Thursday, March 06, 2008

[Mini Review] JD’s Take - Devices and Desires (K.J. Parker)

I bought this book because it was a fantasy novel featuring an engineer as the protagonist. I mean... how could I *not* buy that? And while I think that idea has a lot of potential, this novel (or rather, the first half of this novel, I got bored and wandered away at about that point, and haven't picked it up to finish it) reads like a novel about an engineer who the author idolized, but who broke her heart. The flaws of a stereotypical engineer are magnified (emotionless, socially disconnected, arrogant, perfectionist, anal-retentive, etc, etc) to an extent that makes it impossible to sympathize with the character. This is balanced out by the stereotypical abilities of an engineer (jury-rigging, perfectionism, planning, scientific understanding, determination, patience, etc, etc) being magnified to the level of super-powers. Also, nothing happens. Ever. No plot advances, no plans take shape, no clever devices are built.

This is the first in the three book series that I have no interest in finishing. It takes itself far too seriously for a book in which the main character bests two guards who have captured him and are going to execute him... while his hands are tied... with no physical training or combat experience... using only his knowledge of mechanics. Seriously. If physics classes taught us how to kill, I imagine engineers would get a lot more respect.

Bottom Line: Pass.

No comments: