Thursday, November 5, 2009

Book Review: Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks

Use of Weapons Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow. I loved reading this book.

It concerns a man called Cheradenine Zakalwe, a warrior who is hired by a seemingly benign organization, called the Culture, to push wars the Culture can't stop one way or the other. He acts as a warrior, general, spy, and commando as needed.

He is wanted for a major mission, but he has vanished. Sma, a woman who is his handler goes out to find him for this critical mission.

The structure of the book is part of the reading pleasure. There are two alternating sets of chapters that thread together. One chapter thread is in the book's present and each chapter moves forward in chronological order. These chapters are titled "One," "Two," and so on. The intervening chapters are exploring Zakalwe's past, and they are moving backwards in time with each chapter. These are titled "XIII," "XII," counting down as they go further into the past.

And Zakalwe has a deeply troubled past.

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  1. Thanks for posting. I will definitely pick this up! -- David

  2. Did you like the ending? I read two Banks books before, Excession and The Algebraist. I enjoyed both of them quite a lot until I got to the ending, when I felt like he really hadn't had anything special in mind to wrap 'em up.

    Lots of clever ideas on the way there, though...

    PS: Hi, this is Uncle Vinny btw

  3. Disclaimer: I was not put off by the ending in the Algebraist. So go figure.

    However, Use of Weapons has an ending in mind, and it drives to that ending all through the book.