1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A size twelve plot in a glass slipper of a book,
This review is from: The Mongoliad (The Mongoliad Cycle, Book 1) (Paperback)
As a Neal Stephenson fan and general sci-fi nerd, I was very interested to see what a collaboration between such luminaries as NS and Greg Bear (among others) would produce. I came away rather disappointed. For a start, in my innocence I was expecting a tome to rival the usual Stephenson doorstoppers - but 'The Mongoliad Book One' is of only average size for a novel. Unfortunately, though, the plot doesn't seem to have been trimmed to the size of the book, which results in a frustratingly abrupt cliffhanger ending. And the same ... lack of fit, I suppose... is evident in the book's internal structure - except here I found the opposite problem, in that the chapters were too self contained, so that the book itself felt like a collection of episodes.
There are things I enjoyed, though. I found the background to be carefully filled out and very atmospheric, and the descriptions of combat and (especially) tactics have been lovingly crafted. And the characters are perfectly likeable, although there is a touch (just a touch, mind you) too much narrative omnniscience for my liking. But I just keep coming back to the lumpen structure of the thing. As you read, it seems like a minor climax is being built up to, which would have made a fine ending for a first volume - but then even that is left hanging! Why? Why?
This book does not stand alone, but requires further purchases unless you are happy abandoning the quest on the backswing of a sword. Which I, frankly, just might. I was left with the feeling that what I held in my hands was a fraction of a book. Maybe I will wait until they publish the whole story in one volume - at the moment, too much of the plot has been chopped off to make it fit into this slender volume for this to be a satisfying read.