Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Book Review for "Debatable Space"

I don't know how, but the title for this book was stuck in my head. Someone or somewhere told me that this was a must read. Well, I was at The Book Shelf a few months ago and, lo and behold, there it was. Since it was in my head that I had to buy it....I bought it. It sat on the shelf while I read some other books, and when I was told that I needed to go to Utah for business, I found the perfect opportunity to read it.

If you are a penny pinching person such as I, you buy used books, either locally or on Amazon. The Amazon link is found here.

Here is a synopsis:

Flanagan (who is, for want of a better word, a pirate) has a plan. It seems relatively simple: kidnap Lena, the Cheo's daughter, demand a vast ransom for her safe return, sit back and wait.

Only the Cheo, despotic ruler of the known universe, isn't playing ball. Flanagan and his crew have seen this before, of course, but since they've learned a few tricks from the bad old days and since they know something about Lena that should make the plan foolproof, the Cheo's defiance is a major setback. It is a situation that calls for extreme measures.

Luckily, Flanagan has considerable experience in this area . . .
What I like about This Book: It swaps between the characters point of view. And while it doesn't leave to mystery what each is thinking, it gives a closer look into the different members of the cast. The action is none stop, very graphic, and there is an incredible amount of "back story" that you are fed in pieces. The writing style is VERY stream of consciousness, which is fairly rare, yet is the style that I myself like to use. The author, and the characters, have a sense of humor. The plot twists and turns in so many directions that it is hard to follow and the end is surprising. There is a LITTLE bit of actual science used in this science fiction. Each of the cast is wildly different, but complementary.The plot itself does hint quite heavily at what we currently experience in such a decadent time in history and where we could be headed in the future.
What I Dislike about This Book: While I appreciate plot twists and turns, the norm for media today is a shock factor, as if surprising you is more important than making the plot cohesive. That's definitely the case in the book. We think we understand why and how something is happening, then it doesn't. The plot, even in the end, seems incredibly random and far fetched. I had trouble picking the book back up and remembering what had happened previously. Yet, some things are totally predictable, like the relationship developed between Lena and Flanagan. The more we are let into the plot of the book, the more the plot seems entirely thin. Even in the conclusion, the killing of the bad guy is so unbelievable, it makes you question why you read the book to begin with.
My Overall Thoughts: What started out as a very unique writing style and prose, diverse and complimentary characters, and believable plot sprinkled with science slowly unraveled. To me, as the plot moved forward, it seemed that the writer was ready to end the book at least a dozen times, but decided to write in a miracle that allowed the crew to continue. I mean, for example, how we talked up Alby and his super race as being noncommittal to swaying the universe, yet he intervenes at least twice in the book. Or, being ejected out of space ships that are blowing up around them and managing to all live. Just about everything from the middle of the book on was unbelievable, in any stretch. Or how the pirates manage to have the universes smartest 10 year old who comes up with super weapons on the fly that the rest of the universe has never dreamt of.
I admit, however, that I read this book over the course of 3 days, and it isn't a small book. It definitely entertained me, yet I can't help but find the irony that much of the plot circulated around the mind-numbing and entertainment driven over-privileged people of the book's world and the fact that the book itself read EXACTLY LIKE THAT.
While I won't rape the book as bad as the reviews of Amazon have, I do have to say that it's a 2.5 Star book.