Contrary to popular wisdom, death is not the end, nor is it a passage to some transcendent afterlife. Those who die merely awake as themselves on one of a million worlds, where they are fated to live until they die again, and wake up somewhere new. All are born only once, but die many times . . . until they come at last to the City Unspoken, where the gateway to True Death can be found.
Wayfarers and pilgrims are drawn to the City, which is home to murderous aristocrats, disguised gods and goddesses, a sadistic faerie princess, immortal prostitutes and queens, a captive angel, gangs of feral Death Boys and Charnel Girls . . . and one very confused New Yorker.
Late of Manhattan, Cooper finds himself in a City that is not what it once was. The gateway to True Death is failing, so that the City is becoming overrun by the Dying, who clot its byzantine streets and alleys . . . and a spreading madness threatens to engulf the entire met averse
Barnes and Noble Purchase Page: http://www.barnesandnoble.
com/w/the-waking-engine-david- edison/1115295564?ean= 9780765334862
I would like to thank NetGalley and Tor for granting me the chance to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Though I received the e-book for free that in no way influenced this review.
To be perfectly honest I am still a bit confused by this book. Not necessarily in a negative way, but confused nonetheless.
What I Struggled With:
Too many characters main characters, almost all introduced to quickly. The problem not so much being the introductions, but rather the lack of explanations for the characters. They would appear, be touted as being important, and then disappear for an unknown quantity of time. In fact, probably the first third of the book was a struggle for me to slog through, as it simply never really engaged me. I didn't have enough of a sense of the story (forward or back) to understand what the characters were doing, what their motivations were, or why I should care. And I got the impression the main character, Cooper, felt the same way - confused, a bit scared, and then struggling to care. Another issue that comes with having so many characters is keeping track of them, as well as their relationships to one another. This is made especially challenging when one character might have numerous different names and appearances. Finally, I found myself unable to care strongly for any of the characters, which unfortunately made this book feel more like work than fun.
What Worked for Me:
The descriptions are beautifully written, allowing me to see what the characters see - specifically what Cooper sees. For all that I did not follow in the story, the interplay between specific characters is fascinating, even the ones that I felt to be superfluous to the story as a whole. As lyrical and poetic as much of Mr. Edison's writing is, that simply wasn't enough to carry the book for me.
The entire story felt overly ambitious to me, allowing large sections to suffer for that ambition. Mr. Edison tried to put too many large ideas into this one book for me. To do justice to all the ideas this should have been at least two books, allowing for more detail and relationship building, as well as crafting at least one character that really engaged me and kept me rooting for them throughout the story.
The entire book left me feeling confused and incomplete. I was relieved to finish the story and no longer feel the need to try to get a handle on it. Even the ending made no sense to me, both in relation to the larger story and the main character.
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/