Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Review: ALTERED CARBON by Richard K. Morgan

Publisher Tantor
Length 17hrs 14mins
Format audiobook
Published 2005 (first published 2002)
Series Takeshi Kovacs #1
My Copy borrowed from the library

My Review
I have mixed feelings about this book.  I loved the premise that in the distant future, a person's consciousness can be stored in a stack and downloaded into a new body (or sleeve as is commonly referred to in the book), effectively eliminating a 'true death', yet felt the plot suffered from too many deviations, twists, and turns that did little to add what was, an interesting murder investigation - on the surface at least.

There's no doubt this book has broad appeal blending sci-fi and hardboiled elements - it's what hooked me in but it's way too long and there are too many characters to really get a good grounding on who everyone is and what role they play in the murder investigation. Protagonist Takeshi Kovacs aside, I didn't connect with any of characters in the book, which is a problem when the audio version spans some 17hrs and change.  

Speaking of the audio version, narrator Todd McLaren seemed like a good fit but I did find his dry monotone distracting at times, particularly when switching between description and dialogue. Some of the character voices were off as well which contributed to the confusion.

Overall I really struggled to get a handle on what was going on and I think this is largely attributed to the audio version, in paper it's much easier to go back and re-read a passage whereas in audio, doing the same is difficult. Richard K Morgan also had a tendency to let his character drift off and explore side plots which detracted from the progress of the murder investigation he'd been assigned.

2/5 stars - I will at some stage pick up a print copy to read as I do think the story is much better than a 2 star rating, but the audio edition really failed to hit the right notes with me. 

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