Thursday, February 28, 2013

'The Human Division' 1 & 2 by John Scalzi

This review poses an interesting conundrum. How does a reviewer complete a review based solely on the first two segments of a book being released as an episodic narrative?

To be honest, I'm still not entirely sure and I'm willing to give it my best shot, but I warn you now... this will be the last time I volunteer for this kind of review. Trying to formulate an opinion on the first two chapters of a scifi epic is just too much and I'm not sure a whole lot can be gained from a review of this nature.

Now that I've pretty much discounted my opinion to the lowest level possible what did I think? In a nutshell Chapter One 'The B Team' was awesome! I couldn't read it fast enough. In fact, when I finished I felt like I'd experianced some of the best scifi I'd gotten my hands on in a long, long time.

Chapter Two 'Walk the Plank'...? Not awesome but definitely solid. My main complaint was actually my own fault in that I'd let too much time lapse between reading the first and second parts so while I remember what had happened in the previous piece, I felt a massive disconnect in the story. Were these entirely different groups of people being introduced? Was there a tie in? I still haven't gone back and compared the two pieces to see if maybe I'm missing something pretty big.

This, at the basest level, is why I feel so conflicted about this review. Since I haven't taken the time to read on in the series (but know that on the whole I'm usually impressed with John Scalzi's work) it's tough to make a call. Even so, I'm near positive that if I had a minute to get moving on the third installment - and actually catch up through number seven released Tuesday - I'd be in love, because the third installment will most likely do it's job helping me reconcile the previous two.

But I guess that's both the pro and the con to this kind of release. On one hand the audience is captivated by the idea of getting a brand new chapter a week. On the other, the reader needs to really feel engaged in the story being told or can lose interest quickly when one installment ends up not reading as well as the others - or when they're a space case like me and forget parts that are, more than likely, insanely important, and end up getting frustrated.  

The Bottom Line: I'm going to keep reading because the first installment was truly impressive, but if you aren't keen on picking up a chapter a week wait until May when the whole thing comes out in its entirety under one cover. 

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