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Reviews of Worldwired (2005)

Review by clong (2006-03-25)
I spent the first third or so of this concluding book of the Jenny Casey trilogy missing the things that I had really enjoyed most about Hammered (fast paced action and intriguing characters like Mitch and Razorface). But things certainly picked up when Jenny and crew go EVA to explore the “birdcage” alien ship, and the pace never really slows down again after that. Some of the political machinations required a whole lot of suspension of disbelief, but the book succeeds in providing an entertaining story that builds suspense and leads to a satisfying climax with a real sense of closure.

I enjoyed Bear’s aliens (particularly the profoundly different from humanity birdcage aliens). At a fundamental level this book is about establishing communication, and the challenges of communicating with the aliens prove appropriately daunting (as opposed to the “we blink our lights three times, they blink their lights three times, and in no time we’re talking” approach). Leslie’s experiences with the birdcage aliens brought to mind the beautiful conclusion of James Tiptree’s Up the Walls of the World, one of my favorites.

I never connected with Charlie or Leslie or Riel in the way that I had with some of the characters in the first book, and Gabe and Elspeth are reduced to bit players. I wasn’t entirely convinced by the characters’ responses to the traumatic events of Scardown, but then it’s hard to know how people would respond to such events.

Still, I recommend the series and look forward to more from Bear.

©Steven Jeffery /, 2017
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