Review of 'The Quantum Thief'

The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi
1st book in the 'Jean le Flambeur' series

the_quantum_thief.jpg Jean le Flambeur, a thief, is serving time in the Dilemma Prison when he is broken out by Mieli, a warrior, and her spidership Perhonen who offers him a chance to win back his freedom in exchange for first reviving memories of his past he has forgotten by returning to Oubliette, one of the Moving Cities of Mars, then helping Mieli steal something from Mieli's employer, the pellegrini. On Oubliette, Isidore Beautrelet is an erstwhile detective solving small mysteries in the city. Isidore is hired by millionaire Christian Unruh who discovers a note in his library in extremely unusual circumstances that announces the arrival of Flambeur.

This is the first novel from Finnish author Hannu Rajaniemi and the first in a trilogy of books about Jean le Flambeur. As such, it takes some getting used to the terminology of the hard-SF world Rajaniemi explores to the point that even having finished the book I am still not entirely clear making the book often quite headache-inducing. Having said that, the novel is easy to read, fast-paced and the story interesting with a suitably impressive finale.

The fun characters, albeit fantastic, are believable and sympathetic with the story written from the perspective of the two main characters: Jean and Isiodore (amusingly each of the chapter headings is along the lines of “The Thief and…” and “The Detective…” giving it a feeling of a kitch genre piece). I like that often you are not quite sure what the characters will do next and what exactly their background is. This combined with attempting to come to grips with the reality being presented does keep one's attention though also, perhaps, tries one's patience.

Would certainly be willing to pick up more of Rajaniemi's work in the future but for those thinking of picking it up I would suggest giving it more than a bit of attention to pick up on the specific details of his world otherwise risk, as I did, getting quite lost…I am tempted to pick this one up again and re-reading knowing what I do now…It might make more sense.

Rating: “It is OK but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2018-10-21

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Gollancz

Publication Date: 2010

ISBN: 9780575088870