This stack of books to be reviewed isn't getting any smaller. I've given myself enough time to reflect on The Clan Corporate, so let's get started, shall we? Normal rules apply, I won't spoil anything in TCC itself, but I might have to spoil elements of books one and two in order to discuss three.)
Capsule result: I really didn't like The Clan Corporate. I wanted to, I tried to, but I just couldn't. When I reread my review of The Family Trade I winced when I hit my closing line:
As long as you're willing to sign up for four or more books then you could do much worse than to read The Family Trade.
I think I'd have to retract that right now. Maybe I should say you could do worse than reading the first two books. I said in my review of The Hidden Family that the first two books work pretty well as a duology and that still works for me. I have two problems with TCC - the first is that Miriam's personal story goes somewhere mostly plausible but unpleasant and the second is . . . OK I lied. I'm going to have a teeny-tiny, minor spoiler about TCC. The second is that the US government becomes aware of the world-walkers. I don't mind that, it's been a fairly obvious way the series was going for a while. What I do mind is that the government's response is fairly cartoonish. Look, I'm pretty comfortable being tagged as a liberal but Stross' cartoonish thug agencies reaction is just not very nuanced. It's not realistic, I don't buy it, and it weakens a lot of the book.
I could probably live with the the jackboots if it wasn't for the fact that it's really the 'B' plot and the 'A' plot is just icky. At the conclusion of book 2 Miriam had been accepted by the clan, she had her new business thriving in New Boston and things looked rosy for her. Obviously that's not a dramatic situation so something has to go wrong, but it goes wrong with little to no explanation, and her relationship to the Clan just sours immediately. Twined up in this is her mother who is just acting plain weird and out of character. There's some attempts to explain this away but nothing plausible emerges. This happens in several places where some character changes in a way that doesn't ring true to me.
It made me unhappy. I'm not even sure I'll read book four now. Part of me says I should, the series could be redeemable. But the fourth book needs a major course correction. I'd take more of book one and book two, but I don't want anymore of book three thanks. I hate to say it, but that's my feeling.
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