Woken Furies

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wokenfuries.jpg

Richard Morgan

GENRES:
Sci-Fi, Cyberpunk, Crime

SUMMARY:
Takeshi Kovacs has returned to his homeworld, Harlan's World, a planet of islands ruled by the First Families. Harlan's World is also protected by the automated and uncontrollable Martian orbitals which instantly incinerate anything flying in the sky.

The story opens with Kovacs in the process of carrying out a mysterious and deadly vendetta against an ultraconservative sect of priests. After Kovacs' latest attack, he meets Sylive, the leader of a band of mercenaries who is biotechnologically adapted to communicate with most wireless networks. Unfortuantely, this skill also seems to have let unknown digital codes into her mind. Kovacs is intrigued by Sylive and almost immediately joins her team.

Of course things don't stay chummy and relaxed for long. Kovacs is being hunted by, well, another version of himself. The First Families illegally backed up a digital version of Kovacs when he was much younger and have since brought him out of storage to hunt down, well, himself. As our Kovacs dodges this new threat, he gradually unravels a mystery that could change his world forever and shatter the First Families' rule.

RESPONSE:
I was a bit wary of starting this book after reading its predecessor Broken Angels since I didn't much care for that one due to its military focus. Lucky for me, Woken Furies is a return to the gritty urban adventure and crime vibe of Altered Carbon. Kovacs runs all over Harlan's World, trekking through techno-wastelands, ghettoes, Martian ruins, and even a pirate ship. Sounds over-the-top, but Morgan still manages to make his story and the setting realistic as gritty as a mouthful of gravel.

In Altered Carbon, Morgan explores the concept of immortality and what it mean for humanity. In Woken Furies, Morgan takes this concept further and asks what it would mean for humans to not only be able to live forever, but to no longer be dependent on their bodies. It's a concept authors like Greg Egan take to an extreme, but I find Morgan's focus on the transition between body and complete digital consciousness much more interesting and personal.

I thought it was odd that there was almost no mention of what happened in the previous novels in the series, particularly the unresolved Martian technological discoveries from Broken Angels. Surprise surprise, it all came together at the end of this 3rd book.

The ensemble characters were wonderful, with some old friends appearing from Kovacs' distant past. Even if you don't like the characters (and there are admittedly very few truly likable characters in Morgan's books), they're damn entertaining. There is a small cynical part of me that thought the same old Kovacs anti-hero routine was a tad stale. After all, there's only so much gratuitous sex, graphic violence, and psychological and physical gynmastics a character can undertake, right? Naaaahhhh. It's all good fun, and I do love this character and was sad to see this series end.

POINT BLANK:
A fitting end to a unique and gritty series.