Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
If I could define Too Like the Lightning in a word, it would probably be “overwhelming”.
That perhaps seems at odds given my rating, but it is fully immersive, carefully thought out and planned, densely written, complex, layered, intelligent, powerful. There aren’t a lot of books where I need to stop every few chapters and review my mental notes; this is one of them.
It’s certainly not for everyone, but nothing is, and what is (probably) lacks in pulp appeal it makes up for with lively discussion and intellectual engagement. The plot is surprisingly tight, but it takes awhile to emerge from the heaving morass of humanity as depicted.
It is something of a setting junkie book, and the plot takes awhile to get going. I was also dubious about the pacing–there’s always something jarring to me about a book which takes longer to read than it does to “happen”, by which I mean events occur in a matter of days during the novel. Meanwhile it took me weeks to read it.