The first thing I want to make clear is how masterfully well-written this book is on a technical level. Clarity without austerity, description without purple prose, witty and natural dialogue, all tied up in a gripping, extremely original story and starring a relatable, three-dimensional hero--THE REINTEGRATORS has it all and it's definitely worth the money. It also has one of the most original methods of crafting parallel plotlines I've ever seen and I can't wait to see Weisser get comfortable and really experiment with it.
Warning: may include spoilers.
My only gripe is Mr. Weisser's extremely light touch when it comes to details and exposition. I feel like I'm reading the second book in a series, and REINTEGRATORS feels like it could have gone on for a hundred more pages and I would have been all the happier for it. If this book was a movie, where a light touch is treasured, it would be a very fast-paced and intensely enjoyable movie. As a matter of fact, it reads quite a lot like a really good summer scifi blockbuster, albeit somewhat more cerebral and complex than your usual DIVERGENT or HUNGER GAMES moviegoer.
There's little to no background given to the subject of metanautics--the practical effects of artifacets were fantastic, but I would have loved to have seen much, much more historical information about the absolutely fascinating practice of metanautics itself, as well as a better explanation of how artifacets work. The sort of information Teddy would have seen on his study binges in the library: secret mathematical societies in the Renaissance, Dark Age cults, government experiments, redacted documents, private correspondence, crumbling old diagrams that fully explain the artifacet function. There are a few teases at revelations like these but it never really goes full MKULTRA. Conspiracies and secret conflicts are hinted at but never really explored, castes and designations such as "Naturals" serve as major pivots but there isn't much under the rock when you turn it over. This goes back to filling out the legend of metanautics--I really want to know what makes Naturals tick, why they are what they are.
Likewise, the worlds Teddy travels to are amazing to look at and feature stunningly unique aspects, but without giving these alien cultures historical gravitas they become facades, like taking a quick tour around the hollow sets of western movies. There is one particularly original and intriguing world where much of the terrain is covered in bathroom tiles, and I really wanted to know more about why and how this came to be beyond the quick explanation provided. I also wanted to know more about the societies and customs of these otherworlds and see more of their cities.
Very little physical description of characters results in a loss of individuality. No characters quite suffered from this like Kevin and Charles, who could almost be the same person (I welcomed one portion of the story where one of them integrates into a body with a distinctive physical quality, because it was suddenly much easier to tell them apart). At one point I had to take a hiatus from the book for a few days in order to focus on some work, and when I came back it took several pages to remember that Teddy was the protagonist, not Kevin. There isn't much delving into their motivations and histories either, and several supporting characters that seem integral to the plot turn out to be red herrings.
All in all, I might have typed a lot up there but it really just comes down to bantamweight pacing. REINTEGRATORS has quick footwork and punches like a piledriver, but lacks follow-through and scope. If you're looking for an engaging action ride built on a foundation of fringe psychoscience like remote-viewing, this book is a damn good read. I'll be on pins and needles waiting for the next one, and hoping Mr. Weisser takes us deeper into the history of metanautics.