How did I get it: The library.
Why did I read it: This book got recommended to me several times by several different librarians I know, and eventually I felt compelled to check it out.
How I would rate it: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Welcome to the territory. Leave your metal behind, all of it. The bugs will eat it, and they’ll go right through you to get it…Don’t carry it, don’t wear it, and for god’s sake don’t come here if you’ve got a pacemaker.
The bugs showed up about fifty years ago–self-replicating, solar-powered, metal-eating machines. No one knows where they came from. They don’t like water, though, so they’ve stayed in the desert Southwest. The territory. People still live here, but they do it without metal. Log cabins, ceramics, what plastic they can get that will survive the sun and heat. Technology has adapted, and so have the people.
Kimble Monroe has chosen to live in the territory. He was born here, and he is extraordinarily well adapted to it. He’s one in a million. Maybe one in a billion.
Review: For the most part, I enjoyed myself because honestly how can you not enjoy a genre mash-up of Western and Science Fiction? Plus there’s great characters, humor, Akido, and spying. The old episodic feel was great too. The real strength of 7th Sigma was its main character. Kimble was a very sweet, competent, endearing teenager who was very easy to care about. I really enjoyed reading about his sensei, Ruth, as well. I loved watching him accomplish so much so quickly, and I was heartbroken when I realized the book was going to actually end.
I imagine the Rudyard Kipling influence is quite strong throughout 7th Sigma, and I think that might have been more of a hindrance than a help in some respects given the lack of closure at the end. Then again I haven’t read Kim in ages so I can’t really cite a lot of other specific examples. There are, however, two aspects of 7th Sigma that prevented this book from being a totally awesome read for me. Those were the rough draft quality of the writing and the lack of a central focus or purpose.
So much was encompassed, which I certainly would give Gould props for, but I was definitely annoyed when the creepy bugs did very little on a regular basis and irked towards the end when a lot exciting events I would have wanted to read more about were merely summarized. I enjoyed the day-to-day moments as much as the more adventure-oriented scenes, but I often wondered where the story had wandered off to. There was also a lot of odd tense switching in certain chapters, which was incredibly distracting. Still, I never felt like abandoning Kimble halfway through his journey, nor would these issues prevent me from cheerfully recommending 7th Sigma to older teens and adults alike.
In conclusion, a unique, engaging book that I am very glad to have finally picked up and read. Flawless? No. But very enjoyable and with a wide range of appeal. And there had better be a sequel!
- Hot Off the Press: Review of 7th Sigma by Steven Gould (The Hopeful Librarian)