Review: Rosewater

Series: The Wormwood Trilogy: #1

The idea of a singular hero and a manifest destiny just makes us lazy. There is no destiny. There is choice, there is action, and any other narrative perpetuates a myth that someone else out there will fix our problems with a magic sword and a blessing from the gods.

Rosewater has a fascinating premise. Take the world a half century in the future. Most things are the same, but there’s a bit more tech floating around, mostly. Introduce a massive alien organism that lands in London and ends up burrowing it’s way to Nigeria. From that alien blob, fill the atmosphere with alien microorganisms/cells that create their own xenosphere, enabling (among other things) psychic powers in some very small proportion of the population.

Like I said, it’s a neat idea. I like the idea of taking something as problematic in the broader scope of science fiction (psychic powers in general) and actually giving it a pretty decent grounding. Need fire powers? The alien spores can mutate to have a much lower flash point and shed themselves, igniting on contact with the air. Mind reading? Spores literally in the target’s brain. Viewing the history of items? Knowledge stored in the spores.

On the other hand, we have a fairly complicated book structure with at least three timelines changing chapter by chapter. They’re well marked, but with the chapters being on the short side, it got confusing, especially as the story progressed and the chapters got even shorter.

And then, there’s the sort of double whammy of the main character (Kaaro)’s dark and quite often oddly detached outlook on life and the grim setting itself. We’ll see some horrific thing and Kaaro will shrug it off. World changing events? Meh. Psychic sex scene? Oh, more than a few of those. Some people really enjoy such things. Some days, I even count myself among such people. But today, for whatever reason, less so. Perhaps that’ll teach me for going into a book without really reading much about it.

I find that the older I get, the less I care what people think about me. I only care what a small number of people think, and that number is dwindling daily.

Overall, I did enjoy the book. Like I said, it’s an interesting premise. On the other hand, if I hadn’t been listening to it on audiobook, I probably would have put it in the ‘maybe later’ pile (where, for now, the sequels are headed). So your milage may vary.