Brass Man by Neal Asher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In a lot of ways, this is primarily a character-driven novel.
It may not seem that way because we're surrounded by more Ship and World-AIs than we can shake a stick at, Jain mushrooms infecting whole civilizations with super-high-tech hacking monstrosities (that are mycelium), androids, cyborgs, messed-up alien ecologies, and alien BDOs that aren't so dumb.
Where's the character-driven stuff? They're now on a tech-race about to turn all the intelligences in the galaxy into greed-monsters inciting war on a REALLY huge scale.
Well, fortunately, the Brass Man, a robot built like a literal tank and so full of split personalities that he's almost become SANE, is a great character. Cormac is great, too, and he definitely gets a powerup here, but mostly the novel is all about the bad guys and these two. :)
Oh, the bad guys get a LOT of time and they're pretty much entirely a Bond-Villain schtick. :) I don't care. It's fun as hell. :)
I will NOT say that this novel was as good as the others in terms of plot or twists, but the ambiance was pretty awesome. :) As a space-opera, I was constantly thinking about how this ranks up to Iain M. Banks and it does, very admirably. Not in the same quality, mind you, but when we're dealing with huge AI-mindships and the whole Polity behaving badly, I had a LOT of great flashbacks. :)
I think I'm going to be having a lot of fun with all these books in the very near future.
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