Engaging story, but the author/editor made no effort to complete the story in this book. I assumed there must be a piece missing from my download, but it turns out that one has to buy another book to find out how this mystery is resolved. You'll probably be happier if you purchase it with this understanding.
I stuck with it to the end, so the plot was adequately engaging. And I liked the world travel. But it's the first and last book I'm reading by this author. If the story is supposed to reflect the thoughts or conduct of intelligence operatives, then I'd worry about the intelligence of the people involved. For example, undetected in a detention facility, Our Hero the agent overhears one guard saying to another, "If there are any requests, the answer is no." Our Hero thinks this might mean that the guards are going to see a prisoner, but he pauses to acknowledge that the evidence isn't conclusive. I thought, "How does he make it through a typical day, if he needs more conclusive proof of the obvious?"
The book felt like a Young Adult novel, where a young man repeatedly insists that he is not a boy anymore, and demands the respect of his mentor. It also shared a YA approach to emotion -- if your buddy is killed in action, then you're allowed to have big feelings, but mostly just focus on your Very Important duty.
If we accept a world where supposedly noble people kill without even asking why, then I guess morality is out the window. And if we venerate a world where people suppress emotions, then I suppose they'll stop to have silly conversations about whether someone was an ex-girlfriend, when regular people would be focused on avoiding death or capture.
Possible-spoiler alert: I can't figure out why we should respect protagonists who express no awareness of the idea of human rights, but who then become shocked at the violation of an American's rights. Perhaps in their world, doing the same acts to a non-American would have been fine. Ugh. Finally, the bad guys don't get as much come-uppance as I like for vengeance fantasy.
It's great that other readers really get into this series. I just don't enjoy feeling smarter than "expert" characters.
I think this book could come with a cautionary label: Song of Time is a primarily dystopian look at the world of the near future, told from the vantage point of a terminally ill person.
And it could have a suggested prerequisites list: Readers who understand musicians' dedication will be at an advantage.
That way, I could choose a time when I felt too cheerful, and enjoy the lovely but bleak story.
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