Friday, May 07, 2010

The Superlative Stream

Pay attention, freehead. There's something important going on in Kerry Nietz's The Superlative Stream.

Sandfly and HardCandy have survived their trip to Betelgeuse system, searching for what Sandfly calls the superlative stream. They've ridden in a ship called DarkTrench to seek it out but when they arrive at Betelgeuse, they don't find what they're looking for. Instead, they find a solitary planet, one that hadn't been there before, a planet populated by an enigmatic race that HardCandy thinks might be jinn. Will Sandfly figure out what's really going on? Will they ever find the superlative stream?

This is a great continuation of Nietz's series, following a future where Islam has come to dominate the world. Sandfly and HardCandy are "debuggers," people implanted with special cybernetic devices that allow them to interact with machines and repair them. Nietz's world is vibrant and alive, filled with its own terminology and logic. It might take a bit of getting used to for the uninitiated, but it's a wild story, focused around a being Nietz refers to as A-A^3 and who shows up in some rather unusual ways.

The story is engaging on many levels. Even the flashbacks to HardCandy's past fascinated, allowing us to see how the "Abdul" society operates as a whole and treats certain people. When I went into this book, I honestly had no idea how this book would play out. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

There was only one thing that rankled me about the book and that's the ultimate identity of the jinn. I guess it's a personal foible of mine but it fell a little flat once I realized who and what they were. Not that I was upset with their identity. It just seemed a little predictable.

But this is shaping up to be a great series. I'll be waiting to see how it all ends in what I assume is the third book.

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