Well, okay, maybe not rock-hard. I just thought that would get your attention.
But I do have quick reviews of two different sci-fi books I read recently.
Cauldron is the latest in McDevitt's Acadamy series. It involves a new hyperspace sort of engine, allowing the characters to travel to the Galactic core and solve three different mysteries, two from previous books.
On the plus side, it has plenty of Priscilla
Hutch Hutchins in it. Hutch is a great character who has been minimized in some of the more recent books in the series. This one drops her right in the middle of the action.
But, overall, I didn't like the book much. First off, the blurb on the back of the book makes it clear that the story involves a new drive. So, why use up half the book on the development of the engine? It would be okay if that half was all great hard sci-fi stuff. But it's more like a suspense book. Will the engine work? Will it?
Well, yeah, it will. The freaking blurb on the back tells you so. Given that, the first half is pretty tedious.
The second half gets moving better. And, indeed, three different mysteries are resolved. The problem here is that the resolutions are so, well, tepid. There's very little sense of wonder at their revelation.
You just feel sort of let down at the end. Bummer.
The Prefect is the latest book in set in the Revelation Space universe. What makes this one different is that it's placed prior to the Melding Plague, in the Glitter Band at the height of the Demarchy. It's the only novel of his to take place in this time period and it gives the book a fresh feel. It's also a standalone story. You don't need to have read any of his other books to follow this one. But if you gobble up his stuff like I do, then the story is enhanced. What's more, knowledge of his other books doesn't ruin any surprises.
This may well be my favorite book of his so far. The characters are great. The technology is mind-bending. The story is complex but rolls along at a good pace and comes together at the end. It starts as a small detective story and grows from there.
My one complaint with Reynolds' books is that the story sometimes takes a back-seat to the mind-bending technology and concepts. But not in this one. Here, they're in balance.
It's just a really good book.
No comments yet!