"Can sci-fi get better than this?"
This is easily the best sci-fi novel I have come across in my 42 years. It's a real treat for jaded, old sci-fi lovers like me who fell let down all too often by modern space operas that raise more questions than they answer. This epic tale has wheels within wheels, unexpected plot lines, no waffle, no fat, and just the right blend of hard science with fiction. I found John Lee's narration style took some getting used to, but in the end I came to enjoy his delivery. It's a crying shame that this book is the only work by Alistair Reynolds available on Audible. I would buy the others in a heartbeat.
This is the first book from Alistair Reynolds I've read having previously read several sci-fi titles from Peter F Hamilton. I felt I wanted to broaden my recent foray into the realms of sci-fi and the sample of Revelation Space was alluring and seemed to hint at intrigue and wonder.
I have to say that having just finished Revelation Space I was left feeling unsatisfied.
I felt the plot was rather convoluted and sometimes confusing which also seemed to take very long to get anywhere. The writing was articulate and assured but I really felt Reynolds style far too verbose with often unnecessary reams of dialogue which often tended to slow, confuse or break the flow of the narrative and seemed to just be there to pad out the book in places.
Over use of metaphor or analogy at times too just added to the feeling of unnecessary detail. Everything moved at a much faster pace in the last quarter or so of the book but the reader was taken on a very round about route to get there. Of course, the journey is part of the story, but I found that Peter F Hamilton accomplished this in a much better way with his more direct style of writing which gave the books from him I've read a much more readable and enthralling narrative.
I couldn't say that I particularly liked any of the characters either or felt any real empathy or sympathy for them.
I will give the follow up to Revelation Space - Redemption Ark a go as I don't think one title is fair in judging an author.
A word on the narration; I like John Lee and he has done sterling work on many other epics I've read. However, I think the production of this title could've been better. Several of the main characters all done with French accents. This was a bit irritating after a while and I would've thought that as these were the main characters for the most part that the narration would not give them accents at all and instead focus on trying to make the sound of the voices different to aid in discerning who was talking - not an easy task at times between the Sylvest and Calvin characters which sounded identical to me and was only made worse by Reynolds style of often having long dialogue exchanges between characters and not letting the reader always know who was doing the talking.
Reynolds is a clever writer and sometimes too clever because exotic and complex scientific principles are expounded to explain certain things which I felt only served to further confuse the reader or at least throw difficult to digest or visualize concepts at the reader rather than either simplifying the premise or at least not hanging key plot elements on ideas most people simply do not understand.
Of course, techno-babble is a part of most sci-fi stories to one degree or another and it would be unfair to criticise Reynolds for this in itself. However, other writers either present the concepts in a more digestible way or don't resort to the assumption that quantum physics is a subject all readers are familiar with.
Can I recommend Revelation Space? Well, if you're an Alistair Reynolds fan and like his style of writing then I'm sure you will like it if, like me, you're not familiar with his work and are thinking of trying this story, then I can suggest you try it but cannot recommend it.
"In two minds"
This was a good story, some elements where very imaginative, the technological developments where believable and a nice resolution of the fermi paradox. Overall I enjoyed it, however some things did not sit right with me. The author ends each chapter with a POV character on some form of a cliffhanger. The next chapter starts with the said POV character doing something completely different, drinking some coffee, having breakfast, pondering some thoughts... we only discover what happened through a series of flashbacks. After a while this just gets irritating rather than being clever. But overall a good story and worth picking up. I didn't enjoy the narration very much though. John Lee does not do this justice at all. His accents are corny, and he sounded to me like one of those narrators of old WWII newsreel clips, which used to be shown before a movie! I will probably continue with the other books in the Revelation Space series, however I'll be reading them rather than listening to another John Lee narration.
I love audio books and have listened to loads but this was the first one where the narration spoilt the story so much so that in the end I gave up after around 3 hours.
I might still have carried on if the story had grabbed me but I lost interest and didn't really end up caring what was happening. It all seemed a bit of a ramble and very disjointed. It may well have come together further in the story.
2hr 45mins is all I could manage.
This is my first Alastair Reynolds and unfortunately it will be the last one I listen to narrated by John Lee. The narrator starts every sentence loudly then gets quieter which means he is either too loud or quiet (if using headphones). I found myself constantly adjusting the volume. More importantly, I struggled to tell which character was talking as dialogue between people sounded so similar. The story jumps around space and time which is fine but there are no pauses in the audio to make you aware of this so you are left playing catch up all the time
This is the first time I have written a review as I am normally quite happy how the scoring system produces accurate results. This time however, I felt the need to warn people. I currently have 98 audio books in my library and this is the first I simply couldn't finish.
"Textbook feel with sleep inducing narration"
The whole book feels like a set-up for the other 2 books in the trilogy. The story only really starts in the last few chapters with certain plot points left ignored in the end.
I have to agree with some other reviewers, the narration for 2/3 of this book feels like sitting though a lecture. the story jumps between different times and places without so much as a pause for breath or a change in tone. So it is hard to figure out if you are still on the same planet or even in the same century.
Having enjoyed other works by Alastair Reynolds, I anticipated hours of listening pleasure with this audiobook. Sadly, despite trying several times to get into the story I have found myself neither interested in the plot nor the characters. On the good side, of course, it saves me from bothering to download the sequels.
"Excellent story & superbly narrated"
This is, I think, easily the best of Alastair Reynolds' "Revelation Space" stories. His style is to weave a set of interlocking narratives together in a very detailed way, building up to a terrific climax and the manner in which he draws the detail of his SF world as it were is very convincing. Translates very well to audio format. Excellent narration too. Stongly recommended.
I picked this book up as it was suggested to me as a Banks fan. This sets the bar extremely high. Sadly Revelation Space comes no where near to it. It was not bad, just a bit average. I may read or listen to another of his books in the future, but I am certainly not in any rush.
"John Lee is a poor reader"
Not in audio book format. John Lee strikes again.
On the page however, broadly yes. This is a solid, well-written story. The characters are all rather unappealing, and rather 2-dimensional, although this is a common complaint I have of sci-fi generally, and it seems unfair to single out Reynolds alone for this. The characters are all a little lifeless, although this may be down to the reading (see later).
Sits very firmly in the sci-fi canon. More cerebral than the Expanse series, slightly less well-constructed than the Culture series.Solidly-written, although with a little too much expository dialogue for my own taste, which slows the pace somewhat.
I'm afraid to say that John Lee is just a poor reader. I've now listened to over 60 hours of his reading (I ploughed my way through Peter F Hamilton's Nights Dawn trilogy also read by Lee), and his monotone has ruined this book as much as it ruined the Night's Dawn. He may as well be reading a telephone directory, for all the life he brings to the text. No cadences or inflection results in a lifeless performance.
There is little distinction between character voices - accents aren't every readers' strong point, and I understand they're hard, but Lee fails to establish clear delineation between characters, which obviously confuses the reader/listener.
His habit of failing to pause between paragraphs is an equally irritating one. I know this can save time in recording sessions, but it just adds to the effect that he neither understands nor cares what he's reading about.
I really don't like to be so critical of someone, but, were the general standard of Audible at this level, I wouldn't be a consumer of audiobooks. I'm also really disappointed that Lee seems to have recorded so much sci-fi - it's one of my favourite genres, and it's been really disappointing to discover how much of books I'd hoped to read have been recorded by Lee. I do hope that more options of readers become available in the future.