Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Book Review - The Machine Awakes (The Spider Wars 2)

Inline image 1By Adam Christopher

Published by Titan Books

Review by Richard Williams

The cover of this book carries the comment "SF you will want to read with the light on". Skipping the temptation to make a facetious remark about difficulties reading in the dark I think it's worth pointing out that this book isn't actually that creepy or scary. It does however deal quite deftly with the darker side of science fiction and I found this book to be quite an entertaining read.

It's possible that I have spoiled myself somewhat when it comes to science fiction. I typically prefer to read titles from the Masterworks collection and I don't think it's being unfair to say that this book doesn't meet that standard. It's not badly written but I found the style to veer towards the conversational and it didn't always, I felt, set the right tone. This carried through to the way characters spoke to one another and it struck me that it was often too casual or informal.

However the themes of this book, the concepts covered and the science fiction, are certainly worth a read and I thought that the pace of the book was well handled. I also enjoyed the strong elements of corruption and conspiracy. Despite the fact that the characters are a little two-dimensional they're a compelling bunch and you quickly develop favourites. I particularly liked the character of Mr Glass, which is funny considering how that works out.

As I read this book I couldn't help thinking that it's the kind of story, with the kind of characters and action, that would translate well into a film and found it sometimes easier to imagine it as a Hollywood blockbuster, especially in regards to the action. The fight scenes and tense moments roll along well and give the book plenty of juicy bits (if you'll forgive a technical term). Having said that the book did feel that it dragged a bit towards the end and could probably have done with being a few chapters shorter.

In conclusion I'd say that this is an interesting book, with great themes and plot points, let down slightly by the writing style and length but recommended for sci-fi enthusiasts.