Rez, a lead singer of the world-wide famous Lo/Rez pop band, is getting married. His chosen one is Rei Toei, a beautiful princess of Japanese media. The only problem – Rei is an artificial, digital being, a hologram generated by compiled data. Chia Pet McKenzie, aged almost 15, like many other teenage Lo/Rez fans cannot believe it’s true or possible. Rez and an idoru (such is the local term for CGI beings)? Never!
Her American Lo/Rez fanclub friends send her to Japan to find out the truth and rescue their common crush from grasping, computerized arms of Rei if it is only possible. At the same time Laney, an expert of computer database research, arrives to Japan looking for a new job. Soon both Chia and Laney get entangled in a web of deception and crime. Will they manage to come out unscathed?
When I heard about this one I knew I must read it. Japan. Gibson. Pop culture. Digital sentient beings. Sci-fi. To be honest I wasn’t even aware it was the second part of a series but I admit it worked as a stand-alone just fine.
As usual, Gibson does the best the visionary stuff. I think CGI pop stars are just a matter of time and virtual database research is certainly a viable occupation now, even if a bit shadowy. What didn’t work? The characterization.
Chia wasn’t that bad although, from time to time, she behaved as if she was a much older girl, not just a teenager. Laney was completely bland, interchangeable with other Gibson male leads. What’s more, the plot didn’t feature any great mystery or conflict urging you forward. In fact it was kind of organic: it meandered to and fro, jumped forward and backward, its parts hardly logical, not at first sight anyway. Still if you let yourself be drawn by the story the pieces come together slowly: nested virtual worlds, a hand-held nano-assembler, one not so very naive 15-year old girl, one hired savant completely out of his depth, a music super star in quest of love and criminal underworld on their tail.
If you like Japanese culture and hard, visionary sci-fi this book is for you. If you look for drama or a set of well-rounded characters steer away from it because it might disappoint you.