I HIGHLY recommend you read/listen the the Pandora's Star / Judas Unchained books first. These two books introduce you to the world Hamilton has created and gives you a great basis for the technology and the Universe in which this series revolves.
Next, this series actually follows the events of two time lines, one is the universe itself in the present (present of the story), the other is the life events of a single man who lives inside the void.
For those who are fans of the Pandora's Star /Judas Unchained books you will be happy to know several of the key characters in those books either play a major role here or make a cameo appearance, but they fit right in and you do not feel like this is just regurgitated storyline.
Finally, you have to give the story some time to build up, throughout the first book Hamilton is setting the stage, and with a story like this one it takes time, by 2/3 into the first book you should feel right at home with the story organization and from that point on it is smooth sailing.
While you would not technically have to listen to Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained, I would highly recommend it. They are good listens, if somewhat long and drawn out.
That being said... YIKES!! This was SO much better written and pared down to a more essential story line. There is a little confusion at the beginning, and if you have not read or listened to PS or JU, then you will be lost for the first few hours. If you have made it through the first two books, then you will be pleased to hear references and tie-ins to characters you knew before.
There were times in PS and JU that I wanted to fast forward, there is really none of that in this book. I was unhappy that it ended and immediately downloaded the 2nd book and I'm already looking forward to the third. This is a big story, and there are a lot of players and sub plots to keep track of. However if you like your stories to have a huge story arc, then dig in and start listening, you won't be disappointed.
The narrator has turned an already complex book into an unlistenable mess. Dialog between characters is spoken as a monotone, run-on sentence. There aren't separate voices; all sense of who is speaking is destroyed.
Other reviews already explained the good and the bad already, guess it just wasn't for me.
If you like soap operas, you'll probably like this, if you just want good SciFi, save your money AND time, and find another author.
I actually returned the book, couldn't finish it, and it was a free credit too!
I found myself having to stop and rewind to figure out where we jumped from one srltory to another.
Another thing that got really old was the portrayal of women. apparently in Hamilton's world all the men are very well endowed, extraordinary lovers with almost godlike abilities to satisfy women. by contrast all women are obsessed with being physically attractive to these men and willing to have sex with them within minutes of meeting them. these same women are sexual gymnasts and never say no. let's not even talk about the obsession regarding the little black dress.
this whole book meanders between different stories and reads like a teenage boy's sex dreams. ugh...give this one a pass
I wouldn't try another audiobook. The audio did not resume where I left off so I would hear the same portion over again. I still don't know what the plot or story line is supposed to be.
No, I like science fiction and fantasy. This particular book seemed to be written in the past and the future. Some of the future aspects were interesting and other aspects seemed to pick up OLD earth science.
Given a well written book, he would be fine to listen to.
I will be more selective when choosing a long book by listening to a recap first.
Improve decriptions of the world/universe.
Not rely on quick laugh but develop character better
So, look folks...
This is part one of a Space Opera. It's going to be long. There are going to be a ton of characters. There will be plotlines and themes that will develop slowly. You'll have to wait till 2010 to see how it all ends.
It will, however, be magnificent when it's done.
For folks unable to deal with the naritive realities of a space opera, I'd suggest a title by Franklin W. Dixon.
And please, writing a review that insists a yarn is "too hard to follow" says less about the book than the reader.
First of all, this book is best read as a continuation of Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained. Once you have read those, the rich tapestry of complex plot lines will make perfect sense.
This is a terrific book, but it is one that demands concentration. It has many overlapping plot lines that converge and interlock. Hamilton is a terrific author, and the narration is superb. The one "problem" with this book is that it is the first in a trilogy, and the next 2 books are not yet available. Audible, please give us the next installment of this series (called The Temporal Void") when it is released on March 24, 2009!