Saladin Ahmed – Throne of the Crescent Moon

In my attempt to read all the Nebula nominated novels this year, I have finally picked up this much praised novel by Saladin Ahmed. I had heard great things about how it mixes fantasy with an Arabian setting and falls into the currently trending category of fantasy-that-is-not-medieval-Europe. I agree that it would be nicer to have more diverse settings and characters in any genre, but just putting things in the desert doesn’t make a great book either. In this case, it worked well. The hype, though? As usual, overdone.

throne of the crescent moonTHRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON
by Saladin Ahmed

Published by: Penguin, 2012
ISBN: 110157240X
ebook: 288 pages
Series: The Crescent Moon Kingdoms #1

My rating: 7/10

First sentence:Nine days. Beneficient God, I beg you, let this be the day I die!

The blurb: The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, home to djenn and ghuls, holy warriors and heretics, are at the boiling point of a power struggle between the iron-fisted Khalif and the mysterious master thief known as the Falcon Prince. In the midst of this brewing rebellion a series of brutal supernatural murders strikes at the heart of the Kingdoms. But these killings are only the earliest signs of a plot for the Throne of the Crescent Moon that threatens to turn the great city of Dhamsawwaat, and the world itself, into a blood-soaked ruin.


I went into this with expectations based mostly on the cover image and what I’d heard in reviews. Which was Arabian Nights with zombies, more or less. Sometimes I ask myself why I still bother having expectations at all – most of the time they are not met, and I am happy about that. In Throne of the Crescent Moon, we are introduced to the ageing ghul-hunter Adoulla and his assistant, the dervish Raseed. Adoulla is more than tired of his life of demon-hunting, spell-casting, and generally living in danger. He is also somewhat foulmouthed and very likable. Juxtaposed to the zealot Raseed, the novel created a great dynamic between their points of view and I just loved how the author never lectures us on what to think. He merely presents people of very different beliefs and lets us choose whose side we’re on. Or not pick a side at all.

For a while, Adoulla and Raseed, who go out to hunt a group of ghuls that killed a family, remain the two point of view characters. Until they meet the girl Zamia whom I absolutely adored. I loved how she complicated the group dynamics even more, bringing in an entirely different way of life and culture. Seeing certain scenes from each of their perspectives shone an interesting light on them and moved the story along even in the quieter moments. However, later on, other characters are introduced and they also get their own view-point chapters. It’s probably a matter of taste, but I felt disrupted and even a little betrayed. I loved the focus on that trio of unequal heroes, I did’t want to see into other people’s heads. Characters can also be established without having their own view-point chapter, after all.

throne of the crescent moonThe most interesting parts of this book were neither the plot nor the mystery. It was Raseed fighting with himself and with his belief and how to consolidate it with what he has learned of the world. It was Zamia, a girl who has lost everything, coming to terms with what’s ahead of her. And, of course, their feelings towards each other. Partly because two new viewpoints were introduced mid-story, I didn’t get nearly enough of Zamia – her character was almost dropped completely from the narrative. I actually think (what I consider) the three main characters suffered for it. Neither Litaz nor Dawoud were intriguing enough to replace Zamia or Raseed’s storylines. I would have preferred to read only the trio’s points of view, with Dawoud and Litaz as side characters – a state above which they never really rise, anyway.

Apart from my minor character issue, I also had a bit of trouble with the pacing. The beginning was fantastic, we are introduced to characters, the world and its magic at a reasonable but not dull pace. Then suddenly, during the middle-part, there is a slump, a big zone of let’s-tell-this-one-unimportant-scene-reeeeaaally-slowly, for which I saw no reason whatsoever. Then again, at the end, the book was impossible to put down. When action follows action, Saladin Ahmed is at his best.

There are many little things wrong with the book – I suppose more prolific critics call them “first novel problems”. I was disappointed in the magic system and the revelations at the end, but despite all that, I still got some enjoyment out of it. This is a fun adventure story with a cool setting where religion is involved in practically everything the characters do or say. It didn’t live up to the massive hype, but it was a book I’d recommend for a quick, light fantasy read that isn’t set in alternate medieval Europe.

