Review: The Little Green Book of Chairman Rahma by Brian Herbert

9780765332547For the sake of clarity, I feel like I need to give some perspective. The worst book I’ve ever encountered (which shall remain nameless) was pretentious drivel that made me want to stab my eyes out rather than read another word. I never understood wanting to buy a book just to burn it until I read a few chapters. The Little Green Book of Chairman Rahma is not that. But it isn’t good either.

The Little Green Book is about a society in the future where environmental extremists have defeated all the evil, polluting corporations and taken over all of North and South America (yet not Central America). Humans are forced onto reservations while the rest of the land is terraformed back to it’s original state. All those who stand against Chairman Rahma’s dictatorship or commit heinous eco-crimes (such as killing vermin), are disintegrated into pulp or tied to posts and eaten by trained carrion birds. Meanwhile, corporate factions are developing new technology and plotting to take their power back.

I want to say it was an interesting analysis of an oppressive society. I want to say it was unique for exploring environmentalist extremism. But I’ve also gotta cop to some truth. I never would have picked this book up if it wasn’t a free ARC (advanced reading copy) to review. And I was willing to look beyond the disengaging title and really like this book. Seriously, I’ll quote myself: “the title is a bit goofy, but it’s got a cool description and it’s from Tor, so I’ll give it a try.” And for three months I tried, but- the pacing is like molasses, the descriptions were repetitive, I was rooting for the bad guy to hurry up and kill one of the main characters, and I didn’t care if the lot of them died in a fire. Oh- and I could only get a third of the way through it after three months, then read The Girl with All the Gifts and The Broken Eye (not a short book) in the space of two weeks. And- while we’re being honest- I hated the title. The Little Green Book of Chairman Rahma. Even after you find out what the “little green book” is, and who “Chairman Rahma” is- even when it makes sense, it doesn’t make it better. Also, it kept making me crave ramen.

I feel like maybe I shouldn’t write a review after only getting a third of the way through a book, but I also can’t force myself through the tedium of reading more. Describing how an imagined technology works once is really good. Fleshing out your characters and establishing their norm is good. Describing technology three times and explaining ho-hum days with your characters when you haven’t introduced a conflict is not good. Reading this made me feel like I was in an arid desert of description, thirsting for plot. Desperately sucking at the condensation of foreshadowing, yet coming up parched and only more keenly aware of my dry mouth and growing thirst.

I feel kind of sad, like maybe if I gave it just one more try… but no. I have to face the facts. I will never finish this book because I simply do not have the patience required. But perhaps I am too harsh, too cynical, too addicted to break-neck pacing.

If you have more patience than me, and you’d like to give The Little Green Book of Chairman Rahma a try, you can get a copy anywhere books are sold.

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Post Author: Chelsea Banks

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