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Inversions by Iain M Banks

Review by SS

I picked up this book because it was cheap and because I remembered someone (Caly I think) had really liked it. This book was awesome. I loved it.

The novel follows two spearate storylines. Oelph narrates in first person to tell about his story as the assistant to the Doctor. The Doctor is Vosill, a foreign woman who is King Quience's phyician. She is mistrusted by the court (as she is a foreigner, and also because she is a woman). The second storyline is first-person to start with (for about a page) then moves into third-person. It follows the story of DeWar, the personal body-guard of the Protector UrLeyn (who is the prominant ruler of the time - all the other monarchs, including Quience are subservient to him, after he won the war some years ago). DeWar admits that being UrLeyn's bodyguard is the centre of his life - even when off-duty, he is still on duty. And Perrund is a concubine to UrLeyn, one of his oldest and one of his favourites, and a friend to DeWar.

After having finished the book, it's clear that the title, "Inversions", is very fitting. It's full of twists and turns, and has a very G.G.K.-like ending. And surprising things happen! I was always guessing, and the one point which I thought I had nailed....well, RAFO *g*

The characters in this book are wonderful. They are very real and completely believable. Banks writes them very well with clever irony, especially the relationship between the Doctor (who was my favourite character) and Oelph. The book as a whole flows smoothly, and is hard to put down.

The only two (slight) ojections I had were that I find split PoVs where the characters giving the PoV are not interacting to be slightly distracting (but both stories were equally fascinating, so once I was "into" one PoV I didn't want to return to the other) and I thought that more might hav been explained at the end of the book. However, I think that had everything been explained, the book would not be as good as it was, so it's kind of a Catch 22. I want to know everything but I really liked wondering at the end, and having to put together the pieces or myself!

I highly recommend this book.

4.5 out of 5 amulets.

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