The All-Consuming World, by Cassandra Khaw

aquamarine18's review against another edition

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Having never read Cassandra Khaw’s work before, I was absolutely drawn immediately to their debut novel The All-Consuming World; beyond its gorgeous cover, a book promising a “band of dangerous women, half-clone and half-machine, [who] must battle their own traumas and a universe of sapient ageships who want them dead, in order to settle their affairs once and for all” was clearly something I was going to read. I’m glad I did.
I like Khaw’s writing style, and I feel like the fact that they’re a video game writer really shows here (in a good way, in terms of the level of excitement and the ability to create an entire self-contained world). While in places it is, as far as I’m concerned, too wordy and verbose, overall, the immediate, visceral, descriptive writing very much suited the genre of the book. The universe Khaw has created is compelling and I would totally read another book set within it. The descriptions of the characters’ backstories were interesting and the characters themselves were complex; the ways that they could come back to life after having been killed initially really reminded me of cylons in the newer Battlestar Galactica, though it was ultimately quite a bit more complicated than this. I found the plot kept me interested, though ultimately I think that the plot is secondary to the writing and character development.
I will say that I’m completely baffled by the comparison to Le Guin in the book’s description – as another reviewer has mentioned, I do think a comparison to Tamsyn Muir’s Locked Tomb trilogy makes much more sense to me and I would readily recommend this book to someone who enjoyed that series.
Thank you so much to Erewhon Books + NetGalley for providing an ARC.
Content warning: gore + body horror, violence, surgery without anaesthetic, abuse in relationships

graculus's review

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DNF for gore/eye trauma.

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