Monday 5 December 2011

Review: The Quantum Thief - Hannu Rajaniemi

Series: The Quantum thief trilogy #1
Genre: Sci-fi
Pages: 336
Published: Nov 2011 (2010)
Publisher: Gollancz

Jean le Flambeur is a post-human criminal, mind burglar, confidence artist and trickster. His origins are shrouded in mystery, but his exploits are known throughout the Heterarchy - from breaking into the vast Zeusbrains of the Inner System to steal their thoughts, to stealing rare Earth antiques from the aristocrats of the Moving Cities of Mars. Except that Jean made one mistake. Now he is condemned to play endless variations of a game-theoretic riddle in the vast virtual jail of the Axelrod Archons - the Dilemma Prison - against countless copies of himself. Jean's routine of death, defection and cooperation is upset by the arrival of Mieli and her spidership, Perhonen. She offers him a chance to win back his freedom and the powers of his old self - in exchange for finishing the one heist he never quite managed . 

My thoughts:
The author is Finnish so of course I had to read it, he has also got a Phd in mathematical physics, which shows. I was truly confused by this book at times, but do not get me wrong, it is a well-written book and it shows that it is written by someone who masters the genre. It is wondrous.

I truly do not know where to begin. It was made up from words, and I was lost at times. I felt like I was trapped in a surreal dream. And still it was one of the best sci-fi books I have read, because of the way he wrote. It is a masterful novel and if he continues to write like he does then he will be remembered. 

Later I found the things I had been missing on wikipedia, a glossary of all those terms I had no idea about. Yes he sure made up a lot of things and I did not always understand what they were. Since they were knew and he did not always spell it out. So an advice would be, check wikipedia. It will help a bit. Rajaniemi knew his world, and better than I did for sure. But if you just go with the flow you will be alright.

But do not ask me what the book is about, there are twists and turns, Mieli who has kidnapped our thief does not explain what she needs either. So we are thrown into a world and Jean needs to find his memories from before so he can figure things out. And just as he is confused what is going on, so are we. And at the end things starts coming together and secrets are brought out in the open, and I was surprised.

I also liked that he used a few Finnish words as names, and more. Yes, I truly liked that. Not to mention that it gave me more insight since they had a meaning too.

I have confused you all now haven't I? Just let me say that this is a sci-fi book to read, the world is pieced together masterfully and you get a detective/adventure story all in one. It would make one kicking movie.



  1. Good to know that despite all the terms and concepts that were confusing that you still loved the story overall. I'm super challenged at anything math or science related, so I have no doubt I'll be lost at times while reading this one too!

  2. I'm not sure if this one would be for me. Thanks for an honest review.

  3. I agree about the cover. It's not that great. I haven't read a lot of Sci-fi books and I should read more. I'm not sure if this is right for me, but I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

  4. Jenny
    It was more that he made up a lot of words and that lost me...ok if he had used real ones I would have been lost still ;)

    Mrs Q
    It might not be for everyone

    At least it does look, and from sci-fi I do not expect much

  5. Considering I studied physics I don't read a lot of science fiction like this, but I like your confusion enough to look into The Quantum Thief again! :-)

  6. Hmm. If I need the aid of wikepedia to read this book then perhaps I should save it for when I feel like doing some energetic reading!

  7. You totally lost me with that first sentence. Did not read the rest...

  8. I'm not a big sci-fi fan. This one sounds like I might be lost.

  9. hmm... scifi, surreal, con artists. . . three of my favorite things!

    this just got put on my "need to read" list.

  10. Mel,
    Lol, it was the words and I do admit to asking bf what quantum was again, arghh, bad me, that I should know ;)
    You studied physics!? Wow, I hated that subject and math with a passion

    It was not a lot to read at the wiki site, it was just a perfect glossary over the terms he came up with. It would have been awesome if it had been in the book


    Perhaps, perhaps not

  11. Red
    Yay, I am glad I did not scare off everyone with my rambling review :)

  12. This sounds like it would be a tough book for me!

  13. Amused
    Nah, if I can read it then so can you

  14. This one sounds a tad too technical for me. Very cool that the author is Finnish and has his PhD in physics tho.

  15. I chickened out, after reading this book, and gave it to someone else to review because I had no idea what to say about it. It was pretty mind bending, but also very confusing. I'm still not exactly sure what happened at the end.

  16. I feel a little overwhelmed just reading about it. ;)

  17. Well, it must have not been too confusing! Looks like there was such a good plot that it rocked. Oh you have me curious! Those Finnish writers! Even if a whip is needed... ;D

  18. *scratches head* Yeah, I'm confused. LOL

    But I live on wikipedia. I love knowing facts, though I'm not very good at math or science. I'm more into history. LOL

    Still, the book sounds great. Good for you for giving it a go despite it being quite the challenge.

  19. Interesting review and an interesting book!

  20. "Cover; eh." LOL yet I agree. ;)

  21. Quantum Physics kind of blows my mind. I think I would be confused by this book too.

  22. Naida
    I would not say it is too technical, I mean it is sci-fi so it is as sci-fi should be.

    Lol, you and me both. I am not sure if I understood half of the book, but for some reason it was still so good. No idea how he did that, and honestly no idea if my review even makes sense.

    Lol, now you get it.

    Haha, yes I at least can sure be lazy ;) And so fun to read this book by him and so glad he wrote it in English cos else I would not have understood a word.

  23. Missie
    History rocks, I aced that. Math and physics, eh, I did fail a bit there *coughs*

    Something in it made me read it even if I was confused, I think one should read it twize even.

    Thanks :)

    Haha, yes a very eh indeed

    Dunno why sci-fi is harder, it is not the technical stuff, I have watched enough Star Trek to just roll by, it is the made-up words. In fantasy it works for me, but here I just can't roll along

  24. Oh wow. Sounds like one to have the dictionary by my side with. ;) Thank you! Sounds like a neat mystery read.

  25. I've been curious of this but I just don't think it's for me. But thanks for the review!

  26. Ana
    To you I definitely say, Go for it :D

    Jenny Q
    it was certainly different

    Lol, I would have to have a dictionary that he wrote then since I would not find those words otherwise ;)

    Well he is Finnish, so for that you should have a look ;)

  27. Books that you leave semi-speechless are usually the best kind, for one reason or another. Glad you were able to figure it out enough to enjoy it.

  28. By the cover alone, I wouldn't buy this book... from your review... probably still wouldn't...

  29. Jenny Girl
    Lol, I am still unsure if I got it all...but damn it would make one helluva movie

    The cover is....well it is sci-fi, they tend to be meh

  30. As you know me and sci-fi just don't mix....oh well..I always love reading your thoughts regardless.

  31. Staci
    Lol, I know. Most sci-fi and I do not mix either, but this was the other kind



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