It took me a while to finish this book. Actually, if I’m honest, it took me a while to even start this book. There’s a lot going on in the world right now, plus I managed to get a job, so my time’s been limited.
I borrowed this one from the library because I really liked the author’s other book The Gone World. I will read any genre if I like the author, so I figured this was a sure bet.
I was wrong.
The Gloss: I like the cover art here, but I thought the book might contain elements of inter-dimensional travel or alternate worlds. It did, sort of, but not in the way expected.
Otherwise, I have nothing really to say. The typeface wasn’t remarkable, nor were the pages.
The Plot: was so confusing. The book started with a murder mystery, kind of a hard-boiled detective drama, and ended with a conspiracy….I think? I admit that I read this book in fits and starts so maybe I couldn’t hold on to the details of the plot like I would’ve if I’d read it in larger chunks. But there were several things going on and somewhere just after the middle I got lost.
What I do remember is that the plot of the person who died took a back seat to the plot of covering up other deaths. Maybe. I really need to talk about the world before continuing.
The World: People have implants in their brains called adware. This is a spiderweb-type interface that allows the user to overlay virtual reality with actual reality. This was awesome and well constructed. Pop-up ads invaded the character’s life, which absolutely would happen and would be targeted to the user.
This adware also comes in the gleaming, fantastic, expensive version and the low-end version, also very accurate to what I’d expect. Well done.
A huge part of the world is a city, Pittsburgh, that had been blown up ten years prior. The main character’s spouse and unborn child died in that explosion. With adware, the characters can visit the city any time they want. All footage is provided by an archive project to preserve what was once there. I can definitely see this happening, even at the loss of privacy to the residents.
The Characters: The story followed one, John Blaxton, as he tried to solve a murder. Everyone else was secondary with every woman being beautiful.
The Story: The cybernetics kept me reading through the confusing plot. I enjoyed the way the main character wanted to stay in the virtual world and how it affected his daily operation. I didn’t enjoy the number of times I read about how beautiful a woman was. That got pretty old.
Nitpicks: Apparently the book was written in journal style, which I didn’t know until I read a review on it. I didn’t like it. No I did not.
The author used more emdashes than I personally like to see. Every conversation was fragmented, every idea cut off. This broke the flow up for me and made it really difficult for me to follow along. Now that I know the book is supposed to be a journal it makes more sense, but the story ended up feeling discordant to me.
Overall: I was disappointed. I couldn’t follow the plot, the story kept referring back to Pittsburgh and that bugged me. Yes, the city blew up, but it didn’t need to be mentioned as much as it was. I felt like the author couldn’t trust me to remember the bombing of the city.
As for the discordant feeling, well, if I pretend like I have adware attached to my brain then I feel like I’d be interrupted often also, so there’s that. Maybe the author wanted to portray a disconnection feeling or constant interruption feeling through the body of the story. If so, then success! If not, then frustration mounted early.