Thursday, June 2, 2011

Book Review: Lyda Morehouse’s Resurrection Code

I used to be a voracious reader. I wasn't a fast reader, but I was dedicated, and like the proverbial turtle, I made the finish line more often than most. I couldn't even tell you how many books I've read in my lifetime, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if that number is in the high hundreds.

Writing has changed all that. I now spend the vast majority of my time writing and I bet I haven't read more than a dozen books in the last three years. So you can understand how excited I get when I actually have an opportunity to do some serious reading, like on a vacation. I try to choose my books carefully, but more often than not I find myself underwhelmed or flat-out disappointed.

My latest read, consumed by the pool in Vegas, was Lyda Morehouse’s Resurrection Code. Resurrection Code is a fun, exciting, thought-provoking dose of boo-yah! in a marketplace overrun by safe, unexceptional, and unoriginal fare. It's also, in my humble opinion, the best book Lyda has written in several years.

Resurrection Code is billed as a prequel to the other four books in her Angel Link universe but it also works as – if not quite a sequel – a coda to what came before. The book starts out in the present with Mouse (international hacker extraordinaire), Page (the sentient AI Mouse created), and Dierdre (PI with an Angel fetish) but doesn't waste time before flashing to the prequel. The story weaves back and forth between coda and prequel, and Lyda manages to intertwine the stories with polished ease. The coda story starts like a walk in the park with old friends, then quickly develops into a story in its own right, but the heart of the book is the prequel, which takes us into a part of the Angel Link universe that the previous books only gave us the barest glimpses of.

That this was the first book in the Angel Link universe in several years was immediately obvious. Maybe it's just that I haven't read one of those books in a long time, but I felt that the tone of Resurrection Code was colored by Lyda’s experience writing as Tate Hallaway. Turns out that color is a good thing. I felt like there was a new, natural whimsy to the writing that enhanced, rather detracted from the serious nature of the underlying themes.

Did I say themes? All good science fiction has an underlying theme and Resurrection Code is no exception. In this case that theme is gender, or more specifically, transgender. Without giving anything away, the prequel story features a heretofore unknown transgender character. There's a bit of romance, and while it's sweet, the story doesn't shy away from the realities faced by our transgender brothers and sisters. This story challenges your preconceptions and makes you think. That also is a good thing.

Is there anything didn't I like? I could've done without some of the pop culture nods, particularly the zombies, which felt a little crowbarred in, but that’s a giant nit pick among nits. And now I'm remembering the Battlestar Galactica reference - that was full of awesome, so I guess I’m Mr. Inconsistent.

What was my favorite thing? I have two. The first was Page’s commentary to the Mouse interviews that begin each chapter. Hilarious! The second is Morningstar. That’s Satan to the rest of you. Not a pitchfork and horns Satan, but an approachable – dare I say sexy? –Satan who all too often reminds us of ourselves.

In closing, go buy it. You won't be disappointed.

Disclaimer: I know Lyda. Were not bosom buddies (heh, I said bosom) but we’ve shared a laugh or two, so take that for whatever it's worth. Even so, I'm not afraid to dish out criticism where appropriate. Just ask my fellow Scribblerati!

** UPDATE 6-5-11: So, while this comment was fun to write "in a marketplace overrun by safe, unexceptional, and unoriginal fare" it's not fair to those of you working hard to write, publish, etc. I'm sure there's great stuff out there, I just haven't stumbled on to much of it and that's more my fault than anyone else's.

I feel better now - conscience absolved! :-P

1 comment:

Mark Teats said...

Hi Shawn. Good review. Sounds like a good book!