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 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 already own another Alastair Reynolds book that I am not going to read. John Lee is a great performer - would listen to him anytime.
The book is the conclusion of an 1800 page multi-century story arc with big themes that have been developed throughout the three volume narrative and need to be concluded. Rather than conclude these, Reynolds concludes his book with an epilogue where in 2 paragraphs he dispenses with major protagonists telling of the galaxy in the centuries since the conflict. I cannot tell you how dissatisfying this is.
Reynolds has his moments, but I get bogged down in his ridiculous devolvement into unnecessary detail.
If you have read the first three books (some argue two) in the series, I suggest you go to a wiki site that outlines the rest of the story, then listen to one of the amazing Culture novels by Iain M. Banks - Consider Phlebas, Player of Games, Use of Weapons etc. I am tempted to go listen to one of those again just to get the bad taste out of my mouth from this awful book.
Don't believe me - read reviews on Amazon website. Despite high ratings here, this book is uniformly discouraged there.
okay, not great.
Yes, because the series is interesting the books before it were great. Hopefully the one after it is too.
Huge, deus ex machina. Disappointed on how the plot lines resolved, and then he killed off all my favorite characters.
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.
A well written book is a gem.
This book is waiting for you as the last of the Revelation Space series. Worth the wait to get to this one - it ties the series together nicely. Again, well written and well narrated.
This book and Redemption Arc felt like they were building up to good final book. Yet the whole outcome of the Inhibitors v Humanity is basically glossed over within 12 minutes at the end of Absolution Gap. It's almost like Reynolds decide he couldn't be bothered and was done with the series.
Another excellent sic-fi novel by Alastair Raynolds and magnificent performance by John Lee. I've read most of Alastair Raynolds books and always enjoyed his realistic depiction of near future underlined with scientific facts.
Absolution gap picks up after Redemption Ark, continues with the story of human survival against the inhabiters. You can still read this book without the previous book but I recommend to read redemption ark first which is also a fantastic book if you can't wait till all the characters background are covered later in this book.
I had a mix feeling about the ending but right till the very last chapter the story continues on the right expectation path. If you are familiar with Alastrair Reynaldo then you definitely enjoy the ride and accept the twisted endings. Absolution Gap introduces many concepts that on their own right can be a good sic-fi stories. If you like this series then I also recommend Revelation space which is the part one foundation for other standalone books form AR.
I would try another book by this author, I think this was a hiccup in otherwise good sci fi. But pigs in space, seriously? add to that some guy who founds a religion requiring giant cathedral/tank cities to slowly plod over the planet in sync with a moon so it can be witnessed to dissapear now and then is just all kinds of silly.