Top positive review
Things are not looking good for Bangkok...or the rest of the world.
Reviewed in the United States on February 14, 2017
This is a unique novel. Some people have claimed that it is steampunk rather than science fiction. I admit, there are steampunk elements but the novel has a sound basis in speculative fiction. The world of the novel is not an impossible world, as has been my experience with steampunk.
Windup Girl is not an easy novel to read. It's long, there are a lot of characters, the world is complex, people's motivations are diverse as are their personalities. The local, future Bangkok, also takes some time to adjust to, at least for me since I have never been to Bangkok. It takes a while to sink into the world and know your way around. That is, as well as any of the characters do at any rate, which is not very well. Everyone has a different view of what's going on and is keeping secrets from all of the other characters. No one is simple. No one is easy to relate to. The Windup Girl, Emiko, is probably the most identifiable character, which says a lot.
I enjoyed the novel. I enjoyed the challenge of reading and understanding. I enjoyed the author's depth of understanding of this alien landscape. The use of Thai words and concepts gives the world substance and character.
While I am giving it five stars -- which it deserves -- I caution potential readers that this is not a book for everyone. If you're looking for something light and uplifting, this isn't it.
One last point, a negative one, there is a huge unresolved issue at the end of the book. Normally I can forgive authors for not clearing up every little thing, but this was like getting punched in the face. Come to think of it, I think I'll knock it down to four stars just for that.