Just Hatched is a feature where I share my first impressions of a book after the first chapter. Check out the announcement post for more information.
Too Like the Lightning is a book I really had no idea about except that it would obviously have sci-fi aspects given that awesome cover with spaceships. However, what I found when I cracked this lovely book open is a sci-fi that dares to break the mold with language reminiscent of the Enlightenment (and an author that explains why immediately) and a first page that details which committees granted permission for this book to be published and its ratings according to the Gordian Exposure Commission.
Note: I received an advanced copy of Too Like the Lightning from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer (Terra Ignota #1)
Published by Tor Books on May 10th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Sci-fi
Page Length: 432 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Mycroft Canner is a convict. For his crimes he is required, as is the custom of the 25th century, to wander the world being as useful as he can to all he meets. Carlyle Foster is a sensayer–a spiritual counselor in a world that has outlawed the public practice of religion, but which also knows that the inner lives of humans cannot be wished away.
The world into which Mycroft and Carlyle have been born is as strange to our 21st-century eyes as ours would be to a native of the 1500s. It is a hard-won utopia built on technologically-generated abundance, and also on complex and mandatory systems of labeling all public writing and speech. What seem to us normal gender distinctions are now distinctly taboo in most social situations. And most of the world’s population is affiliated with globe-girdling clans of the like-minded, whose endless economic and cultural competition is carefully managed by central planners of inestimable subtlety. To us it seems like a mad combination of heaven and hell. To them, it seems like normal life.
And in this world, Mycroft and Carlyle have stumbled on the wild card that may destabilize the system: the boy Bridger, who can effortlessly make his wishes come true. Who can, it would seem, bring inanimate objects to life…
How is the writing style?
As I said, the writing has a style aimed close to the Enlightenment, however I don’t find it difficult to get through at all. The story is told by Mycroft Canner in first-person, past tense since he is relaying events that happened to him. He also has a tendency to directly address the reader and guess at questions the reader may have. Finally, singular ‘they’ is used quite often because that is what is considered acceptable by people of this future time period for a reason I quite like!
General tone of the beginning
After a note from Mycroft apologizing about the writing style he has chosen to use, we get right into the important events that have apparently led to the future as the reader would know it. There is a boy with strange powers, a completely changed approach to religion, and a social structure that I haven’t quite figured out yet.
Setting, genre, etc?
Sci-fi adult! Apparently there is some violence and sex according to the Gordian ratings, but it really comes down to that sort of sci-fi that makes you think and proposes how things could be. It is clear that there will be a fair amount of discussion of how things got to this point socially, but there is also the issue of the boy with the strange powers that may or may not be explained.
- My current read, leave me alone! (~5 stars)
- Reading in the near future *hides from TBR pile glare* (~4 stars)
- Hoping to get back to eventually (~3 stars)
- Probably not getting back to but someone else will like it (~2 stars)
- Don’t really want to push this copy on anyone else (~1 star)
Too Like the Lightning is a book I struggled to put down to write this post. It’s going to be an intense ride clearly, so I’m going with a 4 since I think I need to make sure I’m in the perfect state of mind to really enjoy this one! If you are looking for a thoughtful sci-fi, this is one to grab.
Have you read this one yet? Are you inclined to check it out?
Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer
© 2016, Anya. All rights reserved.