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4.0 out of 5 starsGreat compilation
Reviewed in the United States on February 11, 2018
These are my favorite Anthony Ryan stories, well besides Blood Song. The rest of his books mostly after Tower Lord and the new series, are a bit overdone with way to many "main" characters. This compilation is a dark trip to the future. Kind of a blade runner meets in the heart of darkness and have a tripped out little kid. Hope you enjoy it as much as have.
This book reminded me how much I enjoy Ryan’s writing. He can pull out emotions with just a few words.
The basic plot follows Alex McLeod—Demon in the Police Department, badass detective, and hero in the last war—as he solves some gruesome murders. Ryan blends these stories together in a concise, well thought out plot. I found it quite addicting.
First off, I have a hard time with sci-fi. The first three stories in this book made me forget I was reading sci-fi. Don’t get me wrong; the world is incredibly developed but in such a way that I understood. Even better was that Ryan conveyed his ideas without a single info dump. We jumped right into action and were given terms with the perfect amount of context or simple explanation so we understood what was happening. However, I must admit I lost a bit of my footing in the last two stories.
What I mean was that the world of Alex McLeod was set in the Slab and we stayed there for those first three stories. I don’t know what the right term is, but the cover has a picture of it—a world in space, a space station … I don’t know. Ryan provides this in his book blurb: WELCOME TO THE SLAB. A vast orbiting slum where rats grow big, sweat falls in rain and the gene-spliced come in all shapes and sizes. The gene-spliced were fascinating and explained brilliantly. Totally got it. Then in the last two books we left the Slab and I never felt grounded again. This is my fault. I just can’t make my mind grasp certain concepts and imagery. Regardless, I was in love with the characters and storyline, and even though I was floating about a bit I was still thoroughly entertained.
But of course with me it all comes down to those characters, and boy did I love them. All of them. It’s told in first person so obviously I’m going to connect more with Alex, but the other characters added depth to Alex and the story. Especially Joe. Alex is ex-military turned Demon, which equates to a badass. He’s not shy to pull the trigger on the bad guys, but he’s good at heart. A protagonist you really root for. He’s flawed and slowly over the story we see him grow from the dark spot we start from. Ryan’s ability to draw emotion form a few short words is amazing. Despite Alex’s badassness, he has the right amount of humanity that really pulled the heart strings.
The pacing is relentless. Every single scene has a point and it moved damn fast. I. Loved. It! It’s hard to put down. There’s a tone to Ryan’s writing that I enjoy immensely, a rhythm, if you will.
So overall, if you love sci-fi or are looking to dip a toe in the genre, I highly recommend this book. If you’re unsure, you can still buy the individual stories and test the waters.
Reviewed in the United States on February 20, 2016
I love Anthony Ryan...needed something new of his to read. I'd seen these on Amazon, and then when they were all in the same book, made it hard to resist. The stories are good, engrossing, entertaining....and have Anthony Ryan's excellent story telling.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 19, 2018
I absolutely loved this series of all 5 Slab stories and I wish he would write many more . . . think a touch of Neuromancer [Gibson], quite a lot of Stainless Steel Rat [Harrison], perhaps a smidgen of Culture [Banks] etc. etc. a bit of a roller-coaster ride, fast paced . . . as you can tell I loved them,, perhaps you will too
I read the Raven seris and thought it was brilliant,so downloaded this on the strength of Anthony Ryan's other work. This could not be more different,pure sci fi, but totally excellant. I really enjoyed it,the chapters are each a separate story but the characters build through it and a thread links them all together. Loved it!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 18, 2018
Great book of stories that follow on from one another. Anthony Ryan is just as good at writing sci fi as he is at fantasy. Really enjoyed this book. Will be reading everything he writes and look forward to reading anymore sci fi stuff he writes.
4.0 out of 5 starsStrangely written - heavy inference skills needed which makes you ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 27, 2017
Strangely written - heavy inference skills needed which makes you an active reader but one that is often left confused. One thing you cannot accuse Ryan of is patronising the reader! As I read more, I began to associate with character much more.
5.0 out of 5 starsAnthony Ryans SciFi is as good as his Fantasy.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 20, 2016
Good collection by Anthony Ryan, his sci-fi is every bit as good as his fantasy work. I first read a fantasy series by Ryan and it was amazing, great plot, great characters so when I saw this I thought I would give it a go. No disappointment at all. My only complaint was when it was over, I wanted more.