A Review of Century Rain

21:08 Mon 13 Nov 2006
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Century Rain doesn’t take place in the same universe as the other Alastair Reynolds books I’ve read (Redemption Ark, Revelation Space, Chasm City). This universe posits an Earth abandoned by humans after a nanotechnological disaster.

Without giving anything away, it also sets part of its story in 1950s Paris, albeit a 1950s Paris that differs subtly from the one we know. A post-nanotechnological-disaster researcher, Verity Auger, ends up in this Paris, where she meets an indigenous private detective, Wendell Floyd. The two of them get caught up in untangling a mystery that involves the nature of the relationship between their worlds, and also involves major players in a larger conflict in Auger’s universe.

I enjoyed the unwrapping of the connection between the worlds, but overall felt disappointed by the novel. Neither Verity nor Wendell really came to life for me, and their romantic involvement struck me as unlikely and contrived. The pacing of the book felt off-kilter to me also.

In addition, the mystery of the entire setup does not get completely solved, and while that seems fair enough for a single book, it also left certain aspects with a deus ex machina quality.

I did laugh out loud at the etymology of the name of one of the human factions.

I enjoyed Century Rain, but think of it as firmly in the “okay to good” category.

(I read Century Rain from 30 August 2006 to 02 September 2006.)

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