The Quantum Magician

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Oct 2018

Member Reviews

The premise and story world of this book are very promising and interesting, but the writing style didn't hook me enough to keep me interested. I would pick this book up and put it down again without a good idea of what it was all about, and at a certain point I didn't care anymore. 
Why would a, as the book says, "Homo quantus, engineered with impossible insight" be interested solely in being a con man when he could be anything else? So the characters and their motivations also went over my head.
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Brilliant sci-fi heist novel that constantly keeps you guessing what will happen next, who is bluffing, and how the con will either spin out of control or against all odds deliver the ultimate pay-off. Exhilarating ride.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2387474869
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A classic heist story wrapped up in hard sci-fi stylings, this book expected me to pay attention, and pretty much blew my mind as a result. Being so firmly rooted in hard science I could see some readers being put off, but for me it didn't dominate or take away from a satisfying story with grand (and patient) world building, richly detailed characters and a hugely enjoyable sense of natural complexity. It's not an easy read as such, but the pace, the setting, the great (and often deeply dark) characters and the satisfying heist elements all combined to make it a challenging but very enjoyable read.
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This started off really well but the more characters that got involved the harder this was to read.
The story seemed to jump from one story line to the next and left you guessing in parts.
This was just not for me.
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A premise that, on its face, should be a rip-roaring good time, a kind of Scott Lynch-ish, layered heist but hard sci-fi, but it's so booooorrrriiiiinggggg. OMG, how many times do you need to tell me Belisarius is like, the smartest? And, like, his brain never stops? I GET IT, DUDE.  An editor needed to give Mr. Kunken a sharp lesson in "show, don't tell" and also cut about half of this interminable novel.  A hard, hard pass.
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Hay historias que en un puñado de páginas consiguen captar el interés del lector de inmediato. Fue mi caso con la novela debut de Derek Künsken, The Quantum Magician (y sí, como dice el subtítulo, el primer libro de la serie The Quantum Evolution, pero bueno). Estamos ante una novela de ciencia ficción que contiene casi todos los elementos que a mí me fascinan de este género: especulación, física cuántica, personajes carismáticos, naves-viajes-espacio-planetas, sentido de humor, sentido crítico y capacidad analítica de problemáticas actuales trasladadas a una sociedad del futuro. Además, The Quantum Magician dispone de una barbaridad de buenas ideas muy bien desarrolladas. No por nada es una de las novelas de ciencia ficción que más disfruté leyendo el año pasado y de la que guardo mejor recuerdo. 

Belisarius, nuestro protagonista, es un Homo Quantus, un hombre genéticamente modificado para manipular información y datos a nivel cuántico. Él estaba pensado para que desempeñara el papel de gran científico, como los otros Homo Quantus que le preceden, sin embargo Belisarius es un tipo que no se lleva demasiado bien con las reglas, las órdenes y con estarse quietecito. Especialmente le disgusta que su carrera, su vida y su futuro vengan dictados por unos genes que le impusieron. Así que la novela plantea algunas preguntas iniciales, ¿a qué puedes dedicar tu vida cuando eres capaz de computar datos de forma más eficiente que un ordenador? Belisarius tiene la respuesta, y lo tiene muy claro: convertirse en el mayor estafador de universo. Aunque quizá el último golpe que se dispone a dar no vaya a resultar tan sencillo como de costumbre. La novela se sitúa en un futuro lejano donde los humanos tienen la tecnología para modificar los genes para sobrevivir a entornos hostiles, para mejorar sus habilidades o para esclavizar a otras especies. 

La cantidad de ideas que Künsken introduce en una sola novela es abrumadora, y no solo es la propia cantidad, sino el buen desarrollo que hace de cada una de ellas. Quizá no todas ellas acaban siendo desarrolladas por completo, o hasta un callejón sin salida, pero sí quedan tratadas lo suficiente como para que resulte satisfactorio. Además, el autor publicará más libros en esta serie, así que imagino que se guardará unos cuantos ganchos para los siguientes libros. Es un libro provocativo, que busca ese disfrute y entretenimiento inteligente. Es decir, que a través de situaciones bien pensadas y elaboradas te saca la sonrisa cómplice. Además, pese al aparente súperpoder del protagonista, ser un Homo Quantus no le convierte en alguien invencible, es precisamente en el caos donde sus cálculos fracasan y su poder no tiene efecto. Además el libro está escrito con capítulos breves que terminan todos en ganchos, dándote ese empujoncito para "va, me leo otro capítulo antes de ir a dormir". Y terminas viciado.

