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Be My Enemy by Ian McDonald
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Be My Enemy

by Ian McDonald

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Everness (Book 2)

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
I can't say I've enjoyed Be My Enemy as much as Planesrunner, but it had some pretty awesome moments (the destruction of Nahn - one of them). Sen as always is pretty charming, and I adore the whole mad crew of Everness, but I wasn't keen on Everett M's side of story and the plot development was not as exciting as in book #1. However, the ending opens a lot of scary possibilities, and I can't wait to see what happens next. ( )
  kara-karina | Nov 20, 2015 |
With its intriguing application of quantum physics and topic of parallel earths, Planesrunner secured its spot as one of the most unique young adult novels I read last year. And of course, who could forget the heart-pounding airship battles? When it comes delivering excitement and adventure, Ian McDonald knows his stuff, and I could not wait to get my hands on the next book. Seeing as the third installment of the Everness series is already on the horizon, I thought it best to get right on that post-haste.

But first, bear in mind that this review may contain spoilers for book one, since Be My Enemy immediately picks up where Planesrunner left off. Last time we saw Everett Singh, he had managed to escape his enemies by transporting himself and his new Airish friends to another parallel earth. His computer device holding the Infundibulum and the key to the multiverse is safe for now, but it's only a matter of time until their pursuers catch up. Plus, Everett still needs to figure out a way to rescue his father, a seemingly impossible task, seeing as Tejendra Singh is now stranded somewhere on any one of the possible parallel worlds -- 10 to the power of 80 of them, to be exact. Yep, it's a big multiverse.

Everett's search for answers eventually leads him to E1, the first Earth to develop a way to jump between parallel universes. It's also the only world amongst the ten known Earths that is sealed off, quarantined, nothing going in and nothing coming out. I won't deny it, I was thrilled that the characters ended up here. The speculations drove me insane in the first book, leaving me wondering and guessing what could have happened to E1 to make everyone so afraid, and now thanks to this sequel, I finally know why. And the reasons are hair-raising indeed! I doff my hat to you, Mr. McDonald.

But wait, that's not all. One thing about this book is that it simply does not stop with the surprises, and not least of them is the lengths the bad guys will go to in order to get what they want. Everett's enemies have some wily tricks up their sleeves, stopping at nothing to gain control of the Infundibulum. All I'll say is that in time, the perplexing introduction to Be My Enemy, not to mention that curious title, will be explained. I can't even begin to ponder the future implications of everything that happened here. Take everything that made Planesrunner so great, dial it all up and you get this book:

Action? Check. In fact, this story has it in spades.

Cleverness? Check. No doubt the book fudged a lot of the science, but it's done for the sake of top-notch storytelling. In spite of that, this book does not patronize the reader, which makes me think this series would appeal to adults and young adults alike.

Interesting characters? Check. This book gave me a more in-depth look into Everett's personality, in the most unexpected and unique way possible. As for the supporting cast, I feel like I finally have an idea of who they are. I never gave much thought to Sen in the first book, but now I find her to be a delight. I loved the brief glimpses of the story told from her perspective, and couldn't help but think how awesome an entire novel in her point of view would be. I can dream, can't I?

And what about the world building, you ask? Big check. Absolutely fantabulosa.

After all, anything can happen when it comes to a story about parallel earths. I was impressed with Ian McDonald's imagination at work in Planesrunner, the way he brought the Airish culture to life and the incredible way he described the world of E3. True to form, he does not hold back for the sequel either, giving the same creative treatment to settings like E1 or the frozen wasteland at the beginning of the novel, despite these being much bleaker and darker worlds.

You never know where the story might take you, or what amazing things you'll see next, and that's one of the main reasons why I'm having so much fun. Bring on the third book, I'm ready! ( )
  stefferoo | Jan 5, 2014 |
Taking up soon after Planesrunner, Be My Enemy follows Everett Singh as he jumps across parallel universes to rescue his father, with the help of the crew of the airship Everness. I really enjoyed this novel and feel it's even better than the first in terms of action and world-building. The author has delivered an amazing sequel.

The plot of Be My Enemy is clever and well executed, with the author taking the opportunity the jump gun provides to show readers some new parallel universes. Each version of London presented is unique, with an interesting history, architecture and culture. I enjoy learning about how those worlds diverged from out own; I think it's interesting to find out the main points of difference between their histories and ours. We also finally find out more about E1, the first world to ever create a gate between worlds, and why it's so mysterious and no one likes talking about it.

All my favourite characters make appearances in this book, including the vivacious and unknowable Sen Sixsmyth (navigator on the Everness) and her adoptive mother Captain Anastasia Sixsmyth. I liked the range of female characters McDonald wrote in the previous book, and continue to admire them now. One of my favourite aspects of this book is the focus on the relationship Everett and Dr. Singh have. Their father-son bond has always been mentioned, but it was great seeing it in action.

