Beggars Ride by Nancy Kress
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Let's get this out of the way. The first 2/3rds of this book was filled to the brim with rather boring Sleeper and Sleepless politics. It lacked all the charm of the first two novels because the first two had great characters.
They're missing from this novel.
The characters we do have didn't manage to pick up and become great until after the first nuclear explosion.
Beginning and Middle in this novel was... meh. Not horrible or anything and I really DO like heavy explorations of gene-mods, social repercussions, and (theoretically) how they lead to massive political upheaval. I just didn't think it worked particularly well here. Unlike the first two Sleepless novels. The end conclusion in this one was satisfying in its way, dealing with an engineered plague that causes people to be aversive, isolationist, (and oddly compassionate), building up to another plague that's half relying on imagination, putting oneself entirely in another's shoes, and half cognitive therapy. It doesn't ignore the underlying biological issue, but it does allow for transcendental biology. You know... mind over matter -- at least when it comes to happy placebo events. :)
We are not limited to our biological destiny, no matter what the naysayers say.
Let's back up here. The whole series as a whole is NOT about that. Indeed, it's a rather awesome series about super geniuses being created out of a genetic alteration that removed the need to sleep. The children are blameless, oddly awesome, but then all the normals fear their super brilliance and work-ethic and focus, they're hounded, forced to take control, and from there take over the world with varying levels of success.
This novel is the aftermath of all that. It's goodish but sometimes meandering and often rather boring until THINGS START HAPPENING. Sigh. Well, they do, and the end is quite fun, but the rest was something of a slog. Alas. I just didn't care for what was going on until after the nuke. :)
Is this enough to save the whole novel? No. But I'm glad I got to the good stuff, for all that.
View all my reviews