Too like the lightning: Terra Ignota #1 by Ada Palmer


Publication Date: May 10, 2016

Publisher: Tor Books

Targeted Audience: Adults

Genre: Science-fiction


Blurb: Mycroft Canner is a convict. For his crimes he is required, as is the custom of the 25th century, to wander the world being as useful as he can to all he meets. Carlyle Foster is a sensayer–a spiritual counselor in a world that has outlawed the public practice of religion, but which also knows that the inner lives of humans cannot be wished away.

The world into which Mycroft and Carlyle have been born is as strange to our 21st-century eyes as ours would be to a native of the 1500s. It is a hard-won utopia built on technologically-generated abundance, and also on complex and mandatory systems of labeling all public writing and speech. What seem to us normal gender distinctions are now distinctly taboo in most social situations. And most of the world’s population is affiliated with globe-girdling clans of the like-minded, whose endless economic and cultural competition is carefully managed by central planners of inestimable subtlety. To us it seems like a mad combination of heaven and hell. To them, it seems like normal life.

And in this world, Mycroft and Carlyle have stumbled on the wild card that may destabilize the system: the boy Bridger, who can effortlessly make his wishes come true. Who can, it would seem, bring inanimate objects to life…

[Note: I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review]

{I haven’t included the entire blurb from Goodreads cause that is just waaaaay too huge. I have also decided to not include number of pages in the beginning anymore because I believe that it shouldn’t interfere with deciding whether you should read a book or not}

When I requested this book I wasn’t thinking much. I had requested about 20-25 books and I kind of knew that almost 0% would accept my requests because I was new to netgalley.

However, when I got an email saying this books request was accepted I was super excited but also super nervous. Excited because it was the first book that was accepted and nervous because… it was adult sci-fi.

Now I do love adult sci-fi, I AM AN ADULT. But adult sci-fi meant facing adult point of views and that, to me, is terrifying. I am still trying to live in this cocoon that is teenagehood. I am denying the fact that I am going to uni and that I am almost 20. I am also surrounding myself with YA books almost all the time for the same reason but I also complain and act all adult when I read YA books.

So I start reading this novel that apparently everyone who has read has loved and find out that the writing style is NOTHING I have EVER come across in my short life. It took me a solid 50-100 pages to get comfortable with it and be able to glide through. And the narration is very calm (I use this word for lack of imagination) even in situations where I would probably pull out my eyeballs with worry and I loved that because this story that we read now is just a part of “history” for the narrator.

The plot is thick. Very thick. In the beginning I was lost. I could understand everything that was happening but the purpose of it was lost to my mind. There is some really detailed sci-fi going on in this book and there is some amazing, not at all boring, political drama going on and I love how Ada Palmer showed how the future would be dealing with gender roles. That was very new in a sci-fi book, I believe.

I don’t think I can go into much detail regarding the plot because there is a LOT of things happening. What I can tell you is that this is a Utopian world where people form their own bashes (groups) and live with them depending on what interests they have in common and people are free to express their gender and the crime rates are so low and there are no countries, just bashes with very mixed races and that encourages people to break the racial barrier and according to me that is just beautiful. Ada Palmer has not just said that there are no racial barriers, she has shown us the why and how behind it. And this world that she has created has the best of the best people handling the law, education and scientific advancements. Everything seems so perfect but the cracks are just beginning to show.

Now, the story revolves around 3 important people, Mycroft Canner-A criminal who has been reduced to working as a Servicer (He has to help everyone and anyone), Carlyle Foster-A sensayer (religious teacher) who guides people like a psychologist into religion and any kind of questions the people of the 25th century might have since talking about religion freely is prohibited and Bridger-A little boy who is able to bring inanimate objects to life and so naturally needs to be protected at all costs in case someone exploits him.

Mycroft is the one who is narrating this part of “history” to us and he has done a fabulous job at it. He tries to assume what questions we might have at various times of the plot and tackles them beautifully. Even though in the beginning I found it painful to read through the book, by the end I was flying through the pages.

Also, I just wanted to point out that the first half of the book made me feel dumb and unintelligent. I wanted to stop reading it at points because of the very reason. But as I progressed through the book and understood their world better I realized that Mycroft Canner had been right about me. He had told me (the reader) that it would be difficult for me to imagine their lifestyle and their choices but he guided me through everything and by the end I felt like I knew everything there was to know.

My reasons for being afraid to delve into adult fiction were right. I had to face some harsh realities of growing up and out of my innocent little cocoon but by the end of the book I just accepted it. I probably didn’t enjoy it very much but I can definitely say that I am not terrified anymore. It sort of put things into perspective for me somehow.

I don’t want this review to be very long so I am just going to say that if you pick up this book, stay till the end! It will be difficult, specially if you are young because most of the people who read and loved this book seem to be well into their middle ages, but trust me, the ending is worth it. Currently I can’t WAIT for the second book which is the last book in the Terra Ignota series as far as I know.

This book will be releasing on the 10th of May (two days from now) and if I were you I would definitely keep my eyes out for this masterpiece.

Why would you want to read this book? Because if you enjoy sci-fi, philosophy and history, this book will give you everything you need. The inside scoop on a Utopian world that seems way too perfect but is probably on the brink of another uprising. And it’s just pure, unadulterated sci-fi, no bottles of romance or action, just beautiful, beautiful sci-fi.


Feather 5

5 beautiful Raven feathers for a masterpiece

Lots of love,


4 thoughts on “Too like the lightning: Terra Ignota #1 by Ada Palmer

  1. Pingback: Seven Surrenders by Ada Palmer [A sequel where shit hits the fan] | Raven & Beez

  2. Pingback: Review – Too like the lightning: Terra Ignota #1 by Ada Palmer (Members review from Raven) – Dragons & Jetpacks

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