THE GOOD: Great characters who face (mostly inner) conflicts that kept me interested. A cool setting and fantastic action writing.
THE BAD: Two unnecessary POV characters, dragging middle-part.
THE VERDICT: A fun fantasy novel in an Arabian setting that suffers some first-novel-problems. Recommended.

RATING: 7/10  – Quite good


The Crescent Moon Kingdoms:

  1. Throne of the Crescent Moon

Review: Jacqueline Carey – Kushiel’s Avatar

Hmm… After having read 967 pages fairly quickly, does it still sound convincing when I say I’m not impressed? As much as I loved Kushiel’s Dart, I was already very disappointed with the sequel, Kushiel’s Chosen. Too much travelling, too little plot – it felt like a story merely thought up to showcase the world Jacqueline Carey has built. And so does this third part.

kushiels avatarKUSHIEL’S AVATAR
by Jacqueline Carey

Published by: Tor, 2003
ISBN: 0330420011
Paperback: 967 pages
Series: Kushiel’s Legacy #3

My rating: 6,5/10

First sentence: It ended with a dream.


Ever since Phedre no Delaunay was sold into servitude as a child, her path has taken a strange, and often dangerous course. She has lain with princes and pirate kings and battled a wicked temptress still determined to win the crown at any cost. All this time Phedre has had at her side the devoted swordsman Joscelin, who has never violated the central precept of the angel Cassiel: to protect and serve. Now Phedre’s plans will put his pledge to the ultimate test.

For she has never forgotten her childhood friend Hyacinthe, and has spent ten long years searching for the key to free him from his eternal indenture to the Master of Straits. To redeem Hyacinthe, Phedre and Joscelin embark on a dangerous journey that will carry them to far-off countries where madness reigns, and to confront a power so mighty that none dare speak its name.


Having finally finished this trilogy, the overall story arc has left me rather underwhelmed. I will always love Kushiel’s Dart but there were many things wrong with its sequels.

Most importantly, the novelty has long worn off, Phèdre’s extraordinary gift – feeling sexually aroused by pain – as well as her profession as courtesan, is an old hat by now. We’ve spent almost 2000 pages with her, we know what it means to bear the mark of Kushiel. The romance part was pretty much resolved in the first book except for some force drama in the second novel, and that middle volume did little to resolve the open plot threads. That doesn’t mean I didn’t get some enjoyment out of this novel. Carey’s language is as beautiful and flowery as ever, the world of Terre d’Ange and beyond (far, far beyond) is brimming with life and mythology. Discovering new areas on the map, new religions and cultures was a true pleasure. But the book didn’t need to be anywhere near as long as it is.

Certain scenes (and by “scene” I mean a good 100 pages) were so thrilling that they could have made a story on their own – I would have gladly read a novel entirely devoted to Phèdre’s stay in that harem. Wow! However, most of the novel is spent travelling. We are told in minute detail of everything that happens not only on the journey to a new place but also back. There is no need for that and it was mostly these scenes that stretched the novel to its unnecessary lengths and were quite tiresome to read.

What truly intrigued me about the first novel was the relationship between the characters, the dynamic bond between Phèdre and Joscelin, or her and Hyacinthe, her devotion to Anafiel Delauney, her dangerous attraction to Melisande… I didn’t think I would say that, having grown to hate her, but there was far too little Melisande in Kushiel’s Avatar. The lack of Hyacinthe was felt sorely as well and almost all the new characters – while fully fleshed-out and interesting in their own right – were introduced and dismissed rather fast. They were friends for a short period in Phèdre’s life and didn’t have any longterm impact, like Phèdre’s Boys or Quintilius Rousse, side characters I’ve grown to love. That said, I must mention Imriel who is probably the best thing in this book. I hear the second trilogy set in the same world centers around him – which is why I’ll definitely check those books out.

One thing in particular I have noticed that leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. Phèdre becomes a major class bitch! Joscelin, his oath still swearing him to protect and serve her, is the truest, most loyal character you can imagine. And Phèdre – while always having good excuses of course – risks his life on numerous occasions, forces him (knowing his oath well enough) into dangerous and terrifying situations, having him follow her around like a dog. And she knows it, too. I used to love her independence and how she showed us that female protagonists can very well exist without a male counterpart – but this went a little too far for my taste. I’m also not sure at all how I feel about Joscelin now for never opening his fucking mouth or simply saying No. Oath or no oath, he should be able (and allowed) to tell his girlfriend that she is going too far… I have been having this discussion in my own head for a long time and it may actually have added to my reading pleasure.

