Review of Hammered by Elizabeth Bear

Whitewashed cover = automatic cover fail.

Hammered by Elizabeth Bear. ★★★

I liked Hammered. I read all of it, but for whatever reason, it failed to create an emotional impact in me. The set up was interesting and so were the characters, but not enough is done with them. The book ends right when it seems like the plot should start to pick up. Truthfully, this is more like half a book. It doesn’t give you a climax or a conclusion, it’s all build up.

Hammered is centered around Jenny Casey, a former solider who has been modified with machinery after a helicopter accident. The most visible of her modifications is her steel arm, but she also has a mechanical eye, some nanotechnology in her spine, and other such things.

Jenny’s different from the typical science fiction heroine in a number of ways. For one, she’s close to fifty. This makes her long and difficult back story and her ample world experience actually fit with her character. For another, she’s of Native American ancestry.

As shown by her modifications, Jenny has lived a long and eventful life. At the start of the story, she’s retired in Hartford. However, plans are underway that require her being called back to the company that created her machinery.

While Jenny was the main character, the story jumps around from her first person POV to that of various other characters in third person POV. It was sometimes difficult to keep track of all the different characters. The cast certainly could have been dwindled down.

On the whole, the only people I’d recommend this book to are those looking for middle aged or non-white science fiction protagonists. The story was alright but is not strong enough to be the selling element of the book.


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