Thursday, February 19, 2015

Review::Grey Engines by Gareth Lewis

Original Review::May of 2014Grey EnginesGrey Engines by Gareth Lewis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Grey Engines by Gareth Lewis

I originally read this on Scrib'd but opted to buy it for my Kindle so I could make notes and do highlighting which are impossible to do in Scrib'd also it's impossible to do a simple dictionary lookup because of the nature of the Scrib'd files. All of these features need to be constructed and built into Scrib'd to accomodate their encryption or it makes it difficult for someone to go back and find things of interest not to mention the seach engine doesn't work at all .

This story is a great story for anyone who loves those MMORPG's and wondered what it might be like to be connected to everyone in a virtual world. The virtual world is not quite fully built yet but the Avatars are here with the people who can wander away from thier physical bodies and into an electronic environment. These are the survivors of the psychic attack by some form of psyonic bomb. Those left with telepathic abilities and a need to cope with their new world and to diligently watch for the impending invasion from the race responsible for sending the bomb.

In a highly structured society the invasion is going to shoehorn itself into their lives at the same time that many begin to question the leaders over the issue of who is in charge. While preparing for attack some day soon the leaders have kept a few secrets from thie poeple and when the invasion force arrive some of the secrets might be the only means of survival if they can get them out of hiding in time.

It's rather difficult to tell as this story starts just who the story is about. There are probably four or more groups of people this centers on but the one that strikes me as the most potable for the main plot is Sarah and her interaction with Thomas who proves to be one of the many secrets that have been shuffled off to the side. Thomas is by far the most interestingly developed characters but the problem with Thomas is that his whole character development revolves around the way he speaks and that turns out to be a fiction he created thus making him the most unreliable character you could have in a novel.

That leaves us with Sarah who is probably the most believable character in the bunch. From there there is her boyfriend Daniel who seems to be present to develop most of the real action scenes. I was a bit disappointed that we saw less of Sarah because I was certain that the part of the story that her life covers seems to contain the most consistent plot elements and introduces us to the ghost minds and the fact that Thomas is carrying a dark secret around with him. Not to mention that Thomas and Sarah are pivotal in the final resolution.

That much said: there are still a number of annoying things Gareth Lewis's choice of style in writing. There are a consistent number of sentence whose structure can only be best discribed as having the same flaws that passive sentences have. The sentences become cumbersome and difficult to read many times-not to mention the weird nature of almost double negatives.

In two instances we have this mouthful that says

Svetlana's idea may not be without some merit."
Lewis, Gareth (2013-11-11). Grey Engines (Kindle Location 1461). . Kindle Edition.

"Your idea may not be without merit."
Lewis, Gareth (2013-11-11). Grey Engines (Kindle Location 1766). . Kindle Edition.
:which I think might mean the same as (might have some merit) but i'm not sure. And this is used at least twice.
Had the surrounding text supported some other negative aspects in list or such then I might be tempted to see the rhythmic nature of saying it this way.

And then there is this mouth full.

He felt a sigh in his mind, but Akili's consciousness stayed with him as he detached from his body, travelling to where the others towards prepared to intercept the vessel.

Lewis, Gareth (2013-11-11). Grey Engines (Kindle Locations 1191-1192). . Kindle Edition.

There are at least a dozen more like this that made me stop and think and I'm pretty sure each time I was able to unfold them properly.

All of that aside the story itself is very good and well told beyond those speed-bumps. Though I do have a problem with the plot because on the surface it seems to be Man against Alien : the alien's have used a weapon meant to wipe out mankind before they arrive to steal resources from a now dead planet(assumed dead). So you would think the alien invasion and the conflict and the outcome would encompass the plot, but I was torn because there is a sub-plot with the administrators of Earth in the new society and how there decisions impact certain characters including Thomas and Sarah and the internal conflict Sarah eventually has to deal with along with the guilt Thomas has to deal with while trying to force Sarah to face some realities. And this does not even cover all of Thomas's secrets. And the subplot seemed to hold more weight than the surface plot.

Really you will have to read this to decide for yourself.

Once more this is great SFF for those who like the science just a bit soft boiled.

J.L. Dobias

View all my reviews

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