This is where Nephilim and her fellow angels come in…
Behind Blue Eyes is a new entry into the resurgent cyberpunk genre, which had sort of been left for dead for quite a few years, but is thankfully seeing something of a resurgence. As we come to the years when the Cyberpunk of the 80’s was set in, it’s fun seeing what came true and what didn’t. With Behind Blue Eyes, we get to see a bit further down the road, in a Cyberpunk world set in a time where nations have fallen, and everything is controlled by three Mega-Corporations set up in various mega-cities in the ruins of the old world. This very cyberpunk world has all the social inequities you’d expect, with the haves and have-nots very much separated. The propaganda machine and societal changes ensure obedience, as a very modern form of bread and circuses have developed. And just behind the scenes in the mega-city of Olympias are the Angels, the not so mythical cyborg enforcers of order in the regime.
This is where Nephilim and her fellow angels come in. Nephilim is a ruthless agent of the regime, the perfect assassin and soldier, equally adept at disappearing dissidents and fighting cyborgs from rival mega-corps. She is the perfect tool of the order, ready for greater things, including being made an Archangel, one of the leaders of the cyborg soldiers. Perfect, that is, until a freak encounter with another cyborg send Nephilim on a path she couldn’t ever have seen coming, as she is given something no other Angel has: A choice. A choice to continue being a weapon in the service of Olympias or going her own path, and this choice has consequences for not only her, but for Olympias and the greater world in general.
The protagonist can only be as good as the villains they are fighting against, and in this case, Nephilim has not only rival corporation’s cyborgs to deal with, but also Metatron, the leader of the Angels, and the biggest threat to Nephilim if she goes off the rails of her pre-planned life. He is such a well thought out character, always seeming a step ahead, always that menace that holds the sword of Damocles over all their heads, ready to remove those heads if they fail to comply. Nephilim plays off his menace well, and you can only hope as the story goes that she is able to find a way out from under his seemingly all-seeing gaze.
This new breed of cyberpunk plays homage to the classics by writers like William Gibson, but goes in it’s own distinct direction, never feeling derivative. It’s got those interesting speculations about what the fairly near future will hold, and you can tell the author put a lot of effort into creating a world the reader can become immersed in, and will definitely have some interesting possibilities in future stories. I can see this story appealing to fans of traditional cyberpunk, and fans of sci-fi in general. I am excited to see where the story goes from here, and recommend this book wholeheartedly.
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