|Stock photo, Amazon.com|
Since I had no further intention of finishing the novel at the time, I took the liberty of skipping ahead in the novel and scoping out how long it would take to get to the main plot. Sadly, in a book of 800 pages and counting, the main plot does not appear until halfway through the novel. I read incredibly long books (the book I'm currently reading 520 pages. Gail Z. Martin's novels are longer than that.), but the task of having to read so much extemporaneous plot and sub-plot, in addition to weak characters, made my head hurt a little. I should probably back off a little. After all, its not like I've ever written a fantasy story that's been critiqued by several groups of people or submitted a bad story that got rejected...oh wait, yes I have. Sorry, Ms. Larke. I have a strikingly different opinion about what an exposition should do, even in a long work. I am a technical writer by trade and a creative writer by choice. I strongly dislike novels of length that could easily have been shorter.
In exchange for the weak-sauce, I chose a slightly heartier dish, though still fundamentally bellow my reading level. Also, I traded fantasy this month for science fiction. *Gasp* Did she just say that? Yes, yes she did. The Eugenics Wars: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh has proven to be an excellent read despite its slow start and paltry attempt at espionage fiction. I've read good espionage fiction: this just doesn't qualify. Supernatural espionage fiction reads with a slightly more serious tone, though the character of Roberta Lincoln definitely takes the edge off of a what is, in reality, a dark future. Towards the end of the novel, not even her optimism for the future can stop the careening ball of chaos that is young Khan.
|Star Trek Wiki|
I disagree with the press surrounding this novel: I don't think this novel was so great as to make The X: Files look "unsophisticated". However, there are more good qualities than bad to this book, which is why I'm ready to start the second volume and looking forward to the penultimate story, To Reign in Hell: The Exile of Khan. Anything that uses a line from Milton as the title can't be all bad, and Greg Cox puts a great deal of research into his novels. Not as much, say, as Dan Simmons or Elizabeth Kostova, but enough to truly ground the work in a foreseeable reality, should eugenics be followed to its logical end. The truly frightening part of the story is not Khan himself, but the fact that fundamentalists really do exist, and that major support for eugenics programs comes from people who truly believe that we can build a master race. Even without the use of molecular science, there has always been a society on this planet trying to build a better humanity. For some, the belief that the world will only truly be safe when it is occupied by an elite group of superior men and women is a true sentiment. The Third Reich tried and failed, but who will be next to try again? It just goes to show us, for some people, evolution simply isn't enough.
I will give Glenda Larke another chance just as soon as I don't have so many awesome books to read first.