Broken Angels

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brokenangels.jpg

Richard Morgan

GENRES:
Sci-Fi, Military

SUMMARY:
30 years after the events in Altered Carbon, Takeshi Kovacs finds himself fighting a brutal war for the corporate-controlled government on the colonial planet of Sanction IV. Despite his Envoy training and combat-modified body, Kovacs is injured, exhausted, and lost in a haze of apathy and cynicism.

During his rehabilitation, he meets Jan, a small-time crook who has a grand plan to get rich and escape the miseries of the war. At Jan's insistence, Kovacs rescues Tanya Wardani, an archaeologist who was in the midst of a mysterious and important dig when she was captured and imprisoned in a war camp.

Together with a team of newly recruited soldiers, Kovacs and his team revisit Wardani's radioactive dig site to unlock the door to a Martian civilisation which may hold the secrets to the awesome technology humans have used but not understood.

RESPONSE:
This was a solid follow-up to Altered Carbon with an even more complex and twisting plot. None of the characters are exactly likeable, but they certainly are intriguing. Unsurprisingly, the most likeable character is Kovacs himself; despite his often brutal and harsh actions, you just have to admire his almost superhero-like ability to survive at all costs.

Nevertheless, I found this book extremely difficult to get into, and I didn't really start enjoying it until about 2/3 of the way through. Part of the reason I enjoyed Altered Carbon so much was due to the concepts behind it- the downloadable personalities, the notion of immortality, and the associated consequences for humanity. All of these concepts are still an integral part of the story in Broken Angels, but they're no longer so new and exciting.

Compared to the first book, Kovacs seemed to have lost his shine as well. He was weaker, less confident, and prone to hallucinations- of course, this may have to do with his exhaustion from constant combat, apathy and disillusionment of war and society, and exposure to high levels of radiation throughout most of the book. I suppose I should cut the character some slack, but part of me just wanted the more abrasive, confident, almost omnipotent operative from the first book.

Finally, I think I may just not have enjoyed this book that much because I'm not too fond of military science fiction!

Having said all this, Broken Angels introduced some really interesting elements about the Martian civilisation and technology that humans stumbled upon, so I will be reading the next book in the series.

POINT BLANK: A worthy sequel, but it just doesn't have the punch of its predecessor.

Kovacs Trilogy

Rachel threw down the challenge to read these three books and see what I thought. I have to say that I loved all three for different reasons.

Despite myself I found myself on the side of Kovacs - a character who kills at least one person per page on average (or is that more than one? someone should do the math) and treats women as playthings.

This book was pure escapism. And reading about Kovacs world certainly makes me grateful to live in this century.