Wake by Robert Sawyer

Just finished reading Wake by Robert Sawyer. Primarily this tells the story of Caitlin. Caitlin is almost sixteen, she is something of a mathematical genius and is blind. At the start of the story Caitlin is offered the opportunity to be given an implant which may give her the ability to see.

I have mixed feelings about this book. It was recommended to me by one of my book buddies who has recently given me some excellent recommendations and so I really wanted to like it. But, I did struggle to be honest and found myself putting the book down and not being too eager to pick it back up.

The beginning, I thought, started off reasonably well. The story is related in four different voices. We have Caitlin, an unknown entity that starts to slowly gain consciousness and is I suppose an AI, a story coming out of China surrounding the Government’s cover up of a viral outbreak and another story from a research lab relating to the development of a cross bred chimp called Hobo. I thought the concept and style of writing were good but personally I found the amount of scientific and mathematical data way too much. I readily admit that I am not a star at all when it comes to maths so that’s probably why I didn’t like that aspect although others may enjoy this. And I thought that to a certain extent this interfered with the flow of the story.

In terms of the particular identities. I enjoyed the story around Caitlin and her quest for sight, however, I’m not totally convinced of her voice as a teenager. I really enjoyed Hobo’s story and would have liked more but found it a bit frustrating the way this element fizzled out, similarly with the Chinese element and lastly the AI voice, which to be honest I didn’t enjoy reading at all. Unfortunately we don’t find out in this installment how the elements all link up and I found that a bit frustrating.

I realise this probably sounds a bit overly critical which isnt intentional. I don’t think I read enough scifi and so maybe this wasn’t the best choice. I do have to admire the author though, he clearly knows his stuff even if I’m not of a mind to appreciate it fully (pearls before swine methinks). I don’t think I will pick up the second installment but I do have another Sawyer novel which I will definitely read. This one isn’t for me but my book buddy loves it and has the full set.

Rating: C+




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