Genre: science fiction, cyberpunk
Rating: 5 Stars
Number two in the The Wonderland Cycle, this installment takes place two years later and revolves around Bobbi January, club owner and hacker extraordinaire. Bobbi is still mourning the disappearance of Thomas Walken when she gets an encrypted message from his former partner, Frieda, asking for help. While they think they are just trying to uncover what happened two years before, they stumble upon a conspiracy and cover up that they could never imagine. With the help of her long-time friend, and employee, Marcus Scalli, Bobbi tries to take on not just the Genefex Corporation, but a plot that could disrupt their world.
I don't want to go into too deep a review of the book because I don't want to give away the good part; the surprise. I did NOT see it coming (don't worry, you only have to wait for half way through the book for it) but it is disturbing and different. Let me say first that this is a very dense book. There's easy beach reading and there's technical reading. This falls somewhere in the middle. The fact that Shean can make up entire new technologies and words and keep them all in his head is amazing (I asked - he doesn't write them down, they are actually all in his head). But just because it's dense doesn't take away from the enjoyment. It just means that you can really get into these characters and the scenes better. They are vivid and encapsulating. Shean's use of imagery and detail in descriptions make it so despite having no knowledge of cyber technology, I had no problem imagining it. In fact, some of the descriptions are so horrible that I wished I hadn't had such an easy time imagining them.
One thing I particularly want to complement the author on is his ability to convincingly write a strong female character. Sometimes male authors write women who sound like men. Sometimes female writers overcompensate and take all sensitivity out of their women in an effort to make them seem strong. Bobbi is definitely strong and smart, but she also has a vulnerability that is very likeable and relate-able. All his characters are well drawn. Marcus is my all-time favorite. He's like a giant teddy bear and I just want to hug him. I might get killed for that, but hey, I'd still try.
The end of the book leaves us with a tease for the next book to come. I'm really looking forward to it, and this is coming from someone with little to no science fiction books under her belt and exactly one (now two) cyberpunk books.
The book release date is scheduled for April 12th, which gives you plenty of time to read the first book, Shadow of a Dead Star before then, although this book can stand alone.
Check out Michael Shean at http://michael-shean.com/wordpress/
By the way, the author did his own cover! How cool is that?