Francis W. Porretto
on Jan. 29, 2014 :
There's a lot to like here, but not everything.
The story is imaginative. It also depicts its protagonist in more depth than is usual for an SF story of this length. The multifarious discords provided against what the reader will know of history are jarring, of course, but a necessary part of the larger scheme.
Stylistically, the storytelling is more than adequate, though the text could use a good line-editing; I caught quite a few low-level errors as I read, and I wasn't looking particularly hard. Thematically it's unoriginal, but then, the most striking themes -- including the false ones -- repeat endlessly as the world of fiction turns. As there are only three plots, it's unavoidable.
If the story has a major flaw, it's that the payoff doesn't suffice to explain much of what precedes it. For example: Why did intimations of the Third Chamber occur in the first place? Why was a cadre of "Guardians of the Third Chamber" necessary or desirable? Why, indeed, was it necessary or desirable that there be an instantiation of such a thing within the simulated Earth environment? If the text provides any answer to those critical questions, I'm unable to find them.
Concerning the Addendum: This was unnecessary backstory detail that should have been omitted. Besides and beyond that, it will offend many readers. Yes, it offended me; I'm an American and react badly to denigrations of my country, which has achieved more, has advanced further, and has done infinitely more for the world than all the other nations known to history combined. But inasmuch as I'm an extremely well-traveled, well-educated, and well-read American, and entirely too familiar with the power of envy, I'm inured to it, at any rate more so than most of my compatriots.
All the same, it was an entertaining read, well worth its price. 3.5 stars, but I "round up."
(reviewed the day of purchase)