Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tears in Rain by Rosa Montero

Imagine a world in which cloning has become a reality. First contact with extraterrestrials has long since passed, teleportation technology exists, and humans travel through space for industry and settlement. This is the reality of Rosa Montero's Tears in Rain a book both inspired by and paying homage to Blade Runner.

Bruna Husky is a replicant with just four years left of her ten year life span. Once a combat rep, she now makes a living as a private investigator. When a neighbor -- and rep -- shows up on her doorstep raving like a madwoman and later killing herself after attempting to take down Bruna as well, the rep finds herself embroiled in a complicated new case. Her neighbor was not the first of the reps to die in this strange manner. The culprit seems to be a manipulated memory implant, one that convinced the rep that she was indeed human and suffering as a result of a grave conspiracy. In total there have been seven such cases and in each of the more recent instances, the reps have managed to take out a number of people around them as well. Bruna has been hired by the leader of the Radical Replicant Movement to find out who is behind these illegal implants and murders. But as tensions rise between humans and reps, Bruna realizes that case is even stranger than it initially seems.

Tears in Rain is great on a number of levels. The setting and world building are wonderful, the mystery is well plotted, the characters -- Bruna in particular -- are appealing and well realized, and the nods to Blade Runner work without becoming too overly employed or copied.

I personally liked the wiki entries as well. I have to agree with other reviewers to an extent and admit that they do slow the narrative just a bit, but it wasn't anything I found to be overly problematic. In fact, I thought they added well to the world building in particular, which can typically become bogged down and overloaded with the kind of information that's introduced as encyclopedic entries instead. And the fact that they become more and more inflamed with incorrect information, thus shown by the character Yiannis and his edits, also adds to the increasing friction between the humans and the reps.

At its most basic level, this is a mystery. It's a mystery wrapped up in a science fiction package, though, and Montero has blended the genres perfectly. I don't know if there will be more in store for US readers and Bruna, but I certainly hope so. This is the first of Montero's books to be released in the States and it hit shelves today.

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