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Customer Review

on 18 May 1999
The book starts out strong, with an intriguing series of puzzles about missing memories and a tense, fast-paced plot--which makes the book's second- and third-act fizzles all the more disappointing. Barnes is at his best in this book setting the scene; worthy of note are his descriptions and characterizations of the artifical-intelligence-controlled vehicles. However, the effective characterization ends there. One progresses through the book without meeting a fully developed or even terribly interesting human or seeming-human character; most of the weak stabs at characterization come in descriptions of personality quirks (Ipwhin's fidgeting) or in cliched, simplistic, and occasionally borderline-offensive terms (Ipwhin's characterization of Billie Beard, herself a one-dimensional stereotype). The book bogs down in the middle with excessive dialogue and theory, which become almost irrelevant--why did I have to know this again?--by the time the final "quest" sequence rolls around. Action yields to incomprehensibility and deflation as the book falls apart in an "I give up" ending. Unanswered questions (e.g., How did all those apparently critical people end up in the same chat room for years? Why are certain members of the team even there?) are balanced out by unneeded information (all the details about the Reichs lead to nothing, for example). All in all, a good idea gone awry.
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Product Details

2.6 out of 5 stars