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The Deserter by Peadar Ó Guilín
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I didn't particularly like The Inferior; although it was well done, I just had trouble relating to or getting into something so wildly different. My experience with The Deserter was better, probably largely due to the fact that I knew what to expect. Now, when I say better, I don't mean that I loved it or even really liked it, but I did enjoy the experience more.

Ó Guilín deserves some serious praise, and I would like to start with that. Although I have not gotten into this series, his worldbuilding is simply amazing. A ton of work has gone into the Bone World Trilogy and it is really evident. This is much better thought out than a lot of the YA dystopias I've read. He keeps peeling back layers and revealing more sliminess and dystopian-ness at the core of this world. That is, simply put, astounding.

This book was a lot more interesting to me, largely because most of this book was spent in the Roof. The cannibals running around on the surface of the planet throughout book one were just too weird and creepy. The Roof, and its occasional parallels to our modern society's ills, was much more captivating.

Still, the real downfall of the books for me, I think, is character. I'm through two fairly long books now, and I still just don't especially care about anyone. Stopmouth and Indrani are okay; I do want them to win over the other people, but I am not hugely invested either way.

At this point, I'll probably finish out the trilogy when book three comes out, just to check out the worldbuilding. If you're fascinated by the feats of an author's imagination, Ó Guilín's books might be for you. ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Apr 1, 2013 |
Exciting with people with interesting flaws doing their best in inventive fashion to overcome all the obstacles the author throws at them. The author reminds me of Greg Egan in that his problem solvings skills always lead to exciting interactions between the characters. Perhaps the fact that they both work part of the time as software engineers/computer programmers explains this. The ending is about injustice but cathartic nonetheless and sets the scene nicely for the sequel. ( )
  jerhogan | Mar 14, 2013 |
I read this science fiction sequel in quick succession with its predecessor, and I must say that this second of the planned trilogy does have some sophomore book problems. I expected to launch right into it, but found that for me the first portion of the book lagged. Exploring the Roof and getting to understand the nature of the society above those carnivorous ground-dwellers we met in the prior installment did not have quite enough edge and uniqueness to fully engage from the start. Part of that lag might have been the fact that, in this novel, we switch perspectives somewhat irregularly, instead of our third-person limited viewpoint staying with Stopmouth. The switches take some getting used to.

That said, however, by about halfway, I was fully engaged in the book and zipped through the second portion with interest and speed. Though still not richly detailed -- not O'Guilin's style -- the descriptions of technology and society here are a little more visual, as well as being more familiar, thus the structures and people of the Roof are perhaps easier to imagine than the monsters that populated the previous book. Also, with a more complex society come more complex problems, and figuring out what's really going on is intriguing. The puzzle isn't quite as satisfying this time around, but the character relationships are more so, so everything really balances out. There is an added grandiosity here that might seem strange at first, but works out by the end as well. I'll not spoil any twists, though.

Overall, I would call this a necessary sequel that starts out on the low end of its expectations but rises well above by the conclusion. Plenty of violent adventure, tempered with ideas of love, family, ethics and duty, makes this worth your time. I am looking forward to the final volume of the trilogy. ( )
  beserene | Sep 10, 2012 |
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The humans are weak and vulnerable. Soon the beasts that share their stone-age world will kill and eat them. To save his tribe, Stopmouth must make his way to the Roof, the mysterious hi-tech world above the surface.But the Roof has its own problems. The nano technology that controls everything from the environment to the human body is collapsing. A virus has already destroyed the Upstairs, sending millions of refugees to seek shelter below. And now a rebellion against the Commission, organized by the fanatical Religious, is about to break.Hunted by the Commission’s Elite Agents through the overcrowded, decaying city of the future, Stopmouth must succeed in a hunt of his own: to find the secret power hidden in the Roof’s computerized brain, and return to his people before it is too late.Peadar Ó Guilín has followed his extraordinary debut The Inferior with an equally original and pulse-racing sequel in which human primitivism collides with futuristic technology.
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To save the members of his tribe from being devoured by the beasts that share their primitive world, Stopmouth must make his way to the mysterious, futuristic world above, even though a virus is destroying the Upstairs and driving millions of refugees to seek shelter below.… (more)

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