Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Reader King does a fine job presenting this complex tale of alternate futures, nefarious plots, time travel, and gruesome crimes. In the not-so-distant-future, gamer Flynne Fisher is covering a beta-testing shift for her ex-Marine brother when she witnesses what she thinks is a murder-"some kind of nanotech chainsaw fantasy." This new game connects Flynne, her brother, and their friends to a fantastical future world, where Flynne learns that her life in the present is in danger. King is handed a lot in this reading-shifting time periods, different points of view, tons of sci-fi speak, and a multitude of characters-and she handles it all with consummate skill. Her characters, especially the smart and sardonic Flynne, are nicely portrayed with precise individual personalities that fit perfectly. Her pacing is spot-on, never bogging down even when the story calls for a lot of exposition. In lesser hands such expository passages would grind this book to a mind-numbing halt, but King's intelligent and engaging reading holds the listener solidly from one disc to the next. A Putnam hardcover. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
While placed firmly in the sci-fi genre of his earlier works, Gibson's latest retains the social commentary from his more recent novels (Zero History, 2010, etc.).Most Gibson plots essentially concern a race for a particular piece of informationone side seeks to possess it, the other to suppress it. (Although to be fair, isn't that the plot of most thrillers?) What sets each book apart is the worldbuilding that surrounds that plot kernel. This time around, it's particularly intriguing. Flynne, a young woman living in a poor, rural American county (probably Southern, though it's never specified) in the near future, believes she's beta testing a video game, witnessing the "death" of a virtual character in an urban high-rise. In fact, Flynne has gotten a view into a possible London existing decades in the future and has seen an actual woman get murdered. The two timelines can exchange information and visit each other virtually, via the androidlike "peripherals" of the title. That ability is enough for various future factions to hire killers to go after Flynne and her family or to protect them from that fate, as well as to change the events of her timeline sufficiently enough to ensure that it will never become that future, where, despite considerable scientific advancement, a cascade of disasters has eliminated the majority of human and animal life. Gibson's strength has always been in establishing setting, while his characters tend to seem a bit blank and inaccessible; for example, alcoholic Wilf's constant attempts to reach for a drink read more like an annoyingly persistent quirk than a serious psychological problem. Gibson seems to leave his characters' motives deliberately obscure; due to that and his tendency to pour his energy into the chase, not the goal, the story's resolution basically fizzles. This is quintessential Gibson: gonzo yet cool, sharp-edged, sophisticatedbut ultimately, vaguely unsatisfying. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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