23 August, 2010

Review - The Machinery of Light by David J. Williams

September 26, 2110. 10:22 GMT. Following the assassination of the American president, the generals who have seized power initiate World War Three, launching a surprise attack against the Eurasian Coalition’s forces throughout the Earth-Moon system. Across the orbits, tens of thousands of particle beams and lasers blast away at one another. The goal: crush the other side’s weaponry, paving the way for nuclear bombardment of the cities.

As inferno becomes Armageddon, the rogue commando unit Autumn Rain embarks on one last run. Matthew Sinclair, an imprisoned spymaster, plots his escape. And his former protégé Claire Haskell, capable of hacking into both nets and minds, is realizing that all her powers may merely be playing into Sinclair’s plans. For even as Claire evades the soldiers of East and West amid carnage in the lunar tunnels, the surviving members of the Rain converge upon the Moon, one step ahead of the Eurasian fleets but one step behind the mastermind who created Autumn Rain—and his terrible final secret.
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


Unknown said...

Sounds like I might just have to pick this one up soon.

Great review.

Bryce L. said...

Thanks man. This series has polarized reviewers. Some can't stand it, but others just love it.

BStearns said...

Damn, I really should pick this trilogy up. Thanks!

ediFanoB said...

This is one of the books I want to read until the end of 2010. And I really want to know how it ends...

Bryce L. said...

@BStearns - I kept thinking, this would be an awesome movie, but really it does a great job of doing that in your head.

@Edi - The ending is pretty crazy and very unexpected. I had no clue he would take it where he did and it's still all believable.

The Reader said...

Nice Review Bryce, I liked this book the best amongst the entire trilogy. Particularly the climax, that was a damn cool way to end this story.


Bryce L. said...

@Mihir - Completely agree. Great ending, the climax blew my mind. Great series, although I know not everyone agrees, but they should. :)