The good: * Excellent opening, chapters, starting at a californian rave and spreading across the planet. * Fresh idea of post-human intelligen..Show More »ce; The Silicon valley trans-humanists übermenschen are dismissed in a single line in favour of more subtle, collective models of mind enhancing technology * some fun parallels between various religions and various approaches to posthuman intelligence (theravada buddhism and christianity mostly) * very contemporary flavour of technological speculation; more or less, some ravers port linux to run on brains, and consequences ensue when wider society gains interest in the diabolical applications of the technology. Absolute candy for today's crypto-nerds.
The bad: * characters feel a little flat. The cast might be laudably multinational, but most characters substitute an ethnicity for a personality: Japanese sensei skimming stones while talking in metaphors... Loyal magical negro who would sacrifice everything to help the white protagonist... revolutionary Russian immigrant who write political tracts about how american security obsession is eroding liberty. etc. The privileged white male protagonist is a little too bland to be relatable; the female secret agent is a little better, but the childhood trauma reliving scene (won't say any more to avoid spoilers) was a little forced and clean-cut to keep me convinced * very filmic violence; Every time someone falls over, their gun lands just out of reach and there is always time to step on their hand before they reach it, and so on. Plot would be improved if every character in this book invested in some velcro straps. * plot is rip-roaring but not satisfying; while the philosophical themes the author starts with are hella fun and could really go somewhere wild, most of the action thereafter is driven by the more traditional plot mechanics of a covert military team doing covert military things with lots of filmic violence
Overall I enjoyed this book, but found the earnestness and unidimensionality of the characters a bit of a drag, and the plot was gripping enough, but without doing the subject matter justice.
This feels like a first novel. I'm excited by a lot of the world the author has built, and the author is presumably still honing his craft; interested to see where he is going with his career.
p.s. the reader was enthusiastic but *ooh*, some of those accents were a little awkward.
I enjoyed the first book. Nexus was Naam's first novel, so there was an energy there and I liked it. This book just turned me off. Overwritten, seemed..Show More » a bit rushed (on the editing) and just kind of beat you over the head. I couldn't finish it and will return this if I can.
The performance of Mikael Naramore is a bit over the top too. The screams...ohh, the screams.
The story was the best thing about this book, Naam is an excellent writer and I've been waiting anxiously for the release of this book only to have my..Show More » ears violated by Stephanie Canon's racist and offensive portrayals of some of my favorite characters in literature.