Book Reviews 2004 (22-23)

This time around, I am going to briefly discuss:
Kiln People, by David Brin
Kushiel’s Avatar, by Jacqueline Carey

Kiln People by David Brin.

David Brin is most famous for his Uplift novels, as well, to a lesser extent, his leftist politics. While not quite as polemic as, say, China Mieville or Ian Macleod, he is remarkably so for an American SF writer.
Regardless of that, Kiln People is an interesting read based on a pair of simple premises coming together.
What if you could build “Golems”…clay duplicates of yourself that would last a day. And what if you could download to and from these duplicates. The net result is a society where people produce a low level “Green” to handle mundane chores, an ebony to actually go to work, and themselves to whatever they want.
There is still crime in this world, and levels of wealth, and a whole new set of mores and values. Brin explores this world through the perspective of the “Dittos” and the original Albert Morris, a private detective who is soon over his head in conspiracies involving the original creators of this society.
Its a departure for Brin in the sense of the styles he experiments with, but Kiln People is a worthwhile read. The endgame was rather unusual and I am not certain it “fits” with the rest of the book, but the ride getting there is a fun one.

Kushiel’s Avatar, by Jacqueline Carey

The third and last in the series, KA takes place about 10 years after the events of the second book. Ten years of peace soon give way to another long distance adventure, as Phedre’s mission to free Hyacinthe from his imprisonment on the Master of the Straits’ isle takes her from Terre D’Ange all the way into the heart of the Caucasus Mountains…and thence to deepest Africa.
Definitely not recommended for those who have not read the first two novels. More so, there is really dark and bad stuff in this third book, and some parts you will not want to linger upon. The dark sensuous nature of the first two books, here, is far more brutal and evil in its worst aspects, as Phedre does literally go into the heart of darkness…and saves not only a child, but herself, and a country in the process.
I am not convinced, too, at the too-easy resolution of the Hyacinthe-Joselin-Phedre triangle, but overall, I hardly regret the book. And just as Ginger mentioned on her own blog, I would love a GURPS worldbook on this universe. I’d get it in a heartbeat.
Recommended, with the reservations noted above