My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Review: Rise of the Red Hand

Rise of the Red Hand Rise of the Red Hand by Olivia Chadha
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Rise of the Read Hand is set in the South Asian Province (aka Indian subcontinent) in a post apocalyptic world. The world building incorporates cyberpunk elements within a stratified class system determined by genetics. Only a few [Uplanders] are blessed with the perfect genes needed to successfully link with the computer algorithm (Not quite an AI) that is responsible for coordinating the people and resources needed to survive, but the unlucky [Downlanders] are left to scavenge for themselves in the poisoned world that remains after WWIII. Frequently these means cobbling together cybernetic replacements for missing body parts (the existence of which is enough to prevent you from being accepted by the elite). In the background is a raging pandemic that complicates things for both sides and forces some rather questionable behavior from the powers that be, who themselves are competing for resources from the "Planetary Alliance Commission" (PAC) that prioritizes resources to governments can prove they can effective manage them ... and the neural synch from Solace Corp was created to prevent much needed resources from being reassigned elsewhere.

The story itself comes across a bit choppy with the word choice and diction similar to what I have found in books that have been translated to English and which make it difficult for me to understand some of the cultural nuance. Some of it worked okay, such as calling the prosthetic components for cyborgs replacements. Character interactions seem to be more forced and less natural that I am used to, but they still end about where you would expect then to within the dystopian, cyberpunk tropes. Even the apparent "Romeo and Juliet" romance comes across a tad perfunctory. This would not be as much of an issue if it were not for a rather hamfisted use of info-dumps ... which can be useful in the right place, but should NEVER be repeated. Over all it was an okay story within an interesting world that earned it an extra star on that point alone.

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#RiseoftheRedHand #NetGalley

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.