A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
I bought this book on the recommendation of several people I know online, whose tastes generally seem to mirror mine. Their reviews were good, so I thought I'd give this unknown-to-me author a chance.
Unfortunately, the truism that "tastes differ" was confirmed once again, as I did not like this.
For one thing, the writing was far too frothy and artsy-fartsy to suit me. I haven't read any of the author's other work, so I don't know if this is his general style or an affliction of this story, but either way it didn't set well. Second, this starts out as a fairly generic fantasy, but about halfway through there is a sudden introduction of "gods," complete with psionics, Discorporate Intelligences (i.e. uploaded minds, it sounds like), holograms, hints of a terraformed planet, and highly technological dialogue. It's a clumsy, jammed-in retrofit, and it doesn't fit with the rest of the story at all.
Next problem: I did not like the main character. Aqib is a vain, arrogant little peacock who grated on me to no end, and frankly, his lover Lucrio could have done a lot better. But Lucrio made no great impression on me either; the best character in the book is Aqib's daughter Lucretia. However, this brings me to the third and biggest problem...
I couldn't figure out why this book jumps around so much. From past to future, back and forth between Aqib's and Lucrio's initial affair and events later on in Aqib's life. The last such event takes place when Aqib is 89 years old, and seems to fade into his death.
Or so we think....
But where were they now? The anguish and desperation he'd felt earlier this same morning, when he'd begged the Sybil: "Did I choose right? Or should I have stayed in Olorum?" No regrets, now! He wanted no life but the one he'd lived!
"Well?" The Sybil stirred in her glass. "There it is," she said. "Such life as you'd have lived, if you'd chosen Olorum."
Excuse me? You mean three-fourths of this book is nothing but an alternate timeline dream? Good God. Why did I waste my time reading it then, especially when I didn't care for it? And when the character I liked best never existed?
That is a plain and simple cheat, folks.
I'll donate this book to the library, or something. Someone is bound to enjoy it. I did not.
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