For those curious to find out if it was all worth it in the end: The plot threads left open in books 1 and 2 are resolved, although it felt almost as if that part had been a chore to write, rather than pleasure. As I read this, I got the feeling that Jacqueline Carey simply wanted to explore her own imaginary world. As great as it is, world-building alone does not make a good story. With some editing, as well as tightening of the plot, this could have been a much better book.

dividerTHE GOOD: Beautiful writing, the characters feel real, certain scenes left me at the edge of my seat.

THE BAD: Large parts of the book are simply boring, unnecessary, full of details of travel without furthering the plot (of which there isn’t all too much anyway).

THE VERDICT: I suppose if you’ve come this far, you’ll want to know how it ends. Despite its lengths, this is a good read that showcases the author’s great ability for world-building and character development.

RATING:   6,5/10 – Quite good

The Kushiel’s Legacy trilogy:

  1. Kushiel’s Dart
  2. Kushiel’s Chosen
  3. Kushiel’s Avatar


Review: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – A Study in Scarlet

I had read only one Sherlock Holmes novel – The Hound of the Baskervilles – before trying the BBC series Sherlock. As many others before me, I am completely and utterly in love with this TV show but like any serious reader, I felt the need to finally read more of Doyle’s original stories. And what better way to start than with my huge Complete Works paperback (and a Gutenberg free ebook) of A Study in Scarlet?

by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Published: Penguin, 2011 (1887)
ISBN: 0241952891
Pages: 162
Copy: paperback, ebook
Series: Sherlock Holmes #1

My rating: 6,5/10

First sentence: In the year 1878 I took my degree of Doctor of Medicine of the University of London, and proceeded to Netley to go through the course prescribed for surgeons in the army.

A Study in Scarlet is the first published story of one of the most famous literary detectives of all time, Sherlock Holmes. Here Dr. Watson, who has just returned from a war in Afghanistan, meets Sherlock Holmes for the first time when they become flat-mates at the famous 221 B Baker Street. In “A Study in Scarlet” Sherlock Holmes investigates a murder at Lauriston Gardens as Dr. Watson tags along with Holmes while narratively detailing his amazing deductive abilities

Dr. John Watson has just returned from his work as a war surgeon in Afghanistan and is looking for somebody to share a flat with him. He is introduced to Sherlock Holmes, the only existing consulting detective in the world – and his theory of deduction. Soon Watson learns that it is more than a theroy as he watches Holmes figure out the details of a murder case. A dead man is found on the floor of an empty apartment, the only (to us ordinary people) clue is the German word RACHE written on the wall in blood.

I was surprised at how readable this book was. Maybe I underestimate my own ability to read English but then I did read my first Sherlock Holmes when I was about 19 years old. Either way, the language has a nice flow to it and I finished this small adventure in about two hours. The unravelling of the case was done quickly, even for Holmes’ standards, but the second half of the book shows us the murderer’s backstory. We turn from dialogue-heavy banter between Holmes and the police force to a tale that makes us look at the murderer in a different way and shows us his true motive.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle managed to pack a fair bit of criticism into his detective story and that also took me by surprise. I will definitely read all the other Sherlock Holmes stories (even though I’m worried I might deduct the outcome from my having seen the TV show) and I’ll probably reread The Hound of Baskervilles as well. Holmes is a likable, if very cocky, hero (don’t tell him I called him that) and while his knowledge in certain fields is almost unbelievable, I will gladly suspend my desbelief for the sake of a good story.

I recommend these books for anyone who – like me, a number of years ago – is daunted by the idea of “reading the classics”. This quick read doesn’t only show the beginnings of Holmes and Watson’s beautiful friendship but it offers a fun detective story and a surprisingly intriguing background to our murderer.

THE GOOD: Easy to read, great characters, a lot of depth that I was surprised to find on so few pages.
THE BAD: The actual detecting could have lasted longer for my taste. I can’t get enough of Sherlock’s wise-cracking.
THE VERDICT: Recommended, but maybe a longer Sherlock tale would be a better starter-drug.

