on 14 June 2008
Modesitt has a real capacity for profound writing, but I find I prefer his purer sci-fi books as opposed to his fantasy as the style suits him far more. Other books by him (his recluse books) I haven't been completely sold on because although like this there are strong undercurrents they feel vaguely flat.
I really enjoyed this though; the narrative is complex but not unnecessarily so as it follows Blaine Donne, a retired military special operative now devoted to solving problems for hire. He takes on seemingly unrelated cases but these soon begin to collide in a fascinating way, that doesn't become clear till the end, in fact there were moments that I really couldn't guess at what would happen. Although Donne is a solid if unmoving lead I did at times have problems with his narrative, particularly in the beginning when I actually became confused as to who was narrating, as Donne's adversary is given a few chapters, this isn't made clear but then again this seems to be the point, as an aspect of the book is the two characters duality.
The sci-fi world created is very good, really interesting and the detective elements are effective and entertaining, making it very atmospheric, the book has a sort of ease to it, although you can get a bit tangled in Modesitt's writing. Modesitt often employs strong religious and spiritual undercurrents and this is no different, in this he uses really quite ingenious quotes and headings that enforce and further his arguments into human nature, industrialism, self, technology, the crux of which seems to be an exploration into a persons drive to obtain their own kind of utopia, no matter the costs to humanity.
I definitely recommend this, Modesitt can sometimes bore and preach but this has the right mix of reflection, quirky observations, profound musings and successfully employed sci-fi elements.
on 20 March 2008
I really do not know this author, but I found this book entertaining. It was a little like Jack Macdevitt in that the culture felt part of a coherent whole which did not require explanation to the reader. The story is a fairly typical SF private eye theme. However the author recognised that real PIs don't just have one case, else they would never pay the rent, so he has set up arcing stories. My only issue, and it is a small one, was that the sentences sometimes felt poorly constructed and it interupted the flow of the narrative. On the whole a fun book