In Metropolis, the gleaming city of tomorrow, the dream of the great American city has been achieved. But all that is about to change, unless a neurotic, rule-following bureaucrat and an irreverent, freewheeling artificial intelligence can save the city from a mysterious terrorist plot that threatens its very existence. Henry Thompson has dedicated his life to improving America’s infrastructure as a proud employee of the United States Municipal Survey. So when the agency comes under attack, he dutifully accepts his unexpected mission to visit Metropolis looking for answers. But his plans to investigate quietly, quickly, and carefully are interrupted by his new partner: a day-drinking know-it-all named OWEN, who also turns out to be the projected embodiment of the agency’s supercomputer. Soon, Henry and OWEN are fighting to save not only their own lives and those of the city’s millions of inhabitants, but also the soul of Metropolis. The Municipalists is a thrilling, funny, and touching adventure story, a tour-de-force of imagination that trenchantly explores our relationships to the cities around us and the technologies guiding us into the future. (From Goodreads)
I didn’t imagine I would like this novel much but in fact, I did. It’s a rather quick read but the adventure is quite the ride!
Henry starts off as an average, run of the mill model employee. He pretty much blends in the background and plays by the rules. Sounds uninteresting doesn’t it? He’s got a thing for trains and his past isn’t shining bright considering what happened to his parents. He’s a wallflower with a sad past and he just immerses himself into his work.
Then comes OWEN.
He changes Henry – a lot. Their friendship is laughable at first and off to a rocky start. (like most when you have an odd couple/opposites in a team) OWEN has wit and a rather unconventional way of solving things whereas Henry likes to stick with the rules. Yet it’s because of OWEN that Henry’s character develops and changes. They end up being a likable pair and they start growing on you despite the rather awkward start. OWEN does provide the comic relief in the story though, he’s a supercomputer you would not mind hanging out with.
The plot is straight to the point and there’s not much in the way of twists and turns. There are a few revelations here and there but it’s mainly about Henry and his view on the world and how it changes. That’s really the main point of the novel. There’s some action scenes and some intrigue but nothing over the top. There are going to be parts that pack a punch but it’s effective as you really do connect with both Henry and OWEN.
It’s a quick read and an enjoyable one, I say read it for character development and watching the friendship between Henry and OWEN- and enjoy it.
I give it a 7.5 out of 10.