Book Review: Killing Titan by Greg Bear

I should have kept complaining. I recently wrote a glowing review of the first book in the War Gods trilogyWar Dogs, unfortunately the second book Killing Titan is not as fast paced or interesting. In fact, I barely struggled through the final chapters.

After the fast paced, engaging action of War Dogs I expected this to be a pretty good follow up to lead into what I already knew was going to be a trilogy. War Dogs ends with the protagonist Michael Venn being taken into custody. This book starts with Venn in custody at Ft Lewis being held incommunicado and periodically interrogated by various people as well as talking to what are apparently the ghost or essence of some of the troops that were crystallized/turned into black glass in War Dogs. It goes downhill from there.

Apparently the groups attending the Gurus, known as Wait Staff, have split into factions with one supporting the Gurus and another thinking the Gurus are hiding something pivotal to human survival from humanity. The rest of the book is Venn being spirited away from Lewis, sent to Mars and then eventually to Saturn’s moon Titan to meet some long dead race or at least there remaining stored memories. At least that is what I think because the book takes 330+ pages to get there and at the end I was pretty confused about where I was and how I got there.

The action is pretty non-stop and pretty well-written as you would expect from a Bear novel. What I found bad was the metaphysical stream of consciousness garbage that supposedly passes for an explanation of what the hell is actually going on. I have been reading sci-fi for over 30 years and have read some pretty cryptic stuff, the Hyperionbooks from Dan Simmons come to mind, but this one is over the top. It is so cryptic you get lost. I will probably read the next book in the trilogy when it comes out later this year just to finds out what happens, but I will get it from the library instead of checking it out.

If you read the first book and expect it the series to continue as straightforward as the first prepare to be disappointed. I cannot decide whether to recommend this book or not. I will just say this, when I finished reading it my first thought was “there is eight hours of my life I am never getting back.” I think of this as being like A Rising Thunder the last Honor Harrington book that Weber released, it takes you down the path and is supposed to be filler for the next book in the series because nothing absolutely essential or especially illuminating happens.  On the bright side this book is only 300 pages vice the 650+ of the Honorverse book.