Publisher Europa Editions
Length 416 pages
My Copy provided by the publisher
Part tech-fi, part social study, Theory of Bastards is wholly entertaining. But it's not due to a fast paced plot or nasty piece of technology threatening to end the world. No, the beauty in this book lies with its literary qualities, perfect prose, and complex characters; bonobo and human alike.
Frankie is a scientist, wooed by The Foundation to study bonobos. She's recovering from a life long battle with endometriosis which has crippled her personal life, yet allowed her to focus her energy in the field of science. Becoming a live-in resident of The Foundation whilst undertaking her study, Frankie learns much about the mating, playful qualities, and hierarchy in the group of bonobos. Gradually she earns their trust through a series of experiments in learning, along with co-worker Stotts, a former solider.
As the characters depths unfold so does the omnipresent threat of danger. There's a dark side to the story waiting to shatter Frankie's enjoyable existence within the confines of The Foundation's secure walls.
Theory of Bastards has elements of futuristic tech-fi embedded into the story which adds depth and gives it a unique place among other books I've read this year. The tech angle works really well and the author does a great job at conveying its practical Altered Carbon-like uses (advertising built into lenses direct on the eyes for instance); it flows into the study of bonobos to form a unique and unsuspecting combination.
My rating: 4/5 stars. I would've given Theory of Bastards 5 stars if it weren't for the somewhat abrupt ending. I can see why the story finished where it did, however, as a reader I thought the story deserved closure.