Broken Angels by Richard K. Morgan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I truly didn't have a clue what I was getting into when I started this second book in the Kovacs trilogy. Altered Carbon was a VERY different beast.
That being said, we pick up with Kovacs thirty years after his reawakening on Earth and he's far down his lonesome path, giving up on private eye stuff and giving up his free will to join a war. An ongoing war that's either economics or ongoing economics by other means, that is. Give him something bloody to bite into and he's happy enough. It certainly doesn't hurt that his particular Envoy training gets him all the best gigs and privileges.
But is this a hard-bitten war novel? It certainly seems to be, with the wrinkle of easy sleeving into new flesh and the bitter by-line of corporations versus colonial governments.
But. Add an ancient civilization, the one that we stole the tech that turned us all into immortals, a fantastic find, and then turn it into an exploratory heist novel with enormous opportunities for cross and double-cross, and we've suddenly gone into great hardcore SF territory.
Kovacs is still fantastic and Morgan has a talent turning out complicated and memorable characters up and down the line. I felt sad for each death. And what beautiful deaths they were. This was some harsh territory filled with great mysteries. Kovac's intuition still runs as hot as his hallucinatory madness.
Few hard-SF novels are quite as memorable as this one, but that's more a feature of the characters than anything else. I've read some really amazing epics. Even so, this one is deeply satisfying and a winner on nearly all levels.
It IS NOT anything like a repeat of the first. Get that expectation out of the way and I'm sure everyone's enjoyment will be very high. :)
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