Book Review: The Engines of God

The Engines of God (The Academy, #1)The Engines of God by Jack McDevitt

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was my first exposure to Jack McDevitt -- I'm glad I got this as a library book instead of purchasing. I was disappointed after all of the hype I had read and heard about this series. It caused no excitement and took me over three weeks to read. It's not that long of a book, and I'm not that slow of a reader.

Priscilla Hutchins, "Hutch" to her friends and colleagues, was written incredibly flat. For a protagonist, I expected more. Someone I could care about. Someone I could cheer on and celebrate the wins and commiserate the losses with. A good book gives you an emotional connection to the characters so long as you are immersed in their world. I felt none of that for any of the characters in The Engines of God.

There was some romance, and on that front I wish McDevitt had received input from to a woman when writing from her point of view, if only to fix the approach to her first private encounter with George. I don't see how leaning towards someone to show interest "blows it".

Hutch wasn't the only character that seemed flat, they were all two-dimensional and descriptions were superficial, there didn't seem to be any character growth or dimension to pivotal supporting characters, despite hints that some would meet later in life (and the series). They were all caricatures.

The action scenes, well, there was no tension. Were they going to die or weren't they? Did it matter? Back home Earth is overpopulated and dying, but when the team returns to Earth, hardly anything is described of that condition. The only thing we read about is the politics between the Academy and private enterprises that want to terraform and colonize Earth-like worlds.

I'm going to give Deepsix a chance to see if the series improves at all. Tell me now if I should just give up.

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