Review: Use of Weapons

Series: Culture: #3

The way to a man’s heart is through his chest!

Another day, another Culture novel.

After how much I liked The Player of Games, it’s interesting how much less I got into Use of Weapons. Perhaps it’s the setting and main character–Zakalwe is closer to Horza than Gurgeh. Perhaps it’s the structure–with one set of chapters going forward in time, one going backward, and a prologue and epilogue after either of them, it’s complicated.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly not a bad book. The Culture is a fascinating setting and getting into the darker corners is exactly where you learn the most about it.

Zakalwe, in all human societies we have ever reviewed, in every age and every state, there has seldom if ever been a shortage of eager young males prepared to kill and die to preserve the security, comfort and prejudices of their elders, and what you call heroism is just an expression of this simple fact; there is never a scarcity of idiots.

Worth reading as a continuation of the Culture, but probably not one I’ll revisit. Such is life.