Author: Charles Stross
Rating: 4 Stars
Review By: Shana
âThis turned out to be a clever, satirical, well-plotted SF/techno-thriller. It is the near future (well, since this was written in 2007, it actually takes place in what was then a future 2018), and the action centers on a rather unique bank heist. Of course, the bank in question is located in a virtual world peopled by fairies, wizards, dragons, and orcs. So when the police are called in, this is no easy crime to solve.
I am glad I kept reading despite my difficulty in getting into the book at first. Stross has used three point-of-view characters and each thread is told in the second person, a POV I havenât seen much of since my âchoose your own adventureâ days. With it told from the second person the reader becomes each different character in turn. This makes it all the more disorienting as you leap from Elaine (a forensic accountant with a medieval battle reenactment hobby), to Sue (a tough-minded Scottish police sergeant), to Jack (an insecure, unemployed game programmer). It helps that you get to like all three characters and that Stross has a good eye for the humor in our technological present and future, and a definite fondness for gamers and everyoneâs desire to escape their reality.
The story is a little convoluted, but it mostly makes sense and its complexity is believable. Perhaps the highest praise I can give was I really wanted to know what happened to some of the characters after the story ended. If you like William Gibson-esque tech, but want a little Vonnegut humor and flair, you could do worse than Halting State.
My love of reading was sparked in 3rd grade by the promise of personal pan pizzas via the BOOK IT! Program. Hmmmm... any chance that someone might give adults free food for reading? Asking for a friend...