[REVIEW] The Incrementalists – Steven Brust & Skyler White

Steven Brust & Skyler White
The Incrementalists
Macmillan Tor (US: 24th September 2013)
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As a left-brainer, my thoughts often stop me from fully enjoying stories. I don’t need every little thing explained in extensive detail, but something more than vagueness. For a novel filled with symbols and analogies, my experience was less than optimal.

Logic-fail kept me from falling under The Incrementalists‘s spell. When even immortality sounds more believable than the concept herein, it’s a sign the world-building is somewhat flawed. An incrementalist’s memories can be implanted into someone else via A BURNING SPIKE TO THE FOREHEAD. Only because there’s no mention of seared flesh or brain damage, the burning memory-spike may be symbolic/analogous and therefore not real. And that kind of stuff really gets my goat.

The whole novel takes place over a week, so there’s insta-love. That could be explained due to meddlework, but the two parties seem relatively cool with the fact they were basically pimped, minds meddled with so they’d fall in love with one another. That’s hella creepy, and yet our characters seem nonplussed. Huh.

And for a secret society dedicated to making the world a better place, a little bit at a time, they do no such thing in the main storyline – they just focus on themselves. Sure, they may have done some bettering in the past (though the references to real life events really irk me – YOU BROKE THE FOURTH WALL, BOOK!), but apparently nothing in connection to the major plot.

P.S. Early on a character checks their Google Reader, and I immediately thought, “Ha! You just dated yourself, book!” Then I realised the email above the reference is dated…2011. Yep, listing the year in the emails dates the book even more than Google Reader. We really only need to see the messages, and the to/from section. Dates are irrelevant. (Unless there’s a particular reason the novel’s set in 2011, other than that’s when the authors wrote it. If there is a story-based reason, I missed it.)

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