RATING: 6,5/10

SHERLOCK vs. Sherlock Holmes

Having just seen the first episode of the BBC TV show, I can’t help but notice how brilliantly this classic story has been translated to the screen. Its beginning is almost a scene-by-scene adaptation of the original Sherlock’s case into 21st century London, including the war in Afghanistan (makes you wonder, doesn’t it?). Who would have thought that cell phones, the internet, blogs, and automatic guns could work with such a well-known and well-loved tale. I am impressed and a little bit awed. Also, I couldn’t help but picture Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch and simply dress them in their appropriate garb (including the hat). My curiosity to discover the other Sherlock stories and compare them to the BBC TV show has risen – and I can’t wait for season 3 of that. I am, so to speak, Sherlocked.

Yann Martel – Life of Pi

Well, I’ve avoided it for long enough. Despite all the praise and the Booker Prize, the religion-factor was keeping me from reading this book. I didn’t want yet another story trying to convert me to whichever faith. But the movie trailer and the consistently ongoing great reviews changed my mind. And I’m incredibly grateful.

by Yann Martel

Published: Penguin, 2002 (2001)
Pages: 367
Copy: paperback

My rating: 8,5/10
Goodreads: 3,8/5

First sentence: My suffering left me sad and gloomy.

The son of a zookeeper, Pi Patel has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior and a fervent love of stories. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes.
The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days while lost at sea…

This book surprised me in many ways. It did not – as the author’s note claims – make me believe in God. But it did make me believe even more in the power of storytelling, of writing, and of creating. We get to know Pi Patel right from the beginning, witch the origin of his name. The first third of the book deals entirely with zoo animals, Pi’s childhood, and his pursuit of all religions available to him. If only all religious people were like Pi… I will make myself very unpopular by saying this, but I – as an atheist – believe that organised religion, the way it exists now in our world, is simply terrible. It accosts for so many wars and evil deeds that I find it hard to believe it all stems from the belief in a God that preaches love and truth and friendship. Something can’t be right there…

I challenge anyone to understand Islam, its spirit, and not to love it. It is a beautiful religion of brotherhood and devotion.

But back to the story. Once Pi and a handful of zoo animals are stranded on a lifeboat and commence their incredible journey on the Pacific, I was drawn into his story and caught myself in a state of tense emotion. I cared about Pi, as I cared about Richard Parker. I loved (and hope Hollywood won’t mess this up) that the friendship between Pi and the tiger wasn’t cheesy or unbelievable. They didn’t cuddle up to sleep at night, the tiger didn’t allow Pi to pet him. It was a carefully balanced act of peace, all set around the rules of animal life. It may not make for as soppy a story as some people might like, but I adored the lack of Coelho-like pseudo-meaningfulness. This is just about a boy, pushed to the limits of survival, dealing with a Bengal tiger the only way you can deal with one – on its own terms. These are terms of territory (read: mark it by peeing), and domination.

Yann Martin has a fresh, youthful writing style that makes the story both easy to read but also hits home when intended. Who would have thought that a lifeboat, a boy, and a tiger in the middle of the Pacific could entertain me so much. And for so long? Pi’s character is lovable throughout the story. His application of logic, of reason, made me like him all the more. So people can believe in god (or gods, whichever you prefer) and not lose sight of how the world around them works. Pi is not a zealot, he is not bitter about other religions, he accepts all gods and all manners of faith, because they serve one simple purpose. They help him to live. His belief doesn’t hurt anyone, it doesn’t even show – happily, the author did not go overboard with spiritual musings and pretend it was god who saved Pi’s life. No, Pi’s accomplishments are his own, and neither author nor fictional character attribute it to any deity.

“We don’t want any invention. We want the “straight facts”, as you say in English.”

“Isn’t telling about something – using words, English or Japanese – already something of an invention? Isn’t just looking upon this world already something of an invention?”


“The world isn’t just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no? Doesn’t that make life a story?”

This book may have one of the most perfect endings I have read lately (along with N.K. Jemisin’s The Broken Kingdoms). And you see how much it affected me by the way I talk about a fictional character as if he were real. Life of Pi is a book that I didn’t want to read. It will stay with me for a long time and, apart from useful survival tips if caught on the open sea in a lifeboat (with or without the tiger), it showed me once more how powerful a story can be.

