boo (booniverse) wrote,

Read Some Books Initiative '13: Book 2

Book: Mainspring
Author: Jay Lake
Pages: 320/710
Was it interesting? It had some potential.
Well-written? It did not realize its potential.
Would I read it again? no.
Would I read a sequel/further adventures/etc? I ordered up the second book but I might not go on to the third.
Keep or give away? It goes back to the Ann Arbor District Library today.

Way back in 2011 when I read Green I wasn't overly impressed with the execution of the story. Parts were really good but there were also parts that...were not. I had read somewhere that Jay Lake stepped out of his comfort zone to write Green (which huzzah! I applaud the effort whole heartedly, I'm just sad it didn't result in awesome) so I decided that I'd get one of his other books which he wrote more naturally. And so Mainspring.

First off, Mainspring has a really cool conceit and that being that the Earth is a clockwork mechanism. It has an equatorial wall which rolls along an orbital ring and somehow I can't figure out, a long polar spikey doodad with counter weights that provide the push to roll the planet. The moon is also on a track (as are at least Venus but theoretically all the planets) but for the life of me I couldn't figure out how that worked. Anyhow, neat but the whole kit and caboodle is "brass" which, no. You can't suspend a planetary mass on a brass ring unless the brass ring is mighty super thick. Even then I doubt it will retain form and plus, what happens to brass in the deep cold of space? Extreme cold does weird things to metals. To most things actually. So that was a little hard to reconcile unless it's a much smaller Earth. I didn't do the squishy maths to see how small you could have a person and how small the Earth would be in comparison but I'm still not sure it would work. But it was a cool idea.

Mainspring is a story about an orphan apprentice clock maker whose destiny it is to become the savior of the world. I wonder how many shelves of books there are about lowly people who wind up saving the world? And through saving the world, Hethor learns his true nature. How many shelves of books are there about an adventure showing the hero his true self? There was not a lot of groundbreaking storytelling in this book which was kinda sad but it did make the reading pretty easy. The book also does not pass the Bechdel test because there were only 3 female characters and none of them interacted with each other and all of them were basically there to help the hero. What bothered me about Green was that Lake didn't write women as realistically as I thought they could have been written. I'm not really impressed by the women of Mainspring either. Buut it is Lake's first book (I think) so I'll give him another go.

Lastly, I kept reading the main character Hethor as the Egyptian goddess Hathor. *chucklesnort*

If Cherie Priest and China Mievielle had teamed up to write this book it would have been AWESOME!
Tags: read some damned books
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