A better-than-average blend of the detective genre and hard SF. A few loose ends here and there, but an enjoyable read with enough interesting ideas and science to compel one to finish the story...and in a fairly short time.
Great story, lots of action. Seemed like he wrapped things up a little two quickly at the end and I'm not entirely sure of a few details, but still a great read.
Another airplane/airport novel. Sort of action adventure meets Iain Banks Culture. Interesting and entertaining, but not a keeper.
This book did not live up to my expectations. The characterizations seemed weak and the plot suffered from too many unlikely events. The climax built up nicely but fizzled out in the end. I may give Mr. Asher another chance, but not right away.
Comparing Ian Cormac, the protagonist of this SF adventure, to a futuristic James Bond would be fair. Even the author himself does so. "Gridlinked" is an action-packed tale from the future filled with dragon creatures, lizard men and powerful androids. Lots of gratuitous violence, a little gratuitous sex and an overall fun romp through the speculative fiction genre.
Arian Pelter is a separatist madman who augments his mind with not one, but two network implants or augmentations. Throughout the rest of the novel, Pelters brain is awash in competing streams of data. It drives him further from sanity and the strain manifests itself in physical defects. Reading Neal Ashers GRIDLINKED, I felt like my mind was similarly overloaded and torn apart. Filled with swirling cameos from homicidal golem-androids, babbling intergalactic dragons, malfunctioning teleporters, an ineffective AI government, animal-like cosmetic alterations, an immortal guardian, a self-praised James Bond protagonist, and too many references to Edward Lear poetry, GRIDLINKED was a headache!
While I enjoyed the book in small doses, GRIDLINKED neither came together into a carefully-developed world nor a well-designed novel. The main character was advised early in the book to permanently disable his augmentation so that he could be free of the grid link and be human once again. I recommend the same. Disconnect from this book!
interesting and fast paced. only downside was the ambiguous ending, and also that there were two completely different story lines going on that could each have stood alone as a separate novel.
I enjoyed the book. Have to give the beginner a set of four stars for his first book.
How wonderful to read a clever, intelligent and (on the whole) well-written example of Space Opera, with the promise of many more, in this series and branching out into Asher's Polity Universe, to look forward to.
Ian Cormac is a 007-style "super agent" of the Polity, the go-to guy to protect this laissez-faire confederation of worlds spread across the galaxy (Universe? I got a little confused. Space, as we know, is Big. Really, really Big.) The price that humankind has paid for settling, terraforming and exploiting thousands of planets across this vast territory is to cede control to a network of AIs who run everything to AI-perfection, and keep the baser instincts of their human charges in check.
Cormac, as a super-agent, has spend the last 30 years "gridlinked" to the AI super-mind -- and this is at least 10 years longer than covered by the Manufacturer's Warranty. Gridlinking has rendered Cormac, at the beginning of the novel, as little better than an AI avatar himself -- incapable of understanding ordinary human responses without painstaking analysis, and with more honest feelings for his semi-sentient, nunchuk-like personal weapon than he has for any human. This is quite honestly, hilarious: Cormac's idea of romantic small talk with a young woman with whom he has just, ahem, spent the night is "The dark otters are swarming ... quite interesting ..."
Not surprisingly, the young lady, who happens to be a leading light in a vicious anti-Polity terrorist organization (come on, you didn't think Cormac would be bumping uglies with anyone just for fun, did you?), decides that he must be an android, and tries to kill him. Things get very messy, very fast -- and the fun begins.
Because ... yes, this is very violent, and yes, it raises (but doesn't answer) interesting questions about the price it's worth paying for freedom, and who gets to decide what IS freedom, anyway -- but it is also hilarious. Negative reviews which complain about flat characters and cliches seem to have missed the fact that the author is British, and the whole novel bounces from one dark joke to another. For example, to restore his humanity, Cormac is forced to go off the gridlink, cold turkey --to learn that people are more complicated than they might seem to an AI, that loyalty means more than being willing to kill, and ... that there are consequences. One aspect of the second half of the novel that I just loved was that, having decided to test his new-found human responses, Cormac indulges in a night of passion with one of his team. But unlike super-stud James Bond, who would have patted the grateful young lady on the head and sent her on her way once he was done with her, both Cormac and the girl suffer severe morning after regret, and spend the rest of the novel avoiding each other and communicating in pained monosyllables ... Hilarious ...
In spite of my 5-stars, I'm not going to try to argue that Asher always writes in deathless prose-- although I would say that, after a little bit of awkwardness at the beginning, his writing is clear and very readable. At first, it seems Asher has never met a metaphor he didn't like: at the beginning of one chapter, he compares a starship re-entering "real space" as a ball, a pearl, a mutilated finger, a Jewel (in which the pearl was lost?), a pin-wheel, a drop of blood, a segment of an orange, a droplet of milk (in a bucket of water ...), and a roulette ball ... all in one paragraph. (Beginning of Chapter 7) But it settles down -- I was particularly impressed by how neatly he handled the final battle between Cormac and his team and the Bad Guys -- sometimes it's hard to keep track of written action sequences, but Asher made it all very clear, and exciting.
This is highly recommended -- and I for one am looking forward to taking on further books in the Polity series.