Tuesday, April 14, 2020


Deborah Christian
Completed 4/12/2020, Reviewed 4/12/2020
3 stars

A very convoluted, complex, action cyberpunk thriller.  Not exactly my cup of tea.  I read this book because it is on my LGBTQ+ list on Worlds Without End, and I am trying to read all the books I put on that list to verify if I should keep it on.  The main character is a bisexual assassin who has the ability to see a myriad of timelines emanating from the present.  The premise is great, but the author has so many subplots to support the ending that it was too complicated for me.  And I’m not one for cyberpunk.  I like it as a film genre, but as a book genre, I tend to get lost very quickly.

The basic plot is that Reva, the assassin, meets up with Lish, a smuggler.  The two become friends, something that is quite rare for Reva because she is typically a loner.  On a previous assignment, Reva blew up a boat to get her target.  There is only one survivor, the desert-world alien body guard known as Yavobo.  He vows revenge upon the culprit for not allowing him to fulfill his oath to his employer.  He finds out it’s Reva and the hunt begins.  In the meantime, Reva does not want to jump timelines anymore because it might nullify her relationship with Lish.  She doesn’t want to accidently jump into a timeline where she and Lish are not friends, because she doesn’t know how to get back to the mainline.  But as the powerful Yavobo pursues completion of his blood oath, Reba just may have to make a jump to save herself and Lish, just as they come to very close to being more than friends.

There are several other subplots in this story.  Lish double-crosses another smuggler to get his valuable shipment, the way she’s been double-crossed before.  However, this smuggler has close ties with a major crime lord who puts a hit out on Lish.  In the meantime, Reva and Lish are infiltrated by a security spy trying to bring down Lish, and now that he knows the identity of Reva, bring her down as well.

This book is mostly an action-thriller novel.  There’s very little character development.  I felt that all the characters were pretty cardboard.  Despite the friendship between Reva and Lish, we really don’t get to know much about their inner workings, other than that Reva is a cold loner who usually doesn’t get close to people.  We also get a little of her childhood as she discovers her gift for timeline jumping.  But that’s about it.  I never really felt connected to either.  I did like Yavobo the alien.  I think it was because he was so single minded.  He added a straight-forwardness to the convoluted world.  I also liked Vask, the infiltrator.  For some reason, I felt like he got to have emotions as he comes to like and care for Lish and Reva despite his mission to bring them down.

The world-building is really great, I have to admit.  The world that this takes place on is a mostly aquatic world with water-breathers.  All the trade with the merchants and smugglers has to do with the water-breathers.  There’s also a subplot to smuggle whale-like creatures from another planet into this world.  However, the creatures will starve from not being able to process nutrients from the indigenous food from their new home, unless they get a vital enzyme imported and administered.  That was interesting and ties in to Lish’s smuggling adventures. 

The part I didn’t like was that there was a ton of jargon which I didn’t really get.  I had a vague understanding from the context, but I felt like I was missing an awful lot of the intrigue going on because I didn’t get the lingo.  This happens a lot with me and cyberpunk novels.  There’s also a lot of secondary characters in this book, too many for me.  Between the lingo and plethora of characters, I had a hard time keeping track of everything. 

I give this book three stars out of five, a rating I think I give often to cyberpunk novels.  They just don’t do anything for me.  I recognize that the world-building is great, and the premise is great, but I think the execution suffers.  I do think this would make a good movie.  In fact, it is written with lots, like almost 150, very short chapters, a lot like the quick takes of fast paced action films.  I also think I’m going to take this book off the WWEnd LGBTQ+ list because the bisexual content is so small.  However, I won’t be making an update to the list probably until next year, so if you decide to read this book for the LGBTQ+ challenge, it will still be there this year.

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