Reviews of Inversions (1998)
Review by clong (2005-03-02)
This was an interesting book, although ultimately not as compelling as Banks' best.
It is part of the Culture series, but doesn't explicitly address the Culture. If you have never read a Culture book, this book would leave you with no idea what the Culture is, or how the two protagonists in this book fit into it (not that this necessarily detracts from the story, but I think Banks veterans will read this story quite differently than a first time reader).
Inversions a story of two mysterious people trying to gently guide two rather barbaric rival medieval countries towards a more enlightened future. In the end, it becomes clear that any success they (or the reader) may have thought they were having was probably illusory. The story provides plenty of opportunities to raise interesting ethical questions. It is an effective novel that builds tension, but I was disappointed by the ending, which left me feeling manipulated.
Review by joel (2003-07-19)
_Inversions_ is a solid medieval romance, and is mainly interesting for the occasionally fascinating interplay between medieval thought and hyper-enlightened Culture philosophy. The dialogue is witty and as subtle as ever. However, I would recommend it only to obsessive Banks fans. Don't go into it expecting high-tech action - the most advanced technology (explicitly mentioned) is a crossbow. Culture influence is obvious, but is limited to strong implications here and there. I found the plot to be quite slow, and while there are interesting passages, it was difficult not to put it down.
Review by sqbr (2003-07-05)
As a book in it's own right this is ok, but as a Culture book it's not so good. It lacks the interesting subtlety in the others (Excpet "Against a Dark background", which is simply bad)
Worth reading if your expectations are low enough, I imagine, but mine were high so it irked me!
Review by klilly (2003-03-30)
Inversions, indeed. An interesting take on the Culture from unique perspective. Often subtle, like the best Banks, this is more like a series of vignettes, each of which reflect on the Culture without being explicit. And as always, Banks' style and prose is top notch.
Review by E-Tigger (2003-03-12)
Takes place on a non-Culture world, dealing with non-Culture issues.
The Culture's sole contribution is in the potential nature of the protagonists.