Review: Nanoshock (SINless 2)

My review @ Goodreads
Nanoshockby K.C. Alexander
Genre: Cyberpunk

So here’s the first sentence of the book.

You haven’t lived until you’ve fisted a nun under the cheap light of a neon Jesus.

If you think you can take a book that follows that sentence, go ahead and try. I apparently couldn’t and it would have ended up being a 3* except…

Both books – Necrotech as well – probably highly depend on the mood of the reader (yes most books do but…). This time it was like eating raw steak, when I really wanted to indulge in chocolate. And I am allergic to beef.

Dangerous as masturbating with the barrel of a Sauger 877, safety off. The hunger riding my high made that sound like a great idea.

So the trend from book one continues, nitty, gritty, bloody, gutter street action with an out-of-control anti-hero as MC (a protagonist is something else entirely). I spent most of the book rooting for Riko to-get-a-fucking-grip-for-once.

That’s the city for you. Breed ’em hard or breed ’em to die. Even the beggars have a few tricks up their nonexistent sleeves. To run, if not to fight.

The first 20% of the book are taken up by a longish sequence during which Riko fights through the slums of the slums. She’s set up somehow by someone who knows she’s cooperating with Malik Reed. She’s hitting or shooting everything that moves and the expletives run rampant along with her. During this sequence the events of book one are recapped extensively – too much so.

Wolf, my satisfied ass. Guaranteed I’d used that thing on him till he screamed. Lance seemed to have returned the favor. Probably while I was plastic balls deep in the other one,…

And then the plot begins although like Riko herself the reader more or less has to muddle through it and is likely to erupt into uncontrollable anger and aggression because most of what is happening doesn’t make a lot of sense most of the time.

What these suitfuckers don’t realize is that nutting up means an easy boot to the testicles, and how was I supposed to resist it when the idiots are so quick to sack up in my face?

For some reason she also gets another shot at a team of Malik’s corp. And this quote shows how well that is likely going to go. Malik – in control, competent and mysterious – remains my favorite character but obviously we get to see very little of him since Riko wants to do as little as possible with his corporation. Same for Indigo who – despite the “run” of the previous book – still doesn’t trust Riko.

Throughout the book Riko gets beat up as much as she dishes out but because “nanos” she can be repaired and beat up again in no time. It does get repetitive though.

A HOLDING CELL. They’d put me in a shitsucking padded cell, white on white on white – which made no sense because by the time I was done, I’d punched the door bloody.

So I am guessing that whatever Riko’s problem is, it is some kind of mental disorder – I think I read somewhere it is supposed to show what PTSD is like. The thing is: I do not know much about PTSD, I don’t know anyone suffering from it. I don’t recognize the symptoms. If this book sets out to educate a reader like me it would help immensely if this was talked about and named somewhere either in the plot or at least in some kind of afterword. The only hint I found is the moment when Orchard puts Riko on anti-anxiety meds and suddenly Riko appears if not a different person at least a lot more “mellow”.

There are so many intense moments with Riko where she really tries to act in a different way and just can’t get beyond that inner blockade and so doesn’t but instead beats up her allies. I do believe that her mental illness – whatever it is – is portrayed quite good and that’s why I am leaving this as a 4*. But combined with the expletives and her “dick swinging” it makes for an exhausting read.

“What shall I call you?” She sized him up. Didn’t offer a hand. “Muerte.” “Death.” His lips twitched. My fists twitched too. Maybe they should meet. Again. “A pleasure.” “All yours,” she said sweetly. That’s my girl.

So the world remains interesting, the tech fascinating, the characters off-putting or dead and the plot is just window dressing on Riko’s downward-spiraling character arc.

PS: if you want the spoilery parts and my comment on the ending go check out the review I wrote on goodreads.

By Yashima

Writer of code and stories