4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating idea let down by poor characterization,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Rollback (Mass Market Paperback)
This novel has a fascinating idea at its core: the possibility of turning back a body clock and restoring someone to physical youth (age 25) while retaining their psychological age (age 87).
Unfortunately, I found Sawyer's exploration of this idea two-dimensional and unconvincing, mainly because of the lack of character depth or psychological realism. The characters behaved in bizarre ways without any explanation and their behaviour was often contradictory. A lack of psychological realism is always annoying but it was a major shortcoming for this book because it became impossible to explore the underlying conflict between physical and mental age in any convincing or meaningful way.
The other annoying thing about the book was the really unpleasant way in which the main character acted. This is fine in some cases - I certainly do not need a perfect protagonist to enjoy a book. However, if an author chooses a main character whose morally dubious actions make him difficult to empathise with then surely the interest lies in exploring the impact of those actions on others? Instead it feels as though Sawyer simply glosses over the moral issue by giving his main character a "get-out-of-jail-free card" through a cheap and uncovincing plot device (in chapter 33 for anyone interested).
That said, this book was a real page-turner. It had a gripping plot and touched on some fascinating ideas and good philosophical discussions. The three-star rating is perhaps unfair, as it is based on other Sawyer novels, deserving of four or five stars, rather than books I have read in general (although characterization is never his strongest point). I was certainly never bored but I did come away irritated and feeling as though so much more could have been done with what was fundamentally a great idea.