Review: The Noise Within by Ian Whates

Wow, I’m already falling behind on updates, and I promised you reviews… And, for what was supposed to be an all inclusive SF blog, I’ve been sticking to books quite a lot haven’t I…?

So, continuing in that vein…

A book review!

The Noise Within, by Ian Whates

Perhaps disappointingly for the first review on here, it will be neither effusively enthusiastic nor unilaterally damning. The Noise Within is average. It has the potential to go somewhere good in the next book, but this book, unfortunately, fails to rise above (or fall below) the mediocre.

The technology is interesting, but not ground-breaking (in space opera terms). The plot is more of a set-up, if it’s going to do anything intelligent then, again, we’ll have to wait for book two to find out (and it might, the potential is there).

And there is the same problem with the characters; I didn’t dislike any of them, but they’re fairly generic and there’s no real development over the course of the book; they’re basically the same person at the end as they were in the beginning, just in different places. Or, to be more precise they are all now in the same place, waiting for book 2 to happen to them. The one character I started to really feel for, who showed the most potential for development and redemption, was killed off pretty sharpish.

The only real bad points with the book were structural. At one point the various characters plots begin to converge, and Whates writes overlapping sections that cover some of the same time period but from the different characters’ points of view. Now I have no problem with this in principle, if it serves a purpose, but it doesn’t here, it just feels like the word count needed upping. There is no great insight gained into the characters or situation by this overlapping narrative.

And then there is the great reveal towards the end – a momentous event. Except that it wasn’t clear to me at all what it was that had happened or, more accurately, I wasn’t sure who specifically this event involved and so the wow of the moment was lost on me. I thought it was another party, who I knew were headed in the same direction, but only later do you find out what has happened to them.

(^see me dance around trying not to spoiler things for you… I’m so good to you)

As I say, this is not a bad book, but it’s not a great book either. It has some good action, and some good ideas, but it’s primarily a set-up, and it will be elevated or hung by the quality of the following books. If you’re looking for some new Space Opera then I highly suggest you try Michael Cobley, but if you’ve read that and you’re still hungry then you could certainly do worse than this.

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