On Audible since the late 1990s, mostly science fiction, fantasy, history & science. I rarely review 1-2 star books that I can't get through
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.
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.
One of Hamilton's best series, to my mind. I find it difficult to describe: it basically blends the same far-future Commonwealth world of Pandora's Star/Judas Unchained with a very well-realized 'Olde England with psychic powers'. That sounds like it's going to be bad: it's not. As usual, Hamilton not only has great ideas but has the ability to really follow through with them and investigate all the possibilities. I'd recommend new readers to start with Pandora's Star/Judas Unchained just because they're a little easier to get into: although if you're coming from a fantasy background then this series might work better
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
The Void series takes a LOT of concentration; it has many threads, timelines, dreamlines, and characters (several with multiple instances). Some of the themes are so wild that they cross from science fiction to fantasy then to philosophy. The author writes very intelligently and many of the characters are interesting and well developed. I enjoyed some of the themes and some of the characters but it is just way too much for three novels. By the end of the series quite a lot of stuff had happened, but due to the abstract nature of some subthemes I found it difficult to really care. This is a talented writer but I really prefer a little less. Judas Unchained was complex, but Judas was simple minded compared to the Void.
This story picks up some 1400 years beyond Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained. Once again, Hamilton weaves seemingly individual stories into an epic tail across a vast universe. His writing is rich in vision, texture and imagery and filled with unforgettable characters. Happily, some well established characters from the previous novels have not yet uploaded their consciousness' and are around for yet another tale.
After seeing that there are no other Peter F. Hamilton novels available through Audible.com, I searched the author's website for additional titles. He is a prolific author yet many of his works are not yet available as audio books here in the US. Perhaps this is something that will become more readily available in the future? I have no doubt many Audible listeners would be thrilled with additional titles.
Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
While the Void Trilogy is three books, it is only one story. Each of the three could easily have been 2 or even 3 books by themselves. I believe that they were that rich in depth and breadth. I had finished the Commonwealth Saga not too long ago and was blown away by both books. I could not say which I enjoyed more given that again there was a great deal of continuity between the two and I read and reviewed them as one.
Interestingly, the Void Trilogy is set in the same universe 1200 years later (AD 3580) and contains many of the same characters. That's good for those of us who elected to read the story from the beginning but not totally unacceptable for those who chose to pickup the story from from the Void. Having a background about or history on the characters helps. When I first ventured into the trilogy with the Dreaming Void I was a bit disappointed. I thought that it was slow and difficult to figure out. However, I stuck with it and with the Temporal Void (#2 of 3) things really picked up in pace and action. In fact, of all three books I think that the second was the most exciting. This was the brilliance of Peter Hamilton that I remembered from the Commonwealth. Incredibly unique landscapes, characters and creatures. But not to be only bowled over by the senses, these books are heady, contemplative and complex. These are not books to listen to while doing something else. They require, they demand, they deserve our full attention or forget it. Read something lighter.
By the time I got into the last in the series, The Evolutionary Void, my biggest concern was how this epic was going to end. These worlds and stories were so gargantuan and magnificent in almost every respect, how could the conclusion possibly do justice to all that came before. But again, somehow Hamilton pulls it off.
However, I would submit that there is still something missing in Hamilton's characters. While there is incredible opportunity for character development just given the lengths of these books, the characters themselves seem to lack something. I have struggled with this wondering if this is a lack of mature writing on the part of the author or just the way beings are 2500 years into the future. I kind of got attached to some of the characters but then not really. Maybe when you live for a thousand years people just become less concerned about you; less caring.
Two, three, let alone five of these books required an investment in time and energy but it was one hell of a ride. The narrator I have listened to in a great number of books. He was not the best part of this one.
Although the author has created a wildly imaginative universe, this book was difficult to follow because characters and situations carried over from previous works.
Amazing book, (can't wait to get part 2), love that their is so much continuity with his previous work's; but in new ways that leaves the story fresh and exciting.
I can understand a "little bit" of the other reviewers frustration, Hamilton's stories can be complex and are not always obviously cohesive. (This isn't the kind of book you can partially listen to while grading papers or something)But these are also the qualities that keep you riveted and intrigued and impatient for more! One needs to do a bit of critical thinking on their own to put things together, but the brilliance of this is that the immersion into the story is intense. The reader isn't constantly jolted out of the story by some monotonous explanation. It has some of the qualities that make up a really good mystery or thriller. That the readers conclusions and interpretations, right or wrong, are part of the experience. Plus the connections and overall continuity in the end are always surprising and satisfying!
I highly recommend any of his books and look forward to the continuation of this story...
I read the whole of the first book in the trilogy and gave the second a try, but I had to stop because the chauvinism was over the top. Very disappointing in a contemporary novel.
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
This is a strong sci-fi/alternative future/fantasy novel. If you have read any of Hamilton's works before, you will find this one has exactly the same style, tone and pacing as his other works... if you didn't like his style, tone or pacing in other books he has written, you won't like this one either.
For those of you who haven't read Hamilton before - his books are THICK. The science is relatively detailed (but not hard-core), the plot is divided into 'threads' that start off completely unconnected but tie together at the end, and there are a LOT of characters to keep track of. Sometimes this disconnected thread approach might cause you to get lost... and sometimes there is just a bit too much time spent on side-stories (in this case: the alternative sexual/relationship possibilities of the future). But these side stories do fill out the space-opera requirements, and give the reader a fuller sense of the world/reality being built.
I actually quite liked the 'fantasy' component of the novel. I thought it was, in many ways, more interesting than the 'sci-fi' part since it was a single storyline, not the multi thread line of the 'real' world story. Again, though, all these threads do come together in the end, but you have to get through probably more than half of the book before you can see the potential connections. There is just a smidge of moralizing but it is short and dispersed throughout the story so it doesn't become too annoying.
I will read the rest of the series, and probably any other books Hamilton comes out with as well. His stories are strong, his characters distinct, and the science/potential is very believable. The only thing that would make his books a bit more enjoyable would be the cutting back of about 100 pages of side-story filler - this would increase the pacing a bit, and I don't think we would miss out on much if we didn't get to hear about what people wear in Hamilton's worlds.
The narration is very good. There is occasional swearing, but there is no gore or graphic sex (though there is an exploration of mature alternative sexual activities). Oh, and keep in mind it is a trilogy so the story isn't wrapped up here; the cliffhanger is somewhat mild, but you will probably have to get the next book in the series if you like full resolutions.