This is an absolutely fabulous book. The author has a complete and comprehensive vision of an entire galaxy, complete with alien societies, advanced technology, politics and philosophies. The pace is fast, the action complex and compelling. There are lots of good strong characters with life stories that interact in a fascinating manner. Most visionary books like this sag in the middle, needing a good edit. Not this one. It is well written from start to finish. And the narration is top-rate. Read Pandora's Star before Judas Unchained, which picks up right where this book ends.
This proves once again that just because a book is overlong, that doesn't make it epic.
This story is just a tedious 37 hour grind, mostly filled with subplots that don't really go anywhere, way too many characters that are hard to care about, and uninteresting political jockeying (since the characters are wooden, so are their politics). The story could have been half as long to make it twice as compelling, but the plot doesn't really resolve, and the author just kind of stops writing. So in the end, what's the point?
As one subplot winds up, one of the characters yells in frustration, "You've got to be F*ing kidding me!". That's how I felt. Very disappointed. It's like the author is playing a joke. Then I searched audible to see if I had missed downloading the last chapters. But nope. This is all there is. Oh well.
I did like the alien aggressor point of view sub story, but that isn't introduced until about 2/3rds of the way in. It would have made a nice short story by itself. Toss the rest. That's about it.
The Narrator isn't as bad as everyone says and I didn't hear the volume changes everyone is complaining about. Sometimes you can tell when he is picking up a new take with different mic placement. Whatever. The producers could have paced his pauses between subplots better, sometimes it was hard to tell when the subject or setting had changed. Honestly, though, these are niggling details compared to how bad the actual story is.
If there is a sequel (there has to be since nothing is resolved at the end of this monstrosity), I don't even care. I'd rather just forget the 37 hours I spent with this tedious drivel.
This is by far the longest series of 2 books I have ever listened to. I normally prefer non-fiction, but I love science fiction in film so I thought I would give it a shot... WOW! Never in my life have I enjoyed listening to any books more... The author is AMAZING!... IF YOU LIKE SCI-FI... YOU MUST LISTEN!... ENJOY THE RIDE!...
Hamilton creates yet another great futuristic world and gives his trademark "epic" sci-fi stories wih great writing. The narration is good, not great, but the audiobook gets a 5 anyway. The story is just too awesome :)
I will NEVER get another book narrated by John Lee.
Picked a different Presenter.
John Lee has narrated a lot of books, so he can't be a terrible narrator. That being said, this book is impossible to listen to in a car (I have not attempted to listen to this book anywhere else). The loud words are very loud compared to the whispers or low level words. Unfortunately it seems that every single sentence contains both very loud words and whispers.
It's possible this is the sound engineer's fault; as there clearly was no pop-filter used, and definitely no auto-leveling audio compression. The level disparity between words in the same sentence is astonishing. If you set your volume at a level that is tolerable for the loud words you will miss half of every sentence. I could understand if this only happened once every 10 or 20 minutes; but this happens every sentence. I had to give up. I really want to read this book, but it will have to be on my kindle or in a very very quiet room. Do not attempt to listen to this book in your car.
my favourite space opera series - seriously well written. very long very satisfying. the premise about human living for centuries due to that genetic replenishment is an awesome concept and allows for interesting twists and for characters to stick around. the bad guy are the most alien alien ive ever read - not human like at all. a myriad of interesting, likeable and hateable characters and great Science fiction concepts. way better than hamilton's nights dawn trilogy. tight plotting - just a very long involved plot with great attention to detail and description - You understand everything. sex, violence, space, aliens and that monster that is sf. 10/10
I'd have cast anyone with an American accent. If the intended market for this is the USA, casting a Scott as the narrator is risky. Casting a Scott with a truly cringe-worthy 'American' accent is worse. That Scott only using his 'American' accent when a cop is shouting at a suspect is even more cringe-worthy.
You can also tell when a recording session was starting, because he has a bad habit of letting each sentence trail off in volume, so that it's easy to miss the last word of every sentence until he gets warmed up.
There are so many readers without these issues. The performance reminds me a lot of various performances of "Hitchhiker's Guide" in which the Brit actors put on their 'American' accent for any character written to be an ass.
Please, please stop. I'll sign a petition demanding American actors quit faking British accents, if the Brits will please quit reading like this.
The hyperglider scene. I want that half hour of my life back.
It starts glacially slow. Really, really slow. New, unconnected characters are introduced for hours while you wait for any threads to connect.
Sci-fi, History, Police Procedurals and Science
This is the first of a "series" of five books (six if you count "Misspent Youth".). [Background from Wikipedia] The "Commonwealth Saga" is published in two halves, 'Pandora's Star' and 'Judas Unchained'. Set approximately 300 years later in the same universe as Misspent Youth, it explores the social effects of the almost complete elimination of the experience of death following widespread use of a rejuvenation technique. . .followed by. . .The Void Trilogy -- set in the same universe as the Commonwealth Saga, the Void Trilogy is set 1200 years after the end of Judas Unchained.
If you like really broad, complex space-opera (meant in the very best way) this series has everything. It is on my list of the best SF ever. (Along with: Simmons' 4 Hyperion books, Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space and some other really long stuff.)
I once got hooked on the biography of Alexander Hamilton which led to biographies on all of the Founding Fathers and then the history of the Civil War. . .this was the same thing. You can get so far into it that by the time you end, at least a seaon has passed. Hypnotic.
Some complain that there are too many threads, or that there is too much detail. But (especially if you are listening on a Audible copy) it is like a huge movie in your mind.
I don't mean to make it sound too intellectual or overwhelming -- it is fun in a really, really big way.
Hamilton does a lot of world-building in this book, and it takes a while for the story to get underway. It's a grand epic space opera in the tradition of Jack L. Chalker or Dan Simmons. Set in the 24th century, an interstellar human society encounters mysterious aliens, and armageddon ensues.
It's not until relatively late in this volume that some of the subplots Hamilton spent so much time on earlier in the book come to fruition. There are a lot of subplots, and a lot of characters. Some are more interesting than others. The Commonwealth has been shaped by two important technologies: a wormhole network, which allows interstellar travel without spaceships, and rejuvenation treatments which make humans almost immortal, along with memory storage which allows anyone who's been killed to be "relifed" from their most recent memory backup. The Commonwealth is mostly peaceful, except for a terrorist organization called the "Guardians of Self" who believe an alien called the "Starflyer" is trying to bring humanity into contact with a hostile alien force.
I found everything up to the encounter with the aliens to be slow going. Once the Commonwealth's starship reaches one of the stars surrounded by a Dyson sphere, it turns out to be a Pandora's box indeed, and things heat up. The alien Primes are very alien and very hostile, and making contact with them turns out to be the worst mistake in the history of mankind.
Unfortunately, for almost the next half of the book the pace drags again. MorningLightMountain, the alien Prime, is the most interesting character. Things finally get exciting again towards the end, when the invasion of the Commonwealth begins in earnest, and the secret of the Starflyer drags several other characters into the main plot. And then, the books ends because this is really volume one of a great big two-volume set continuing with Judas Unchained.
I liked it, but it could have been just as good without being so bloated.
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 am glad that I took the time to read and find out what order these 3 books come in... I found this book to be very engaguing and really enjoyed the story line... The author uses imagry really well and the narrator uses his voice to give each character his or her own "voice" and personality. I enjoyed this book so much that I immediately started listening to the sequel "Judas Unchained" also a wonderful book.