I focus mainly on History, Endurance Sports and Science/Speculative Fiction books.
Science Fiction Masterpiece
Several things....First it is complex with at least 8 different story lines running parallel and inter-weaving with each other. This makes the narrative interesting and requires a level of attention that engrosses the reader into the Commonwealth Universe. Second, Hamilton's writing style is very straightforward, which supports a style where the narrative is the star. And finally it combines hard science, politics, detailed description, action, interpersonal relationships and philosophy. Similar in sweep to Dan Simmons's Hyperion Series but more straightforward in terms of exposition.
Great job, A plus. At times some of the characters sounded similar and I have to make sure I was keeping track. However with this many characters I am not sure how he could give each one a memorable voice. There must be at least 50 characters within the 8 stories. He does a great job.
Impossible but I have one minor quibble. Within a chapter there may be 4 separate story lines. Audible should have taken a 5 second pause between these. It requires additional attention to make sure you are shifting your attention from the Ozzie narrative to the Second chance narrative (for example). This is not a show stopper but listeners should be aware so they don't get confused.
I am hooked. I will finish this series, but I realize its a lot. Possibly the best contemporary Sci Fi I have read/listened to date. I was initially scared off by the size of this book thinking it must be over bloated. Boy, was I wrong. This is a complex interesting story that entertained me for hours on end. I cannot wait to get to the rest of the series. Great stuff.
The scope and environment of the universe that Hamilton builds. Since finishing the Hyperion Cantos, I've had a difficult time really enjoying sci-fi. Simmons just set the bar so high with that series. Hamilton delivered with Pandora's Star. I'm really looking forward to continuing the series.
The world / universe building is wonderful. It was a pleasure to sink into the Commonwealth universe and just let the imagery and concepts take over. This was one of those stories that you find yourself day dreaming of between readings.
There's a pretty sizable cast in this book, but Lee seemed to fall back on about 3 voices, which made it really difficult at times to follow along during dialogue heavy passages. I made good use of the 30-second rewind button in the phone app... too good of use. Additionally, on the production end of things, there were no pauses at transitions between chapters and sections, which, combined with Lee's narration, made it extremely difficult to tell where one character/scene/storyline ended and the next began. Much confusion. More 30-second rewinds.
Avid reader all of my life! Favorite author: Stephen King. Favorite book: Hyperion.
Yech! Not a good sign when I get halfway through and don't feel like finishing the book. The only way I finished it was because I felt a sense of obligation to the credit I spent.
The narrator is an overly dramatic English version of William Shatner if it were possible to get any more overly dramatic. I increased the narration speed and still this book was nearly interminable. It's about 6 good hours lost in 37 hours of convoluted nonsense. The book constantly meanders from this (forgettable) character to that (forgettable) character. It attempts to cram too many characters and too many situations into one story. Oh, and aliens are out to destroy us all. One and done. If you want sci-fi done great (perfect even) get Hyperion.
Boring. Little difference between characters
The book had nothing to hold my attention. I tried for hours to get into it. No way.
I've been reading very good recommendations for this book for a long time from people whose taste for books I respect (since are similar to mine). I decided to start this Peter Hamilton series with this book but I've been struggling to keep up because de audio is just terrible.
I don't know if is a production problem but I think is mostly the narrator that is just not good at his job.
Which is a shame because I don't want to move on to the rest of the series without reading this one first. I guess I have to buy a printed or kindle version of it.
...and will try to avoid other books with the same narrator.
The narrator disappointed me. He is a down talker. Every last word of every sentence is down. He's a down talker! It's ridiculous. You can't put expression into a story by down talking every sentence! WTF? Who hired this guy? 40 hours of down talking with the exception of maybe a few dozen sentences. I cannot follow the story with absolutely no expression of what is happening. I just can't no matter how hard I try. This guy is awful. His accent is garbage, with this fake over annunciation of every word and that slight roll of every single R.
Boredom with the downtalking narrator.
I should have payed attention to the negative reviews here.
This book is DULL with a capitol D. The book cover art is the most exciting thing you are going to get out of this. There were reviews comparing this to Dune, Dan Simmons, and Jack Chalker, all who I love. This story has NOTHING remotely resembling these other stories/authors. Save your money.
Didn't really have one
The reader was rather monotonous, It was difficult to determine when story lines switched.
The story is a good one, and you will definitely get your moneys worth out of this one. Just don't go into this expecting an amazing listen. You will be disappointed for most of it.
But if your looking for something to listen to while you drive to work, or do some yard work, then you've come to the right place.
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.
This first half of Hamilton’s Commonwealth masterpiece (because it really can’t be considered in isolation from ‘Judas Unchained’), is about as perfect an example of world-building in modern Space Opera as you can find. With only a brief introductory prologue to bridge the present to his imaginative future, the reader is quite suddenly thrust into a society and setting that turns everything upside-down. Modern science's prolongation of life combined with easy and efficient FTL transportation have broken all the fundamental rules of the game, and delivered a post-scarcity standard of living across the board for humankind. With nearly limitless real estate to spread out into among the stars, there seems to be a place for every lifestyle, doctrine, and sub-culture. But after stumbling into their first hostile alien encounter, all of that progress is threatened overnight. Hamilton delivers a handful of protagonist POV characters for the narrative to alternate between, most of which are fascinatingly expert or elite in some field or another. Each is chosen for the distinct corner of the Commonwealth society they can illuminate for the reader, although some are more interesting to follow that others. Unlike the later ‘Void trilogy' set in the same story universe, the stakes feel higher here where humanity is an underpowered underdog still new to the galactic community. The simpler, faction-light society also keep the plot relatively unclouded. Despite the unusual length of the novel, it never really felt overweight or extraneous, something the later Hamilton novel 'Great North Road’ suffered from.
This story takes a hard left about how humans will live in the future. Forget an enlightened society and grand starships, they're not here. And you won't miss them! It's our current mix of strengths and weaknesses set against a well written backdrop of technology that is taken for granted.
The moment when mankind is making it's one "giant leap" onto Mars gets wrecked by laughter is the game changer. And that takes place in the first few minutes.
I could have gone with five stars, but I felt like a little too much time was spent with Ozzie's journey on the Sylfan world.