There are spoilers in this review.
So. Good! I just loved this book! I loved how it was written, how fast-paced it was, how original. The characters were well-drawn and the science-y stuff was accurate (as far as I know/what do I know?) and actually readable (which is strange for me, usually I skip over that kind of stuff).
Anyway, Bub was a scary SOB and his abilities were fantastical but logical within the mythos of the story. I don't know what he really
was, and honestly I don't care. He was charismatic and magical and ancient and I found him fascinating. I honestly had no idea what was going to go on with him. I had a brief hope, when he had his encounter with Helen, that things would, you know, work out, but of course they couldn't. That sense of hope mixed with dread pulled me through the story.
I loved Sun and Andy and especially Andy and Sun together. The little pockets of humorous banter fit well, I thought, and helped establish their characters more deeply. Also gave me hope that they'd make it and IF they did, they'd have a basis for a real connection. I so wanted that for them!
Dr. Belgium was made of awesome and Race was a hoot and a hero (adore!). I very much enjoyed Shotzen and Thrist, too. They were distinctive (and ok, ok, Konrath used a few shorthand cues for them, but I did not mind that at ALL) and believable and I really loved their relationship. It was completely believable that they'd been arguing and talking circles around each other for twenty years. There was some affection there, and a deep connection and respect buried beneath their theological disagreements. I learned a lot of Judaism, too!
Harker was a brittle shell filled with damage and if I have one complaint, it's that she didn't get enough "screen time." She also should have gotten just a LITTLE more time with her Shirley. I mean, don't get me wrong, she was one sick fuck (pardon) who maybe a little bit deserved what she got (equivocate much?), but I was touched at her brief shining moments of pure happiness.
The backstories were handled adroitly and were just cliche enough to resonate, but original enough to be interesting. I really enjoyed the whole idea of these damaged people who'd made horrible mistakes but who had that little core of strength and honor beneath their various weakness, that one little kernel that got them into this terrifying, amazing experience.
I LOVED that no one helped Bub, beyond the original "helping" that Belgium and Harker did. I liked being surprised, especially, at the strength of "the holies."
Yeah, so, I loved it. I'm going to check out more from J.A. Konrath, for sure.