The Flux by Ferrett Steinmetz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Closer to a 4.5.
So Flex is great, and if you've read it, you know that already. The Flux is absolutely in the same universe, but it's a very different book. That's not a bad thing, but it also means that there are parts that stumble and there's some attention to detail that needs to be done by the reader for things to truly pay off.
Overall, we're past the point of Flex and now Paul is inside the machine. But if the first book was about saving his daughter by any means necessary, The Flex, in a sense, is about Paul trying to save his daughter from herself. It's an interesting dynamic in the story in that there are things we can control and things we can't, and this story is largely about both of those things as a result, as Aliyah is torn between what's right and what's true. And she's eight. And there are good guys and bad guys, but a significant amount of grey to go along with it.
Yeah, it's that kind of book.
There's a lot of balls in the air here, and what Steinmetz does well is keep them in the air while not losing the sense of the overall. Sometimes there's an inbalance between the action and the story, sometimes things are a little longer than they need to be, but the key point is that the story works. The beginning is a crazy adventure, and the end is just an enjoyable boss battle in every way, including a part that both got me visibly excited and emotionally upset - I tend to be a stoic reader, so that's worth praise in and of itself.
Ferrett Steinmetz is a longtime internet friend/acquaintance, and so knowing some of the things that inform this book definitely has a director's cut feel as a result. I might have actually enjoyed this more if I didn't know some of what he's shared over the years, and that's a testament to how good this book is on a whole.
Overall? A worthy sequel, even if it doesn't reach those heights. Read Flex first, obviously, but give this series a shot. It's some of the more unique and enjoyable urban fantasy I've read as of late.
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