I debated between giving this 3 or 4 stars on Amazon, and decided to be generous because the writing is captivating and the science is impressive. I might have given it 5 stars if not for the frequent and sudden shifts in timelines to stories with all new characters and plots with no connection made between them. The shift to a fantasy like environment with a dragon-slaying princess threw me at first and I see from other reviews here, I wasn’t alone. If you pick up this book, I encourage you not to throw it across the room when you get to this chapter and trust that the author hasn’t lost his mind. He soon pulls you back into a science-based story.
Eventually (and I do mean eventually), I started to see how the earlier timeline must have given birth to the later ones, but it was a struggle to see how they were all connected until the very end, which resulted in another issue for me … the ending felt very abrupt and unsatisfying due to so many unresolved questions–an obvious ploy to get the reader to purchase the next book. I prefer stand-alone novels, and this isn’t one of them.
What I enjoyed most in this book were the deeply philosophical discussions about God, religion and man. I definitely recommend this book for those who question authority and religious dogma. However, readers who are firmly ensconced in their faith may find this book offensive because the main character is an atheist and the religious characters are portrayed as scheming duplicitous murderers.
I also recommend this book to lovers of hard science fiction. The author bases his extrapolations on sound knowledge and at times goes in deep. Those who find the science challenging may find themselves skimming over those parts to get back to the plot.
Having said all that, I found Book 1 intriguing enough to get Book 2. So, I must give kudos to Anlee for pulling me into his world.
The author is clearly skilled. Her characters are intriguing, the dialog is believable, and the plotting is complex. However, if you’re looking for a standalone book this is definitely not it, as so much is left unresolved. The novel’s alien world is ruled by huge competing corporations and divided up by race, with Kolos on top and Diasporans on the bottom. Nash Korpes is a Diasporan ‘throwback’ a genetic anomaly of great interest to Special Projects doctors who want to use him in their experiments whether he likes it or not. Nash is tortured by them, and by his own ailments which include three inner voices that nag him to the point of insanity. It was unclear to me whether these voices are real or only figments of his imagination. Nash is also a brilliant tech designer who comes up with cutting edge inventions which garner the attention of the CEO’s of these competing companies and keeps him inches ahead of being sliced and diced by the ruthless doctors. In the middle of all this political intrigue is a love story, where Nash—always the rejected outsider even among his own people—finally meets a woman who values him and falls in love. Their relationship was probably my favorite part, but the novel quickly moved back to Nash’s inner turmoil and the outside threats coming from political maneuverings beyond his control. The author has provided a Character Index at the end of the book. If I had realized that, I would have referred to it frequently as I had trouble keeping the long list of characters straight. If you’re ready to dive into an alien world with the understanding that this book will raise many questions without answering them, then I would recommend it. This is just the beginning of a complex world with the answers still to come.