Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
Length: 530 pages
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Release Date: October 9, 2012
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Goodreads First Reads
Rating: 4/5 stars
This was an intriguing book that is put together in a very creative way. There are basically six stories ranging from the 1800’s to the future nested within each other. Each story is influenced by the story before it.
This is a very creative idea and I definitely recognize how much work went into writing each story in the language/style of the era that it takes place in.
I did enjoy the book. However, it is definitely not an easy read. The two stories that took place in the far past and the far future were incredibly hard to read given how they were written. I think that was kind of the point, to show how humanity had come full circle in its ignorance and brutality, still it definitely took some time to read and decipher (lots of letters are dropped out and there is a lot of slang).
I really did enjoy a couple of the stories. The First Luisa Rey Mystery was a wonderful mystery with some interesting elements. The Orison of Somni-451 was also a very engaging story about an android who started to grow and develop in a very human way. Then there were others I did not enjoy. It was a bit like reading an anthology where you breeze through the stories you love and struggle through the ones you just can’t engage in.
I am not going to go into all of the discussion about reincarnation and all of the other themes this book brings into the story. There are a million other people who have analyzed this book to death. I did really enjoy how each story influenced the story that came after it in some significant way. This book has a lot going on at multiple levels and it is definitely one that makes you think.
There is definitely an adult story. There is a lot of violence and some rape in here, so just be aware of that.
Overall this was a wonderful idea, with some decent stories. It is not an easy read or even an enjoyable one at times. I shudder to think how many kids in college are going to be forced to read this book because of the novelty of the story structure. In the end I am glad I read it, but it isn’t something I will ever pick up and read again.