The Genome: A Novel - Sergei Lukyanenko

A few years back I heard a lot people talk about Night Watch and his other books, but I never came around to actually reading them. But when I saw this title on Netgalley, the author sounded very familiar and I really wanted to try this one.


In a world where certain capacities can be bought to be incorporated in the genome of an unborn child, master-pilot Alex Romanov is looking for a new job. Very conveniently he gets offered a very interesting deal where he can not only be the pilot, but also choose his own crew. He then decides to, on the first day of his new job, bend the rules to bring a random girl, a fighter-spec no less, on board.


I'm not sure what to think of it. At first - and still -  I liked the part that's more about the genetic manipulation and the pros and cons. How bad is it that certain qualities are more expensive than others. (Why are there even model-specs?! Who would want his daughter to be a prostitute-spec?!) The struggle of a 'normal' person to do a job people are usually engineered for. There's all that.


And then there's all the drama. A lot of drama. The ships guests are more than controversial. The main character has sex with all female characters and a sex simulator in the span of 24 hours. And I'm not even starting about the gruesomely murder and the ensuing put everyone in a room together and start digesting the problem technique I've seen far too often already. 


I've read this is supposed to be a parody on space opera. But I had a very hard time finding the parts that made this a parody. Had I not read this in other reviews, I would have assumed it was all meant as a serious book. Not necessarily high-standard literature, which is by no means what every book should be, but that it was meant as a space/soap opera. I don't know that much, read: nothing really, on space opera as it's not something I usually read but it doesn't sound very attractive based on The Genome.


I'm just not sure what to think of it.


Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!