Elysium Fire by Alastair Reynolds

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Elysium Fire by Alastair Reynolds

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Buy Elysium Fire by Alastair Reynolds at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Science Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Ruth Wilson
Reviewed by Ruth Wilson
Summary: A brilliant, fast-paced story with a well- rounded cast of characters, Elysium Fire is a pleasure to read. It follows the traditional crime genre pattern of clues and reveals but is set in a futuristic world where their beloved neural implants are being used as a murder weapon. There are some great twists and turns as the Prefects race to save lives and find the culprit.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: January 2018
Publisher: Gollancz
External links: [www.alastairreynolds.com Author's website]
ISBN: 978-0575090583

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What happens when Utopia is achieved? When everyone is linked neurologically to everyone else and people vote on each minor decision so every aspect of life is truly democratic? Everyone knows everything and everyone decides everything so what can possibly go wrong? Except people are dying, melting to be precise, and no one knows how, or why, or who could be next. In such a circumstance who can be trusted to solve this crime and do so without spreading panic? What if the only people who can be trusted have already let you down once before?

Elysium Fire is fast- paced but very clear, the Prefects are trying to solve to murders in a society that has been built around advanced neural technology and this very technology is now killing people. There are twists and turns but not frustratingly so, allowing the story to build naturally without the need for clunky end of chapter cliff- hangers. The story builds in both pace and action leading to a wonderful climactic reveal at the end that is very cleverly created.

The story takes place as a stand-alone plot within an already established world and an established cast of characters, there has been a previous disaster two years earlier and tensions are already high when the murders start to emerge and the pressure is on to solve the problem without further loss of trust from the people of the Glitter Band. The characters all come with the baggage of the previous disaster but it doesn't matter too much if you haven't read The Prefect as this is a totally different plot and the lack of back story does not spoil the enjoyment of this story at all, if anything it has made me want to read the other book too.

Elysium Fire has an intricate plot with different characters all running their own investigations, each revealing some new clue to add to the deepening mystery. The beauty of it is that no plot line is weaker than the next, no character is better or worse and there is no lull in the action so the plot lines maintain a real strength that pays off at the end. Obviously, I shall remain silent about the end of the story but it both satisfyingly clear and wonderfully surprising.

The characters are split into two major plot lines, there are the present day characters who are dealing with the growing emergency in the Glitter Band and then there are the brothers on Yellowstone. If pushed I would say this is my favourite plot line of the book, as a reader we do not know when this plot line is set simply that it must have great importance and it is built up with great suspense. The way the two lines connect towards the end is masterful and throughout the book the reader is given snippets of possible truth in the investigation that are then confirmed or dispelled by the flashes of the brothers' story. Also, because we have no time frame to this plot line it is intriguing how the events in the brothers' lives will impact on the Prefect's investigation; the reader is left constantly guessing, allowed to form their own opinions of the brothers and their circumstances and what meaning this will have on the bigger picture. The brothers are great characters, both sinister and sympathetic and the way the end of the book deals with the combining of the two plot tines is fantastic.

Elysium Fire is exactly what I enjoy in a novel, a fast paced, clear plot with great characters and lots of action. As a crime novel this ticks all the boxes in terms of suspense and intrigue and the advanced technology adds an extra layer of immediacy to the plot, everything seems to be quicker, more secret, more dangerous. It is a great, well-rounded story and I would heartily recommend it to anyone from young adult upwards.

Alternatively, on the similar theme of futuristic Utopias you could try Places in the Darkness by Chris Brookmyre.

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Buy Elysium Fire by Alastair Reynolds at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Elysium Fire by Alastair Reynolds at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Elysium Fire by Alastair Reynolds at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Elysium Fire by Alastair Reynolds at Amazon.com.


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