Everett's intelligence, goodness and general lack of flaws hadn't bothered me much in Planesrunner, but have to admit that he's just too perfect in Be My Enemy. Where are his insecurities, his self-doubt? His unrealistic nature is contrasted with that of his interworld doppelgänger, who struggles with his identity and purpose, and has a particularly emotive scene where he realises just now un-special he is. It's saddening that the Everett Singh we've been reading about doesn't suffer from this: he's well versed in how awesome he is, and never hesitates to remind us; "It was not just this London spread at his feet. It was all the Londons, all the worlds. He had mastery of them all. His enemies were many, and they were subtle, powerful, and clever and Everett did not doubt that he had only seen a fraction of what they could achieve, but he had a thing they did not: he had the Infundibulum, the jump gate, and the ability to work them both. He was the Planesrunner."

Ian McDonald introduced us to the idea of different versions of the same person; called alters, in the previous book, but Be My Enemy allows for a deeper exploration of this concept. Since I felt this consequence of inter-world travel had been neglected in Planesrunner, I was glad that it takes center-stage in this book. In particular, when faced early on with two versions of Everett Singh, the reader is forced to consider how (seemingly) small changes in one's life can drastically alter a person's personality and outlook. We are reminded that while physical traits may remain unchanged, the underlying psychology of a person can be very different. I think it's a clever way to ask what, exactly, makes us us.

The romance in this novel, in the whole series, is one of the most unconventional dalliances that I have ever read. While Sen obviously fascinates Everett, she also intimidates him quite a bit. Their interactions are largely stilted, hampered by the fact that they are often running for their lives, and I was gratified to find that the romance never overshadows the action packed plot of the novel. But I can't deny that I would have liked more resolution on the romance, and would have liked to see things progress a bit more than near-violent kissing just before Everett gears up for a mission.

I enjoyed Be My Enemy a lot and think that McDonald has written a solid follow-up to Planesrunner. These books are perfect for those looking to read a little science fiction but are unsure of a suitable starting point. I am looking forward to the next book, Empress of the Sun, which will be published next year.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.
You can read more of my reviews at Speculating on SpecFic. ( )
  alcarinqa | Oct 20, 2013 |
Originally Reviewed At: Mother/Gamer/Writer
Rating: 5 out of 5 Controllers
Review Source: Publisher
Reviewer: AimeeKay

I have been waiting forever to read Be My Enemy, the sequel to Planesrunner by Ian McDonald! (Okay it’s been less than a year…but still!) So I was uber-excited to see this one in my box of goodies from D. Luckily I wasn’t disappointed and enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed the first book.

Be My Enemy picks up where Planesrunner ended. Dr. Singh is still missing and Everett is stuck on a frozen version of earth trying to figure out a way to find him. I think that Be My Enemy is slightly darker than Planesrunner. In Planesrunner there is the sense that everything will somehow work out alright in the end. It didn’t, but it still had that vibe. Maybe because Everett is more optimistic? In Be My Enemy however, Everett finally begins to realize that fixing his problems might not be as easy as he believed. I think that this change in Everett is interesting and it definitely shows him maturing and fills him out as a character.

I also really liked that McDonald began to really introduce the fact that in the alternate Earths there are also alternate people. Yes it had already been presented in the first book, but in this one it really looked at it and examined a lot closer. How different circumstances change the alternates and can cause them to take divergent paths from each other. Yet, even with huge differences there seem to be some ingrained traits, choices, and actions, that remain the same. I won’t go into too much detail because I don’t want to spoil it.

This one ends pretty much the same as the previous one. There is a cliffie and still LOTS of unresolved issues. Course this one also ends with a possible nano-plague invasion of Everett’s home world, so the cliffie here is a bit steeper.

Overall, I loved this book. Again, I was pulled in from the very beginning and enjoyed every minute of the ride. If you haven’t already read Planesrunner I would recommend reading it before you pick up Be My Enemy. The second book can be read separately…but there are some things that the reader might not understand as much if they missed out on the first one. For example Sen’s Airish slang. If you haven’t read the first book then it might get a bit confusing as to why she speaks that way (Again though there is a handy little Palari dictionary in the back). I’m giving it 5 out of 5 controllers and I can’t wait to see where Everett goes to next! ( )
  momgamerwriter | Jul 17, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
McDonald, IanAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
GhostCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Picacio, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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14-year-old science whiz Everett Singh continues to outthink his enemies while navigating the multiverse searching for his dad, lost in a parallel universe.

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