by E. J. Swift
Night Shade Books, San Fransisco, 2012
Borrowed from my library. This is the first book I finished for the TBR Double Dog Dare and the 2013 Sci-Fi Experience. The cover is stunning.
I wanted to love this one. The premise of a great city built in the ocean being the last refuge of the human race after some world-wide ecological catastrophe, is a great one. Osiris itself, giant towers and pyramids rising from the sea on the one side and the ruins that shelter the poor on the other, is a marvel of world building. The basic theme of inequality that runs through Osiris and the idea of the rebellion of the poor and oppressed, is something taken directly from recent news, from the Arab spring to the massive protests in Spain. Moving this into some apocalyptic future is an intriguing idea. This is what speculative fiction is made of.
The main characters, a wild girl rebelling from a wealthy ruling family on the one hand and an ex-convict turned political activist on the other, find themselves in a you help me – I’ll help you situation that could have developed into something engaging, but for me the relationship fell into a sadly typical scenario. They end up in bed together and end up hurting each other, something I found distracting and disappointing. I’m sure Swift means this to be the beginning of so much more, but it just didn’t work for me. Osiris also felt like it could have used some graceful editing, I found myself skimming quite a bit.
Night Shade has been publishing some wonderfully wild and exciting books over the past few years, including collections edited by Ellen Datlow and John Joseph Adams and a couple by favorite authors Kameron Hurley, Iain M Banks, and Paolo Bacigalupi. Osiris just didn’t click for me. Sad, but it happens.