I love John Lee. In fact, I only know about these books because he read them. But he takes one of the main characters - Nevil Clavain - and completely changes his accent/speech structure and thereby changes the character that he performed so well in Redemption Ark.
I really expected to like this book, but as it turns out, this book crawls at a slow pace, to many plots and characters. With this many characters, John Lee has problem with the voice of each, John Lee is the one the saves this novel.
I'm a hardcore SiFi fan and I just could not listen to it more than a hour at a time, I would just drift off, especially during the very vebose discription of equipment or gadgets. I guess some readers like those details, but I like a good plot that moves me and keeps me sitting in the car in the drive way awaiting the next turn of the plot.
In the preceding book Redemption Ark, The protagonists were racing to get the awesome weapons to fight 'the Wolves'. Willing to kill anyone who got in their way.
In this, the next book in the the series, the protagonists spend 7-8 'years' (With the 'Wolves' consuming planets, suns, and destroying whole star systems like crazy) working to infiltrate a heretical church, just to get permission to look for a giant weapon inside a nearby gas giant. The church that owned the planet and gas giant did not even own a starship. The ship the protagonists were in was the most advanced ship in the possession of all mankind after the rest got destroyed by the wolves. The ship was invisible even to the vastly technologically advanced 'Wolves'.
They could have just gone to the gas giant and taken the weapon, and the stupid church could not have stopped them! But instead they spend 8 years wasting time infiltrating this church, all the while the wolves could show up at any time and destroy the gas giant weapon, the amazing ship, and the stupid church. The whole book was a stupid waste of the protagonists time and mine!
This book was a horrible ending to a great book series! I am getting my money back!
The narrator John Lee is great.
I absolutely LOVED the first two books in this series. So when I started listening to Absolution Gap it was with great enthusiasm. Unfortunately, it was within the first few moments of the book that my hear began to sink...
1. John Lee: John Lee has been consistently excellent as a narrator not only in the first two books of the series, but in a myriad of other books. WTF, Mr. Lee? VERY POOR CREATIVE CHOICES. Narration was inconsistent. He COMPLETELY changed the accent and delivery for one of the principle protagonists of the series...jolting, without apparent rational, and just plain terribly upsetting. So much upsetting I figure Mr. Lee simply MUST have taken creative direction from someone other than himself...he's been just so good in everything else he's read its the only thing which can explain such a awful showing.
"One more time with a bit less affect, Mr. Lee..."
2. Where is this train going? The plot is almost incomprehensible and contributes almost nothing to the larger themes explored in the first two books. Ok, I appreciate I may not be the brightest candle on the cake, but I'm hardly neophyte in the genre. Again...just terrible. A metaphor, perhaps? as another review pointed out/ If so, its a key in the hull of an upside down fishing boat on Easter day.
3. Put the ending first! The entire story wraps in just a few pages...it would have save me a lot of a grief had the book been presented in reverse order. Forget that...shame on me for suffering though so much junk instead of just flipping/scrubbing to the end.
Do I sound over the top? Does my frustration seem irrational? I mean, for pity's sake, its only a BOOK, right? Well, what can I say? I'm a huge an of both the author and the narrator and neither delivered. And, because I loved the first two books, I felt a PRISONER for most of the 27hrs of this book, compelled by hope, until the very bitter end, that THINGS WILL GET BETTER IN JUST A FEW MORE MINUTES...WE'LL TURN THE CORNER YET!
Instead, we just went over the rails and off the cliff.
Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).
This is book three in the main arc of the Revelation Space series which has some very high points. This is the low water mark. I found the frequent shift in focus from Galactic civilization genocide to a Procession of Cathedrals to be distracting and just not interesting. Yes I listened to the whole book but, no, I cannot begin to tell you what the significance of the cathedrals marching off a cliff has to do with anything. That whole story arc seemed to be there just to pad the time out to a respectable duration. Some scenes are interesting, although right now I cannot call them to mind, the overall distaste for the book has obscured my memory. Some characters, like Clavaine, carry over from the previous book and provide some continuity to the familiar. One new character, Scorpio is the most engaging and the easiest to identify with and he is not even human! The rest of the cast and crews of the various spaceships and cathedrals are interchangeable, and completely disposable. I just can’t be made to care about any of them. Their motives are so foreign, so alien, that their major and minor crises have no emotional impact. The climax of this novel seems so trivial compared to the galatic level crisis of the rest of the series that I kept wondering when the big thing would start to happen. It never did. This capstone of the Revelation Space series is a big disappointment. Gone is the ingenious interplay between human factions that was so prevalent in REDEMPTION ARK. Lost is the rush of grand ideas that fuel CHASM CITY. I hope that Alastair Reynolds can redeem himself in the next book THE PREFECT. If not, we’ll always have CHASM CITY.
Living up to the standards set by the novel itself John Lees phones in this performance. His voice seems to have no excitement, no emotion. The first few lines delivered by some characters are given in the accent of one of the other characters, as if he had lost track of the story. I can hardly blame him, since the book lost me long before the end. I am not sure that even John Lee at his best could have elevated this novel from the doldrums.
I would write a review of the whole series...but why. Why? After spending so much time listening only to be left with something short of nothing as an ending.
Metaphor? Sure...it's a metaphor.
Lazy? That's what I don't quite understand! These novels were work for the writer, obviously. They were entertaining. Yes, there was some amount of over-explanation, but overall, enjoyable. Then, in the end? !Whomp! It's done and over without much of the careful description, back story, care and craft that's preceded the end credits.
Enough to make me pound my head against a desk until I work a better end through sheer delirium!
Tell us about yourself!
This is a great book- WAY better than Redemption Ark was, so I'm glad I finally broke down and listened to it. Where Redemption Ark drove me crazy with too much Skade & too much irrational conjoiner behavior, here we just have two intertwining rollicking adventures. not quite as strong as revelation space, but a pleasant surprise.
We start off on the Pattern Juggler world where Redemption Ark ended, with Clavain and the refugees trying to set up a new temporary society. We skip from there to a lighthugger and then to Hele, which is a small world far away from mainstream society. A miracle occured there hundreds of years ago which led to a new religion. There is also a bridge, possibly built by aliens, and Reynolds usual odd ball characters. It's a good ride that pulls you in like many of his best stories.
Sci Fi Reader
I had such high hopes for this book, I loved Chasm City, Revelation Space was good, Redemption Ark was good. This just did not make any sense. Confusing, out of character and the ending was just horrible. What a let down. John Lee does his best here but it does not help.
I'm the most boring person on the planet.
As much as I like Reynolds, I can't give him a stellar review for Absolution Gap. It's as if he just gave up on the storyline and starting writing minor drama to fill the pages. The ending was horrible, especially having come to think so highly on the Revelation Space opera. All of the sudden, nothing characters pop up that do nothing for the story, and then go away (thankfully) as fast as they arrive, and almost all of the major players I had come to appreciate are killed off in the beginning to be replaced with paper-thin characters that even by the end I can't find myself either liking or hating. If I had to describe Absolution Gap in a word, it would be "blah."
I am sci-fi fan and I must say that this story is a candidate for all time high on my list.
Creative ideas and emotional characters help the already sound story along in an epic manner.
Note that Redemption Ark really should be read first.