Lockstep by Karl Schroeder is a space opera sci-fi novel which tells the story of Toby McGonigal who wakes up after a drift into cold sleep to be confronted with a new and confusing world. He must learn about the lockstep and his place within this new society. I was given a free copy by Tor/McMillan to review. I should point out straight off the bat that sci-fi/space opera is not a genre with which I am very familiar. In some ways that is a good thing; I am not so clued in to the standard tropes of the genre, as I am with contemporary fantasy, which means I can approach the story with perhaps fresher eyes. On the other hand, I freely admit some of Schroeder’s subtleties may have been lost on me.
What I liked
The lockstep concept. Because I am not so familiar with the genre, it took me a little time to get my head around the lockstep concept, but once I did get the general picture I could really appreciate what Schroeder did. I’m not going to try to explain it – go read the book. What I did like about it was the narrative tension it introduced for the characters. Being a part of the lockstep or not is a decision that you cannot go back on. I also felt that the concepts behind lockstep were very interesting; resource management and technological advancement.
The denners. Orpheus, Toby’s pet/plot device, is just so darned cute, especially when Toby gets the glasses and app allowing Orpheus to communicate with him in emoticons. I really want one of those apps for my cat. Mind you, I’m pretty sure Isis’s emoticon would be a pretty constant “feed me.”
The ending. Perhaps it was a little cheesy and too easy, but I loved it. I finished the book with a smile on my face. In all fairness, though, I do believe the way Peter’s and Evayne’s characters were developed that it was earned.
What I didn’t like
The love interest angle. I really didn’t buy the Toby/Corva relationship. It felt rather forced to me, given that both of them were dealing with a whole lot of other urgent issues during the book.
Other than that, I would recommend Lockstep and gave it four stars out of five.