Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Crash by Sean Williams

Crash by Sean Williams is the sequel to Jump, which I read a year and a half ago. The long gap between reading was a bit annoying because the events of book one had become a bit of a hazy memory. While I remembered the key characters, some of the details had become rather vague. However, I didn't find this an impediment to getting back into the story. There wasn't a huge amount of recapping, but there was enough to know what was going on. I'm pretty sure this review will contain spoilers for the first book.

If you betrayed a friend, how far would you go to earn their forgiveness?

If someone had saved your life, would you risk your life to save them?

If you could bring someone back from the dead, who would you choose?

Clair and Jesse have barely been reunited when the world is plunged into crisis - the d-mat network is broken. People are trapped, injured and dying, and it's partly Clair's fault.

Peacekeepers enlist Clair to track down Q, the rogue AI - artificial intelligence - who saved her life and is the key to fixing the system. Targeted by dupes and abandoned by her friends, Clair finds powerful allies in the most unlikely places. But who can she trust? Q won't respond to her calls for help, and if Clair finds her, will she be trapping her friend in a life of servitude or sending her to death by erasure?

Caught between pro- and anti-d-mat philosophies, in a world on the brink of all-out war, Clair must decide where she stands - and who she stands with - at the end.

This middle instalment of the trilogy follows Clair and her unusual band of friends as they mostly run away from things and try to survive. D-mat is broken and the world is in chaos from their sudden inability to travel anywhere further than walking distance (more or less). Clair, having contributed to the developing apocalypse, wants to do something about it. In particular, she wants to find Q who has disappeared and, with increasing urgency, deal with the new problems that arise like all the people trying to kill her.

This was actually a surprisingly violent book. It fit and made sense in the context, but a lot of people died, many of them off-page, but a lot of them also in proximity to Clair. Admittedly, many of these people weren't "proper" people, being dupes — clones controlled by someone else, loosely speaking — but there were still a lot of blood and guts. A warning for those who may not be in the mood for such things.

For Clair and friends the story was a string of disasters, moving from the frying pan into the fire and then the next frying pan several times. It was an entertaining read that had me keen to return to it every time I put the book down. I might have guessed one of the twists before it was revealed, but unlike with some other books I've read, it didn't annoy me that Clair didn't make the same connection until much later. There was a lot of evidence pointing both ways and I wasn't completely sure until it was confirmed.

If you enjoyed Jump (or Twinmaker in the US) I definitely recommend reading Crash (or Crashland in the US). If you haven't read any of this series, this is not the book to start with. It's very much a continuation of the story started in Jump. In general, I would definitely recommend this series to fans of YA and SF, especially to anyone that likes philosophical questions brought into their stories.

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: 2014, Allen & Unwin
Series: Twinmaker book 2 of 3
Format read: ePub
Source: Purchased on iBooks
Challenges: Australian Science Fiction Reading Challenge

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