El mundo que construye Künsken es vivo, y da esa sensación de realidad que tantas veces echo en falta en otros libros ambientados en el futuro. Se atreve a especular sobre ciertos senderos que toma la humanidad en el futuro y sobre distintos temas evolutivos. Por ejemplo, también aparecen los Numen y su dominación de los Puppets a quienes han modificado genéticamente para que los cosnideren sus dioses. Los Numen han causado así una estructura social bastante peculiar y con situaciones chocantes. En el curso de la novela descubrimos que los Numen están casi extintos, por lo que los Puppets tienen un síndrome de abstinencia bestial que les impulsa a actuar de formas un tanto... peculiares. Künsken aprovecha estas situaciones para reflexionar sobre el significado y la importancia de la religión en una sociedad, además de las consecuencias nocivas que esta tiene. El autor es especialmente duro con la religión y muestra una imagen nada amable de la misma, algo que he disfrutado muchísimo.
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I loved the world built here. It took a bit of work and time to get into it and piece things together, but not so much time, all things considered, and I found the conundrums of the additional human species really fascinating. The Homo Eridanus, engineered to survive in several hundred atmospheres of pressure in hostile oceans, but unable to ever get to the surface unless they want to be crushed to death. The Puppets, twisted slave-race created by the Numen, who thought themselves superior to the others, and made themselves into gods… without really thinking about what this would make their “worshippers” do (a.k.a the Puppets are as fascinating as a train wreck). And the Homo quantus, made to delve into the mysteries of time and space, seeking a state of fugue which is the only one where they can fully observe the universe, but to the cost of their individuality and their health. (Speaking of which, the fugue demands the lack of an observing conscience in order to avoid collapsing the wavefunction; if the Copenhagen interpretation irks you to no ends, you may not like that part.)

And, behind this, a geopolitical system strewn through space thanks to wormholes, with patron and client nations, and a delicate balance between all of those. Many possibilities, only a few of which are explored here.

The story also has the proper elements of a good con/heist: an ambitious goal that most people would call crazy and impossible; a team of misfits and odd people gathered from various places to each play they parts (including, among others, an ex-soldier who loves her explosives, an exiled Puppet, a dying man, a geneticist, and an AI who believes itself the reincarnation of Saint Matthew); and, of course, things that don’t go exactly according to plan, because where would be the fun otherwise?

The characters, in general, are also compelling and well-developed. Belisarius and Cassandra draw an interesting dynamics: she loves the fugue but has trouble staying in it, he was engineered too well and can’t get out of the fugue before it kills his physical brain due to overheating. Gates-15 is a Puppet exiled because he cannot react to Numen pheromones, and so cannot experience the divinity of his captive gods, and who wants nothing more than to go back to his homeworld… with a twist, that is. William has to weigh what he stands to lose against all he could give his daughter instead if the con works. Marie was less developed, but her antics combined with those of Stills, the swearing Eridanian whose people’s credo is to give the finger to the universe who screwed them, were pretty fun to read (yeah, I loved Stills).

There was a downside here for me, though, in that while I loved the hard science incorporated in the foundations of this world, the way it was sometimes explained slowed down the whole caper/heist part. Also, I wouldn’t recommend this book to a reader who’s not keen on hard science fiction in general.

Conclusion: A solid 4 stars, I enjoyed the characters and the world, and I’m interested in any sequel that comes out.
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A fascinating premise, with all the colossal stakes and epic scale of a sci-fi novel featuring wormholes and endless quantum possibilities. Once the dense worldbuilding settles in a bit, the individual actions felt a bit cursory - find a crew, set a plan, pull it off to prevent a war - but the pace did make for a quick read, the characters all vibrant.
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Belisarius is a Homo Quantus, a man genetically modified to manipulate data on the quantum level. He was supposed to become a great scientist like all the others of his kind, however, he doesn’t like to follow the rules. He especially doesn’t want his whole career and life to be dictated by his genes, thank you very much.

