Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
Not a masterwork but still worth reading
on 4 March 2015
I liked this book and am glad I read it, but I can see why some people hate it - it is a bit of a curate's egg. It reminds me most of Ken MacLeod's works like The Star Fraction, being an exploration of alternative political systems in the future of the solar system where the author's sympathies clearly lie with the left-wing (in this case anarchists). In this future at least one planet-spanning empire has risen and fallen since our time, which provides a nice sense of historical depth.
The core of the book is the contrast between political systems at a time of crisis, how they impinge upon the central character, and the extent to which she can work within them or has to adapt to them. It is about power, both personal and institutional, and the interrelationship between them.
On the negative side, I agreed with another reviewer that you never find out much about what drives the central character - she is a bit of a clothes-horse on which to hang the plot. The descriptions of future technology have dated badly and are not convincing. And yes it is too long and the ending is a bit flat.
But I am still thinking about it a month after reading it, and that to me is the mark of a good sci-fi work.