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Of course, once you start to read a series of stories such as a trilogy, you really need to see it through. The Night's Dawn trilogy is one of Peter F Hamilton's earlier works recently brought to the audio format having originally been published back in the late 90's. This massive trilogy was penned by Hamilton before his Commonwealth saga and to my mind the Commonwealth saga is a better series of books. The Naked God has been perhaps the longest stab at completing a book I can remember in a long while because it didn't keep me interested long enough to prolong reading to any great degree and so this epic length novel took me about 3 weeks to consume in mostly small 15 or 20 minute morsels. As mentioned in my review of the Neutronium Alchemist, , I feel that the cast of characters Hamilton used in this series was too extensive which slowed the plot down as it often appeared as if proceedings were moving sideways rather than forwards as we dropped in on each of the numerous characters in turn. Hamilton has refined his story telling in the subsequent Commonwealth saga by reducing the number of key characters to a much more manageable quantity which in turn allows things to develop faster and hold the readers interest far more. Again, for the sake of fairness I would like to say that such a long story with a multitude of characters may need to be read in longer sittings in order to allow the reader to absorb more of what's going on so my feeling about this book might be remedied if this approach is adopted. To me, though, The Naked God suffers in the same way as the second in the trilogy did. By far the best in the trilogy is the first, The Reality Dysfunction which held my interest much more and as such I devoured it in longer and fewer sessions. I feel that Hamilton dragged things out over the second two books once he had built a great first act in the series.
Hamilton is a great writer but I think he tried rather too hard with the Night's Dawn trilogy. There was just too much unnecessary narrative which did little for the plot as a whole and only served to mire its pace to the point where I basically lost interest which was a shame. This experience does not colour my views of Hamilton as an author as I have read and greatly enjoyed all of his Commonwealth series . So, the Reality Dysfunction was by far the best of the series in my view with the last two parts being sadly drawn out affairs. Sure, there were highlights in both those books but they came rather too far apart to maintain reader interest. Hamilton clearly wanted to create scope by spreading the narrative over a large collection of characters but he went a little too far and the plot suffered as a result.
John Lee, as ever, does a sterling job with this very long book but I did spot a few inconsistencies which might have been some of the narrator reading things wrong as well as the author having written them wrong. For example, we are told that a particular journey will be some 1,600 light years but then we hear a couple of references to 16,000 light years. Then, the journey is extended another 300 odd light years and we come back to a total of 1,900 light years. Hard to say if that's narrator error or not. What I think was author error was a funny transposition where the following is read "She shielded her hand with her eyes.". Hmmm .. I am also a little confused as to whether the planetary system plane of planets or the galactic disc is the ecliptic or elliptic?
It is clear that Hamilton worked very long and hard on this book but I'm afraid The Naked God doesn't work for me and it was a long heavy read for the most part spread over too many characters. If you're new to Peter F Hamilton and have been put off his work then I would urge you to reconsider and get yourself Pandora's Star, the first in his excellent Commonwealth series. The Naked God is a five star effort but at best a 3 star read. It's too long because it's bloated with too many players all needing their slice of a plot which as a result moves too laboriously.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
I struggled a little bit through Neutronium alchemist (book 2) as I found the pacing and all the plot lines interrupted the flow of the book. Similar thing happens at the start of this book, however do not be discouraged. The book offers a perfect ending to the trilogy, bringing together all the loose ends of this epic saga.
The series in general is not only just an interesting read, it is a book that makes you think about life, its point and dealing with death.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
my favourite Hamilton book yet! brilliant to listen to and nicely rounded off! well worth the invested time.
The series is huge with enough characters to fill several Russian novels. A bit prosaic though and more like a horror story in places. I enjoyed it but it never became so interesting that I couldn't turn it off