Use of Weapons, Culture Volume III
Written by: Iain M. Banks
Reviewed by: Brad Williamson
Genre: Soft Science-Fiction / Mystery
In an oeuvre full of complex and at times difficult plots and structures, this is the most jarring and dizzying, which, in an exceedingly rare occurrence, Banks fails to completely pull off.
The most successful aspect of the book is that it does further the universe of the Culture, but the human story at its heart gets lost, which is maybe what Banks was going for; in such a massive, unknowable universe, even epic stores of redemption get overlooked and lost. That’s just how it is.
As powerful as this message is, and while the novel is well worth reading, it just doesn’t quite reach the heights of its other Cultured brethren. Highly recommended, but this is definitely not where to start if you’re looking for an introduction to Banks’s science fiction.