Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Invisible Sun

I had a hard time getting through this one. Invisible Sun, by David Macinnis Gill, is young adult science fiction and supposedly a stand-alone companion novel to Black Hole Sun, which I have not read. I almost hate to say this because it's terrible stereotyping, but this book is so obviously written by a guy. It's loud, meaning not subtle, and it's very pulpy. What's wrong with that? Nothing, I guess, if it's your cup of tea. Now, doesn't that phrase "cup of tea" just about say it all when it comes to the relationship between me and this book?

My husband asked me what it was about. I had a hard time telling him. There is a plot, of course, buried somewhere beneath a lot of stuff being shot and blown up. It might even have some emotional depth, if you don't get bogged down in sci-fi terminology on the way to discovering it. And, oh my goodness, is this book ever not subtle. Instead, it's full of snarky dialog that always goes one step further than necessary to explain its own humor or even just to explain what's going on. I really felt like I was being beat over the head sometimes. As a writer myself, I find this type of writing painful. Nobody likes a joke over-explained. Hearing "Get it?" is annoying. The writing style felt a little like this.

As for "stand-alone," yes, I suppose you don't need Black Hole Sun to figure out what's going on eventually, but it's all part of the same story. Invisible Sun is the sequel to Black Hole Sun, and there will be at least one more book after that. I don't get calling it a companion novel.

I'll give a shot at explaining this book's plot, however, so that you can decide for yourself (male readership) if my bias is what it is because I'm a woman.

Jacob Stringfellow, better known as Durango, is a gun-for-hire on a personal job with his partner/girl-he'd-love-to-date Vienne. And, by the way, he has an AI girl flash-cloned to his brain, and she's constantly talking to him. He's looking for information and getting shot at along the way. The info he wants is really just a backdrop for the plot, so much so that I can't particularly remember what it is (though I finished this book two days ago). Along the way, he meets Vienne's "family," a group of fighting monks, and his plans coincide with helping rescue farmers from a madman's chemical fire-starting spree. Meanwhile, one of the monks tells him he has a choice to make, but what that might be is not really clear to him or to the reader. Apparently, though, it's important to the politics and future of Mars (yes, the planet).

(SPOILERS) In the end, he's responsible for the death of a beloved member of the monks' family and the ruin of Vienne. There's some hocus pocus bit about finding spiritual bliss, but there's no emotional resolution. The end of this book is very open-ended, stand-alone though it is, and it's rather depressing. Durango has a hero's complex and blames himself for the mess he's made, and that about sums it up.

On average, this book has been given four stars. I can't see why. I'd give it one or two. I almost quit reading it, but then I wouldn't have felt right reviewing it for you. It's brand new, just out this month, but just because Suzanne Collins (author of The Hunger Games) put a favorable quote on the cover of it doesn't mean it's the next hottest thing.

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