What can you say about a book that’s neither bad nor good?
Here’s a question. What do you say about a story that was a big bowl of meh?
That’s the question I had after finishing Company Town by Madeline Ashby.
I had a few issues with some scenes in the book, but you could count those one one hand. By no means were they bad enough to deem the story as a waste of time.
There’s a lot going on in Company Town. The main plot follows the protagonist, Go Jung-hwa as she protects a rich kid from an unknown assassin. Hwa also tries to solve her friends’ violent murders. Then there’s a love story between Hwa and her boss Daniel.
Oh, and Hwa has some self-esteem issues stemming from her upbringing and her less than ideal mother.
And all of this takes place on an oil rig off the coast of Canada.
So, yeah, there’s a lot going. Some arcs were more entertaining than the others, but overall it’s not a bad.
To be fair, I don’t have a lot of experience with posthuman science fiction stories. It could be that Company Town is a separation of what the genre normally produces. That’s what io9’s Charlie Jane Anders had in her review.
Anders also looked at the story’s deeper meaning on what it would mean to be human in a posthuman world.
It’s a point of view that I didn’t get from Company Town. Maybe Anders was reading too much into the story or maybe I didn’t look at it hard enough.
Of course, no two people need to have the same view on a work of fiction. But I tend to read fiction at face value. Sometimes, embarrassingly so.
There are people that scour the text looking for what the author is really trying to say. I don’t because sometimes a story is just a story.
And that’s how I looked at Company Town. It’s entertaining and sometimes frustrating. The story moves along well, but it skips over scenes. The skips were used to get the author out of a corner or they removed needless info that bogged the story down. I don’t know which.
Most of the plot’s questions were answered, but there was one exception. It was the call to action for Company Town’s hero, Hwa. It wouldn’t surprise me if this question will be answered in a sequel.
Company Town isn’t a bad read but it’s a not must read either. Borrow this book from your local library or a friend.