This book reads like a Car topped out a 180 MPH that hits a steep hill and slows down because nobody is hitting the gas.
Look, I love me some Sci-Fi. I love all the gizmos, ludicrous speeds, and boldly goings. Yes, the attraction to the genre is reading about all these amazing concepts. 'Snow Crash,' without a doubt, has brilliant ideas and runs with it: Sumerian Mythology contains code to hack into the Human mind...Ok, I'll read about this!
BEGIN "Pomp and Circumstance"
However, Sci-Fi doesn't get an exemption from the requirement of spinning a good yarn. This takes Characters and Plot. For me, a great story in Sci-Fi uses the backdrop of the genre to accentuate the themes, plots, and characters. The story shouldn't be about the backdrop. When it does, it reads like a RPG manual.
END "Pomp and Circumstance"
The 2nd half throws character development out the window and the plot turns vaudevillian because of gratuitous Deus ex Machina. I can't help but wonder at times if this was all intentional, that the author wanted to turn the whole story into a parody of itself.