Friday, December 26, 2014

Macaque Attack, by Gareth Powell

Ack-Ack Macaque is back!  After the saving the world in Ack-Ack Macaque and Hive Monkey, Ack-Ack and his friends have to step up to save the world yet again.  The familiar characters and conflicts from the first two Ack-Ack novels are included, and Powell introduces some new faces and wrinkles to the story.

Macaque Attack opens with Ack-Ack and his companions returning to their London of origin, after traveling to various parallel universes.  They have freed many of Ack-Ack's counterparts, other uplifted monkeys and apes, but have also discovered that the villains against whom they have been fighting also have counterparts in other parallels, who have plans to invade again across dimensional borders.

Ack-Ack fans will enjoy the way Powell draws story threads from the first two books, while introducing new elements.  I have not read Powell's novel The Recollection but he brings in characters from that storyline as well.  That's the kind of thing you do when you create a world in which there are an infinite number of parallel universes.  Speaking of parallel universes, just when I (and everyone else in the book) thought I had figured this out, another twist is introduced, sort of Matrix-like.  Interesting. . . .

I'm not sure Macaque Attack is as good as the first two books in the series.  Ack-Ack reflects on his body aging and slowing down.  Paul, Victoria's husband who died but lives on electronically, is deteriorating as well.  In spite of Powell's trademark non-stop action, including lots of explosions, and Ack-Ack's new choice of weapon (a diamond-blade chainsaw works especially well against the cyborg army), I almost felt like this story was running out of steam while soldiering on.

Nevertheless, Powell leaves the ending wide open for a sequel, even referring to the Ack-Ack "trilogy/quartet" in the Ack-Acknowledgements (although he may be referring to the original Ack-Ack short story and the three novels).  If he does write another Ack-Ack novel, I will definitely pick it up.  Mars awaits!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

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