I’m a fan of M.R. Carey’s writing – see my reviews of The Girl with all the Gifts, The Boy on the Bridge, and his popular post-apocalyptic Rampart trilogy – The Book of Koli , The Trials of Koli. and The Fall of Koli. So when I learnt that he was producing a sci fi series, I was delighted and was looking forward to this one with huge anticipation.
BLURB: The Pandominion is a political and trading alliance consisting of roughly a million worlds.
But they’re really all the same world – Earth – in many different dimensions. And when an AI threat arises that could destroy everything the Pandominion has built, they’ll eradicate it by whatever means necessary—no matter the cost to human life.
REVIEW: I am aware that my huge excitement at getting hold of a copy of this one probably didn’t do me any favours – because I was initially somewhat disappointed. I’m not a fan of info-dumps – and when the book starts with an explanation of the world and the main characters and what their role is going to be, then my heart sinks. Particularly when the author is as accomplished as Carey. I’m not even sure it’s in the right place – for going back and rereading it, I think it would have made a better epilogue than prologue.
There is also a lot of foreshadowing throughout the story – and again, I didn’t feel that was necessary. It’s almost as though Carey didn’t quite trust that his story is capable of bringing the reader along without those extra assists, which is a bit annoying, because it clearly does. For example, one of the main protagonists has an unexpected transformation. At least – it would be unexpected, but for the fact that we’re told well in advance what has happened to her. This was irritating on two levels. For starters, I would quite like to have experienced the plot twist alongside the other characters involved, who were clearly upset and shocked. The other consequence is that because I already knew the important part of her fate – and therefore was able to put together exactly what has actually happened to her – I was ahead of the characters involved with her for quite a large part of the book. And that never helps with the pacing, because it meant that until they caught up with me, I felt that aspect was a bit draggy, even though all sorts of exciting things were going on.
That said, I’m aware that I’m in a minority as a number of my book blogging buddies have read this one and absolutely loved it. I wanted to – and indeed, there’s much in the story that I thoroughly enjoyed. I love the world and the premise, which is clearly highly relevant and Carey’s take on the parallel world theory is interesting and rich. The settings are vividly portrayed with economy and power – vital when there are a variety of places and part of the wonder is the sheer scale and difference. And Carey’s ability to produce nuanced and difficult characters that we nevertheless can care about – I’m looking at you, Essien Nkanik – is impressive. And I hasten to add that this isn’t a bad book by any means. If it had been written by another author, I’d probably be singing its praises – but I wasn’t expecting such technical glitches to interfere with my enjoyment in a story by M.R. Carey. While I obtained an arc of Infinity Gate from the publishers via Netgalley, the opinions I have expressed are unbiased and my own.