Friday, 12 October 2012

Review: Resonance

Resonance by Chris Dolley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's not often that I buy a book thinking it's something completely different from what it actually is, and still end up giving it five stars.

I wasn't in the mood for anything that was already on my Kindle, and I felt like something amusing, so I thought, "That steampunk Wodehouse pastiche [b:What Ho, Automaton!|11097620|What Ho, Automaton!|Chris Dolley||16019636] was funny. I'll get something else by the same guy." I glanced over the Amazon reviews for Resonance, and one of them described it as a "romp", plus it was getting lots of stars, so I grabbed it.

It's not a romp. It's not funny, really, at all, except for moments here and there. What it is is a really, really good technothriller which gripped me almost continuously from beginning to end.

Chris Dolley pulls off a few remarkable feats here. Firstly, he has the characters provide a series of completely different, complex explanations for the strangeness that's going on in their lives, and makes them all sound reasonable. Secondly, he makes an uncommunicative, almost autistic, obsessive-compulsive man who deliberately leads a boring, predictable life his main character, and then keeps me on the edge of my seat through the whole book while I cheer for the guy. And thirdly, he writes an ending that didn't let down the rest of the book.

The premise, when we finally learn what is actually going on, doesn't bear close scrutiny as science or even a self-consistent system, but as a fictional premise it worked well for me. Certainly it was no worse than anything Michael Chricton uses, and Michael Chricton is the author I was most reminded of here.

Even when Chris Dolley isn't funny, he's good. I'll remember that.

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