This is another of those novels thats been receiving a measure of bad press; some reviews here on Goodreads are quite scathing, to say the least. A possible injustice that has been done the book (and the author) is the comparison to Neuromancer (Necromancer?), because, frankly, it really isnt the same thing. The one thing I will say for this novel: its in high gear all the time. Mirrored Heavens is a novel about intelligence and counter-intelligence, and at its heart of hearts it attempts to be a political techno-thriller. It does convey a measure of atmosphere, and I never really struggled to follow the plot, but Im not sure whether this tactic actually works in the books favour. The story is built on the premise of the Mechanic (combat component) and Razor (hacking component) team, and the tactics that can be deployed in such a combination. Textbook procedure: the razors wreaked havoc with the bases security and surveillance systems, allowing the mech to move untracked inside the perimeter and reach the inner enclave, where the house node itself is situated. The novel isnt entirely sure what it wants to be either, skirting quite a few genres in haphazard fashion, but this isnt necessarily a bad thing.
Unlike any book I've ever read, The Mirrored Heavens blasts out the gates and never lets up. I have to admit that I'm not the most well-read when it comes to science fiction (I'm working on it), but I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed this story about a very real future world where terrorists are attempting to take over. It keeps you reading and surprised at each twist and turn but this is done in lieu of world building and character development. When Should You Read The Mirrored Heavens?
The dialogue is gross and awful. The dialogue is the Microsoft Songsmith of prose, except without the tacky, ironic appeal. How could we when the characters themselves don't care either? Now I only care enough to discourage anyone else from reading it.
They both seem able to "jack in" like characters from Neuromancer. Perhaps I do know what my problems with the book stem from afterall. Unless it turns around quickly, I suspect this book will get tossed onto the "maybe later" pile that oh-so-rarely gets revisited.
Bigger guns. Bigger explosions. I'm not sure. If you like action you'll love this. I didn't, but I will say it's a clever book that no little thought about the future went into, and which I'm sure would make perfect sense if the first reading had inspired me enough to go back and make some notes. (I'd love to know what the operative's armour looks like, and where they manage to store all those guns and bullets and bombs and grenades and missiles and flechettes and lasers and napalm and thrusters and fuel and chainsaw knives and blow guns... maybe something along the lines of Master Chief meets War Machine meets the Hulk-in-space?) As a novel it wasn't one of the best I've read.
Read it to understand what I mean, but if you watch the sentence length it'll be something like 2, 3, 3, 15, 3, 3, 5, 20.
I was enthralled by the scenario of this book, which was extremely detailed and well thought out.
If your tastes in SF run to a nicely extrapolated projected future and lots of espionage activity, saving the world and beyond, this debut might be the book for you. This can happen with a relatively new writer, but as you might perhaps expect in an espionage novel with an emphasis on the plot, the characterisation is a little clichéd, but bearable. At times, the weaknesses of a fairly new writer means this made the characters a tad interchangeable, with few disparities to differentiate between the characters. - but it did mean that, at times, I had to check my characters. It is an ambitious novel, but ultimately juggling so many complex revelations leads to major info dumping and extended exposition in order to bring readers up to speed (should they have lost their way a little along the way.) When the characters do meet, about two-thirds of the way in, there is a major dumping of revelations. Consequently the book is pretty well paced but, unlike the cover may lead you to expect, there is an emphasis on more talk than action, though the action pieces, when they happen, are well done. It would be wrong for you to read this expecting it to be all action, James Bond style: as with a lot of real espionage, I understand, the reality is sometimes quite mundane, involving a lot of running from place to place, though there are some nice set pieces on a piggy-backed rocket, on a rail train and in a Brazilian city, for example. The pace reminded me a little of Vernor Vinges Rainbows End or perhaps David Louis Edelmans Infoquake, though its most similar recent novel to me, in style and complexity, was Richard Morgans Thirteen/Black Man. In summary, this is a fairly impressive first novel, though not perfect. Nevertheless, Davids complex world is well realised, and chillily presented.