Top positive review
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Startlingly original and thought provoking
on 3 March 2011
When I first read the plot description for this book, I was immediately interested, but wondered if such an idea would actually be a main theme in the story, or just a sideline to make for an interesting tagline. I was pleasantly surprised, in that the whole 'my father is a mountain, my mother a washing machine, etc' theme is in fact a central tenet of the storyline. Wacky? Definitely. But for those who would immediately consign the idea to the bin for the sheer ludicrousness of it, I ask you this - is it any more impossible than elves, or wizards, or people with wings? For me, this book challenged my preconceptions of Fantasy/SF, in that I didn't realise how 'normalised' or narrow the genre really has become. Doctorow has thrown this bizarre premise into the mix, and I think it works well.
One of the most original things I have read in a long time, and it gets 5 stars for that alone. The writing is fairly consistent, and to a good standard, although I do agree that some of the main characters lack detail. It's a quick read, and I enjoyed it more for its originality than for any sense of epic, thrill or adventure. I would (and do) recommend this to any SF/Fantasy reader who feels bored or jaded by a supposedly avante-garde genre that has failed to innovate for a very long time.