fantasy and science fiction book reviewsTechnomancer by B.V. LarsonTechnomancer by B.V. Larson

When Quentin Draith wakes up in a bed in a private hospital he has no idea how he got there or even who he is. He does realize, though, that he’s being drugged and, therefore, somebody must be trying to control him. After he manages to escape, he learns that he lives in Las Vegas and blogs about supernatural events. And there’s a lot of weird stuff going on in Las Vegas these days.

Quentin soon discovers that the world contains an assortment of powerful magical objects and that he’s a rogue member of a community of people who are trying to collect them. These objects have something to do with the mysterious Grey Men who keep popping out of rips in space and gruesomely killing Quentin’s new friends. When Quentin meets a pretty young bride whose husband has just disappeared into a rip, he feels protective and wants to save her from the Grey Men. Eventually he develops a plan that he hopes will destroy the bad guys where they live — inside the rips.

Technomancer started off well enough. In fact it began just like Roger Zelazny’s AMBER CHRONICLES (Corwin wakes up in a private sanitorium with amnesia after nearly dying in a car accident and he realizes he’s being kept drugged.) I wanted to know who Quentin Draith was and why he’s being sedated in a hospital bed. But in the end, Technomancer didn’t manage to fulfill any of my criteria for good entertainment.

One major problem was that nothing in the story felt real to me. This starts right away when Quentin gets out of the hospital. He doesn’t act like a man who has really lost his identity. He keeps mentioning how he doesn’t know anything about himself (though he tends to remember things that are convenient to the plot), but we never see him investigating himself, his friends, or his family. He knows his name and he knows he is a blogger, so why doesn’t he look for himself on Facebook or do a Google search? (How many Quentin Draiths can there be in Las Vegas?) He reads his own blog for information about supernatural happenings, but not for personal information. Similarly, B.V. Larson didn’t make me believe in his other characters, his world, or the plot.

Another problem was that the plot just wasn’t compelling. It evoked no tension, excitement, or any other emotion from me. I felt like I was reading a story in the newspaper. I got the facts, but no enjoyment out of them. I was bored with the story and I didn’t like any of the characters well enough to care what happened to them. The writing style offered nothing to make up for this — no beauty, no humor, nothing. In fact, I thought it was a little sloppy. For example, when Quentin is lying in his hospital bed with his eyes closed, a nurse walks in. He describes how sexy she is (every woman is sized up this way) before he even opens his eyes. In another part Quentin is questioning someone and he tell us “it turned out he knew plenty” but a couple of minutes later he tells us “he really didn’t know all that much.” These sorts of things are minor, but they add up.

For a novel with the name Technomancer, I was expecting something kind of cool. But there isn’t any technomancing going on. We’re given that line about unexplained technology looking like magic to someone who doesn’t understand the technology, but none of the magical objects are given any sort of technological explanation which makes them just seem like magical objects. If there is a distinction, it’s too subtle to make a difference to the reader, at least at this point in the series.

I listened to Christopher Lane narrate Brilliance Audio’s version of Technomancer. He’s really good, and perhaps the only reason I managed to finish the book. If Brilliance Audio sends me a review copy of the second book in the UNSPEAKABLE THINGS series, I may give it a try to see if the story gets better, but I won’t be seeking it out. I’m just not interested in Quentin Draith’s story. It’s hard to root for a protagonist who you know nothing about while you watch him stumble around doing stupid things and judging the women he meets only by how sexy they are.

By the way, this is another 47North book. I’m not having good luck with those.

Unspeakable Things — (2012- ) Publisher: A new kind of alien invasion… When Quentin Draith wakes up in a private sanatorium, he has no memory of who he is or how he received the injuries riddling his body. All he knows is that he has to get out, away from the drugs being pumped into him and back to the real world to search for answers. His first question: How did his friend Tony’s internal organs fill with sand, killing him in a Las Vegas car crash? After a narrow escape, he tracks down the basic facts: he is an investigator and blogger specializing in the supernatural — which is a good thing, because Quentin’s life is getting stranger by the minute. It seems he is one of a special breed, a person with unusual powers. He’s also the prime suspect in a string of murders linked by a series of seemingly mundane objects. The deeper he digs and the harder he works to clear his name, the more Quentin realizes that some truths are better off staying buried…

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  • Kat Hooper

    KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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