One thing's for certain: With his debut, Infoquake (Canada, USA, Europe), David Louis Edelman set the bar pretty high for what would follow in its wake. After referring to Infoquake as "one of the very best science fiction debuts I have ever read," I was wondering if Multireal could possibly live up to the potential established by its predecessor.
Edelman wastes no time in this sequel revisiting the events chronicled in Infoquake. Hence, Multireal begins right where Infoquake left off. And I'm happy to report that this is one sequel that delivers! No middle book syndrome for David Louis Edelman.
Likely in order to avoid info dumps, the author doesn't dwell too much on worldbuilding. Which is not to say that Edelman's universe doesn't resound with depth. Far from that. But to keep the plotlines flowing smoothly, Edelman offers us fascinating glimpses while relying on appendixes at the end of the novel and the website http://www.multireal.net/ as resources where readers can learn more about every facet of his work.
I loved how Infoquake ended up being an engrossing hybrid between a traditional science fiction yarn and the cutthroat world of financial markets. In Multireal, politics take central stage, with Edelman shedding some light on the Defense and Wellness Council, the Prime Committee, and the Congress of L-PRACGs, and their respective roles in the current struggle. Truth be told, I find that it's the financial and political aspects of these two novels that make the Jump 225 trilogy such a different and interesting read.
Another facet which I like about this series is its flawed protagonists. No larger than life characters, they all have shortcomings like regular people, and that makes them more genuine. Moreover, they remain true to themselves, giving each of them more life and credibility as the story unfolds. Natch remains a complete nut job, though he is too brilliant for his own good. Jara, Horvil, Vigal, Benyamin and the others try to keep Multireal out of the Defense and Wellness Council's hands while Lieutenant Executive Magan Kai attempts to destroy Natch's fiefcorp to gain control of the new technology. Although this continues to be Natch's story, Edelman focuses on the secondary characters quite a bit in this sequel, which elevates the characterization to another level.
The author paces this one adroitly. The absence of info dumps keeps the tale moving swiftly. The politicking is particularly well-done, and it adds another dimension to a series that continues to impress me on several levels.
My sole complaint would have to be that Multireal ends with a cliffhanger. Given the nature of the story, I suppose it couldn't be helped. Needless to say, Edelman sets the stage for what should be a terrific finale. I'll be lining up for the third volume!
As was the case with Infoquake, Multireal is a superior read. Moreover, if the final installment lives up to the expectations generated by its predecessors, this series could well be the best thing ever published by Pyr. That's saying something!
The Jump 225 trilogy remains one of the very best ongoing science fiction series on the market. Read it and you'll thank me for the recommendation!
The final verdict: 8/10