Big dumb alien objects tend to work me like a charm: that Thing sitting there, demanding explanation, and--often, in the best of such stories--all kinds of things on the Thing, complicating or endangering or compounding the fun. These books often have a propulsive what-next? energy complemented--in the best of such stories--by a dazzling what-if? delight, where the science fiction author plays these wonderful counterfactual games, puzzling out the possibilities of a set of premises. And--in the best of such stories--the reader gallops along, trying to figure out exactly what those premises are.
This isn't the best of such stories. I read with decreasing energy, undone by things I expected (some flat characterization) and didn't (flat prose, familiar premises). I made it some 200 pages before deciding that the promise didn't power me through the dull sections. (And I was prone to cutting bait because, as the first part of a story to be continued, the promise seemed more threatening than exhilirating.)
Disappointing. I would like to thank NetGalley and Tor/Forge for providing an advance readers' copy for review.