5 out of 5
I am just not built for this D&D-level of world-building. Which isn’t meant to be a slight: I am astounded at the level of detail and thought Rucka have put into the Lazarus world; I just mean to say that my brain doesn’t function on that wavelength, and the extraneous details tend not to sink in. Heck, I just called them extraneous, suggesting that’s how my brain automatically files them, when I’m aware that all this surrounding minutiae informs the foreground stuff I’m more invested in.
What this means is that it took me literally about a month to get through this sourcebook, taking it a section at a time, and admittedly I just trudged through it in a completist sense because of how original the entirety of Lazarus Is proving to be, and how much I respect the efforts of Rucka and crew in achieving that.
Yes, this intro is essentially a repeat of my review of the previous source book, although, ironically, that one took me less time to read but I ended up liking this one more. My one reservation with the Carlyle source book was a cosmetic one: that I felt that the lack of index made it difficult to navigate. The Hock book is the same format – cover to cover words, no index, tabs at the top indicating the general section you’re reading – but this wasn’t an issue for me for likely the same reason I felt a bit more engaged in my reading sessions: the Hock administration is imagined to be much more cut and dry than Carlyle; it is not, in any way, subtle. Not that Lazarus’ Family-owned world is subtle in general, but there was a wee bit more political game playing in the previous Source book, which I’m both not aware enough to key upon and also not necessarily directly intrigued by. This led to some amusing bits, like the entertainment section, but it becomes a too thoroughly imagined joke to do much more than grin at; I’m much more interested to read about the straight-forward, militaristic, drug-fueled overlordship of Hock rule. It’s big and loud and attention grabbing.
Same caveats as before apply: not required reading unless you like the nitty gritty and to be one of the cool kids who likes to spot hints about plot points, but an insanely impressive piece of world-building by Neal Bailey, David Brothers, Robert MacKenzie, Greg Rucka, Eric Trautmann, David Walker, Michael Lark, Owen Freeman, Tyler Boss, Brian Level and Santi Arcas. (Whew!)