Sunday, February 13, 2011

Winter Song by Colin Harvey

I really enjoyed this book for the first few chapters. It was delightful: spaceships and nanotech, FTL weapons, a desperate escape using some nifty technology and the prospect of a survival story on an iceball of a planet. I positively devoured this thing. At the beginning.

Our hero manages to flee to the promised frozen wasteland and is rescued and brought to a local village to be brought back to health. But as he convalesces, the story starts to fall apart--not because the MC has developed multiple-personality disorder (because his ship shoved its AI into his brain as part of his escape attempt), but because one of his personalities is written in the first person, and everything else is written in third.

I was channeling KC every time the first-person/third-person shift happened: this little voice would start repeating, "I can't believe the author just did that! Really, is this really going to continue through the whole book? Really?" The shift was horrifically jarring, throwing me straight out of the book and dreading when the next instance would occur.

The author also kind of wimps out over the course of the book. At the beginning it's all violence and no pity; he kills a cute little puppy for crying out loud--and not even as a random brutality, but rather targeting a puppy that was introduced several chapters before and had been popping in and out ever since. Cruel but reasonable with the background: think frozen planet, desperate people, hard circumstances. There's a crazy guy eating vomit because he's desperate for calories. It's harsh, but you agree it probably should be.

But by the end of the story, we're all friends. The bad-guys-in-space, after having taken out our MC's ship, have blown each other up and disappeared from the story in a cloud of debris. The bad-guys-on-the-planet have agreed that it's all for the best if we just stop fighting and chasing each other. Even the vicious wampa-like indigenous creatures that everyone on the planet fears have proven to be neither vicious nor indigenous, but rather intelligent and capable of enjoying theoretical discourse. Where did all the anger go?

Anyway, I'll provide a B&N Link, but I can't really recommend that you bother following it.

1 comment:

K.C. Shaw said...

Oh, man, I'm glad I wasn't reading this book! The POV shifts would have stopped me from finishing it, if the eating-vomit-and-killing-puppies hadn't put me off already. :)