28 December 2016

BOOK REVIEW: A Miracle of Rare Design by Mike Resnick

A Miracle of Rare Design (Birthright #21)A Miracle of Rare Design by Mike Resnick
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

How far would you go to unlock the mysteries of an alien culture? Journalist and adventurer Xavier William Lennox becomes obsessed with the rituals of the Fireflies, an alien culture of gold-skinned inhabitants living on the planet Medina. When he gets too close to their mysterious society, he's captured, tortured, and banished for defying their laws, but vows to learn what the aliens are so desperate to hide, even if it means becoming one of them. His curiosity doesn't end there. As opportunities arise to study more alien races, Lennox takes cultural immersion to the breaking point. He not only buries himself in the language and customs of the aliens, but also undergoes severe surgeries to become one of them. Each time his humanity is stretched until he faces his biggest challenge-trying to return to the ordinary life of a man who has experienced the universe in ways he was never meant to.

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This Birthright story has left me feeling a little flat, dissatisfied that the big reveal I was anticipating never eventuated. Thankfully it's a short book. I love Resnick's style and he's been one of my favorite authors of any genre so I guess, for this reason, I feel a bit disappointed.

The first phase of the story where the main character "becomes" a Firefly alien to assimilate with them seemed to promise me a grand finale, that I would learn a great secret that these highly spiritual creatures were hiding. But did that happen? Nope. The story then goes on to show him being altered surgically a few more times to be able to manipulate a new alien species to Man's desires each time. It does provoke thought in that his character grows increasingly distant from his human origins each time he's changed, and he can see the limitations and folly of the human species because of his alien perspectives.

Overall it's typically Resnick in that it's easy to read and flows nicely and doesn't waste time with superfluous words, almost pulp-style, which I like. However, the lack of a gritty story or twist means that the entertainment value to me is seriously diminished.

I see that some people have rated this very highly due to the philosophical theme, which is fine, but I was hoping for a little more entertainment and fun.

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