Thursday, 20 August 2015

On, by Adam Roberts

I recently finished reading a book called "On", by Adam Roberts. The concept itself intrigued me: what if the world was a tremendous vertical wall, and its inhabitants clung to life on the ledges and crags? It's a high concept, and a fascinating one, and Roberts does a good job of developing a lot of this world, as well as (eventually) backing it up with an explanation of how such a world came to be.

The book follows the adventures of a boy called Tighe, who falls off the world from his home village and travels far, learning the mysteries of the world wall. In this, the book does not disappoint. We get to see rather a lot of the world wall and learn a good deal about its inhabitants, very few of whom, it seems, are pleasant, well-adjusted people.

The problem, for me, was that the ending was too abrupt and was far from the inevitable conclusion it felt like it should have been. Tighe's travels seem somewhat aimless, too. By the end, I wondered what it had all been for, except to speculate on a world turned sideways. So, my final assessment is somewhat mixed. I enjoyed the concept, and the story was told well enough, but the ending made me feel that the whole enterprise was futile.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I looked up some other books by Roberts, but I won't be reading them.
PPS - High concepts aside, I need to enjoy the story, too.

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