Undercity - Catherine Asaro2021-03-19 #books #reviews #catherine asaro #scifi #books:2021 #published:2014
GoodReads Summary: Major Bhaajan, a former military officer with Imperial Space Command, is now a hard-bitten P.I. with a load of baggage to deal with, and clients with woes sometimes personal, sometimes galaxy-shattering, and sometimes both. Bhaajan must sift through the shadows of dark and dangerous Undercity—the enormous capital of a vast star empire—to find answers.
There are some cool elements in this book, but I felt like it tried to stretch too long and lost its pacing after the middle.
For example, a city built by humans teleported billions on kilometres across the space, getting in another planet, having to learn the technology present to survive. That's cool.
On the other hand, the fact that the current story is 5.000 years after that make things a bit hard to swallow. I mean, look how much we changed in 100 years here, imagine how much things would change in 50 times that. But it feels like the current state is pretty much the same as 5.000 years before, so it feels the whole thing was managed by incompetents (we learn magical technology and then nothing).
Another interesting factor: The whole vision of a world controlled by women. It really twists the current state of a male society around, when men being "pretty" and women being the strong ones. The start of the book this is a bit too much -- I mean, men are really shown as being just pretty pieces of meat, and I'm not saying this 'cause I'm a man and I can clearly see that society today treats women like that, but heck, let's kill it. 5.000 years, remember? 5.000 years and we still treat people like pretty things to shown around? Fortunately, later this distinction mellows a bit, with the "pretty men" getting out of the story.
Unfortunately, by the end of the book, things get so confusing to follow around that I really didn't care anymore. Dialogues are well constructed, but descriptions of sewers and such got way over me. The destruction of said sewers? It was so confusing to me that I couldn't follow the story anymore -- and I simply let it flow and waited for the dialogues.
Speaking of dialogues, the whole bunch is told in first person and there seems to be a lot of "internal talking" just to expose things. Some are nice and really contribute to the story, some are lengthy and add mostly nothing, and some are... shallow.
Since this is a first book, I can understand that the following books may be more involving (to me, at least).