What can you do with your life when you can compute data more efficiently than a computer? For Belisarius, the answer is simple: become the best con man of the universe. However, even for him, his last job might be too hard if not impossible.

He has to find a way to move a huge fleet of warships across an heavily guarded black hole while remaining unseen. His client, a small vassal-state of the Congregate, is dreaming of independence and is ready to start an interstellar war for it.

To succeed, Belisarius will have to pull off the biggest heist of the galaxy and he cannot do it alone. He needs a crew and a talented one at that. Who could be better than the craziest representant of other subspecies, an AI who thinks he is the reincarnation of a Saint and another Homo Quantus? At worse, they’ll kill each other off, at best, they’ll be richer than they’ll ever be!

 

Set in a future where humans have modified their genes in order to survive in hostile environments, to improve their skills or to turn other species into their slaves, The Quantum Magician is one crazy ride. Derek Künsken has enough ideas to write dozens of books but he uses them all in one. It’s a crazy imaginative story which managed to pick my interest from page one. It’s thought-provoking, very clever and extremely enjoyable. When I finished a chapter, my immediate thought was “Okay, just another one” and it doesn’t happen that often for me.

The worldbuilding is amazing, this book is packed with fascinating ideas and I had a blast discovering how humanity evolved by discovering all the new subspecies. I was morbidly fascinated by the Numens who modified their DNA in order to enslave the Puppets and how horrible it turned out for them.

Belisarius is very interested by those modifications and how much it redefines the meaning of being human. Being a member of a subspecy himself, he cannot help but to question where his own actions are coming from. Is he motivated by his own free will or are his actions predetermined by his genes? This naturalistic approach of life is at the center of the book and some characters even discuss it at various points in the book. Don’t worry, it never turns into a boring lecture,on the contrary, it allows us to understand the motivation of both protagonists and antagonists.

 

The Quantum Magician is a fabulous debut, it would make the most fantastic movie. It has everything and more, it seriously needs to be read by way more people. Highly, highly recommended.
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Don't be fooled by the title - Derek Kunsken's The Quantum Magician (review copy from Solaris) isn't a rip off of Hannu Rajaniemi's bonkers space opera The Quantum Thief.  It may feature a similarly charming con-man protagonist, but instead is a delightfully engaging heist story.  This is Ocean's 11 in space.

Belisarius (Bel) Arjona is the titular Quantum Magician - genetically engineered to be able to enter various altered mental states in order to examine the fabric of the universe.  One of those states involves complete suppression of identity, in order to avoid the phenomenon of the observer collapsing quantum states.  But something has gone wrong in Bel's breeding - entering these states is likely to lead to his death, and he spends his life as a con-man because the challenge is the only thing that will distract him from the addictive pull of his training.  Living in a complex, multi-cultural society dealing with the mix of messy emotions and complexity that make up most sentient beings is a much greater intellectual challenge than studying physics in a laboratory.

Bel is approached with the job of a lifetime - smuggle some military spaceships through a wormhole.  The wormhole is the main route from one part of the galaxy to another, and access is tightly controlled.  These military ships belong to a colony civilisation desperate to make a strike for independence.  Moving the warships will put them in the right place to make a surprise military strike.  Bel's fee for this work is two small ships equipped with a brand new drive technology that will be worth a fortune.  But the real prize for him is the chance to observe wormhole physics from the inside - data he would never have been able to gather if he'd stayed on his home planet. 

What lifts The Quantum Magician above the usual run of heist stories is the characterisation and world-building.  Whether he is willing to acknowledge it or not, Bel is using this job as a chance to reconnect with old friends and colleagues - including his old lover Cassandra; Saint Matthew, the most advanced AI ever created; an explosives expert; Bel's former con-man mentor; and a genetically engineered sea creature who is an expert pilot able to operate a high pressure and high g.  Bel has personal debts to pay to some of these people, and wants to work with people he trusts, but this for him is mostly about the chance to connect with people he knows as part of a team in order to address his fundamental loneliness.  Much of the early part of the book is Bel pulling his team together and planning the elaborate heist.  The actual heist itself delivers on tension and unexpected developments, bringing an exciting climax to the story. 