THE GOOD: A highly original story with lovable characters, not a boring page, wonderful writing, and a perfect ending.
THE BAD: The blurb is slightly misleading. The story starts quite a while before the lifeboat.
THE VERDICT: Highly recommended. I don’t care who you are, what you believe in, or where you come from. If you like stories (or even if you normally don’t), this book is for you.

RATING: 8,5/10  leaning towards a 9

Related Posts:

Robert A. Heinlein – Stranger in a Strange Land

Granted, this is only my second “grown-up” Heinlein but just like Starship Troopers, it overwhelmed me with its depth, engaging (though somewhat sexist) characters and a range of ideas that feel as outlandish now as they must have when the novel was first published. Heinlein is utterly readable and I am getting quite infatuated with him as a gateway into science fiction.

by Robert A. Heinlein

published: Putnam, 1961
ISBN: 0441790348
Pages: 438
format: paperback

My rating: 7/10

First sentence: Once upon a time when the world was young there was a Martian named Smith.

Stranger in a Strange Landis the epic saga of an earthling, Valentine Michael Smith, born and educated on Mars, who arrives on our planet with psi powers—telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, telekinesis, teleportation, pyrolysis, and the ability to take control of the minds of others—and complete innocence regarding the mores of man. After his tutelage under a surrogate-father figure, Valentine begins his transformation into a messiah figure. His introduction into Earth society, together with his exceptional abilities, lead Valentine to become many things to many people: freak, scam artist, media commodity, searcher, free-love pioneer, neon evangelist, and martyr.Heinlein won his second Hugo award for this novel, sometimes called Heinlein’s earthly “divine comedy.”
Where to start? The arrival of Valentine Michael Smith, the Man from Mars, brings changes to Earth as we knew it. What starts almost like a thriller, with a handful of good guys trying to keep the clueless Martian out of the government’s hands (or worse, the hands of religious leaders) turns into a political and religous discussion of values. I would even go so far as to say that part one deals solely with introducing Mike and saving him from corrupt people, part two shows us his (to us) amazing abilities and how different he really is from Earth humans, parts three and four then deal with hiw own teachings and a whole new lifestyle. I won’t go into any details here, because if you want to know, you should really read the book. It’s worth it.
I absolutely loved some of the ideas in this book, not only the big ones that Mike teaches, but also little ones like Witnesses. These are specially trained people who when putting on their white coat, witness what they see – and only what they see. This struck me as particularly cool in a scene where Jubal Harshaw asks a Witness what color a house on a hill is painted. She answers – truthfully – that this side of the house is white. She can’t vouch for the rest of the house also being painted white because she can’t see it. Maybe that makes me weird but that was one of my favorite ideas in the entire book.
As characters go, my mind is split. Smith is lovable and annoying at once, starting out almost like a child – the ultimate stranger in a strange land, knowing nothing of our customs, of human behaviour that our children learn as babies. That said, Jubal Harshaw is awesome. That guy has so much cool in him, it’s unbelievable he doesn’t have his own novel. And he totally stole the show. For a long part of the novel, it is him who carries the plot with his discussions of politics and religion, of sex and relationships. He has an opinion on everything and while i may not agree with everything he (or Heinlein) thinks, it was an incredible pleasure to read.

I loved this book as a collection of ideas and almost a manifesto of the Martian lifestyle. Purely as a novel, as a story, I have to say that it wasn’t as gripping as Starship Troopers, which also served as a vessel for Heinlein’s world view but equally gave us a damn good story line. I found myself putting this book aside and almost forgetting about it. Whenever I picked it up again, I was hooked by the great (male) characters – let’s not start talking about the women here – and the amazing dialogue. Whenever it was time to put the book down again, the circle started all over. I was missing that story element, the plot that would keep me guessing what would happen to the characters, instead of watching them just do their thing. It was interesting and fun to read, absolutely, but more so for its ideas than its plot.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this classic of science fiction, especially to those who prefer the anthropological or political aspects of the genre.

THE GOOD: Some great dialogue that really just discusses certain aspects of politics, religion, and human interactions.
THE BAD: It felt like several stories, randomly stitched together. The female characters were not to my liking.
THE VERDICT: I see why this has won a Hugo and is still widely read today. It may have been written a while ago but humanity still doesn’t quite seem to grok how to be happy.

