I am very sad to report that I made it almost 350 pages through this but had to stop. I quit the book because I was fed up with a boring cop storyline with many unexplained and disjointed sci-fi twists. Written by Richard Morgan, Altered Carbon is a sci-fi novel that pulls no great punches and leaves the reader scrambling to keep account of all the characters and landscapes that are constantly changing. When a reader has to re-read all the passages in order to understand what is going on, that is not rich plot line, it's bad writing.
This book is about a ex-military (ex-envoy) solider turned Private Investigator for a rich man back on earth. The book is set almost 500 years in the future where there are other lifeforms around the universe that are aware of humans and humans aware of them. The main character is not human, he is from a world known as "Harlan" and has special ... "powers" when it comes to solving crimes. The character himself is an asshole and pretty much just blows away or destroys all people who are not given him the answers he needs. Some would see this character as a badass, but I just see him as a huge dick that has been sleeved (or put in a human body that doesn't belong to him) to help a super old guy find the person who murdered him.
Let's back up, the reason he is brought to earth to solve this silly crime is because this old man is a meth (a person who re-sleeves themselves before they die, therefore making them immortal) who pays to have him brought back from storage (a place where people conscientiousness are stored after they die, oh yeah, did I not tell you they can do that here...) to find out who killed him in the first place. As you can see, this story line is already getting complicated and a little extensive. Some would say that this book has layers of rich writing and loads of personas that add to a fascinating story about what the world would be like with life without death. Not me. I would strongly protest to anyone who sees this book pop up into their GoodReads account and say hey, just wait for it to come on Netflix. For me, cop shows and cop dramas are my least favorite plot lines and my least favorite sitcoms. I truly get bored with them. I know that Netflix will do a great job with this story because they will have a team of 30 people sifting through every bit of the book and pour time and energy into creating an amazing CGI people to marvel at. But sadly, the book cannot garner such enthusiasm and effort from me.
This book was recommended to me by a friend who recommended stories like Dune and The Seventh Son as an equally epic tale that I would love, they were wrong.
Now that you know a bit about the story line, let me tell you why this book FAILED at being entertaining or enriching. The author gives little to no explanation about the surroundings that the characters interacts with. Other sci-fi novels I have read have done a great job with this. These stories are filled with rich surroundings, cutting edge tech, and mystifying infrastructure that merits explanation. Morgan feels that details aren't necessary and proceeds with his simple cop drama set in a futuristic land with little to no explanation. His writing felt reactionary, so when a character interacted with a cool piece of tech, he would describe the exchange, then proceed on with his story. You know when a person talks about their dream, and according to them, there was so much detail and thrill in their mind. Well that is how I felt Morgan wrote this story. All the detail and thrill is still nestled in his head somewhere. To bad he didn't put pen to paper and share this new world that he had created. Instead he wrote a cop drama, woop di do!
Two thumbs way down.