Its occasional flaw almost characterizes it in itself (4/5)
From September 26, 2010
Rear cover synopsis:
"Marîd Audran has become everything he once despised. Not so long ago, he was a hustler in the Budayeen--an Arabian ghetto in a Blakanized future Earth. Back then there were times he didn't have the money to buy himself a drink. But her had his independence. And he had his integrity.
Now Marîd lives in the vast homeof Friedlander Bey, "godfather" of the Budayeen, a man whose power stretches across a shattered, crumbling world. During the day Marîd works as a policeman... and as Bey's personal envoy to the plice. His new position has brought him money and power, both of which he would abandon in a moment is only he could return to a life of neither owning nor being owned. But that, unfortunately, is not among his options.
It is also, at the moment, not an issue. For something dark and dangerous is afoot. Someone is purposely sending the entire city into chaos. Helping a mutilator of children to avoid arest. Setting a bloodthirsty killer loose to murder Marîd's partner. Murdering prostitutes and savaging their remains. There are hints that the hand of Abu Adil is involve. And Abu Adil is the one man in the city whose power rivels that of Friedlander Bey."
When Gravity Fails left the reader at
a spacious conclusion ripe to be written into a sequel. I had a mix of
impressions from Gravity (blatant, unabashed grittiness at the cost of
some finer prose versus the uniqueness of the environment) and felt that
Effinger had a difficult task ahead of himself to write a decent sequel
(as most books are prone to this same failure). But even in the opening
pages of Fire, I was struck by the maturity of the writing and the true
attempt to weave pivotal character development throughout the already
richly woven tapestry from Gravity. Most of Fire is a gradual increase
in design entropy; interactions become entwined, the cast becomes
embroiled in strife, and naturally Madríd Audran must sift through the
complexity of the mafia-esque underworld to reveal to himself the true
scope of the delicateness of the interdependency.
But one flaw
through the novel is also one found in Gravity: that of randomly
dropped-in scenes with nonessential characters, which find themselves
quickly out of the limelight and never referred to again in the greater
context of the plot. It's almost as if Effinger has a set of supporting
cast and also a stash of silly inhabitants which add nothing but comic
Speaking of comic relief, I found myself giggling (umm,
maybe grinning widely while silently chuckling to myself) during some
scenes when Madríd Audran displays a keen wit where Effinger lets loose
his exceptional observational skills. One part had me literally guffaw
aloud: "[...] her lips looked like she bought them first and forgot to put
them in the refrigerator while she shopped for the rest of her face."
(12) Lovely piece of description that is! There are a number of gems like
this which had me close my eyes to visualize Effinger's unique talent of
With a rich cast, detailed social
interworking, impressive cityscape, and unique inclusion of the moddies
and daddies, Fire in the Sun is like a boxer with a steady stream of
jabs, continually keeping you alert to the nuances of change. Only
during the occasional changes do you realize that the steadiness isn't
as steady as you once thought, but you continue to think to yourself
that regardless of the tempo change, you can still regard this piece of
sci-fi as one and in itself! Its flaws almost characterize it (almost,
almost)! However much I'd love to procure the third book in the trilogy, Exile Kiss, I haven't been able to find a convenient copy to purchase anywhere.