Series: Commonwealth Saga #2
It's finally over. The ending wasn't even all that interesting; stuff just happened and then things finally ended. Even the stuff with the Prime aliens and the Starflyer wasn't all that interesting in this one, so everything that bugged me about the world Hamilton created just started screaming at me. There wasn't enough to interest me to balance things out.
This has to the most depressing and unimaginative future someone could come up with. This may be an urban legend, but I once heard a story about someone asking Patrick Stewart why they hadn’t found a cure for baldness in the twenty-fourth century. His answer? It’s the twenty-fourth century; no one cares if Jean-Luc Picard is bald.
The universe in which we find ourselves in Pandora’s Star and Judas Unchained isn’t like that. It’s shallow, ageist (physically), mysoginistic, and it portrays all socialists as terrorists. It’s considered expected and even desirable that human society has organized itself in such a way that, despite miraculous medicine, someone can be grievously injured while escaping a war zone and have to go into debt to pay their medical bills because their insurance company refuses to honour the claim. Seriously.
This is just about the most unimaginative future I have encountered. It reads more like it was written in the 1980s rather than mid-2000s. It’s also indulgently edited to the point that it reads more like an epic fantasy than a space opera and very little happens. It even had a few overtones of what should probably be called racism, but I’m open to other terms, like when a character observes that it just isn’t civilized to build a city in a humid environment like a jungle. Civilized? Wtf?
Melanie, the dimwitted wannabe journalist who pulls off amazing stuff, drove me up the wall, but lots of other characters did too.
The sex scenes were laughable and I just can’t get over how bleak a future it is. The portrayal and judgement of women in the novel just made me angry. The narrator didn’t help matters with his dull reading, but I won’t be indulging in another Hamilton even in print. There are too many better books out there.
This is going to be a hard book for me to rate. It's very technical and took me almost the whole month to get through. But, the story it told was an important one. I consider myself educated and this was a story I was completely clueless about. Not anymore. Dorothy, Katherine, Mary, and Christine's stories are out there now. Hopefully, more people will read this book and educate themselves. Hopefully, each gets their own biography since there is (I think) much more to learn about them as individuals.
This picks up after the events of Fair Game. Mercy is out Christmas shopping on Black Friday with her step-daughter Jesse. Mercy's beloved Rabbit gets totaled. None of the pack answers when she calls. They've been kidnapped.
This one was so much better than River Marked (thus far my least favorite). This one picks up full steam ahead. I liked the who-done-it. But, I thought it could have been a little more suspenseful. Jesse and the Sandovals disappear after a certain point. The mystery is still out there how the mercenaries were able to get their hands on so much of the formula that does, very effectively, take down werewolves. Who else knows about the formula? I loved that Tad and Stefan (and briefly Zee) were in this one. Kyle also had a decent toll to play too.
One thing I wish were different: Mercy has people who, if not friends, are allies. But they are all men. The women in the pack (Honey and Mary Jo) don't like Mercy. Marsilia is a bitch. Ariana might be a possibility, but she's on the page briefly. That leaves Jesse. As much as I like Jesse, she's a teenager. Why can't Mercy have an adult female friend?
And this: Jesse's question to Mercy at the beginning on the book when they are out shopping. "When are you and Dad going to have a baby?" Mercy never had or got a chance to answer that. And I admit I'm curious.
This still has all the potential of a 5-star read:
“We are representatives of Her Majesty’s government and the office of the Prime Minister and Homo sapiens sapiens, goddammit,” spluttered the agents, half out of their seats though the car was still hurtling along. “We should be allowed to choose our own representatives. Our own warriors!”
“I am sorry, dear boys. But this is not a war. It is not about you, nor are you a part of it. Every child in the galaxy learns the truth about politics at their mother’s proboscis. For lo, does not Goguenar’s Third Unkillable Fact tell us:
‘Though any species on any dumb gobworld may develop sentience (the poor bastards), no government ever does’?
Think on it, Mr. Brown. Mr. Price.”
Only meters from the Whitehall car park, Decibel Jones and the roadrunner dissolved into a very pretty swirl of magenta steam that smelled largely of fish and disdain.