Just as I suspected, the first 2010 book I read was The Trade of Queens, by Charles Stross. I picked it up expecting a quick, trashy read. What I didn’t expect was just how trashy it would be.
Some of it is trashy in a good way. Our Heroine, Miriam Beckman, erstwhile intrepid technology reporter and inadvertent overlady of interdimensional gangsters ends up in my favorite of the various parallel worlds. The opening blows up stuff real good and the ending blows up even more. And the series is over.
The bad trashy part is that the story has gotten spread out over every character who has ever appeared plus a few new ones whose innocence is emphasized so they won’t deserve their inevitable death. Certain arguments and histories were repeated so many times, the book would make more sense if you read about twenty pages, forgot about it for a month, and then came back to it. But the worst part is one-dimensional the main forces facing each other become in this book.
In the previous books, it was clear that the Clan was only a small, fractured part of a larger society. In this book, they seem to be all there is. Similarly, everything about America is reduced to the Fox Noise machine. I actually don’t mind the dark joke of a post-nuking-of-DC American government becoming the spawn of evil. What bothered me is not one character has the nerve to point out how wrong and stupid the ending is. And I hated seeing characters who were so previously devious in plotting against each other suddenly unable to come up with anything resembling a plan.
In the end, it was a quick read, but so trashy, I put the book down with a growl.