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on 6 July 2014
This book puts you through the mill of phsyco-metaphorical future-speak, but the reveals towards the end make the effort worthwhile!
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on 7 November 2014
I really enjoyed this book, I am completely hooked and can't wait for number 3. Such an inventive story is a breath of fresh air.
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on 13 December 2013
I bought this for my son as he had read the authors first book and lived it. He was not disappointed with this one either
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on 4 December 2012
I loved this book, but it's not for the faint hearted. Rajaniemi eschews any exposition, which I like because it always feels jarring to me when sci-fi characters stop to explain to each other how something they use every day works.

I think that works: on the surface the dense sci-fi terms read like magic, especially for the humans still on Earth, but then you read up on it and gain an additional layer to the story. For instance to the humans there's a kind of spirit world, but to the post-humans it's a broken augmented reality environment full of damaged copies of dead human minds.

It's also a worst case scenario for a singularity gone very wrong - instead of a digital upload utopia a few minds (founders) retain all the control, with most of the uploaded reduced to Gogols (an enslaved copy of a mind). I like that slightly dark, cynical view.

The story is told with many nested stories, and those are themselves part of the plot. That adds to the slightly mystical tone to the book, but also adds to the confusion. This is definitely a book I'll read again, probably after re-reading The Quantum Thief and before Rajaniemi publishes the next one.
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on 5 November 2012
Like the first in the series this should be read in conjunction with the explanatory Wiki article. You won't be much wiser, but it might help.The thing is to treat it like pure entertainment, and just blow through it, enjoying all the phantasmagorical happenings as you go.Don't try too make too much sense of it for the first couple of attempts, as everything is as mutable as in a dream.Things are changing constantly, not just in a wheels within wheels way, but in a nested box fashion, sort of Sheherazade meets the Neuromancer kind of effort.Is this author the new star on the scene,or is it all just a big lump of over-hyped techno-candyfloss? Is this style of "new physics" based fiction the shape of things to come? Well yes, S.F's not all Halo and shoot 'em ups, but I've seen it done better elsewhere with the gibberish and technobabble a bit more amenable to willing suspension of disbelief.Was I entertained? yes,and this is a keeper that I'll hopefully continue to return to for some time.
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on 15 September 2014
This instalment is not a patch on the 1st part of the trilogy, the story is falling apart.
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on 11 October 2012
This was one of those books I bought automatically- the 1st book was one of those you either loved or hated, and if you loved it, there was no way you wouldn't buy the sequel. This is important- if you didn't absolutely love the 1st book, don't even think of buying this,

If you read the Quantum thief, you will know exactly what to expect- the author will throw up strange words and not explain them till much later in the book. And you just know you will have to read the book a 2nd or 3rd time to understand it.

This time, the story shifts to Earth. While Mars was based on Greek concepts, Earth is Arab. There are jinns and ghouls in the dessert- disembodied programs that take over human minds and send them into infinite loops. There is an ancient technology, almost like magic, which makes the people of Earth control these beings, using secret names. The ancient humans had gone into the dessert (like the old prophets) and tamed the spirits.

The Sobornost has been trying to invade Earth for many years, but is stopped by wildcode, which corrupts their programs and gives them a horrible death. Only the local people know how to survive this code, and they trade with Sobornost under their own terms. But the Sobornost had decided to invade Earth anyway, and a battle of wits start. Meanwhile, we find the Sobornost founders are fighting a political civil war of their own.

In this mess drops Jean de Flembeur, and goes straight to trouble.

I found the ending a bit weird. I'm not sure I understand what happened. Last time, I had wikipedia to fill the holes in my knowledge, but this time I bought the book as soon as it came out, so I have nothing. But I won't take any stars off, though, hoping that a 2nd reading will fill any gaps.

Strongly recommended
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on 3 November 2012
I expected great things after Hannu's debut novel. In fact, I ordered in advance! But I found to my dismay that Hannu appears to have allowed himself to write a follow up that is rather too pleased with its cleverness and intricacies. What you end up with is a fragmented, laborious plod as the reader struggles to navigate Hannu's complex narrative and fantasy features. More fantasy than science, this SF book grinds you through the quantum complex plot to the point where you just wish it would lay off the smartness and just deliver a ripping good yarn.
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on 8 November 2014
A great read, follows on in the same crisp style as the previous work.
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on 23 November 2012
I recall an author talking about carrying readers along, and that there should not be anything which derails the reader from the story. An example, he said, was using uncommon words where simpler ones would suffice. No matter how accurate or apt the word, it ejects the reader from the narrative. The Fractal Prince kept on ejecting me at every paragraph. Unfamiliar terms and words were used in such a way that their meaning could not be deduced by context or were defined by other odd terms. I really cannot comment n the plot because it was indecipherable and was not coming any clearer with perseverance. A real shame, and a loss as a follow up to The Quantum Thief.
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