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Starts well, ends not so...
on 20 October 2015
This is definitely a book of two halves. It starts off really well. We are introduced to the two main characters as young children, and the way that their two incredibly different worlds are brought together is very cleverly crafted. The translator who transcribed this from German has done an amazing job, you would never realise when reading that this was written in a foreign language. The suspense around Hiroshi's idea and Charlotte's gift is very well done, and you just have to keep reading to find out what his idea will be, and what she is going to discover using her power.
But then everything seems to go completely crazy. That "crazy" there really needs a powerful expletive in front of it, but this would never get past the censors if I included it. The story just goes haywire, and it seemed to me as though the book from this point on (and if you have read the book, it is very obvious which point I am on about) was written by an entirely different person. All the subtle plot lines from the first half are just tossed aside and barely referred to again, especially Charlotte's power to discern the history of objects just from touching them. It is merely referred to again in passing at the end, as a very unconvincing attempt to explain where Hiroshi's instant and miraculous understanding of the nanites and his ability to communicate with them and control them came from. I really thought that the explanation was going to be that someone had stolen Hiroshi's ideas and taken them to the next level, so that he was dealing with what was effectively his own invention. That would have been a good espionage/thriller take on things, rather than what we ended up with, which I thought was all rather limp.
A nice idea, but overall the end result is a bit unsatisfactory.