Goodreads rating: 4*
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This is a heist-story, in a hard science fiction universe, a load of science/techno-babble somewhat based in actual science, aliens that are more then just green humanoids, and space opera feels to it.

I really enjoyed this book. The fast pace, as is becoming of a heist, makes for a quick read, and the characters and their backstories are fascinating. I actually liked the little insights in the lives and characters of the book, more then the actual heist part, which had just a bit too many technical convoluted explanations. You meet all the people in this book at a midpoint in their life. They’ve done things before Balisarius pulls them in, and will do things after (if they make it…). I loved the kind of humans that were developed: the homo sapiens (humans, just like you and me, but then… in the future!), homo quantus (their brains are basically quantum computers), homo pupa (designed for religious awe towards their “gods”. This gets… creepy quickly. Content warnings for torture and medical procedures apply) and the homo eridanus (they’re deep sea dwellers, and can’t live without intense water-pressure, which has created it’s own kind of religion with lots of cursing included).

So, if you like a read that will keep you on your toes because of pace, characterization and scienc-y stuff: grab The Quantum Magician! It got published October 2nd 2018, and so you should be able to find it at any (digital) bookstore near you ^^
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Tries too hard

As much as I liked this book, I kept putting it aside to read other, less taxing ones. There is so much stuff going on that Quantum Magician becomes exhausting in the middle. Things clear up at the end but I wish Mr. Kunsken's beta readers had convinced him to cut the text a bit. The cons within cons within cons blend together and the narrative does not guide us strongly along the plot line so I could not figure out why each of the elements was needed. Arjonas team is too big, although the reasons for that are part of Arjona's character. Specifically, I don't think Arjona needed to add two team members and spend so much money and technology so a merman can create a diversion.

I have a couple of doubts about some of the scientific explanations too. Here are three: 

In the book, the biome surrounding nerve endings has important effects on the functioning of the nerve. Conventional science does not include a biome around a nerve ending. Nerve endings are way tinier than the organisms of a biome. Nerve endings are sterile and buried inside tissue. If a biome were in there with the nerve ending, the tissue should rot. That being said, there is one very new and not yet replicated report of bacteria-like forms found in cadaver brains inside supposedly sterile environments but not touching nerves directly. They were seen around myelin sheaths. The authors are quick to say that they don't understand what they are seeing and that their samples might be contaminated. You can look this up on AAAS Science Newsletter for November. No one besides these researchers has suggested that actual bacteria can be or should be roaming around inside the body. I think this is too tenuous an observation to put forward in popular fiction as fact.

Then there is the question of pressurizing water. Two physics issues here: 1) At one point the team is 23 kilometers under the surface of a planet looking at an ocean in which the genetically modified mermen are swimming around in (as I read it) about 800 atmospheres of pressure. If we are using Terran atmospheres (and nowhere does it say we aren’t) then 23 kilometers down would be 23000 meters / 10 = 2300 atm, not 800. If there is an explanation for the discrepancy in the text, I didn't see it. 2) The team needs to pressurize a tank of seawater to about 800 atm to move the merman from one place to another. They do it by putting more molecules of water into the tank. Well, that's not how water is pressurized. You can't compress water like a mattress. Water in the ocean is pressed down by the weight of water and air above it, so if you had a very tall column of water, the liquid on the bottom is pressurized and is a bit denser than the liquid at the top. How exactly is the team pressurizing the water in a relatively small space something like a bathysphere?

Mr. Kunsken has created an extraordinary world with an exciting mix of cultures that he hopes to build into a series. But he has put so much into this book I worry that he has fallen into the fiction equivalent of the first-album trap. If musicians put all their best songs into their first album, no good ones are left for the second and momentum is lost while writing new ones of high quality. (Billy Joel is often mentioned in this context.)
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Rating:🥄🥄🥄🥄

Short Review: Apologies for the quick review. School year has started so don't have a lot of time to write things down. This was a good read, enjoyed it. Hoping to be able to purchase it soon. Thanks! Downloaded from Netgalley
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I was amazed that this book is from a first time novelist. The world building is excellent! 

