16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Asher's universe continues to mesmerize, but...,
This review is from: The Line of Polity (Paperback)
Asher's latest is a sequel to "Gridlinked" and has all the good and the bad qualities of the latter. It is an action-packed space opera romp. Asher excells at painting alien ecologies with horrifying creatures and never lets the pace of his novel slump below maximum overdrive. However, this manic pace does not do much good to the fleshing out of his main characters (Gant, Cormac, Thorn and Stanton) who are disturbingly similar (tougher-than-thou humans or post-humans, all excelling at various skills of war)and cardboardy shallow. This similarity amongst the main characters is so striking that it becomes confusing : keeping track of who did exactly what in the course of the story got me in trouble several times - but hey, I have never been any good at remembering names. Tough luck : Asher continues to bombard you with new names - and sometimes rather superfluous subplots - all through the novel. The fact that I read "Gridlinked" two years ago - it beats me why Asher first published "The Skinner", before coming up with this sequel - was not very helpful either : in order to enjoy this one you 'd better reread "Gridlinked", as the author often refers to events in that novel, without too much elaboration, so you are expected to have those events very fresh in your memory. I did not. The structure of the story, with its many intertwining subplots, rather lengthy description of war events on the planet Masada and then its pretty abrupt ending (a criticism that was also valid for "Gridlinked"), could have been better.
I don't want to be too harsh. Asher's imaginative universe is well worth exploring, his style is very entertaining and I'll keep buying whatever he hammers out. Of the three novels mentioned here, I personally enjoyed his second,"The Skinner", best. A fact that got my hopes for this one maybe a bit too high up.