Rating: 1 Star ★☆☆☆☆
Grigori Kedrov was not called to the director’s office. He was brought.
Alexei Drovosek is playing a long game. In a bleak future, where Americans sell their votes to their employers, democracy is almost an illusion. But Alexei has a plan. A plan that requires him to think moves and years ahead. He collects promising children, trains them and puts them in the right place where one day, maybe, they will do the right thing at the right time.
I’m really disappointed. The premise of this book sounded so cool. An epic game of chess and intrigue set in a dystopian near-future and the goal is to change the path humanity is taking.
Unfortunately, the book was ruined by three things:
This was the worst thing about the book. Seriously, noone needs that much pointless detail. Do I really need to know what kind of watch the main character is wearing? Not unless it plays some sort of role in the plot (hint: it doesn’t).
A list of specifications animate in: rose gold case, markers, and hands; glare-proof sapphire crystal and case back; black tapestry ceramic dial; hand-stitched crocodile strap; forty-jewel movement with a sixty-hour power reserve.
Everything is described in minute detail. It’s boring as fuck.
2. Lifeless characters
The only one we really spend any time with is Alexei. All the other characters? Not so much. I have no idea what motivates them. Even Alexei’s motivations are kind of hazy. Sure, he wants to change the world, but… why? We never get any plausible reason.
He is somehow a mutant because of Tschernobyl. And he was an agent for the KGB. And that is why he wants to change the world for the better. It makes no sense whatsoever.
And all the other characters? Their motivation basically boils down to: because Alexei said so. They have zero life of their own.
3. Portrayal of women
We had this one chance at a kickass female, Alexei’s star apprentice, but even she is a) lifeless and b) reduced to her looks.
“Mr. Drovosek, have you seen Ki’s genetic profile?”
“This girl of yours is probably as close to naturally perfect as I believe I have ever seen.”
In fact, all women in this book are solely described by their looks and attractiveness. They have no agenda beyond looking pretty. It’s fucking annoying.
As he assessed the woman in front of him, Alexei guessed that Levin had gone so long without wearing makeup that it was now impossible for her to do so without drawing the kind of attention that she would outwardly abhor, but that some deeply buried part of her has probably always craved.
Basically, the book puts way too much focus on physical descriptions of people and things and not enough on emotional descriptions.
This book would have been about 200 pages shorter if someone had cut all the pointlessly detailed descriptions.