Too Like the Lightning

Hardcover, 432 pages

English language

Published Oct. 9, 2016 by Tor Books.

Copied ISBN!
OCLC Number:

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (4 reviews)

"The world into which Mycroft and Carlyle have been born is as strange to our 21st-century eyes as ours would be to a native of the 1500s. It is a hard-won utopia built on technologically-generated abundance, and also on complex and mandatory systems of labeling all public writing and speech... And in this world, Mycroft and Carlyle have stumbled on the wild card that may destabilize the system: the boy Bridger, who can effortlessly make his wishes come true. Who can, it would seem, bring inanimate objects to life..."--Book jacket.

4 editions

Only half the story

2 stars

This book only covers the first part of a two-part story. At the end of it, none of the big mysteries have been solved and several of the characters are in trouble. I wish I had known that before starting it. I probably would not have finished the book. But I kept on reading despite my misgivings (more on that in a second) because I wanted to know who was behind the criminal case at the heart of the story.

The two things that put me off this book (and its sequels) are the gory descriptions of several murders and the way this book in the form of the narrator deals with gender. Very stereotypical views and a ton of misgendering. Not sure what the point of that was.

I'll end with a positive aspect: the worldbuilding is done very well.

reviewed Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer

Too Like the Lightning

5 stars

I reread this book for the SFFBookClub this month.

Personally, I deeply enjoyed this book and series, but I think it is not for everybody. I highly recommend folks read the first two chapters online here to get a taste of the voice: Mycroft the narrator is self-deprecating, frequently addresses the reader, and is most definitely a very unreliable (and heavily edited) narrator. You can read it in the link above, but never ever have I ever seen a book do so much world-building via content warnings.

This book (and series) is trying to do so much, and regardless of whether you feel like it worked or not, it's hard not to be in awe of the ambition and the sheer density of ideas threaded together here. In the first chapter we've got flying cars, a secret magic kid who can turn toys into real life, mention of a …

Review of 'Too Like the Lightning' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Unique and thoughtful, I enjoyed it a lot.

Reading this book was an amazing an unexpected experience. The reading itself was a pleasure, the writing style unique but reminiscent of so many influences. As a fan of science fiction, I was excited not only for the technological future described, but for the future of ideas that is proposed, all with a multitude of characters which you actually get to know and love or hate or fear. Even if this is only the first half of the story, there is a sense of completeness. Looking forward to complete the cycle.

avatar for

rated it

4 stars


  • Utopias
  • Prisoners
  • Twenty-fifth century
  • Fiction
  • Third millennium