Synopsis (from Goodreads):
A series of high-speed fatal car wrecks — accidents that seem as if they may have been staged — is leading Darwin Minor down a dangerous road. A reluctant expert on violent ways to die, he sifts clues from wreckage the way a brilliant coroner extracts damning information from a victim’s corpse. But the deeper he digs, the more enemies he seems to make, and the wider the conspiracy seems to grow. Before long, he’ll find himself relying on deadly resources of his own in order to save his life — and those of untold others.
I do like Dan Simmons but I am also the first to admit that reading this one was a mistake. Still I was too curious how a well-known and well-acclaimed sci-fi author would deal with an action thriller. My bad.
Darwin’s Blade was neither better nor worse than your common and garden airport-bought suspense novel. My problem was that I expected something much better. Instead I got an almost toxic mixture of cardboard thin main leads, two-dimensional baddies, and a predictable plot with so many product placements that my head started spinning before I hit the middle mark. Oh, there were also infodumps concerning physics of motion, ancient Spartans, chemistry, anatomy and such. Actually, when compared to the rest, those infodumps were real highlights of the story, sad but true.
I am disgusted and disheartened so my ‘post mortem’ will be short. A misunderstood but undeniably brilliant hero, exactly like 10k other male leads of such books, meets a gorgeous, intelligent, amusing, ravishing and amazingly single female police officer, exactly like 10k other female sidekicks and love interests I’ve encountered in thrillers. When they are together they simply scream ‘soul mates’ at everybody who is looking at them. However, despite their fantastic brilliancy and incredibly high I.Q.s the couple make 20k basic mistakes with just one aim in view – to stay close together and fall in love.
What’s more? There will be car chases, helicopter chases, gliders, Marines, explosions, investigations, Russian mafia, corrupt lawyers and an epic knife battle on a log over a ravine. You want more? Here you go: irrelevant statistics, flashbacks to things that don’t relate to the story, an unnecessary and cheesy sex scene, humorous descriptions of different accidents added just because they are, well, you know, humorous.
In other words a royal mess.
A good example that even such a versatile and experienced writer as Dan Simmons should stay away from some genres. This book sucks and I don’t recommed it to anyone.
Other books by Dan Simmons reviewed on this blog:
- Ilium (Ilium 01)
- Olympos (Ilium 02)
- Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos 01)
- Crook Factory (The)
- Song of Kali
- Hollow Man (The)
- Terror (The)