As rip-roaringly fast-paced, schnell, rapido, hurtigt, etc. as it's predecessors, The Machinery of Light [US] [UK], the third and final installment of the Autumn Rain Trilogy, doesn't let up. Twists and turns abound and the ending of this trilogy will blow you away. Make sure to plan good chunks of reading time because it's hard to put down once you get going.
One of Arthur C. Clarke's three "laws" on prediction says that "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." David J. Williams has shown us how this is possible through the agents' use of Zone (Internet on steroids) and even made believable jumps in technology that he improves upon in The Machinery of Light.
I couldn't help but think that this is a legitimate way for people to actually do "magic" and I don't think we're that far from this plausible future.
Now mix this plausible technology with non-stop action that switches from point of view to point of view, most the time within only a few paragraphs, all written in the present tense, and you really get a feel for the fact that the Zone is omnipresent and action is happening whether you see it or not.
The only real drawback is the lack of characterization. There is so much happening that the events and action displaces the characters so much so that it can be hard to really tell the difference between the characters, even with their unique symbol that begins each new p.o.v. It also doesn't help that a lot of the characters act really similarly, especially when they say something to the effect of, "Duh, of course it is numbnuts!" I couldn't resist that.
Now I have to do the obligatory American thing, which is I guess to comment on the profanity. I have my qualms with its overuse. I'm from California and I used to say "like" about like every word and I've been told (by my lovely wife no less) that I sound dumb when I do it. Overuse of profanity does this for me. But, in the case of the Autumn Rain Trilogy, where it was so flagrantly used, it really didn't effect me like it usually does. Maybe it's just a timing thing.
When Should You Read The Machinery of Light?
If you're in the mood for something incredibly fast-paced, moreso than anything I've ever read, and action-packed to boot... and don't mind too much that characterization suffers because of it, then you'll really enjoy this trilogy. It's something that was so unique for me that I couldn't help but enjoy this series when characterization is normally a must.
4 out of 5 Stars