The division of humanity is well done.   I was actually creeped out by the Puppets and the Numen.  I found the Mongrels to be vulgar and annoying. I was fascinated by the Homo Quantus.  Imagine being able to turn yourself into a quantum computer at will!  There is also an AI who thinks he's a saint as well as a "normal" human woman who is a bit psychotic and enjoys blowing things up. 

Belisarius Arjona is a Homo Quantus who has left his people and set out on his own. He brings together this diverse group in order to pull off a crime that no one thinks is possible. What follows is a great read that left me wondering if everything was planned to go as it did.

I recommend this to all sci fi fans. It's a bit of a heavy read but worth it!
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Space heist, post-humanism and hard Science Fiction, a great recipe for a fun book with an intriguing plot and diverse characters. I have to admit that the beginning was hard to go through (the "hard" part of "hard SF"), and each characters' set of skills were a little bit too convenient, but overall it was very enjoyable. I'm looking forward to a possible sequel!
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Derek Kunsken’s The Quantum Magician is, at its heart, a heist caper interwoven with some hard sci-fi, which is admirable in its ambition, but ultimately somewhat uneven.

Kunsken’s future universe sees humanity colonising other worlds via a system of wormholes. The wormholes are controlled by powerful patron states who use weaker client states to, basically, do their bidding including fight their wars. Several branches of humanity have evolved, not naturally, but through genetic engineering; Homo Quantus are able to effectively see the universe at a quantum level which gives them superior mental abilities; Homo Eridanus have been engineered to live deep underwater where the pressure is immense; and Homo Pupa, disturbingly, were engineered to revere their masters, a people called the Numen, as gods, an act that backfired on the Numen mightily as the Homo Pupa, referred to as Puppets, now hold the few remaining Numen captive in order to properly worship them. Amongst these various branches of humanity are artificial intelligences; fully formed artificial personalities who exist as full members of society.

Belisarius Arjona is a Homo Quantus who makes his living running scams. And he’s very good at it, so good that he has acquired the nick-name ‘The Magician.’ His latest job, though, is an unusual one; he’s been hired to get a client state’s fleet of warships through the wormhole controlled by the puppets so they can begin a rebellion against their patron state. This particular fleet, which had been missing for forty odd years, has developed a new technology which gives them a tactical advantage over their patrons and they intend to use it.

There’s a lot to like about The Quantum Magician. The author’s efforts to create something new and unique are commendable, even if they don’t always work. The plot is pretty tight and the heist part of the book plays out very well. Kunsken is able to explain strange and difficult concepts very well so that they are easily readable and, while the first third of the book is a little slow, once the action starts it moves along at a pretty good pace.

The concept of the Homo Quantus is great. Their evolution makes sense and it makes for some potentially very interesting characters. The Homo Pupa and Homo Eridanus, however, don’t work quite as well. The concept behind the Puppets is interesting, and also provides some opportunity to explore the darker side of human nature, but they do not develop as a fully rounded culture or, indeed, as individuals. They end up being something of a caricature. The concept of the Homo Eridanus and the reasoning for their engineering don’t quite hold up for me. It feels like they are there just for the sake of having something different.

Similarly the patron/client relationship is not explored in any great detail nor do we really learn anything about this fleet that has been missing for forty years. We know nothing of their relationship with their patron state nor the nature of their mission when they first went missing. They are just there.

The most interesting character was the Scarecrow; a special ops agent who is an AI, but developed from a human brain. The concept is very cool and had the potential for an exciting showdown between the Scarecrow and Belisarius. Sadly the potential of the Scarecrow is never fully developed and its involvement in the story is almost incidental.

But the biggest problem with this book is the lack of character development. The first third of this book is taken up by Belisarius putting together his team for the job, yet we learn very little about any of them. For instance, one of the team, William, we learn has a terminal disease and he sees this job as his last opportunity to provide for his daughter; however, we never meet his daughter and we learn nothing about their relationship. It’s difficult to develop any empathy with characters that you know nothing about. Even Belisarius gets very little development. The unfortunate effect of this, at least for me, is that you don’t really care whether they pull the job off or not. You don’t become invested in their success. My understanding is that the book was originally published as a series of short stories, so I wonder if that has something to do with the lack of character development.

