Dorchester SHOMI (US: 26th February 2008)
Corporations own colonies in Michele Lang’s fabulously futuristic Netherwood.
Talia Fortune’s uncle is in charge of running the off-world Fresh Havens, but he’s no longer a competent manager. Thus Talia is sent to sheriff the place, and punish the outlaw who screwed up the interface. However, Robert Kovner is also Talia’s cyber-lover, and he knows more about FortuneCorp than she does. As the revelations come to light, Talia has to figure out how to save the colony from a conglomerate owner gone mad.
The first 100 pages are outstanding, a true example of fabulous world-building. The strength is in the details, though I did have a little difficulty keeping track of life on the grid and in the Real. Even just the names of places – such as the Glass Desert – evoke such rich imagery, and there’s other gorgeous descriptions demonstrating good writing.
As the story got more complicated, I had trouble keeping up, and so the novel seemed to lose some of its greatness. With enough focus and attention, however, other readers shouldn’t have this problem. I didn’t quite connect with the characters, but if you’re looking for an ace setting with vivid detail, you’ve come to the right book.