Book Review: The Soldier by Neal Asher

Publishing Date: November 2018

Publisher: Skyhorse

ISBN: 9781597809610

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 4.3/5

Publisher’s Description: In a far corner of space, on the very borders between humanity’s Polity worlds and the kingdom of the vicious crab-like prador, is an immediate threat to all sentient life: an accretion disc, a solar system designed by the long-dead Jain race and swarming with living technology powerful enough to destroy entire civilizations.

Review: This was an ambitious voyage into a complex SciFi universe. Principally the players in this universe exist either as functional AI derivatives or fully aware and in control of the subterfuge game. The humanistic element is left bereft except for a pair of humans transformed by their adopted planet.

I initially had no interest in continuing after the first couple of chapters, due to the quick immersion of a complex universe via a rabid story line.  So, with nothing else to read I girded the loin-age and finished what became a very long novel.

The Good~ Hard SciFi at its finest resides within these pages. The scope and range that is expressed within is wholly expansive and leaves you meek under the grandiosity of the Universe depicted. From runcibles that capture and move singularities to a planet-sized alien that can jump through the folds of space. Android golems and lobster/crab like aliens round out the weirdness.

The Bad~ Like a few reviewers out there, the character development was pretty thin. You really don’t give a shjt what happens to anyone/thing/alien. Although you really want to care for Dragon, the author doesn’t give you any emotional toe-holds and your hope that Angel finds his humanity, is severed in favor of the grander “plan”.

The Ugly~ Not much ugly here other than this is a really long novel and rest assured, there is no closure to be had.

Am I going to read “The Jain Universe” #2? For sure but let’s get some character depth to balance out the clinical AI approach.

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