In spite of all this, I did enjoy the Quantum Magician. It is an interesting story and the universe created by Kunsken, while a little uneven in its execution, is interesting and original. I hope Kunsken continues to explore this universe because I think there could be a lot of interesting stories to be told, and I think Kunsken has the talent and ability to write something really great.
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The Quantum Magician by Derek Künsken
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have no problems raving about this book. It has everything I love about SF and then I get the best things I love about the thriller/mystery genre. 

HEISTS.

At first, I believed this was written as a homage or a more accessible version of Hannu Rajaniemi's Quantum Thief, and I was right... to a degree. It forwent the truly odd stuff and gave us a readable and full explanation of quantum mechanics and name-dropped a few more while throwing us into a more widespread future that never quite touched the singularity.

In other words, it had odd cultures and odder branches of humanity but it still felt a lot like everything we know. Bruisers coming in the form of gene-modded humans able to withstand punishing pressure, a technician in the form of insane AI who think he is a Saint from three thousand years ago or an inside man who is a part of a whole people modded to worship everything about self-torture as a religious experience.

Add our mastermind who is a broken quantum computer (in the old sense) who ought to be able to go into a fugue state and savant his way through any difficult problem except for the tiny detail that it hospitalizes him, and we've got an MC who needs a social challenge big enough to tax his brain without busting it. 

There's a lot of great gallows humor here. A truly wild backdrop of space-opera with wormholes, big space-fleet conflict, and empires who all think they're the most formidable foes in the playground. What could go wrong?

Well, as it turns out, a lot, but the ride is fun as hell. After all, it's a HEIST! :) :)
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The Quantum Magician is Oceans Eleven in Space, on steroids (I thought I was especially clever but turns out other people called it this before as well, damn it!) 

Total Rating: 8.1/10

Originality: 8/10
Language: 8/10
Atmosphere: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
World building: 10/10
Fun: 7/10
Predictability: 7/10
Believable: 7/10
Relevancy: 8/10
Cover: 9/10

Genre: Sci Fi 
Time It Took Me To Read: approx. 5 hours

Are you a science fiction fan? Then do not miss this one out. I was on fire when I got this book to review for free - because I really wanted to read it anyways, having heard so much good stuff about it. And oh boy, this is not like any other book I've read before. It is intense and difficult to chew. It has many pages. But it is still delicious. 

THE BOOK:
Belisarius is a Homo quantus, a genetically engineered human with quantum senses, is a con man. When he  gets the biggest opportunity of his life for a never-seen-before con, he assembles a team to make it happen. 

Originality: 8/10
The idea of a team assembled for an epic heist is nothing new - but that is not what makes this novel so original, rather the world it is in. As the title suggests, this is Book one of the Quantum Evolution, and the heist is just a "small" story line in a much bigger picture. 

Language: 8/10
The language is hard. Occasionally I felt like I was reading a scientific paper in physics (and I dropped out of physics as fast as I could). I do not know what was pseudo-science, what was real, what was simply made up. Put it seemed incredibly scientific though. 

"The magnetic field of the Stubbs Pulsar, although weak as far as pulsars went, throbbed against the magnetosmes in Belisarius' cells, imposing a reassuring polarity on the world and feeding his brain rough navigational data. After fifty-six point one minutes, a new magnetic field pressed on his magnetosomes, swallowing them."

"His restless brain counted the stones of the arcade, measured the angular errors in the joints of walls and buildings and roofs, and tracked the gradual deteriorations that no one fixed. The magnetic organelles in his cells felt the unevenness of the electrical currents in the neighbourhood, and his brain assigned national probabilities to different service failures." 

Yes. Digest this. 

One thing that drove me absolutely mad was the use of first names in dialogues. 

"We're cursed, Cassie, just like the mondrels and just like the Puppets."
"We're nothing like them."
"Our genetics built us a new way to starve, Cassie. The mongrels die if they leave the pressure of their oceans. The Puppets die if they're too far away from the Numen. You know what we need, Cassie."
I get it. Her name is Cassie. 

Atmosphere: 8/10
Despite being complex and hard to chew, it feels like the novel is always ahead of you. Things do not make sense immediately, concepts are not understood, characters not fully explored, while the novel seems to know it all already. So I felt like the whole novel felt like a chase - which is incredibly intriguing and unique, but at the same time got frustrating at times because it felt like so much work to keep up. 

