Book Cover
Title Broken Angels
Series Takeshi Kovacs
Author Richard K. Morgan
Cover Art Chris Moore
Publisher Random House Inc. - 2003
First Printing Random House Inc. - 2003
Category Military SF
Warnings Explicit sex and language

Main Characters

Takeshi Kovacs, Jan Schneider, Tanya Wardani, Matthias Hand

Main Elements Alien technology


Takeshi Kovacs - flawed hero of the hit novel Altered Carbon - meets explosive action head-on in a military SF thriller that's been described as The Matrix meets Apocalypse Now.

Thirty years after the events of Altered Carbon, Kovacs hasn't softened a bit. Trained as an Envoy - one of the elite soldiers of the Protectorate - he's as drawn to violence as ever. Now, his past buried in the empire's databanks and the cortical stack that contains his personality and memories "re-sleeved" into a new body, he's a mercenary sent to crush a revolution on Sanction IV.

But not for long.

Centuries ago, humans had discovered alien relics on Mars, relics that helped open the galaxy to human colonization and, later, an empire. Now an artifact of unprecedented value has been unearthed on Sanction IV...and Kovacs is offered a piece of the action. Ever unpredictable, he quits the Protectorate's messy little war and forms a covert mission to secure the coveted artifact...plunging into a storm of treachery and betrayal that makes the font line seem like a playground.

For the prize is one that corporations will kill for - an ancient Martian starship, complete with a technology that could change the face of the Protectorate...or take humankind to the brink of extinction.

One thing to keep in mind while reading this review, I am not a big hard SF fan, even though I'm a computer engineer. I like those techonology novels, but not the big spaceship battle type books. This is one of those "blow everyone up" kind of books. Not too many spaceships, but lots of rip-out-the-jugular-with-your-bare-hands stuff.

Now you may be wondering why I read it in the first place then. Well, my book club sent me the wrong book, and since it was their mistake I figured I was justified in giving it a quick read before returning it for the one I actually ordered.

Now, as a member of the female persuasion, I found the book to be rather testosterone filled. At the same time, there were enough intriguing aspects. For example the Martians who apparently are a kind of avian creature, so their architecture is designed for a creature that can fly and roost. There was also the ever present worry over who you can and cannot trust.

This books is also a sequel to Altered Carbon, but I didn't find I was missing anything by not having read it. Maybe I would have caught on to the lingo faster, but overall I didn't have a problem. Actually, I was kind of intrigued by their ability to "re-sleeve", bascially take this little metal thing from someone's spinal cord, stick it in another body, and voila! The person lives again in a new "sleeve". There is also the weird existence when one has no sleeve and your mind exists only in a virtual world inside this little metal capsule. However, one generally doesn't attain immortality this way, too many resleevings and you can go insane.

I found the ending to be way too drawn out. There were too many loose ends to clean up, and every little detail gets explained to the reader (maybe one should make notes whenever Kovacs' Envoy senses pick up something strange, they all get tallied and explained at the end). Between page 284 and 346 it was really one long climax where it seemed like new threads were being thrown into the story when we should be at the point of closing threads off. And finally, the last 20 pages was the sorting out of the little details.

Oh yeah, and I'm curious, was there a reason why many characters. Talk. Like. This? There seemed to be periods and upper-case letters thrown about at random. In a couple of cases it made sense if the character was panting, at other times it was more like really bad editing that despised run-on sentences with such a vengence that it needed to chop up perfectly short ones too.

So in conclusion? I wouldn't have never chosen to read this book, I wouldn't read it again, but it wasn't a terrible either. And if you go for the military SF genre, maybe it is even a good book.

Posted: July 2006


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