My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Second novels are tough. Following up such an explosive debut is even tougher.
Spoiler: Ramez Naam nails it.
Crux starts strong and keeps up the pace throughout. It turns down the thriller (only a little, don’t worry), and turns up the philosophy and moral debate. This may seem like a pulpy, popcorn book, but trust me—your horizons and mind will be broadened after reading this. It’s an especially important issue since I suspect it’s something we will be dealing with in our lifetime.
(Again, kudos to the author for the non-US narrative. I long for the day when I’m no longer surprised by this and no longer feel the need to point this out.)
And it’s honestly some of the best craft I’ve seen in years. Ramez Naam writes as if he’s a seasoned grandmaster of the genre, but lucky for us, we have many more of his books to expect.
It’s got tight, tight writing, getting quickly to the heart of emotions and making you relate instantly. There are a lot of POVs, true, but it never feels bungled or sloppy.
The first half sets it all up. It builds the anticipation. And when the second half kicks in? Oh my.
I have not seen an ending this well-executed since Steven Erikson. The staccato POV. That slow realization, where you “get it” just a few seconds before the characters do. The warring emotions. The dramatic irony.
This is an author who is going straight to the top of my favourite new writers list.
Go read Crux right now, and join me in waiting for the final book in the trilogy, Apex, which comes out on October 28th from Angry Robot Books.