Author: Chris Rogers
Genre: Science Fiction Literature
Length: 434 pages
Sometimes being a reviewer is hard. That sounds silly, because I love it! But when you recognize a GOOD book and you can’t seem to get into it, it’s a little painful on the emotions. (Just like I’ve recognized books as crap and managed to love every minute of them… that part is just painful on the ego.) It’s even harder when you begin building recurring author/reviewer relationships, see these people face to face and have to tell them: It’s brilliant, but I couldn’t get into it. I don’t get to hide behind the anonymity of a computer screen, I book these lovely people for signings and see them around. I enjoy that I can’t hide, it perhaps makes me kinder. But it does not make me any less honest. In fact, it maybe keeps me more honest, because I know we’ll chat later and I know that my facial expressions never lie. I’m the kind of person that can’t manage to tell a cancer patient that they’re looking good when they’re not. I end up saying, “You look better than you have!” At which point, true story, they laugh and say, “Atleast you’re honest.” My facial expressions could be the death of me.
Let me premise by saying: I am not copping out with a back handed compliment. Emissary truly is brilliant! From a literary perspective, it’s Rogers’ best work. It has the most depth, the most importance. I just couldn’t get into it. Maybe it’s exhaustion, the holidays, or the fact that I’m just not in the mood for so many characters, but I wanted to devour Chris Rogers’ latest title as I have done all her others – but I didn’t. I plodded. I got distracted. Between readings I forgot whether Longshadow or President Hale was the leading character, and what their role in the story was. Ruell and I weren’t communicating well and I kept wanting him to be more tangible like Dax from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Every time Rogers mentioned a town or country or other world, I started thinking about geography and history books, space, and the milky way… I was reading science fiction and my mind kept grasping for non-fiction reading material.
I went total ADD on this book for nearly every page. Every time Duarte made an appearance I found myself humming “Don’t cry for me Argentina” until I distracted myself out of the story yet again. Like Ruell, I was feeling all sparky and in need of a host to anchor myself. I say it’s brilliant because I think there are a lot of discussion opportunities within its pages, both for reading groups and classrooms. It felt like reading Kurt Vonneget for school with a little Nelson DeMille splashed on top.
I think it would make an excellent film if someone could write a worthy screenplay, but the story should be guarded protectively lest someone come and make a shotty job of it. (Think of how many ways Ender’s Game could have been ruined if someone other than Gavin Hood had tackled it.) Please give Emissary a go… then come back and discuss! Also stay tuned for an interview with the author.