Reviewer: Jake Beal

Author: Kelly McCullough

Published: 2007

Reviewed: 2008-02-10

Publisher: Ace Books

Sometimes, the sequel is better than the original. I would say this
is the case for Mr. McCullough's novel "Cybermancy," which picks up
where his first novel, "WebMage," left off. I reviewed "WebMage"
earlier and liked it, though in my memory it slowly decayed toward
"gimmicky." As I reread my previous review, just now, I was surprised
to discover that all of the good things about Mr. McCullough's writing
that surprised me about "WebMage" surprised me again as I read

You see, the world that Mr. McCullough has created is a blend of Greek
mythology and modern computer hacking, with a family/cosmology
structure somewhat reminiscent of Zelazny's "Amber" novels. That
immediately should cause you to recoil in fear of a really bad mashup,
as such things usually are. Mr. McCullough has done an admirably good
job of world-building, however, and as I read "Cybermancy," I kept
being reminded of that fact by the slowly developing picture of the
world that constantly left me speculating about things just half a
step outside of the current picture. By the end of the novel, there
is a much-expanded understanding of the world first uncovered in
"WebMage," which is at the same time still completely consistent with
both its hacker and mythological roots. And I still had unanswered

As I finished the book, I thought, well, I've enjoyed that, but there
can't possibly be another in the series. And now I wonder, will there
be? Although the main protagonist, Ravirn, seems disqualified from
being the narrator for another book, I'm not sure that's actually the
case. And there are any number of other stories that might be told in
the same universe, with different protagonists (though not,
admittedly, of the same charming character that Ravirn is, for reasons
that will be easy to understand by the time you finish reading

I do still object to Mr. McCullough's handling of romance, but there's
nothing fatal about it. It just smells a bit strongly of wish
fulfillment. One last word of advice: do not read "Cybermancy" before
reading "WebMage." The spoilers are thick on the ground, and will
completely ruin the plot of "WebMage" for you.

In the end, "Cybermancy" is very easy to evaluate. If you liked
"WebMage," you'll like "Cybermancy." If you didn't, you won't. And
if you haven't read "WebMage" yet, and the idea of Greek gods using IM
appeals to you, then you should read it now.