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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars

on 14 April 2014
Something deadly moves in the heart
High stakes adventure isn’t even half of what you’ll get in Be My Enemy, the sequel to Planesrunner. These characters and storyline continue to amaze me with how inventive they manage to be. Some of you might have seen it coming because yes, we are immediately introduced to an alter Everett at the start of this book. He will play a pivotal role in the fate of Everett’s future as well as possibly everyone in the known worlds. But something has twisted in his heart, he hasn’t lived the same life Everett has and while he might think like him, he most certainly isn’t acting or feeling like him.

Meanwhile fade to white
In a frozen wasteland world, time is running out and something lurks beneath the ice…Everett is still in possession of the Infundibulum but can he hold onto it?

Everett and the crew of the Everness are marooned on this frozen alternate version of Earth, with power running out and everything on the ship quickly freezing. Soon they are chased even here and must travel to where no one would dare follow – to the off-limits Earth1 (E1). When they arrive at their destination they are in for a surprise. This world is home to an almost unimaginable horror: Sentient nanotechnology that has made themselves the ruling force in that world, bent on consuming the whole of humanity.

Exploring the reality of alternates
In the first book the alternate Earths is given prime focus but in book two while we still have that focus we also see the possibilities of alternate individuals. Along with Everett’s alter we see two members of the order, the devious Charlotte and her alter Charles, who are members of The Order that’s been chasing the Everness. Not to mention Everett’s alter family members. It was such a neat way to explore how different circumstances and experiences could change the very nature of a person.

The relationship dynamics between the crew of the Everness please me in how well thought out and slowly building they are. There is a marvelous chemistry between Everett and Sen that feels so natural and real that that I can safely say they are currently one of my favorite young adult pairs that I have read in the last few years. Sen is snappy and Everett is the calm collected type. Together they make quite the team.

While this series features young adult characters to me it is by no means the typical young adult books. Where many other books are light and fluffy reads that you can breeze through without it asking much from you as a reader – the Everness books tempt you into deeper thought and reflection. Those other books are but a snack – but these, these are the meal.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 17 March 2014
By coincidence I read two novels concurrently that contained reference/homage to Hugh Everett and his many worlds theory (to be fair I knew one of them did, as it's a sequel, but the other was a complete surprise.) One was literary fiction, slow, nuanced and dull. The other, YA science fiction, was bold, brash and bloody brilliant. Be My Enemy is a direct follow on from Planesrunner, and is book 2 in the Everness series. If you haven't read book 1, then look away now.

The plot picks up immediately from where Planesrunner ended. Everett Singh and the crew of the Everness have just jumped away from the evil Charlotte Villiers and are hoping to make their escape. Everett's father is still missing, jettisoned into the multiverse; victim of Villiers' machinations in book 1.

Before the crew of the Everness can even draw breath the army of the Panoply are on to them. Jumping between planes leaves a signal that can be traced. It's a bit like your internet history. This is one of those convenient Sci-Fi devices, that I'm not really sure how it works (quantum entanglement?), but it keeps the the book moving along, so I don't worry too much. Its purpose is to ensure the antagonists can keep chasing the heroes.

Backed into a corner, Everett does what he's best at. Thinking the unthinkable and realising the impossible. In this case it's jumping the Everness to the quarantined and fabled disaster zone E1. It's the deep dark woods of Everett's universe(s) and you enter at your peril.

It's here that the novel really takes off. A lot second novels are inferior to the opening volume because the best ideas have been used up. Once the central premise has been set, the story continues within its parameters. With Be Me Enemy McDonald not only picks up his central idea and runs with it, he uses it to make balloon animals, a water park and a Scooby Doo sandwich.

Earth 1 is a terrible place. To say much more would spoil the surprise, but it's a nightmare vision of science over-extending itself. This is another tightly plotted adventure story, exciting and innovative from start to finish. Be My Enemy sees the crew of the Everness grow, both as a band of brothers and individuals. The novels denouement has one of the most innovative uses of invented technology I can remember reading. It's one of McDonald's best traits as a writer, his confections are not just original, they are employed in ways you can never see coming. (It's like Chekov's gun only where you thought the gun was something else altogether).

What struck me about these books as I read them, is that since there are three novels currently published (Empress of the Sun is currently burning a hole in my bookshelf), I had sort of assumed this would be a trilogy. Perhaps it is, but with 1080 Earths at his disposal, McDonald can make literally anything happen (book 3 has highly evolved dinosaurs by the looks of things). Whilst the overreaching story arc is tracking down Everett's father, McDonald has essentially created himself a Quantum Leap scenario. As long as he can think of settings and stories, Everett can keep on searching for the way home. On the strength of the first two books this is a series I would happily see run and run.
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on 17 March 2014
The characters are compelling and convincing - as are the Londons! William Gibson has said that all science fiction/future culture writers 'speak from their time'. This is true for the best of them, including Gibson himself, Ian M Banks (sad sad loss) and their predecessors back to HG Wells and before that. But Ian McDonald's people in this series as so real, so of their culture whether heroes or villains in this truly ripping yarn. As with his deeper and wider works (River of Gods was the first I read and it sent me off to read every other one I could get my hands on), the story as it unfolds evidences his considerable knowledge of essentials, informed by serious and relevant research. Power to this man's elbows!
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VINE VOICEon 24 June 2013
Ian McDonald is one of those authors who knows how to weave a story that not only brings you in but keeps you glued to the last page with top notch prose, some wonderful twists and of course characters that you just can't wait to spend time around.

Here within the second book of his Everness series is a story that develops not only what has gone before but helps to bridge the alternate universes with a hidden puzzle within the multiverse that really is as cunning as it is brilliant. Add to this great pace and all round it goes to show why Ian is a name not to mess with. Satisfying and fulfilling, Ian really delivers for the reader in a way that many others don't. Great stuff.
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on 17 March 2015
I can't say I've enjoyed Be My Enemy as much as Planesrunner, but it had some pretty awesome moments (the destruction of Nahn - one of them). Sen as always is pretty charming, and I adore the whole mad crew of Everness, but I wasn't keen on Everett M's side of story and the plot development was not as exciting as in book #1. However, the ending opens a lot of scary possibilities, and I can't wait to see what happens next.
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on 27 November 2012
I just finished PlanesRunner and couldn't jump on Be My Enemy fast enough. And I was so glad I did--I couldn't put it down! I didn't think it was possible, but the villains got fiercer, the chase got more intense, and the adventures were explosive. I wish it were a movie, though I'd have to watch the whole thing through my fingers. I can't wait for Book Three to come out, especially given the way Be My Enemy ended!
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on 19 June 2013
page turner of a book. It will make a great film with some awesome charaters. Maybe too many close escapes, but good plot. I am looking forward to book3.
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on 28 April 2014
Enjoying the series ... but I thought it was a trilogy, so now I've got to wait for the fourth book :-(
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on 7 May 2015
Wonderful stuff and a wonderful series. I can't wait for the next "instalment"............
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