Book Review: World’s End

003_bookreviewRead for: Sequel to The Snow Queen – Feminist Science Fiction Fans selection December 2013
Rating: 2.5/5
This is the second novel in the Snow Queen cycle by Joan D. Vinge, expanding on police inspector BZ Gundhalinu’s storyline after he left Tiamat. Firstly, BZ was a fairly big character in Snow Queen, but not quite big enough to warrant a spin-off, if you ask me. It did, however, give him a chance to redeem himself, so-to-speak, after dwindling into one of the most (but not quite the most) pathetic character in the Hugo Award winning start to this cycle. While overall I did enjoy this quick read (much, much shorter than it’s predecessor; this book feels like an intermission between the Snow and Summer Queen installments) there was a lot about it that irked me. The POV in the chapters, for one. The first chapter is written in third-person, then for the second chapter it switches to a first-person account by BZ in the form of voice logs. Fine. Towards the middle of the book, however, as BZ begins to lose track of the days of his journey into World’s End in search of both his brothers and the sybil named Song, the chapters are no longer titled “Day 32” etc and instead just dive into BZ’s first-person account of events, though it’s no longer clear if these chapters are meant to be voice logs. If that is the case, then BZ certainly becomes a very descriptive ‘logger’; it’s hard to believe at this point that the writing, which becomes more descriptive and includes more characters, is being ‘spoken’ by BZ. Then for the last chapter we are back at third-person POV. This didn’t really interfere with my reading the novel, but was definitely something I noted. It’s unclear what the point of the POV shift was in the first and last chapters. With regards to the story, it becomes less and less “believable” (yes I realize sci-fi doesn’t need to always be believable, but it helps) as BZ makes discoveries about the source of the voices he hears from the Lava Lake. His hallucinations also become hard to follow. Additionally, there is a sex scene injected willy-nilly into the story which was both random in terms of the character’s storylines and, in my opinion, poorly written. I’d quote it, but I’d like to remain family friendly ’round here. Despite it’s shortcomings, it did keep me interested from start to finish and I am looking forward to moving on to the next book of the cycle, The Summer Queen.

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