#RRSciFiMonth Book Review: Lord of All Things by Andreas Eschbach
Sci-Fi November is a month-long blog event hosted by Rinn Reads and Over The Effing Rainbow this year, created to celebrate everything amazing about science fiction! From TV shows to movies, books to comics, and everything else in between, it is intended to help science fiction lovers share their love and passion for this genre and its many, many fandoms.
Genre: Science Fiction
Translation: Samuel Willcox
Publisher: AmazonCrossing (January 2014 – originally published in January 2011)
Author Info: andreaseschbach.de
Wendy’s Rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is a difficult book to recommend. The ratings on Goodreads vacillate between 1-2 stars and 4-5 stars. Either you love it or you hate it. I’m going to go right down the middle. I didn’t love it, but nor did I hate it, and I can see why readers on either side of the scale feel the way they do about it.
The prologue offers an enticing hook: A young boy, Hiroshi, the son of a cleaning lady, promises his new friend Charlotte, the daughter of the French ambassador, that he will change the world by removing the distinctions between the rich and the poor. It seems like the promise of an idealistic child, as the story progresses from their childhood to adulthood, Hiroshi’s genius and determination seems to be set to make his dream a reality. And though Charlotte does not believe as Hiroshi does that they are intrinsically bound together by fate, their paths continue to cross as Hiroshi sets about bringing a new world order.
The story is mainly told through the eyes of Hiroshi and Charlotte, but several other people in their lives get PoV chapters to continually support or throw cogs in the wheels of Hiroshi’s plans. It begins with the pair as children, then slowly moves through pivotal moments in their lives where they come together and separate. At first, this deterred me, as the next step in their process was a very annoying college age where too much time was spent with a particular character obsessed with making good use of his penis. It established the character well enough, and his return later made sense, but I could have done with less of him during his young adult years. I also didn’t quite understand how this transition worked for the overall plot, until further, less annoying time transitions were introduced and Hiroshi’s plans really started to come together.
This is also where the science fiction aspect slowly started to slip in, as Hiroshi works to perfect his self-replicating robots that can do anything. Also of note, there is, as I understand it, real science involved, but Eschbach does not overwhelm with the descriptions. Often times, science fiction featuring brave new worlds begin when this world has already begun. Here, we see it being built from idea, upward–but we also discover, through links to Charlotte’s unique paranormal ability, that perhaps things have been churning long before anyone ever imagined.
This is a slowburn book. Neither the relationship between Hiroshi and Charlotte, or Hiroshi’s world changing plans ever moves at a fast pace–nor do they go where one might expect based on the usual genre tropes. For this, I really did appreciate Eschbach’s process, and I certainly liked his characters and their bittersweet lives.