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The Salt Castle

The Salt Castle - Fred McKibben This is the middle volume of a three book series. The premise is interesting. The scenes set in Detroit read as though the writer was familiar with the locale. There are a couple of nice set pieces. The proofreading is excellent.

Familiarity with the first volume is not really necessary to follow this book.
The events of the previous volume are outlined, perhaps a little too much and a little too often. The start of the book is a bit dense with information, names and concepts assault the reader very quickly, but the information overload soon subsides to a more gradual learning pace.

The end of the book, on the other hand, is inconclusive. None of the threads of the story are really resolved.

The author tells a lot of events in summation rather than showing them. A lot of characters are introduced who are little more than names and have negligible impact on the plot.

Uor is drawn in very broad brushstrokes. The world building reminds me of the original Battlestar Galactica. As a place, it feels vague compared to the Earth.

The greatest problem, however, are the Gardeners, the machines that serve Apollo and Ares. These machines are more gods than their masters. While the other characters provide motive, too often the Gardeners provide the action, sometimes off-stage. They are the very definition of Deus Ex Machina, and the overreliance on them to drive the plot saps tension from the story.

I received a copy of this book for an honest review.