Broken Angels by Richard K Morgan

Broken Angels is the sequel to the now classic cyberpunk book called Altered Carbon (Book Review HERE ) & (Netflix Review HERE) by Richard K. Morgan. While Altered Carbon was more gritty noir cyberpunk, Broken Angels falls more into the military Sci-fi genre. The story takes place 30 years after Altered Carbon and Takeshi Kovacs is now re-sleeved in a black man and fighting a civil war on a far off planet. When the opportunity presents itself, a man named Jan Schneider proposes breaking an Archeologue out of an internment camp and finding a gate made by the Martians, that will open up in space over a derelict Martian starship. They figure they can get a corporate sponsor, broker a deal for the starship and then be needlecast (transferred) off the war torn planet and be resleeved elsewhere.

Most of the book is about getting through this gate and then on to this Martian spaceship. The cast of characters (See how I would CAST a Broken Angels Netflix show HERE) work very well together, from their bickering, to their getting to know one another. The book keeps you glued to the events taking place because much like a book from Jack McDevitt (second to none with Space Archeology Fiction – See the Priscilla Hutchins series) you want to know more about this alien species that was so far advanced and yet is now gone. Then toward the end… something misfires.

An event happens on the alien ship and the chapter ends. Then we get our cast of characters back on the beach outside of the gate, captured by Takeshi’s old military crew. The book then becomes a revenge tale in the last 90 pages or so, of Takeshi vs Carrera. There’s no real explanation of the event or the ghosts on the ship and by the time you get more toward the end, you realize that you are not going to get any more answers. The McGuffin of the book is completely ignored for this “versus battle” and a character that is talked about but never introduced until the very end. It’s very disjointed. This was actually the first time where I was glued to the book until the very end where it became a slog because I knew that the “good part” had already passed by.

I know the Netflix show changed a few things from Altered Carbon and I hope that if they do film Broken Angels, then they concentrate on the alien ship and make it about that and not this Takeshi vs Carrera side tangent. If they do that, then they will really make up for where the book went off the rails. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad book, but in the end I feel like the story got away from the author and that derailed what was really becoming a page turner of a narrative.

Next up is the end of the trilogy with Woken Furies and I’m hoping that takes me back to a more cyberpunk feel, which I think is where Takeshi Kovacs really belongs.

Altered Carbon by Richard K Morgan (Review)

In anticipation of the Netflix series, I pulled up Altered Carbon once again on my Kindle to give it a re-read. If a movie like Bladerunner exemplifies “cyberpunk” then Altered Carbon could quite possibly be THE cyberpunk template that epitomizes the genre in book form, even more so than Neuromancer.

Written in first person, we are taken into the world Takeshi Kovacs, an Asian Envoy from Harlan’s World, sent to Earth via Needlecast to be resleeved in an caucasian body, and solve the suicide/murder of Laurens Bancroft, who claims that he could not have killed himself. Sound confusing? You have to think on this one and that is part of what makes it such a great cyberpunk tale. In the world of Altered Carbon, the human body is just a sleeve. Your consciousness is actually you, and it can be placed in different bodies (sleeves). Bancroft supposedly killed himself before his next conscious backup, so he’s missing time between his death and his last backup. That’s why he hires Takeshi Kovacs to solve the what and why of his death.

Along the way, we get twists and turns that you really have to think about. I have to say, reading it though on the second pass, I knew what to look for (kind of like going back to rewatch the Sixth Sense, as everyone did, when they found the twist), so I actually enjoyed the story even more this time around. It’s a real noir detective story, and you really do have to keep up with the information that is released to you, because sometimes, those names and characters will show up later and you will get that light bulb moment of, “Oh yeah… whoa!!!”

I’ll be moving directly into the sequel (Broken Angels) next, as well as anxiously awaiting the Netflix series next month (Feb 2nd 2018). I can’t wait to see this universe play out on the screen!!!