Friday, April 27, 2012

Sci Fi Friday Review: Invisible Sun by David Macinnis Gill look for Blogger...trippy.

But! I'm not back to talk about blog service layouts, I'm back to talk about a new book! Yaaaaaaaay! Invisible Sun by David Macinnis Gill is the sequel to 2010's Black Hole Sun, which was easily one of my top books of the year. The combination of humor and awesome sci-fi action left me begging for more.

Unfortunately, Invisible Sun wasn't what I was hoping for.

The team of Durango and Vienne (and Mimi, the AI in Durango's head) are back, fighting against the crime lord Lyme by keeping sensitive documents out of the man's hands. The book starts with just another day in the life of these dalit Regulators - storm in, blow some stuff up, and escape with guns blazing. Like the most action-packed of escapes, it's always a narrow one, but Durango and Vienne are the best at what they do.

While escaping, Durango and Vienne end up in the neighborhood of where she grew up and Durango, still not entirely sure to do about his feelings for Vienne, is terrified of meeting her family. This bit of domestic comedy is the last lighthearted moment in the book, and we've barely scratched the surface.

After Durango escaped his clutches yet again, Lyme devises a plan using Archibald, his reluctant toady, to capture the pain-in-the-ass Regulator. Archibald, son of a powerful CEO on a planet that is ruled by corporations, doesn't take kindly to being ordered around, but does relish the idea of raining death and destruction down upon the helpless population in hopes of drawing out Durango and Vienne, protectors of the poor and downtrodden of Mars (as seen with the miners in Black Hole Sun).

The plan succeeds.

And this is when the book started to take a nose dive for me.

Because while trying to protect the people Archibald is set on torturing, Durango and Vienne are split up. Durango escapes by making his captors think he's dead, but Vienne has no such luck and is taken prisoner. Where she is sadistically essentially stuffed in a refrigerator in order to give Durango a quest for the rest of the novel.

Vienne was an incredible bad-ass in Black Hole Sun. A big deal was made in both that book and this book about her self-sufficiency, her battle-savvy, and her strength and pride. And here we see her maliciously beaten and tortured (with a weird sexual vibe every once in awhile that made it seem quite rape-y)...with little to no pay off in the end. Black Hole Sun wrapped up its story neatly while leaving lots of room for the sequel. Invisible Sun ends in a big ol' cliffhanger with very few conclusions.

I don't end up buying a lot of books - there just isn't room in my apartment for every book I'd like to read. However, after being gifted an iPad for Christmas, I've been slowly but surely filling it up. I bought Invisible Sun with little hesitation for my iPad because I loved Black Hole Sun so much. I think I'm going to go back to my previous rule that the iPad gets loaded up with books that are old favorites rather than new books, because it's so disappointing to have spent the cash on a book that just fell apart so spectacularly. And with an ebook, I can't even pawn it off on a friend or charity!

Another annoyance that's small in the long run, but should be brought up for anyone that still wants to give this one a chance: there's almost no re-capping of Black Hole Sun here. I've said before I know it's a delicate balance between boring your experienced readers and drawing in the new ones, but every time something about Durango's past was mentioned, I was wracking my brain trying to remember if this was just refreshing something we'd learned in Black Hole Sun, or if this was supposed to be an exciting new revelation.

With two very successful and enjoyable books already in his repertoire, I'm not going to write-off Gill as an author just yet. However, I'll probably skip the eventual third book in this series and wait for Gill to pick up a new story. In the mean time, I highly recommend going back and re-reading Soul Enchilada for a hilarious Faustian tale, or Black Hole Sun for some awesome SF.
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