Sunday, 5 October 2014

Tiago and the Masterless
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Author:  Charles Barouch
Genre: SciFi
Book Rating: 8.5
Personal Rating: 9

This book was a very enjoyable read.  The characters were fun, and I never felt for a moment that it was dragging along.  There was even some really nice humor interspersed in here.  All in all this was an almost perfect book. 
The beginning kept me wanting to read.  Our hero meets a mysterious man.  What are they meeting for, why is this man from the past not here in the future.  It was dark, mysterious, intriguing and the why was the perfect why to keep me enticed to keep reading.  Truth be told I still want to know what happened to this other man.  Why isn’t he here? Did he die, did he betray Tiago somehow and that’s why he stole the ship alone.  What the hell happened?  Consider me thrilled with that plot line.

I like the idea of someone being lost in space on a massive ship with apparently unlimited resources dealing with humanity.  There’s nothing but sims to talk to and even though they are almost human, they just aren’t.   He comes to the realization that nothing quite beats actual contact with a real life form.  Human or alien for that matter.  Sadly he’s so lost in space that the ship has no coordinates or any idea of their location.  His quest to find civilizations somewhere in the endless void of space is written well enough for you to feel his need to reach other humans somewhere.

His heavily hacked and redesigned, by his own hand, SIM Audra is very well written as well.  She’s the closet thing Tiago has to a human and his only friend aboard the stolen vessel.  In the back of my head I was secretly hoping a romance would brew.  Human and SIM.  Is it possible?  Is it legal?  Would it even matter seeing as he’s a fugitive?

In any case they ultimately come upon a planet which shows no life yet manages to be firing missiles somehow.  Audra insist Tiago is going about it all wrong but naturally the human is like ‘don’t be ridiculous” and ignores her for a long time.  It’s a nice little bit of how the answers can be right in front of you sometimes.

The ship itself also makes a good character.  It’s described through the eyes of Tiago and never in a way that makes you go, “Ugh, more of this scifi stuff my normal brain can not comprehend.”  It actually makes easy sense and isn’t difficult to follow.  The ship apparently has flaws, or rules between sim and the main computer that hinder Tiago's process.  He thinks they are stupid.  I think otherwise.  But that’s a whole nother story.

The plot points are executed rather well.  The writing style is also very good, and just the basic premise of what the Masterless, have done and can do gives the story a nice twist as the end quickly approaches at a pace that says, oh no the end is here but I cant stop reading.  So why an 8.5.  The ending.  I was on the edge of my seat and poof the book was in the tie up everything so we can end this book phase.  That phase that comes after the unofficial end of all books.  I honestly thought maybe I missed it but when I reread it all I could think was ‘it couldn’t be that easy” when faced with eminent destruction it only takes a sentence for the war to be over.  And if so I strongly doubt Tiago is the only one smart enough to realize this.  I just couldn’t buy it.  Was so let down I sorta didn’t pay much attention to the real ending. 

More fight, more certain death, just more umph after all that build up would’ve been way better.  Kind of like Christopher Paolini's big over drawn it was really that easy end fight for the inheritance cycle.  Just a let down. 

But all that aside there is no denying this is a good read.  A well-written and wonderful piece of scifi as it gives you all the cool gadgets without actually being about the technology and more about the things humans need beyond that to feel human.  I’d recommend this book to anyone who’s looking for a page-turner I know I should go sleep but I can’t stop reading kind of novel.  That’s how I felt reading this. It was a well put together breath of scifi fresh air and I can’t wait to read the second installment.

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