“A fast-paced, easy read that envelopes you in an intricate sci-fi adventure; while at its core the story ponders the essence of human consciousness--what does it mean to be human.
The first three chapters involved many flashbacks to form expository background. At first, I was thinking: "Don't tell me, show me." And then the author does. The action picks up rapidly and the world Fan creates comes alive. Every nickname has a meaning (so look up the words if you don't know them).
The scenes shift vividly, creating a rich variety of locals from a desert planet to a city of sin.
The main characters grow with the story, especially Jane, whom I really didn't like at first. But her sharp tongue soon unveils an unyielding soul & a brave heart. It was a pleasure to see such a strong female character.
In general, beings are not (or may not be) what they seem, which creates a central element of tension in the story. Without spoiling too much, I'll add that the thing I wished the story would do, it did-- exploring AI's in an unexpected way.
Deftly using the question of whether artificial intelligence can be as real as humans--the author delves deeper into the question of what makes us human; i.e.: what constitutes the soul and its relationship to a creator.
My philosophy is different from Fan's in that I am a follower of Objectivism, and define consciousness as the faculty of perceiving that which exists, not the reflection of a higher being. Rationality, therefore, is a process of consciousness in my eyes, not something to be treated apart. I also treat emotions differently, in that I consider emotions to stem directly from ideas (both rational and irrational ones).
To the author, on the other hand, there is a dichotomy of emotion and thought. Emotion and values are hence excluded from reason and ascribed to the mind, or consciousness. The conclusion that man is a being of both consciousness and reason is one both the author and I agree on, of course. But though Fan turns to a higher realm to complete man; I think consciousness can fulfill its essence via reason and its study of existence.
STYLE & CHARACTERIZATION:
The novel is written for YA or readers who enjoy a quick, easy read. Despite this, the language is rich and beautiful. Descriptions like the family estate of the Colt's are outstanding.
The characters are very young in spirit, especially as manifest through their dialogue, bravado and humor. The unemotional nature of artificial beings is probably why I liked them more. Their humor was more sophisticated, even if unintended on their part.
To sum, in combining a light spirit with an analysis of philosophical issues, this novel provides a compelling read for lovers of YA sci-fi. ”