Sunday, May 24, 2009

Book Review: Line War by Neal Asher

To follow up on my previous post on the Ian Cormac series. I recently received the final book in the series. I was a little miffed that it took so long to move across the Atlantic ocean to arrive here in the States, but it did finally arrive.

I am currently in the middle of reading Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln and was about to take a trip to Michigan for a wedding. I really didn't feel like lugging around this huge volume and decided it was the perfect opportunity to read a little pulp.

Line War is set in the same universe where AI's control humanity. Rather than seem like evil controlling dictators, they come across benevolent gods working to help humanity and themselves along. The Polity (the AI/human government) is threatened over the series of books by Jain technology which is from a 5 million year dead society. This technology has the ability to aid, corrupt and control any organic intelligence it touches. The final chapter in the saga has Ian running around the universe trying to solve the mystery of why a Jain/Rogue AI combination has been seemingly random attacked multiple Polity worlds while his lover Mika is working with an alien organic construct known as Dragon to hunt down the source of Jain technology and perhaps find what happened to the Jain themselves.

It is tempting to ruin the end of the story. I didn't find this book to live up the expectations set by the series. Ian Cormac, the unflappable super agent, is seen just hopping around on a wild goose chase through the entire book. You are introduced to a character in Randle Fiddler who you don't know if you should trust or not, but then the author gives it away a couple of chapters later. I know by the end that he did it for other interesting dialogues he wanted to told, but overall it degraded the stories possibilities. Mika who you originally see as a pure human who is cold and analytical, slowly becomes this scared creature that is not completely likable. In the end, the book degrades down to a common conspiracy theory and collapses to an endless struggle against power and corruption.

That all said, if you have invested time in the first four books which were all quite excellent, you will likely go in for this one, but realize that it is the weakest of the series.

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