Mar 9, 2010

[Books] Everfree

EverfreeAll good things must come to an end...more or less. In my case, it's coming to the end the books that I have in a particular series or by a particular author. If I'm lucky, the last book will mark a logical conclusion for this segment of the story or at least a good resting point of sorts. You know what I mean right?

Or there are those times you get left hanging and you feel slighted and annoyed that you can't continue on. It's like being a junkie in search of the next fix and finding out that your dealer has skipped town. This is why I try to avoid reading books in a series when I don't have all the books yet.

Well, the operative word here is try.

I'm not sure if this particular books marks an end to a major chapter in the characters' lives, but it was a good enough stopping point, I suppose. However you can never really and this won't be the first time that success has driven additional books to be written even when the original story can be considered "over". Ugh.

Everfree is the third book written by Nick Sagan in his continuing series. The series does not have a collective name just yet - I can't even think of a quick way of summarizing events in a single name. The Posthumans' Saga? The Children of Idlewild? After The Fall of Humanity? Living In The Shadow Of Black Ep? Whatever.

Anyway, back to the story.

So yes, once again we're revisiting the posthumans in their struggle to repopulate the planet. Instead of their original plan of creating children of their own to solely repopulate the species, the survivors of Idlewild decide to revive the many humans who were cryogenically frozen at the height of Black Ep. Naturally, the ones who could actually afford this process were the rich and powerful and this has resulted in an odd community where there are too many cooks and not enough people willing to get their hands dirty.

In response to this, the survivors of the Gedaechtnis project create the Doctrine, which requires those who wish to remain with their society have to contribute to its wellfare equally. Many join in order to avoid the rigors of living in the untamed lands beyond but that doesn't mean everything is fine and dandy. They posthumans know their hold on things is tenuous at best, but still they push on trying to accomplish their mission, whether humanity likes it or not.

The book continues the first-person narrative style that Nick Sagan has maintained in all the other books. Interestingly enough, he sort of combines the styles he employed in the two books prior. The first part of the book is told almost entirely from the perspective of Haloween, our protagonist from the first book. He's now in charge of security for the fledgling community and he does his best to keep the dissents in line.

The second portion of the book reverts to the multi-character style employed in the second title complete with individual symbols to remind the reader of which character is "speaking" at this point.

Comparing the two segments, I have to admit I enjoyed things more when we got around to the second act - the first felt a tad unfocused and was spent constantly reminding us that the former leaders of industry were choking at the bit and eager to throw off the shackles of the enforced socialism of The Doctrine. Plus Halloween just didn't seem as "engaged" as before, or something like that. He just didn't strike me as a daring rebel that he used to be in his youth. Time does that to people I guess, but it doesn't necessarily translate to believable reading.

I did appreciate some of the finer points of the book and how it better answers the "logical" questions the average reader would ask about this world like "What happened to the world leaders?" or "Didn't these guys ever see The Matrix?" or even "How does corporate America try to plan for the Apocalypse?" - weird questions, but the answers do make sense in this book, perhaps in a rather scary way.

Overall, it's a decent enough way to end the series...for now. Sagan has clearly left the seeds for future books laying out there in the open and it's up to the readers to drive support for a sequel. I'm not sure if everyone will have the same issues I had with getting through the first half of the book but overall it just means the story wasn't as tight as it could have been.

Everfree gets 3.5 drug-enchanged chimpanzees out of a possible 5.

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