This is the sequel to "Pandora's Star". I read these books when they first came out and enjoyed them. Hamilton is an extraordinarily descriptive writer, and the difference between reading words on the page and hearing them inside your head is striking. One can see, in one's minds eye, the mis-en-scene and the action in a way only listening can achieve.
The story spans a great part of our galaxy, and introduces a number of alien species, including one implacable enemy, that come alive as characters in the story. The protagonists--and there are several--are not supermen (or super beings) but have their faults and foibles.
Of course, this being science fiction, there are some advances in technology (especially in biotechnology) that are central to the plot. And while these are, typically, a good deal beyond being likely anytime in the near future, they are extrapolations of present-day technologies that ring true to the imagination.
Finally, the reading is superb.
Be warned that this book is part two. Pandora's Star is part one. You really need to read them both (in order) to get the whole story.
Pandora's Star introduced the Commonwealth and the alien race known as the Primes, the alien threat known as the Starflyer, several other aliens, and the large cast of characters who all wrap up their storylines in Judas Unchained.
Peter F. Hamilton is a big favorite among SF fans. I've now read his entire doorstopper two-volume epic and my reaction is overwhelming lukewarm. Yes, it was great space opera, it has an interstellar war with interesting and hostile aliens, tons of subplots involving a second mind-controlling alien entity, a super-intelligent super-computer, wormholes and "relifing" and there were explosions and chases and sex and so on, and none of it thrilled me or filled me with the warm fuzzies I get from truly great SF.
As a teenager, I would have loved this book. Now, it struck me as middlin' fair sci-fi and listening to it as an audiobook, my mind wandered. I don't want to discourage fans from checking it out, as it's very good if this is the kind of story you are looking for: humans vs. aliens in a big boomin' interstellar war, Star Trek on steroids (written by an actual writer). But... frankly, there is better out there, and most of it isn't this long. I would recommend the Interstellar Commonwealth saga if you really want a big, long classic (but not too dated) space opera.
Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
Firstly the narration: Generally I like the performances of narrator John Lee. I have listened to a number of others of his books including White Tiger, Pillars Of the Earth, Count of Monte Cristo. But the narration in this series leaves much to be desired. This production, while not as bad as Pandora’s Star, is a hopelessly flawed engineering fiasco. One can never tell when there is a change in chapters unless it is stated in the literary context. When there is a change of scene or arc, the narrator just connects the end of the one with the beginning of the next and we are left wondering, where in the universe we are. The variations in modulation are unnatural, distracting and just plain horrible.
However, despite all that Audible has done to detract from the greatness of this selection, it is almost without peer in its greatness. Hamilton creates a world of places, people, aliens and events unlike any I have read. The stories, and there are many, are complex and they all come together in multiple, exciting conclusions. Unlike the series Wheel of Time which seems to go on for several volumes and have very little new to add than what we discovered in the first volume, every part of these two books is fresh, interesting and surprising.
This masterpiece of literature deserved better than the treatment it received by Audible. All of that being said, I could not recommend a selection more highly. It is too good to miss even with all of its detractors.
Pandora's Star introduces us to a collection of amazing characters --- giving us background and stories about their (many) lives. We get to know them all very well. In this book, they join forces in the battle for the future of our civilization. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. It was nice to see all the strings of his amazing story come together in the end.
It was only 99.5% perfect, though. There was at least one starflyer agent that was frustratingly obvious to me for nearly the entire book (mostly due to lack of back story) but wasn't uncovered until the bitter end. And we never really learned much more about the High Angel.
But a really exciting listen nonetheless. Highly recommended.
I'm a politically conservative, technologically inclined, open-minded, all American citizen of this great terrestrial ball we call home. I keep my head in the clouds, I love Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels but I keep my feet on the ground, I stay informed on news and current events, and I love the fact that I can still form and express my own opinions in this great nation we call The Untied States.
I think that this book was very well written and orated even better. It was the continuation of the story of the "Commonwealth" and the "Primes". It kept me on the edge of my seat and I loved every minute of it... I would highly recommend this book of you like it's prequel "Pandora's Star".
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)
Again. It's very very long and, while the story is sometimes engaging, I spent most of the book wishing that Hamilton would stop describing the color of the sky and the haze and the number of buttons on a uniform and just GET ON WITH THE STORY!
Anytime there's an opportunity to go off on a tangent, he does. Sometimes these weave back into the story, but more often than not they are just detailed descriptions of the repercussions of a specific event. (i.e. a nuke going off is followed by 20 minutes of description of the fires and melting rock and smoke and gases and etc that were caused by the nuke).
This 2nd book in the series is *much* longer-winded than the first - and there is less about the Primes and more about the Commonwealth's politics - which made it very difficult to wade through the hours of descriptions. Even the "end battle" between the Guardians and the Starflyer was more political than action-y and had about an hour of "wow they have great armor".
It's a darn good thing that I really really really wanted to know how the story turned out! (And it is all wrapped up in the end, don't worry.)
This series, in my opinion, is unmatched. Every book I've listened to since seems pathetic in comparison. The character and world creation is so realistic and tangible. I would literally keeping driving around the block or run an extra mile or two to keep listening. The only downside to this series is that there is an end!
Thank goodness Mr. Hamilton is writing another trilogy using the same reality he created for this series, though set further into the future.
The reader takes some getting used to, but after a while, I really appreciated his style and care he took with the way he played each character, as well as his consistency in the style of narration.
This series is highly recommended.
I too began Judas Unchained and had a hard time getting into the book. Now that I am almost 30 hours into the book, I find that audible has now released "Pandora's Star" which is the second book in this series and the story in Judas Unchained continues the story from Pandora's Star. I guess Audible will probably wait a couple of months and then release "Misspent Youth" which is the first book in the series. I sure wish they had released them in the correct order. They have lost a sale because it is too late for me to go back now. I don't usually read sci-fi but the book itself, once you get the various charachters straight, is enjoyable and John Lee does his usual great job. The 3 stars could go to 4 depending on how he resolves the issues by the end of the book.
I'm a Hard SF & Space Opera-loving, alien android from the future. I bring gifts of SciFi eBooks & accessories for your leader's Kindle. Take me to him/her/it.
One of the advantages of such a long story, and I include Hamilton’s ‘Pandoras Star’ as part of this story, is that you can revisit forgotten characters and events from the earlier pages to great dramatic effect later on. Quite a few such gems get deliberately buried in the intervening text and are delightfully resurfaced when least expected. After my second reading of this pair of novels, I now hold a greater respect for the structural planning that went into it’s plot line and pacing.
As the publisher’s blurb informs us, the story focuses on a society under threat from both an external and internal alien threat. Although neither is fully resolved until the conclusion of ‘Judas’, I would argue that ‘Pandora' focusses more on the Prime alien invasion, while ‘Judas’ takes on the hidden Starflyer crisis. That’s not to say that there is any less intensity of action or violence in this volume- an incredibly dramatic climax awaits the patient reader. There isn’t any new insight into alien biology or psychology compared with the first novel, but many of the human characters are explored and evolved further. A few additional settings are introduced, although none of them are as wild or varied as those already visited. As others have already noted, you really can’t read either novel in isolation from the other, so you will certainly feel well satisfied with the resolution reached by the end of ‘Judas’, putting it only any Space Opera fan’s must-read list.
*** Spoiler questions ***
Maybe I snoozed through these parts but what happened to the high angel's involvement in the plot? Also what was SI's agenda? Doesn't tie it all up at the end as I had hoped it would.