Saturday, October 03, 2009

Book Review: The Quantum Rose

The Quantum Rose (The Saga of the Skolian Empire)
Catherine Asaro
Awards: Nebula
Rating: ☆ – – – –

The initial idea and most of the first half of this book were pretty good. The book was billed as "romantic fantasy" which made me skeptical from the start but it won a Nebula so I was willing to try it. The first half takes place on this rural, backwards planet but you eventually learn that the planet was seeded by a highly technological empire that is monitoring and interfering from afar. Which was all cool. But halfway through the book the main character gets taken off her rural homeworld and it turns into a space story and a mass-uprising adventure a la Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age. It's like the author is trying to combine Asimov and Clarke and Stephenson and doesn't do any of them very well.

Also the main character is the classic madonna/whore, impossibly perfect, unbelievably beautiful and kind and generous woman who can't make up her mind about anything and yet everyone still loves her. By the fifth or sixth time that some woman was described as having hair in curls that tumbled to her waist I wanted to slap the author.

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