Touch by Claire North
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I think I've found my next go-to artist for must have reading material.
"Do you like what you see?"
This is like an ultramodern retelling of a vain girl's obsession with appearance versus what belongs solidly beneath the veneer. Of course, how else could you see life when you're without a real body, except those that you steal on contact and flit from norm to norm?
Kepler was truly devoted to doing right by her hosts and loved them in her best way, but she (or he) was always superficial. Janus, on the other hand, eventually moved away from his (or her) obsession with outward beauty to dive right into what really matters deep within, but still failed to get it right.
Galileo, on the other hand, never desired or understood the journey, and made a pure mockery of the outward form, eventually becoming northing more than a child that throws away people (in murder) as a spoiled child would mutilate her dolls, with as much care.
The characters are deep and change throughout the novel, and I love them all, but especially our heaviest soul, Kepler. I simultaneously enjoyed the repetition of the need for revenge and got very tired of it. The feel of the novel needed the reminder every once in a while, certainly, because it might have been lost in the everyday progression of survival in the middle of running, but even if I believe it could have been handled better, I damn well don't have a better suggestion beyond what was already done. I still liked every aspect of this tale.
Cole really grew on me, as did the Aquarius group, even if the group was never particularly likeable. The snippets of past and history made me believe, from my deepest heart of hearts, that our dear author is a great student of history.
I fell into the flashbacks as if I were in the ocean, made to ride the waves of time like the gentlest susurrations of water and motion. I really enjoyed the way I was pushed back and forth, and that's high praise because I never really enjoy flashbacks at all.
This novel is a success. If you come into it wanting to have a F/SF tale of love as can only be told by separate embodiments of a mind/body dichotomy, then you're going to get a real treat.
There are no real similarities in plot and historical exploration in regard to The Fifteen Lives of Harry August, but a bit deeper below the surface, it's easy to tell that she's in the same zone. Relationships with others are super important, even when the sense of alienation is paramount. These are damn full of non-repeating discussions of it, and I am left in awe at the damn polished prose.
So, "Do you like what you see?" Oh, yes. Absofuckinglutely.
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