The Light Ages - Ian R. MacLeod Theres a revolution in this book, but it turns out you need to care about the past for it's shattering to have any emotional or narrative impact. When one character accuses the protagonosts of trying to destroy her world, it means nothing, as we never got to have any real sense of her world and why it would matter to her. This is odd, given the slow, slow start and generally langurous pace, but this is all concerned with the rather tedious childhood of the protagonist and manages to never get across much real worldbuilding.

Its possible that it merely aims not to glamorize the past, but the book is explicitely about the act of the revolution itself, not the doctrinal differences between the fantasy capitalism and (failed) fantasy syndicalism of before and after. As such, it's vauge, dreamy atmospheric vibe holds up well the confused, frustrated loneliness of the arcs of it's heroes. The protagonist tries to substitute unrequited longing for a relashionship and politics for wonder, and the revolution merely goes round again. It fails to fulfill desire and the personal remains the personal. The revolution becomes a hollow shell over the skeleton of the magical, that the characters turn to again and again to provide that which reality cannot.

It's ultimately a powerful notion, that our own flawed needs and weaknesses, our need to be someone we are not, underpin the structures of oppression. Its just too long by half and could have used more of a plot.

Recommended for those more interested in reflection that action.