Publisher: Angry Robot
Publishing Date: June 2016
Publishers Description: In this breathless and hilarious followup to Philip K Dick Award-nominated Windswept, former labor organiser Padma’s worst nightmare comes true: she gets yanked out of early retirement. After buying her favourite rum distillery and settling down, she thought she’d heard the last of her arch nemesis, Evanrute Saarien. But Saarien, fresh out of prison for his misdeeds in Windswept, has just fabricated a new religion, positioning himself as its holy leader. He’s telling his congregation to go on strike, to fight the system. And unfortunately, they’re listening to him.
Review: Is that Padma Longstockings wielding a wrench? Again, the cover art blows.
This chick rocks what with her determined mien coupled with a deep and hidden vulnerability that lashes out with intent and variety. She is at once horny, feisty, reflective and scared shitless. She overcomes her shortcomings to do what she thinks is right and never wavers from her goals even in the face of chronic self-doubt. She gets help from old Windswept rum when friends are in short supply and her psychosis comes a knockin’. As you move with her through life, you will find yourself rooting for her in hopes that she somehow is elevated to just rewards.
“So why you no give 5 stars!!” At about the 60% mark, Padma turns into this self-made martyr whom traipses around performing acts of self-sacrifice and rallying the masses to better their situation in the face of demagoguery. It really pushed the story line into the donkey-dirt and halted the movement. When other characters tend to echo the obvious with understated adulation and compliments, then you know this is headed into the pisser. Padma declines to recognize that she is so great, so it must be ok…right? Nah, it just turns the story line into a smug rendition of an oft used liberal script.
At times this was an adroit romp through a maze of politics and real world manipulations. Padma is front and center yet fails to capture the essence that left us thrilled in her first adventure. Although there is an attempt to explain the series of events that culminate in a disastrous state, the reasoning is flawed and doesn’t really hold up under scrutiny. The logical path is to follow the money which would lead to the big three, but what we are left with is a personal vendetta and acrimonious behavior. Anywaaaay, still entertaining.