genre that I'd read. Luckily for me, Shadow of a Dead Star reads more like a gritty noir that just happens to feature cool technology and sci-fi ideas. It's testament to Shean's skill that everything seems completely plausible - and that I stayed up way too late to finish it, deciding I couldn't possibly put it down and pick it up the following day. It's an engaging read, full of complex characters, and bursting with invention. Whether you like sci fi, noir or cyberpunk, I'd highly recommend it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Vivid and consuming - a brilliantly crafted story.,
This review is from: Shadow of a Dead Star (Wonderland Cycle) (Kindle Edition)I reserve 5* reviews for the truly exceptional, for the tales that invade my mind and take hold of me completely. 'Shadow of a Dead Star' is most certainly one of those.
It genuinely is like nothing I have read before. The imagery is vivid and consuming, and both the characters and the locations of this world of the future have been carefully created and sketched out with care and depth, providing an excellent backdrop to the tale that is woven through it.
I love the amount of thought that has clearly gone into imagining this new world, and as for the main character, Walken? He's muscular, brooding AND he loves Coleridge; how can you not root for him and read on with increasing anxiety as to what his fate will be?
'Shadow of a Dead Star' is a superbly woven tale that will keep you guessing right to the bitter, brilliant end. The sequel cannot come soon enough.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't think cyberpunk...think cybernoir,
This review is from: Shadow of a Dead Star (Wonderland Cycle) (Kindle Edition)This is a book that surprised me at every turn.
It starts in what seems like a familiar high tech future, but the tone and style immediately marks it apart from other works in the genre almost from the first page.
As I said in my title theres a lot more noire then punk in the cyber and the take is fresh and interesting.
More importantly the central character is incredably well realised and detailed - a living breathing person that you come to strongly root for in the course of the narative.
And what a narrative - as intricate as it is gripping, with a denouement that I would not *think* of spoiling.
Fast paced, clever, endlessly imaginative and fresh.
Suffice to say I can't wait for the next book!
Go - buy!
Most Helpful First | Newest First
Shadow of a Dead Star: Book One of the Wonderland Cycle by Michael Shean