Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Angelmaker, Nick Harkaway - The Review

“Consider … by how much might the lot of man be improved, in a world where truth was ubiquitous? One per cent? Five? How much positive adjustment is necessary to pass the tipping point and enable the spontaneous formation of a utopia?” Frankie beams. Then her face falls. “Oh. Although too much truth could create problems on a physical level. And one most definitely would not wish to create a determining cascade …”

Joe Spork having rejected the gangster kingdom his father left him for the quiet
clockworker business of his grandfather, is inadvertently lured into activating an
Apprehension Engine and now has to stop God-wannabes from destroying the
world with too much truth.

The Concept
So here's this Apprehension Engine that could bring the world as we know it to
its end, here's this  super villain who is going to make sure that it does, and who
do we have here? A nice thirty five year old teenager who repairs clocks, and a
ninety year old super spy? They're going to stop him?

So when you read, what sort of books do you generally read? Sci-Fi, historical
fiction, satire, fantasy, erotic romance, a thriller, a comedy? Well let me present
to you, .... Angelmaker. It is all of those things! And more.

The Writing
Sometimes it is a quick thrilling easy read and you can't turn the pages fast enough,
and sometimes it is a deep philosophical puzzle which if you ever manage to finish,
you imagine the author will pat you on the back and say something like "congrats,
you are now officially really, very, very not a dimwit".

All through the book, Mr. Harkaway tries to do to the reader what Brother
Sheamus does to the Ruskinites; feed us a lot of plausible illogical male cattle
dropping passing itself off as science, immediately before or after bamboozling
us with important beauty which we can't help but be captivated by.

The Story
Joe Sporks has escaped the life of crime his upbringing ensured he was destined
for, by occupying himself with the running of the antique clockwork shop his grandpa
used to run, and he means to live out the rest of his days as invisible as his six foot
three frame will allow.

Edie Banister has spent the bulk of her life as a super spy in the service of good, but 
in the twilight of her life she realizes evil is stronger than ever, showing no signs of
slipping into graceful retirement, so she decides to put into play a plan hatched by
the genius who was her one true love, to spread the absolute truth of things through
out the world and thereby change the world for the better.

Edie successfully seduces Joe Sporks with the  intricateness of the Book of Hakote,
and gets him to activate the truth machine.

Joe is branded a terrorist, removed from the scene of a murder by the authorities, and
is only just rescued from being sent to some sort of Ruskinite 'Guantanamo bay' by his
superstar defense lawyer.

Crazy Joe must escape capture, torture or death, and manage to prevent the bad guys
from misappropriating the Apprehension Engine into the extinction of intelligent life.

And oh, by the way, Joe isn't just some random guy. Let me tell you this historical tale of
international espionage that will show you how closely related he is to the Apprehension
Engine, by blood even!

The Resolution
We are treated to a thriller at the end, but it didn't seem enough to justify the length of
the book. It also fails to live up to the expectations of either consistent brain stimulation
or regular outbursts of laughter, that the early parts of the book promise.

The Verdict
Mr. Harkaway has perfectly mixed the correct proportion of ingredients required for a
masterpiece, but has only managed to come away with a good book.

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