While I found the Dreaming Void to be a pleasant surprise from an author I hadn't read before, it's riddled by an odd multi-personality disorder. I'm not complaining about it having multiple points of view - I'm used to that. What's strange about the Dreaming Void is that there are effectively three different tones the story is written in.
There's the tone of the enigmatic agent Aaron, where the humanity's 'evolution' to a custom-built and omnipotent race is given its dark side, where life is treated as being worthless because death is meaningless. There's the weird domestic tale of Araminta (my least favorite), who is struggling through the steps of a mundane existence, having sex with about everyone she meets. (The author has a very libertine style, though I wouldn't say it compares to a romance novel, even in these sections) Then there's the dream-story of Ediard, which takes place in an entirely different setting, and would be most easily compared to a young adult fantasy novel, where a young man struggles to find his place in a vaguely medieval world.
If you think all three of these things sound interesting, or even 2 out of 3, it's probably worth listening to the book. The performer is very talented and versatile, though I might have preferred if they had brought on a woman as well for the many female parts, and occasionally his theatrically rolled rs grated at my nerves. Just be ready for a slow go of it - while books with multiple PoVs usually result in the multiple characters converging, this one never even comes close in the scope of this first novel.
Say something about yourself!
Peter Hamilton's novels always get off to a slow start -- or seem to -- because he is always telling several (in this case about 8) completely different stories at the beginning, all set in the same universe, but seemingly without connection. As the novel develops, these stories all turn out to revolve around the same set of macro events, and it is these galaxy-spanning, bigger-than-life plot arcs that drive the story. The Dreaming Void is set in the Commonwealth, the universe in which the earlier novels Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained take place, but about 1500 years later. There are a handful of important characters who carry over from the earlier novels, thanks to the wonders of rejuvenation technology, and there is no doubt that it helps to have read those earlier novels. Not all of the sub-plot arcs move along at the same pace, so there are times when I couldn't wait to get back to the story of Edeard in the Void itself (clearly the best of the plot lines in this novel), but they all work if you give them time and attention. All of the major characters are interesting and well drawn, but it is the mystery of the Void itself that is most compelling here, if a bit confusing at times. I did find that I had to rewind on occasion to make sure that I was properly understanding what was happening (e.g., there are two cities of Makkathran, the original in the Void, and the replica created based on the Dreamer's vision of the original, and at the beginning of the novel it takes some work to get clear about that sort of thing). But this is a story that repays the time and effort you will spend on it.
This is a book that builds up in pleasureable listening. In the past it was worth it to me to listen to the next two books. This time...I am not sure I will get the next two books.
No...it is not a stand alone book.
I like John Lee a good deal. This rates right up there.
Not a thing...did make me want to find more scifi though
I loved "Pandora's Star" and "Judas Unchained," but the first book of this followup trilogy is slow and lacking in much of import. I hope the following books will be better, but where is the excitement? John Lee is an outstanding narrator, but I had higher hopes for this one.
You have to remember that Peter Hamilton writes these books as a whole. The first in the series is slow to start, but the whole story is amazing.
There are 5 books. Read them in this order:
1. Pandora's Star
2. Judas Unchained
3. The Dreaming Void
4. The Temporal Void
5. The Evolutionary Void.
There is too much context that is lost if one starts with the Dreaming Void first.
I really enjoyed the Pandora's Star trilogy. Sadly, The Dreaming Void reads like fan fiction. The characters refer reverentially to characters and events from the Pandora's Star trilogy. This is nauseating and lazy. I found the new advanced culture and the characters that inhabit it difficult to relate with. What does it mean that you give up your body and get uploaded into a computer? Why do people who live for centuries act every bit as petty as people today? Do they not have any personal growth, or anything that looks like wisdom (or even maturity)? The gratuitous sex also is sillier and more distracting than in the first trilogy.
If you have not read Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained, you will be lost in this universe. Even after reading them, technology and the socio political structure of the commonwealth has changed so much that it can still be confusing. The transition to the dreams is somewhat jarring almost like a separate book, but I found myself more interested in the dreams than the 'real world.'
This book sets the scene for the Void books, so (understandably I suppose) it was really slow. I remember thinking the same thing about Pandora's Star. So if you liked it, this one will probably not bore you too much. The second book makes this one worth the read.
I am not normally a science-fiction reader, though I've liked a few in the past and tried this book on a whim. I ended up becoming engrossed in the novel and the subsequent parts of the trilogy. The story is thrilling and the depth of Hamilton's characters kept me listening every chance I could. I was honestly sad to leave them all at the end of the story.
John Lee is the perfect reader for this and Hamilton's Commonwealth Trilogy. The characters seem to come alive even more through his very attractive accent and precise diction. Consequently, the production was excellent.
I started listening to this book just to get out of my normal rut of old school fantasy novels. Sci-Fi usually is never my thing. The book started a bit slow for my taste though the character description and development were good. The book started to move in it's events in a snowball effect, each event having a greater impact than the last. They also started becoming more frequent. Before I new it, I was engrossed into the book, almost unable to turn it off.
The way John Lee narrates this enticing book adds great effects to the compelling nature of the book. I will most definitely be purchasing the second book of the series and I applaud the job John Lee did to bring this book to life.