Isolate by L.E. Modesitt Jr.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I wanted to like this one. I mean, it's steampunk with a few interesting magical elements (empaths with varying degrees of potency and others that can't be probed at all) and it's L.E. Modesitt Jr. That means I should have found a potentially kindhearted and wholesome novel with a ton of otherwise necessary and sometimes heartbreaking fantasy battles.
Here's what we get in Isolate: a long, long political treatise about the failings and considerations of our modern society in the particulars, mostly sociopolitical and conservative-leaning, with an occasional nod to workers' rights and the issue of poverty, while slowly becoming more powerful, himself, in politics.
The worldbuilding is still steampunk and the magic happens as well as a handful of action sequences that boil down to small-scale body-guarding, but the rest of the time it's either about showcasing the author's many, many takes on political issues, or a love of sweets on food.
The romance is wholesome, however, but it's a massive slow burn and totally reserved. I thought it was the best part.
If the rest of the series is like this, I just can't find all that much interest in it. The political stuff is detailed but it leaves out little story elements borrowed from reality like people being jerks just because they can. Everyone's too reasonable. I found myself rather bored. Alas.
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