May 3, 2011

Review: The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi

The Quantum Thief
Author: Hannu Rajaniemi
Publisher: Tor Books
ISBN: 0765329492
Release Date: May 10, 2011
Pre-Order Information:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

*Novel provided by the author via GoodReads

For more information please visit Hanny Rajaniemi's website.
Jean le Flambeur is a post-human criminal, mind burglar, confidence artist, and trickster. His origins are shrouded in mystery, but his exploits are known throughout the Heterarchy— from breaking into the vast Zeusbrains of the Inner System to stealing rare Earth antiques from the aristocrats of Mars. Now he’s confined inside the Dilemma Prison, where every day he has to get up and kill himself before his other self can kill him.

Rescued by the mysterious Mieli and her flirtatious spacecraft, Jean is taken to the Oubliette, the Moving City of Mars, where time is currency, memories are treasures, and a moon-turnedsingularity lights the night. What Mieli offers is the chance to win back his freedom and the powers of his old self—in exchange for finishing the one heist he never quite managed.

As Jean undertakes a series of capers on behalf of Mieli and her mysterious masters, elsewhere in the Oubliette investigator Isidore Beautrelet is called in to investigate the murder of a chocolatier, and finds himself on the trail of an arch-criminal, a man named le Flambeur….

The Quantum Thief is a crazy joyride through the solar system several centuries hence, a world of marching cities, ubiquitous public-key encryption, people communicating by sharing memories, and a race of hyper-advanced humans who originated as MMORPG guild members. But for all its wonders, it is also a story powered by very human motives of betrayal, revenge, and jealousy. It is a stunning debut.
The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi was definitely not what I had expected going in. Filled with a wildly creative world that left me jumbled, I was a little put off and ultimately had to abandon this novel due to sheer confusion. From the onset, the complex reality left me dumb  andat a loss to follow the flow of thoughts and point of view shifts making it difficult to get an adequate read on the characters. This was definitely something that immediately irked me because if I can't differentiate the characters then that leaves little hope of me being able to follow the intricate, theoretical plot line of a world that is so far from our own.

Without a doubt the theoretical principles at work within this novel lend themselves wonderfully to creating a world where literally anything can happen, for instance a jail where the prisoners play a never ending game of life and death, where they replicate like viruses or are slowly surrounded by the other inmates. This was definitely something that instantly threw me off because it was just so bizarre.

However, while this may not have been my cup of tea, there is certainly something to be said for the writing style of the author. While it may have left me scratching my head, the obvious intelligence of the author comes streaming through in a great writing style that made me want to understand what was going on. Obviously, that didn't happen though. This is definitely more geared towards die hard fans of science fiction that can understand and enjoy learning about a completely new world that have little to no similarities to our own. But, if your like me, and like a little more reality in my un-reality, then you will find this a hard novel to step in to with a complex world unlike anything that I have ever read before. I definitely was hoping that more exploration and explanation would be forth coming, but after about fifty pages I was still left wandering blindly in the dark lulled only by the great voice of the author, not the characters.

In the end this was a DNF (Did Not Finish) for me, but maybe I just wasn't in the right 'broad' span of mind for this novel. I would not recommend it to sci-fi 'light' readers who prefer a little normalcy in their science fiction, but those that are easily engrossed in mysterious worlds and cultures, then this is probably for you. And to be honest, this did seem like a great novel for anyone who could delve a bit deeper, because obviously there are some wonderful, glowing reviews out there for it. I only wish that mine could have been one of them.

My Rating: 1 out 5 Scars

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