Usually I enjoy Iain M. Banks, so I was excited to see him return to the Culture with Matter. I was not so excited to see how thick it was. I was even less excited to plow through palace politics with a lost heir, an evil vizier, a naïve prince, and a superhuman warrior sister on her way home. Even though she is the one with a connection to the Culture, the writing seems extra clunky every time we visit her. Oh, were you wondering about the character’s names?
I just. Don’t. Care.
The book spends the first hundred pages establishing that, despite their education and knowledge, not one character can see who the villain is. The one who sees the king’s trusted advisor literally rip out his heart can’t believe his eyes. Can’t say I blame him; I found it pretty hard to believe myself.
I could never remember where I left off or anyone’s name or what level of the world they had climbed to. Bad signs all around. So guess where I gave up? Page 180. (Extra stubborn.)
This book makes me want to re-visit the Culture books I do like, just to get the taste out.
2 thoughts on “Re: Matter”
Matter, sadly, is fantastic only if read -before- the other culture books. I was lucky enough that Matter was the first book of his that I read.
You’ve got a point, websinthe. My first Banks book was Inversions and I loved it. Very little to do with the Culture. I’ve been meaning to re-read it for some time now…
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