Avatars, personal incorporation, battle fatigue, mind control, a controversial view on the return of religion: this book had so many interesting ideas, which is probably why I was extra disappointed by the storytelling. I did not enjoy the storytelling because I could not engage with the characters.
Characters in the book felt like engineered aspects of the author's premise. Never for one moment did I feel as though the characters had any life of their own. In most cases characters were completely black and white- the bad guys acted like total jerks, the good guys were total goody two shoes. And it was not unusual for a character to suddenly pop up (even 3/4 of the way through the narrative) just long enough to give a long info dump on their whole life's history, be used to forward the plot, and then get conveniently killed off or simply forgotten about, and never enter into the story again. I felt like the characters were narrative tools, not people, and I could not and did not care about them at all.
Toward the climax of the book, the action did get quite exciting and engage my attention. It was almost like a tragic opera, announcing in advance what was going to happen, then letting the reader bite nails as the foreshadowed dramatic events unfolded. Unfortunately the denouement took the edge off the exciting conclusion by backpedaling and calling into question the finality of the climax. And to add insult to injury, it ended with a big old "to be continued."