April 21, 2003
Yet Another Book

I'm sure it will piss off my brother, but I finished another book. I almost finished it on the plane home, but had 20 or so pages to finish last night.

A Princess of the Aerie - John Barnes

This is the second book in the series about Jak Jinnaka in a future society 15 centuries from now. The first book in the series The Duke of Uranium, introduces us to the world and the characters.

Barnes weaves an interesting future and follows many of the traditional space opera conventions. The book has plenty of action, hard sci-fi tech, and even a dollop of sex. There are lots of interesting idea like AI PDAs that you wear on your wrist, magnetic based docking transfer systems, and mining technology that uses hot magma.

Unfortunately, the main character, Jak, appears to be a hapless tool of others during most of the story. Like a powerful weapon, he is easily manipulated and does damage where he's pointed. For a highly trained spy, he's as guilliable as they come.

Perhaps Barnes is taking the long view and looking to show the change of Jak from fool to hero. I can't tell. I like the characters, but Jak is almost unsympathetic since he seems to fall for every trap that is placed in front of him, usually escaping only by the grace of his friends appearing at just the right moment.

I'm sure I'll read the next installment, but if thinking space opera is what you are after, I suggest the Night's Dawn series by Peter Hamilton.

Now I'm reading Barnes' other new book, The Sky So Big and Black and it is fantastic. None of the issues of Princess appear in this book. More when I finish the book.

Posted by michael at April 21, 2003 10:57 PM