Hive Monkey by Gareth L. Powell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
After preventing a nuclear apocalypse in the previous book, Ack-Ack Macaque is piloting Valerie Valois' airship. When a writer-turned-fugitive boards the airship, Ack-Ack and his friends are drawn into a war that spans multiple worlds and the leader of the opposing army has a special fate in store for Ack-Ack...
I got this from Netgalley. Thank you, Netgalley!
You know how sequels are generally inferior to the original? Thankfully, Hive Monkey defies that unfortunate stereotype with two loaded Colts!
Hive Monkey picks up shortly where Ack-Ack Macaque left off. Ack-Ack is trying to adjust to whatever passes for normal life in an uplifted macaque when trouble shows up in the form of writer William Cole, whom people are inexplicably trying to kill. Meanwhile, the Gestault, a cybernetic hivemind cult, is trying to recruit Ack-Ack for some reason. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
The writing is vastly superior to the first book. If I wasn't so engrossed in the story, I would have wrote a lot of them down. Ones I remember include "It takes 128 muscles to frown but only 52 to grab someone and bite their face off" and "It's Saturday night. I should be out drinking and puking."
Ack-Ack proves to have a lot more depth than originally expected but is still the baddest mother around, with his Spitfire and his two Colts. I loved the revelation about the Gestault and how it related to William Cole. It's like Gareth Powell mined my list of favorite sf concepts for this book. AI, parallel worlds, uplifted animals, nanotech, airships, cyborgs, etc.
Even though I knew it was likely Ack-Ack would save the day, Powell had me guessing a few times. The ending was pretty damn satisfying and also made me want to get the next book into my simian hands as soon as possible. Four out of Five stars!
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