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I'm an Alistair Reynolds fan, got this the same day it became available. The story is good, but not one of his best. I realy liked the steampunky 'Terminal World' much more. If Mr. Reynolds is going to veer from his standard hard SciFi space operas, he should continue in that direction, in my humble opinion. However, John Lee really nailed this one!. His voice for the American private eye was spot on. The only other review so far was negative due to the "1920 detective noir" style. The main character is a detective from 1959...go figure. I thought it was perfect for the character and story. Bravo Mr. Lee!
17 of 17 people found this review helpful
Paris in the 1950's, Wendell Floyd is an ex-pat American jazz musician forced to actually make a living as a private detective, although he and his partner, Andre Custin, still play occasionally. The pragmatic Floyd thinks he may solve his money troubles with the investigation of an apparent suicide. While in Paris of the distant future, Verity Auger, an archeologist, is digging into a ice-locked dead city searching for relics of the past. The listener understands early on that while Auger's Paris could be in our future, Floyd's Paris is definitely not in our past and Auger is tasked to understand what that means. Clearly these disparate tales must be linked and they do merge fairly early in the narrative and Auger and Floyd ultimately realize they are each the key for the other's mystery.
There are some flaws in this overall good story:
1. While I like the characters of Floyd and Auger, I just never "felt" the chemistry between them so the love story is a bit flat.
2. Erratic pacing. The setup is very good, with a gradual build up that generates a great deal of suspense, but the long and repetitive chase scenes and the muddled political conflict break the tension frequently in the later sections of the book.
Century Rain has some good things going for it as well:
1. Wonderful prose - I would argue that there is no Science Fiction writer who writes more elegantly than Alistair Reynolds. As always, he uses beautiful metaphors, sets vivid scenes, and employs such a wide vocabulary that my ears stay tuned even when the story slows.
2. Grand provocative ideas. We all know about The Law of the Unintended Consequences, but Century Rain takes that idea to the grandest scale and shows us a planet that has been made uninhabitable as a result of good intentions gone VERY bad and people who don't know how to quit digging when they get in a hole.
3. Gripping thriller type plot with some clever nods at Casablanca
John Lee was not at his best on this book, but was competent and did not detract. This isn't Reynolds best book, but I still found it entertaining and mind-expanding.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
I have listened to most of the Alastair Reynolds titles available on Audible, and will listen to the couple that remain for me. This one I left till later as I didn't quite like the description and thought it might not be for me, I was very happily proven wrong. I love John Lee as a Narrator for this Author and as he has been consistent throughout this Authors titles it is very comforting for me to come back to him. If you have enjoyed previous titles by this Author and Narrator I think you will be very happy with this listen, if you haven't tried any yet then this one is a great introduction to them both. Great story line, I thought half way through I could see the entire plot laid out before me but I was completely wrong. Best listen in a long while for myself, loaded with Sci Fi and gumshoe detective in Paris in the 50's. sounds mad, but it really is excellent!
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
A Private Eye team who are really musicians in a not-quite-right 1950s Paris with a case that isn't quite what it seems, and a future Paris archaeologist whose trial turns out to be an elaborate ruse to send her in to an increasingly dangerous mission field. Hold onto your hats for the twists and turns of the unexpected in this loveable mystery novel.
This is something quite different from Reynolds normal fare, at least to start with, and my initial scepticism turned more and more to delight as the story unfolded.
It's not the greatest reading (French accents can be difficult to do), but who cares - rollicking story.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful