Freenet by Steve Stanton
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This was a rather interesting novel in several ways, and it had potential to kick some serious butt, but the last portion of the novel, while interesting in its own right, didn't fit with the grand bulk of the first.
Follow me on this one. What starts out as a pretty cool romance between a girl way out of her element and a low-tech boy on his technologically backward and culturally strange desert world then becomes a pretty cool conspiracy in space and an exciting resolution. It was pretty darn okay and I got into the characters just fine and felt for them.
It's everything that happens afterward, with the media and the corporations that knocked me for a loop.
We've already established that the girl is deeply linked to the entire galactic network, she's lied about what she is, (an Omnidroid, a construct of human flesh and tech,) and that she was sexually abused and so it sets the stage for strained relations. It's a romance, though, so we have high hopes that Zen, who is apparently pretty much perfect, will both save her and her heart.
What only shows up late in the book, however, the the introduction of Doorways through time and space and peoples who upload their consciousnesses, etc., which I don't have any issues with, per se, because these are ideas that are pretty common in SF.
My issue is with how this wishy-washy Reporter-Personality swings so easily, back and forth, between such wild-ass stories about what the Omnidroids are, first stirring negative opinions, then championing their cause, and then, after one stupid conversation with a corporation head (one who had invented the doors through space and time), just goes off and changes his mind again and it ENDS THE NOVEL.
WTF? The whole novel became something else in the last half, and then far from easing us into the big reveal which might have been pretty cool if it had been a major part of the rest of the novel, it just slaps a big band-aid on the tale and says its done.
I was sitting at a 4.5 or maybe even a 5 depending on how strong the ending would be.
Maybe that portion would have been just fine in a different story, or even in a different novel, but here it felt like poorly executed Iain M. Banks perception twist and it just didn't fit the rest of the tale.
I'm not that used to reading books with endings this bad. The particulars are fine, the ideas are fine, the characters are fine, but how the end reveal fits in with everything else? Not good. If we were aiming for a subtle godlike entity in the beginning, it should have ended subtle. Otherwise, match scales.
And the last part had no romance at all. The investment I'd put into the MC's was wasted, too. Sure, they're in the spotlight, but they're pretty much out of the picture.
I don't know which is worse. *sigh*
The worst part of this is pretty easy: It could have been pretty damn good. Where was the editor?
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