I discovered The Lightcap was on a free promotion on Reddit, and was intrigued by the premise. A society in the not-too-distant future with an overwhelming reliance on mind-melding technology? Piqued by this already, I plunged into this book and I’m glad I did.
The novel started off by painting a picture of the protagonist’s “new life” at a giant mega-corporation, the one responsible for the technology at the centre of the book which fuses the user’s very mind with the technology of their surroundings as it works on a new version of said technology. There is a clear picture of normality, with subtle but but refreshingly-noticeable tinges of intrigue and ominous machinations that get unwrapped slowly, and kept me reading on for a resolution to.
I’m glad I did keep reading as in the later stages of the book the ante is really ratcheted up and the threads set up in the early stages culminate in some surprising but effective action scenes. While the stakes of the quest are no doubt global in scale, the story always feels like a personal tale of the protagonist rescuing his friends. Saving the world” is almost secondary, and I felt this was effective. Too often is “saving the world” or other overly-oblique objectives the sole driving factor behind adventures like this. It always felt more personal, possibly more confined, but the book benefited from that.
Dan Marshall’s writing, I thought initially, was a tad pedestrian and perfunctory; it advanced the story without unnecessary frills or accoutrements. However, this isn’t a negative when I look back as it let the story develop without the writer’s “voice” getting in the way, and it made the book refreshing and easy to pick up. The story was certainly strong enough to not warrant “fancy writing” in an attempt to bolster it’s stature.
Credit also goes to attention to detail in terms of the universe, which feels very much something that could be with us in the not-too-distant future and technical details. I felt neither overwhelmed by universe-specific jargon nor condescended to in terms of explanation of the world’s technology. There was a real sense of a well thought out cyberpunk dystopia and I enjoyed being immersed in it!
I’m looking forward to seeing more from Dan! I was really impressed by the quality of his work for a self-published author! He’s a credit to the self-published community and The Lightcap is a true testament to what a hardworking self-published author can do when they put their minds to it.
Visit The Lightcap online!