Crazy, seductive, dizzy, frustrating at times but also with some great ideas... I would need many more adjectives to review Ada Palmer’s novel.
I admit it, in the first chapters (I have reread them three times) I seriously considered to give up, but at last I think the effort was worth.
The author imagines a very detailed and full of nuances (politics, etc.) future society set in the twenty-fifth century. It reminds me another fascinating book, The Golden Age by John C. Wright: both books seduced me intellectually but I could not read them passionately; by an excess of information, I suppose. Also that both novels are set in a sort of utopic future, a Golden Age. In Too Like the Lightning there is a future without nation-states, without wars; and an universal cheap and fast transport. Really, it looks utopic, but… (...but nothing, because spoilers ;-).
For me, the principal criticism is that Ada Palmer’s first novel is excessively confusing. For example, the novel has a lot of characters, and some of them have two or three different names, so I consider it an unnecessary game of hide-and-seek for the reader, for me at least; and as consecuence of this the pace of the novel suffers a lot. On the other part, the novel deserves a reading because this is one of the more fascinating worldbuildings that I have read lately: bizarre but also coherent in its own framework.
The story ends with a cliffhanger so I buyed the second book and I will read it “in a not distant future” (for now I have had enough and I want a more lighter reading).