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Review: Resistance, by Samit Basu

So pretty obviously, I’m posting this from Goodreads. That’s not something I’ve tried here before, and I don’t know how it’ll turn out. Stick with me.

Resistance

Resistance by Samit Basu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Disclaimer, or whatever it’s called: I begged a copy of Resistance from the publisher. I honestly can’t remember whether I got a freebie of Turbulence or whether I bought it, but let’s assume I was sent that too, so you can consider me entirely bribed, except that seriously: I get sent a LOT of books and I don’t write up many of them. Plus also, if you want to bribe me you really need to think more in terms of expensive Italian wine, glorious hotels and very, very large amounts of money. I’m sure there are books I could be bribed with - books that contain, say, the locations of very, very large amounts of unclaimed platinum or the secret to immortality or the formula for anti-gravity - but I don’t seem to get sent those. So I don’t make a claim to exceptional virtue here, I’m just saying that my integrity is a high-ticket item and in this review I’m doing my best to give it to you straight. Okay? Good.)

I really enjoyed Samit Basu’s Turbulence - because it was just a terrifically enjoyable new angle on the superhero actioner. It’s centred on Asia rather than North America, and the difference permeates everything in the story and straightforwardly makes the book(s) infinitely more interesting. Basu has a great sense of pop culture cool mediated by a nicely ironic awareness of ubiquitous human frailty and our lack of self-knowledge which informs his superheroes and their powers. Those powers are themselves derived from personality and desire, which of course makes the whole thing the more revealing.

This book picks up the story a little down the road from the end of Turbulence, and it’s every bit as zinging. Giant lobsters fight mecha warriors in the sea off Japan, the team from the first book are as torn and dangerous as they were before, and the whole world may be about to end. In other words, the scene is set for exactly the kind of heroics and unravellings you’d hope for.

Fresh, exciting heroics with a serious spine. What’s not to like?

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This is a quick link list for Angelmaker’s press & reviews. It’s not comprehensive, and it’s basically a tool for me and for anyone in the trade who needs it. For anyone else, sorry, it’s a dull bit of self-pimpage, but it’s starting to drive me insane not having a live list somewhere.

The Daily Telegraph

The Independent on Sunday

The Independent

The Observer

The Guardian

The Scotsman (interview)

Metro (interview)

We Love This Book (interview)

The Week

Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Wired

Slate

Seattle Times

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I’m not sure how you would categorise this book – noir detective thriller meets black comedy perhaps – but the intrigue provides a need to read on and the characters are wonderfully rendered providing a richness that elevates Angelmaker from a good read to a great read.

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“Angelmaker” is much more than a spy novel. It is a tale of struggle and loyalty; a story of family and righteousness; and a narrative of how a legacy of former years can visit havoc on the present day world.

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The weapon of Angelmaker is named the Apprehension Engine and serves one purpose: to make people understand the truth. Tangled up in a plot to unleash this terror are gangster’s son Joe Spork, a clockwork expert trying to avoid becoming his departed father, and Edie Bannister, a very old former spy who’s still got come tricks up her sleeve and knows more than she’s letting on. Throw in mad monks whose ethos springs from the Arts and Crafts Movement – hence, Ruskinites – an evil genius and a bit with a dog, and you get perhaps the most entertaining read of the year.

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a tale beautifully and expansively told