I didn’t realize that this was part three of a trilogy when I originally picked this up, and there was a major sigh of relief when I found out that technically all three entries in the Sprawl trilogy can be read as standalone. Which is interesting, because as I read this one, it did feel like a spin-off dealing with the fallout of Neuromancer. There are some parts that I wasn’t as filled in on, but these two books work together for me.Mona Lisa Overdrive was a lot easier for me to get into. The writing’s more streamlined, and the plot felt more concise. I liked how Gibson structured four unseemingly connected story arcs into one web of mystery. I liked the expansion on the world-building and the new elements to the cyber world. The addition of Haitian voundon as a way to access the matrix and cyberspace was a fantastic touch, and I loved the sense of otherworldliness it gave to the plot.The characters were handled a little better here. I do think that the four major female leads do start off as being really passive. Kumiko, Angie and Mona don’t really do much, save for being carted off to different locales by their respective handlers. Cherry’s a little more proactive as she’s a medtech, but she stays in the background for the majority of Slick’s arc until Bobby needs her—and even then, Slick takes on the bigger perspective role in that particular arc. I like that Kumiko picks up on the fact that she’s being used for shady dealings, and tries to figure out what’s going on, although she’s more or less prompted to by Colin. Angie and Mona were probably the most interesting characters for me, but they really don’t do anything in the book, aside from being MacGuffins. I did like Molly/Sally in this a lot better—she’s not as much as a focus character, but more of an enigma in Kumiko’s eyes. This is where I think that Neuromancer and Mona Lisa Overdrive work really well as a duology: we’re picking up Molly’s storyline a few years down the road, and dealing with the fallout of the events of the first book. The descriptions and setting really picked up in this. I loved reading Kumiko’s reaction to landing in England for the first time, and how cold and impersonal everything feels to her. The parts with Slick and his crew was some of the best descriptions in the book—I loved seeing the grungey, scraping to get by scenes.I did like this book, but I can’t get past the passive nature of most of the perspective characters, and like with Neuromancer, I got to the end and thought, “What the hell just happened?” (Again, I do need to read Count Zero, because I know I missed something between the two books.) Still, I enjoyed it a lot more that Neuromancer, and it actually does read as a decent standalone book.