RESURRECTION CODE by Lyda Morehouse
Mad Norwegian Press, 2011, 192 pages, 978-193523409-8, Trade Paperback, $14.95
To say that I’ve been anticipating this novel doesn’t come anywhere near the mark. There are precious few fictional universes that I’ll drop everything to read about, and Lyda Morehouse’s AngeLINK universe just happens to be one.
This new story takes place partly during the Blackout years after the Aswan Dams break (I’m sure most AngeLINK fans have been curious about this bit of the universe’s history, particularly where it concerns Mouse). However, there is also a second storyline that takes place farther in the future, well after the end of the of the last AngeLINK book, Apocalypse Array. In this way, it isn’t what I expected, which was a full prequel that delved deeply into events of the past. I’m not the least bit disappointed, though. In fact, I was more than pleased by what the real story turned out to be.
But I’ll get back to that shortly. First I’d like to point out that we’re able to revisit many of the characters from the original series. When I flipped through the book to find that not only was Mouse a POV character but Morningstar as well, I was elated. My two favorite AngeLINK characters narrating Resurrection Code? Too awesome. But Morningstar isn’t the only other character we’re able to see again, and fans of the series will be delighted to read about several familiar faces.
One important thing a reader should know about this book is that it’s not meant to explain everything that came before the AngeLINK series, nor is it meant to continue it. This story is a personal one and, as such, isn’t about world events so much as it’s about relationships. The linchpin in the tale is the character Mohammed, who had friendships with both Mouse and Morningstar during the Blackout years. Both of them were responsible for betraying Mohammed’s trust, and, in the end, they fight to rectify those wrongs.
Mohammed also embodies the central ideas of the novel—identity and gender. As usual, Morehouse tackles hefty concepts, and she does so skillfully. For more about the ideas behind this story, take a look at her Big Idea post on John Scalzi’s blog.
The other major characters are much as I remember them. I’m not surprised to find that Mouse was always a bit of a smart aleck, particularly when he gets defensive. His propensity for getting himself into trouble ought to be legendary. Still, his ability to get himself out of that same trouble is pretty remarkable as well. Morningstar, too, winds up in situations he’d rather not be in, but these usually involve persuasion from the only power he’s inclined to give in to. But despite his desire to please his maker, he’s ever the rebellious one when his beliefs differ from those of Heaven.
Reading about the Blackout years through Mouse’s experience was intriguing and underscored the dangers of living in that post-catastrophe world. At every turn, betrayal and death are possible at the hands of friends as easily as strangers. The new cults that form after the Aswan Dams break make up only one of many potential dangers. With no electricity, Link access, or money to purchase basic necessities, living is a daily struggle that can cause anyone to go to extremes, or to make decisions that turn out to be less than beneficial in the end.
Not every little question brought up during this story is answered, but that’s something I’ve come to expect from Morehouse. She never overwrites or provides more information than necessary, but there are always subtle references or inferences that aren’t fully explored. She leaves some things up to the reader’s imagination, which is something I enjoy about her work.
Now, my view of this book is from the position of someone who has already read the core series. As to whether or not a newcomer to the AngeLINK universe will enjoy Resurrection Code, it’s hard for me to say, but I’d like to believe that, yes, those unfamiliar with the world and the characters will be able to appreciate it. It’s certainly a standalone story, and references to events from the previous novels aren’t confusing or intrusive. Everything you need to know in order to understand the novel is there, although those who aren’t already familiar with Mouse, Deidre, and the rest of the cast might have to pay closer attention to what’s happening. If anything, I think this book might make newbies curious enough to hunt down copies of the original four books (an effort that, if you were to ask me, I would say is worthwhile).
In closing, I’d like to add that Alyx Dellamonica has written a lovely review of Resurrection Code for Tor.com. She’s about ten times more eloquent on the subject than I am, so I would recommend giving her post a look.