“No guns in Container Town.”
See? It can be done. Kick off a series with an enjoyable, self-contained story–not a chopped-off cliffhanger. A near future dystopia with aliens, set in the universe of Chu’s Lives of Tao books. Why wasn’t this Hugo Award finalist?
“It was one thing to witness a slum, it was another to see a beautiful city reduced to one before your eyes.”
Even if you haven’t read previous stories in this setting, Chu focuses you on his protagonist and gently fills in the background as the story develops. The data dumps are appropriately placed and paced.
“Stop acting like life is some precious gift from a higher power. Everything dies, Ella. Everything is expendable.”
Totally immerses the reader in the setting. Captures the sights, smells and tastes of a post-modern slum in India. Relatable orphan heroine. (Aren’t they all? Orphans, that is.)
“All people here cared about was survival and profit, not ethnicity.”
A wonderful, but false sentiment. While crises bring out the best in many; it brings out the worst in a few. And many of those few use ethnicity–theirs or others–as a wedge to divide. Another thought on character identity: Chu describes many characters and shows them in action, but doesn’t label them. He leaves that to the reader.
“.. a round body that looked like it had its own gravitational pull.”
Nice, evocative cover art. Unfortunately it misrepresents Ella’s appearance.
“Stick with me, Kid. We’ll introduce you to a bigger world with all sorts of new people who will want to kill you.”