Review: Mona Lisa Overdrive, by William Gibson

Lukewarm conclusion to a great series (3 stars)

“There’s a whole new apocrypha out there, really – ghost ships, lost cities…There’s a pathos to it, when you think about it. I mean, every bit of it’s locked into orbit. All of it manmade, known, owned, mapped. Like watching myths take root in a parking lot.”

Mona Lisa Overdrive is the conclusion of the Sprawl trilogy of William Gibson, composed also of Neuromancer and Count Zero. Like the previous titles, it follows different threads of stories that combine only at the end: a yakuza boss’ daughter sent to London for protection, a recluse artist that is charged in taking care of the body of a man that locked himself in cyberspace, a sex worker used in the heist of a famous simstim superstar, etc.

Mona Lisa Overdrive didn’t grab me the way the previous Sprawl books did, unfortunately. The plot threads seemed move convoluted this time around – I confess there is much I plain didn’t understand – and I wasn’t really invested in the characters at any time.

It was nice to see the reappearance of characters from the previous books like Molly, the Finn and Bobby, and I liked how what happened in the previous books have become cyberspace myth in Mona Lisa Overdrive. But It didn’t seem like there was much at stake and the AIs – one of the most interesting aspects of the previous titles – seemed pushed to the background here.

Mona Lisa Overdrive is still a good book – Gibson’s talent for description remains top notch here – but for me it was a somewhat lukewarm conclusion to a great series.

Guilherme Solari is a Brazilian writer and journalist from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He has written about movies, literature and videogames for some of Brazil’s biggest news sites. He is the author of THE CASCAVEL CHRONICLES, a love letter to 80's action movies, as well as the cyberpunk CYBERSAMPA series.