This is a fun hard sci-fi story that is also an excellent crime novel. Yes, I admit that I am a fan of sci-fi/fantasy crossover crime stories. A sucker some might say. But this story offers way more than the usual fare. I really was sorry to come to the end of the story.
The Prefect presents plenty of terrific sci-fi society and sci-fi justice ideas, along with plot twists and cliff-hangers. Instead of a private eye, Reynolds presents a futuristic police procedural. The story isn't set on Earth but in a loose alliance of space habitats called the Glitter Belt.
Still, the main character is hard boiled and his backstory is revealed over the course of the novel. Artificial intelligences bad.
Narrator John Lee may be an acquired taste to some, bringing an astonishing range of British and European accents. The Glitter Belt in the far far future isn't speaking with an American accent.
I had some serious issues with the first volume in this series, Diving into the Wreck. I am happy to report that this book is worth reading. The story line of a space vessel lost in in time is interesting and there's plenty of suspense and action. But even better, now we have a second viewpoint from another character, which is done in the third person.
As I said in my previous review, I find the first-person narration for the major character off-putting -- it's difficult to write in this mode successfully. The entire first book was done in first person, and I'm sorry to report that it's still not effective here in the second volume. But now, we have another viewpoint, so the book was saved for me.
Like many classic science fiction tales, this book ended in a rush. I wanted more, which perhaps is a good sign.
I am a very big fan of K.K. Rusch's scifi detective series The Retrieval Artist, so I looked forward to her new work. Sadly, I must report that Diving into the Wreck was an unhappy start to a new series.
Other reviewers say they were able to overlook the first-person narrative style. I could not. First, the style made it almost impossible to create a rich, fictional world. This was very unsatisfying, especially for speculative fiction.
Second, the main character is uninteresting. She's confused about things that don't seem to be confusing. She is supposed to be a smart person but she's blocked and shut down (yes, I know that's part of the story but it didn't work for me). She is angry about things but unaware.
I found that I just couldn't care about her. Another big problem.
Now, the book offers many details about diving into space ships, which I gather are taken from experience from real-world dives. It just wasn't enough to hold me for a novel.
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