Characters: 9/10
Belisarius (I stumble upon his name every time and in my head it turns to Beli-saurus like a dinosaur)  brings together characters that support him in his heist. None of them is particularly deep, but we get a bit of a comic relief through some of the character interaction making the book a bit less dry and easing it up between the hard-core scientific paragraphs. 

World building: 10/10
This should not be called world-building, but universe-building. Imagine how difficult it is to make a realistic world in a novel, now imagine the scale of the universe compared to it. I am taking my head off, Mr. Kuensken, as a sign of respect.

Fun: 7/10
The reason fun does not get a full 10 points is simply because I am too dumb for many of those concepts in this amazing novel. It flew way above my head. I do like SciFi and have read SciFi before, but never something so hard core on space and based on scientific facts, conversations and concepts. If this is your type of thing, you probably will give this book 11/10 in Fun. It is a long novel with complex concepts and language, that makes it a lot of work.

Predictability: 7/10
I did not understand half of what was happening, so it was not difficult to not predict things either. Sounds maybe harsh, but that is how I felt!  

Believable: 7/10
The world is so well build and thought through, that I did not question anything, despite not understanding most of it. 

Relevancy: 8/10
I think there is a lot hidden below the surface in this novel. We learn about Puppets, a race of humanity which was created and genetically engineered to worship another, called the Numan. We have the genetically engineered Homos quantus, who are in the end also just slaves to the way they have been engineered.

Cover: 9/10
The cover is pretty and indicates the degree of epic-ness you are about to encounter. 

Total Rating: 8.1/10
This novel is not for everyone - but if you love sci fi, and the quotes from the novel that are in this review do not scare you away, you should DEFINITELY give this book a try.
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There are times, now and again, when I wish I wasn’t so stubborn.

There are times when I wish I could bring myself to put down a book I’m not enjoying rather than being determined to see it through.

This was one of those times. Unfortunately, I stuck with it, adamant I was going to see The Quantum Magician through to the end.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m certain there was an intricate world, complex characters and deep yet meaningful relationships present.

I just had no idea what they were.

Information overload
There was just too much science. Which, for a science-fiction book, may be the most ironic sentence I’ve ever written.

But seriously, it was overwhelming, confusing and stopped me from engaging with the plot and the characters. I’m all for knowledge to be inserted into a book, but it should be a subtle art; woven into the plot in such a way you don’t notice it. Otherwise, surely it is just exposition? Or an author showing off what they know?

I stayed with this book, however, because the writing was good quality. There were some complex characters in there, flawed with the potential to grow. Their relationships with one another developed and twisted, with truth, lies and love woven into bonds of friendship.

There were some high speed chases and deep questions about religion. Characters won. Characters lost. And characters were broken along the way.

The big issue is that I had no idea about the plot. I’m certain there was a heist taking place, because that’s the premise of the entire book. I don’t know what said heist was – I can perhaps guess at it in a nutshell, but if I’m right, how did it take an entire book just for that one thing?

There were certain scenes that I literally cannot tell you what purpose they served other than allowing the reader into a character’s head. If they fitted in with the con, I don’t know how. Why plant a load of explosives under ice then, as far as I’m aware, they were never detonated? Or, perhaps, they were and I never realised? Either way, I think that rests my case about my understanding of the plot.

With no working knowledge of quantum mechanics (I’m not even certain it was quantum mechanics…it was quantum something, which I might have just interpreted because of the title), I had no idea what the breakthroughs were that the characters were experiencing. I didn’t know what they wanted, what they were searching for, and without knowing what makes a character tick, you lose any empathetic connection with them.

I know there was quality there in this book. But, personally, for me? It was effort to read this, feeling like I was forcing myself through a science book rather than being able to indulge in a story that was conquering time and space while making everyone look the other way.

A disappointing read: I’ve never felt so lost in a book before.
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Overall a good read. The group of characters each had their own voice, which took some talent.  But it seemed to me to be a contrived group. Kind of like a Boy Band.  Each one chosen to be quirky and independent instead of actual people the main character would have interacted with.  This, coupled with a bit of a shallow plot, left me wanting more.

It is a worthwhile read, and is set up to be a series.  I'll read the second installment when it's out and see how it has improved.
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