not great, but i couldn't put it down!, March 8, 2005
Reviewer: Evan Lapann "synthetic life-form" (Boston MA)
I hate the term "page-turner" but this book was just that. Even though I was never particularly impressed with the book, I found that I constantly needed to know what was going to happen next.
The future painted in this world, is surprisingly believable considering the year the book was written. However, the world is not painted as clearly as in a Gibson book, so a lot of it is left to your imagination. Usually I HATE when authors write foggy, unrealised future speculations, but for some reason it didn't bother me in this book. You can tell that the state of earth in the future is only a secondary aspect of this book.
The prose are pretty good throughout the book. At times it seems like Benford is unnaturally pushing himself to be poetic, but in the end it winds up being a lot better than 90% of the sci-fi writing out there.
The plot, while incredibly gripping, had some serious pacing issues. It almost seems like the events in this book could have filled three equally long novels. Now that I've finished the book though, I've come to realise that this entire book is like the back story for the next ones to come. It kind of stands on its own, but I feel like I would be jipped if I didn't read the next ones in the series.
Despite my criticisms, and I realise I am a very picky sci-fi reader, this book was thoroughly entertaining and worth the read. It didn't change my life or anything, but I have a feeling that it is all going to pay off in the next books in the series.