Stars: Three and a half of five.
Oh, I had a hard time getting started on Halting State. In the first attempt, I gave up after 8 or so pages. Two challenges: the heavy scottish accent, and that it’s told in second person from rotating points of view.
One of the early characters we meet is a young cop. She’s likable, but it’s hard to get into her head when it’s ‘you think about eating a wee danish’. Anyhow, she reminded me of JD Robb’s Peabody transplanted to Edinburgh…
It took about a hundred pages to get into the story, which is cybercrime and gadgets and subverting the distributed mobile computing communications infrastructure. There are some ‘hmm, yeah, plausible, cool’ moments where Stross extrapolates some online social trends nicely. Gaming, etc.
The other main female character is into LARP and actual medieval sword-fighting. I’d hoped this would lead to an awesome fight-scene or two, but if that happened, it was too subtle for me to notice 😦
On a scale of kid-friendliness, there’s nothing objectionable but the writing techniques probably would turn off most of the under-thirteen crowd.
The sequel is coming! The sequel is coming! The title is Rule 34.