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For my money, Peter Hamilton is the best writer of space operas working today. Like all of his books, this one has a cast of many characters, frequent shifts in perspective between at least 8(!) storylines that initially seem unrelated, some great action sequences, lots of interesting speculation about far future technologies, and an occasional need for an editor.
This book takes place 1500 years after his last two-book series (Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained). Some of the characters from that series are still around, due to the virtual immortality provided by future medicine, but knowing the previous books is not required, though it will make some of the story more interesting.
As the first book of three, this one starts a bit slower than Pandora's Star, but builds over the first third or so of the audiobook to become a really compelling story that weaves together the stories of a far-future hitman, the leader of a religious movement, a semi-omniscient AI, a young woman launching a business career, and a young man who initially seems to be living in a fantasy novel. And yet, as the story comes together, these desperate elements weave together into a story about interstellar intrigue and an upcoming event that could threaten the galaxy.
I thought this was an excellent start to a new space opera, much better than Hamilton's Nights Dawn series, but not as immediately action-packed as the previous Pandora's Star novels. Some segments run a bit long, and the occasional sex scenes can seem a trifle gratuitous, but if you like sprawling novels with dozens of characters (think George RR Martin, but in space) and innovative space opera spanning dozens of worlds, this is a great, very well-read choice.
103 of 105 people found this review helpful
This gripping continuation of the world made so real in Pandora's and Judas is once again marred by the director. I assume that would be who is responsible for the complete lack of transitions from one scene to the next. There's barely a breath between what would have been a clear division in story line had you been reading the book. The result is that you're suddenly scrambling to figure out why there are new people on a different planet in a completely different setting than there were in what seemed to be the previous sentence. As a veteran of 8+ years of audiobooks, I've never encountered another series of books that do this so badly. As a commuting listener, I'm constantly rewinding to catch where the transition was. It's annoying to the point of marring an otherwise excellent listening experience. Yes, these are long books but please give us a few seconds pause to acknowledge the change in chapter/setting.
78 of 80 people found this review helpful