Cyberpunk Book Review: The Wrath of Leviathan

Cyberpunk Book Review: The Wrath of Leviathan (BetterWorld trilogy #2)

The Wrath of Leviathan is book two of the BetterWorld Trilogy by T.C. Weber, which is available on Amazon now as part of the three-book set called The War for Reality. It continues the story of the Cyberpunk crew from book one, this time set mostly in Brazil but also covering what happens to Waylee as she’s left to fend mostly for herself back in the US. Wrath of Leviathan is based on the crew’s attempts to avoid the wrath of BetterWorld and the US government after the events of Sleep State Interrupt unfolded. As a result, it continues with the thrilling, oppressive atmosphere of our heroes being on the run, but this time includes a villain’s perspective. Also, some spoilers ahead since I’ll be referencing a couple things that happened in book 1, so be warned!

Still Varied, Some Old, Some New

Wrath of Leviathan has a couple new characters that play a major part, while leaving some old characters we saw from Sleep State Interrupt left behind (like M’Pat, Dingo, and Shakti). We also get to know Kiyoko much better, as she’s become the main character of sorts and has her own arc, while Waylee has a lot less to do this time around. Secondary characters remain Charles and Pel, but they’re still central to the story as well.

The cast in order of importance/relevance are Kiyoko, Gabriel, Pel, Charles, Waylee, and Dalton Crowley (the new villain of Wrath of Leviathan). While the main villain’s character seemed relatively shallow, his motivations were believable enough and his cold, vicious nature made him a compelling villain. And although the bodyguard Gabriel’s motivations felt somewhat surprising, I really enjoyed the action and agency that he brought to the story.

Going from the Offensive to the Defensive

There was a lot less of BetterWorld, the virtual online world, in Wrath of Leviathan. Most of this novel was set in Brazil, where Charles, Pelopidas, and Kiyoko are living in exile with newcomer to the team, Brazilian local and bodyguard Gabriel. The parallel narrative, meanwhile, follows Waylee in jail as she copes with being a prisoner and attempts to prepare for her upcoming trial.

Like book 1, there was still some hacking present, but considerably less so. This made sense from a narrative standpoint, but it also unfortunately made the novel feel a little more removed from the standard cyberpunk genre than the first one did. There’s less hacking and less subversion in general as the crew simply try to stay alive, while mostly living abroad in a new country that’s (mostly) friendly or neutral to them.

The New Setting: Sao Paolo

While the first novel had a very strong sense of paranoia and suspense, this novel had more of a sense of cat-and-mouse action mixed with a background sense of despair. The reason for this is that we are given access to the villain’s mind and his thoughts. As a result, when he acts against the main characters, it’s never a surprise, since we’ve already read Crowley’s plans up until that point. On the other hand, it also means we get to revel in seeing Crowley’s frustrations when the team outflanks him in whatever ways they can. Allowing the reader this kind of omnipotent understanding of what was going on was definitely fun at times. The background sense of despair, however, is telegraphed through Waylee’s thoughts and limited options as she mostly languishes in her prison cell for most of the novel. This really helps build up MediaCorp as a kind of undefeatable enemy, especially when the police and government are working on MediaCorp’s behalf. Which I’m hoping will lead to a more satisfying end or comeuppance for MediaCorp in book 3, hopefully.

Final Verdict: 7.5/10

T.C. Weber’s strengths continue to lie in his pacing, storytelling, and varied cast of believable characters. Wrath of Leviathan is a fun story filled with its fair share of intrigue and action, but if you want a 100% cyberpunk story filled with VR, hacking, and future tech, Wrath of Leviathan probably isn’t what you’re looking for. This novel definitely continues to feel very punk at times, but if I had to sum up the story in one sentence, it would be that it’s a tale on how to watch your back while living in a foreign country as a political refugee. I liked the more developed action scenes compared to Sleep State Interrupt, they were a lot of fun to read and definitely a welcome change. Weber also finally starts writing some sex and more romance into his novel, although on the whole it’s all still relatively PG-13, nothing too gory or explicit like you might find in Altered Carbon or other more mature novels.

So make sure you don’t miss reading this fun on-the-run cyberpunk tale, and if you’ve already read it, let me know what you thought of the book in the comments below!

P.S. One of the many fun additional features you can find on T.C. Weber’s page includes a kickass recipe on how to make the perfect Caipirinha, that staple Brazilian cocktail! You can check it out here:

https://www.tcweber.com/how-to-make-a-capirinha

And as always, if you liked what you read and want to help the Cyberpunk Matrix going, you can show your support over on Ko-Fi. Help contribute to the costs of website upkeep, or simply buy me a simu-latte. https://ko-fi.com/cyberpunkmatrix

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