lunes, 8 de mayo de 2017

Infinity Engine, by Neal Asher

(Disclaimer: English is my second language, so I want to apologize in advance for there may be mistakes in the text below. If you find any, please let me know so that I can correct it. I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.)

Review Soundtrack: I suggest reading this review while listening to Penny Royal, by Evokescape (Spotify, Soundcloud)

Dark Intelligence and War Factory, the first two instalments of the Trasformation trilogy, were two of my favourite books in 2015 and 2016 and are two of the best space opera novels I've read recently. In fact, I liked them so much that Night Shade used and excerpt of my review of Dark Intelligence as a blurb in War Factory. As you can imagine, I was really excited about the series coming to its conclusion with Infinity Engine. Sadly, I must say that this third book was a bit of a disappointment.  

Many of the elements that I loved in Dark Intelligence and War Factory are present also in Infinity Engine. For instance, Penny Royal is still pulling strings in the shadows and provoking transformations in many of the other characters. The new, central role of the Brockle, as counterpoint to the evil AI, is especially interesting in this regard, giving raise to the best chapters of the novel. The explanation of Penny Royal's back history, including the reasons for its becoming rogue, are also very good and I did enjoy them very much. 

However, and despite those interesting parts, I couldn't help feeling that the rest of the book was largely forgettable. Most chapters just involve characters going from one place to another, occasionally fighting each other, but all without much relevance to the main plot. In fact, this kind of problem was also present (in a less obvious way) in the final part of War Factory and I seriously think that the series would have been much better if these last two novels would have been fused in just one, keeping the only the best parts of Infinity Engine

I have read other, much more positive reviews of the novel and thus I must say that mine could very well be a minority opinion. In fact, I've noticed that, lately, I find it difficult to enjoy the second or third instalments of series whose first book I loved. It happened to me with A Night Without Stars, by Peter F. Hamilton, which I think was really not up to the standard of The Abyss Beyond Dreams (contrary to the popular opinion) and, to a lesser extent, also with Luna: Wolf Moon, by Ian McDonald, which everybody seems to love as much as Luna: New Moon. And it has happened to me again with Infinity Engine, so you may want to take my opinion with a grain of salt. Your mileage may vary and all that. 

All in all, I regret to say that I expected much more from Infinity Engine and that, even though the Transformation trilogy is still a very good series on the strength of Dark Intelligence and War Factory alone, it leaves with a bittersweet taste. This could (should?) have been one of the best space opera sagas ever but, to my taste, failed to deliver with this third and final book.        

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