RATING: 7/10  A very good book.

Other reviews:

Kurt Vonnegut – Cat’s Cradle

I’ve never understood the hype about Slaughterhouse Five. I really didn’t like it and it was probably one of the most disappointing books I’ve read. However, I tend to give authors a second chance so I tackled Cat’s Cradle. And I literally couldn’t put it down. I read it in one go and I loved everything about it. The strange style, the plot, the sciency bits… just mindblowing! Hand me some more Vonnegut anytime.

by Kurt Vonnegut

published: Gollancz (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1963)
pages: 287
copy: paperback

my rating: 9/10

first sentence: Call me Jonah. My parents did, or nearly did. They called me John.

Cat’s Cradle, one of Vonnegut’s most entertaining novels, is filled with scientists and G-men and even ordinary folks caught up in the game. These assorted characters chase each other around in search of the world’s most important and dangerous substance, a new form of ice that freezes at room temperature. At one time, this novel could probably be found on the bookshelf of every college kid in America; it’s still a fabulous read and a great place to start if you’re young enough to have missed the first Vonnegut craze.

Vonnegut has a way of helping his readers enter into this end-of-the-world story. Jonah, the first-person narrator, wants to write a book about the end of the world – so naturally his topic is the inventor of the atomic bomb, Dr. Frank Hoenikker, and what the people surrounding him were doing on the day the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. It is his research that leads him to Hoenikker’s children, old acquaintances and, finally, on a journey that goes completely different than expected…

The protagonist himself spoils parts of his story right at the beginning of the book, but I will do my best to keep the review spoilerfree. Personally, I didn’t even read the blurb, I just dug right into the book. Maybe that added to the wonder I felt washing over me on every page. Truth be told, I picked this as my second-chance-for-Vonnegut book because it is fairly slim (yes, I am ashamed of myself).

The style is both simple and complicated. Vonnegut uses simple words and short, precise sentences to tell a story that folds back onto itself, that jumps back and forth in time and expects the reader to know things that are only revealed much later. I see how this may turn certain people off, for me it only added to the charm and the mystery of this novel. I like having to work my brain to figure out what’s going on. The revelations are just that much more satisfying. The many, very short chapters make for a nice reading experience and give you the illusion that you can stop after this chapter or that chapter – only to find yourself continuing because it’s just that good.

The themes explored in Cat’s Cradle are numerous – the invention of the atomic bomb being only the most obvious one. The fact that a weapon like that is not a toy and should very carefully be put in the hands of competent people, makes sense. But even competent people can make mistakes. Vonnegut leaves it up to his readers to make up their mind whether it would have been better never to invent such a deadly thing in the first place. He also shows the other side, namely that of science. Scientists, so we assume, do research and development not to create weapons, but for science’s sake. To acumulate knowledge. And what could be wrong with that, right?

Another theme is religion or, better put, the futility of religion. Jonah talks about that throughout the book, a religion called “Bokononism” of which we learn more later in the book. Discovering the rules and origin of this fictional religion was at least as much fun as following the plot. I just love how Vonnegut threw me into this maelstrom of moral dilemmas and yet never preached how to think about them. It’s up to the reader to decide, and reading this book, there is no way around at least having to think about these themes in depth.

Though there are only a few of them, all the side characters felt real to me and some of them tickled a few chuckles out of me. The protagonist himself was easy to identify with and made the story more compelling by acting the way I would in his situation. Vonnegut is known for his quotability but he also does his part for popculture. I’ve come across the word karass, for example, not only in real life and movies, but only recently in Jo Walton’s Among Others.

I was thoroughly impressed and fascinated by this novel, shocked by the ideas and thoughts it raises, and finished with my mouth gaping open, yearning for more science fiction books like this. Kurt Vonnegut’s second chance not only saved him for me but made him rocket up to authors I simply must read more of. And soon!

THE GOOD: Immediatly captivating, fuel for independent thought, a fast-paced plot and a very quick read.
THE BAD: Not always chronoligal, the mixing of reality and fiction may put some readers off.
THE VERDICT: Deservedly a modern classic of science fiction, everything a good sci-fi novel should be.

RATING: 9/10  Breathtaking