Rameau’s Ramblings: This was one of our Scoundrel reads for Blodeuedd’s blog and thus doesn’t only qualify as a second opinion but as a third.
Originally posted on Goodreads on February 14th 2013.
Trained since childhood in advanced biocyph seed technology by the all-powerful Crib empire, Edie’s mission is to terraform alien worlds while her masters bleed the outlawed Fringe populations dry. When renegade mercenaries kidnap Edie, she’s not entirely sure it’s a bad thing . . . until they leash her to a bodyguard, Finn—a former freedom fighter-turned-slave, beaten down but never broken. If Edie strays from Finn’s side, he dies. If she doesn’t cooperate, the pirates will kill them both.
But Edie’s abilities far surpass anything her enemies imagine. And now, with Finn as her only ally as the merciless Crib closes in, she’ll have to prove it or die on the site of her only failure . . . a world called Scarabaeus.
Cover art by Christian McGrath.
For me, the difficulties in the beginning of the book weren’t due to the language fitting for science fiction. I could adjust well enough to cyphs, tecks and streams, but I objected to the undefined acronym jargon. Throw BRAT’s and CCU’s at me all you want but tell me what they mean—Biocyph Retroviral Automated Terraformer and Crib Colonial Unit respectively by the way. It’s one of the first Finnish lessons about analytic writing I remember from school: Define your acronyms. I imagine something similar has been taught to native English speakers around the globe.
I appreciate that Creasy was avoiding infodumping by revealing these critical details later within the story. I appreciated the full on immersion to the world-approach but I do think she took it a step too far with the acronyms. For everything else it worked just fine. The fresh angle on familiar scifi concepts such as terraforming and cyborgs as well as the limited third person voice from Edie’s point of view kept the story focused on the events and gave just enough clues about the other characters for me to fill in the rest. Active imagination does have its perks.
Being someone as close to anti-musical as it is possible for a human being to be, I loved Creasy likening coding to composing. Edie talks about making notes and creating harmonies like a true virtuoso would. It was just another aspect of interconnectedness this author utilised.
In her review, Anachronist mentions the episodic nature of the adventure. While I can see why she would, it didn’t bother me at all. It felt like the natural rhythm of someone who needs to rest between periods of extreme activity. She also mentions the romance being practically non-existent and it being a compliment, and I have to agree. What evolves between Edie and Finn feels organic and real, and the obstacles Creasy sets for them towards the end are enough to feed the UST (Unresolved Sexual Tension) hungry readers for a long time.