I really wanted to love this as much as I loved Wool and Shift, but unfortenately something was slightly missing. Maybe it just didn’t have the depth of Wool that I loved. But nevertheless, Howey writes so deeply that it’s hard to put down. Thrust into the lonely world of Beacon 23, Howey writes a convincing tale of a soldier turned beacon-keeper in a futuristic time.
I just want to get lost. I asked for a post somewhere no one would find me, where no one would know my name. So they gave me a number. 23. My little beacon.
I think what’s most different about Beacon 23 is it’s pace. We have a man alone in what is essentially a lighthouse in the middle of nowhere. For the first two parts, I struggled to get into the groove of the plot. It’s a slow start, but it’s representative of what the unnamed narrator must be feeling when he won’t see another soul for months… At first, it’s quite jarring, but once you get more into the novel, the plot starts picking up and it flies by.
Once you get past the uneven narrative, you really get thrust into the character of the beacon-master. A soldier suffering from some sort of PTSD, we get flashbacks that help set the backdrop of the current society: Earth’s colonies riddled with war against an alien race. As the book continues, I really connected the narrator with the character of Ender at the end of Enders Game and throughout Speaker for the Dead. Raising the question of how war affects us and what we’d sacrifice for peace, the beacon-master is a complex character, that really makes the book.
Overall, I wasn’t blown away, but Howey definitely writes well and knows how to form deep and complex characters. If you liked Wool, you’ll definitely like this, but don’t expect an as well developed society as we find in Wool. Instead, Howey leans towards questions of self-value and how we view ourselves.
WHAT I LOVED: interesting narrator, the concept
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE: slow start