An Amazing Character, Caught Up In A Decent Plot,
This review is from: Equations Of Life: Metrozone Book 1 (Samuil Petrovitch Novels) (Paperback)
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`Equations of Life' tells of a post-apocalypse city where gangsterism is altogether more prominent, technology a bit more advanced and the nuns a whole lot nastier. Simon Morden will grab you by the hand and drag you speeding through the metrozone, introducing a whole cast of vile individuals to captivate your attention. A sci-fi thriller isn't my usual reading fare, but Morden's world is one that I enjoyed experiencing and have been left wishing to explore further.
But the real strength of Morden's work isn't the plot, or the pacing, or the writing style, all of which are great, but nothing overly remarkable. The real reason I want to keep coming back is the title's lead character: Samuil Petrovitch. An antihero in a world of antiheros, Petrovitch is arrogant, rude and brash, but that's why you'll love to read him. Not so much an antihero as an a***hole, Petrovitch always has a quick comeback or putdown, even with the muzzle of a gun stuck in his face. OK, so there are other literary characters like this, and Morden does fall into some clichés ( a shady backstory, reinventing oneself) but there is more than enough original, enjoyable reading to overpower them.
In fact, Morden has created a whole cast of supremely interesting characters. Without a doubt, Petrovitch isn't a fluke - just about every character in the book is compelling to read. Lazy police officers, violent nuns and deranged mob bosses dot the pages, providing great fodder for Petrovitch's scathing wit, but also adding immensely to a plot that really does tie the main cast together as the finale approaches.
As with all science fiction, certain leaps of faith and suspensions of disbelief must be adhered to, and I will be the first to tell you that this isn't my strong point. However, save for a few instances, I found that I wasn't picking holes in the, on reflection, rather outlandish plot; not because I was ignoring them, but because Morden writes in such a way as to make most nearly anything perfectly believable. This is a great feat considering the setting of the novel: London with more than a touch of the futuristic slum about it.
In closing, I really cannot express the virtues of Morden's book enough. A great plot, rushing along at a speedy pace, couples with one of my favourite literary characters in a long while to produce a fast-paced, hard-hitting thrillride through the post-apocalyptic haven that is the metropolis. And I do use the term haven very loosely. I'll certainly be buying the sequels in the near future, and I'm sure if you give Morden's thrilling study of humanity a chance, then I'm sure you will be doing the same. A four stars well and truly deserved.