I think I am in the minority here, but I couldn't get through the first third of this first volume. So much detail about the science, not enough plot, did not care about the characters. Really great concept. I might try it again.
I like happy endings and realism that is realistic rather than gritty.
I can't finish this book. I've tried--it was recommended as excellent sci-fi by someone I thought was a reliable source. I even bought the Kindle version through the Audible deal! Maybe I'll eventually just skim the story and read the sciency bits...
Alas, lots of boring character drama between and introspection about a group of truly unlikeable characters. The Moody Russian, American Golden Boy, and Jealous American Grasper, among others. Too much adolescent angst--and behavior --for a group of scientists settling a planet. It's just unpleasant, uninteresting, and otherwise blah.
Better character voices.
The first 100
If you're thinking about getting this, know that the first chapter occurs in the middle of the timeline of events that take place. I was confused by this at first. Another thing to note is that the narrator has about two voices and until you learn what characters are in a particular scene, it can be sometime tricky to know who is talking. The novel takes place chronologically for the most part from about five different people's perspective as well which can also make it challenging to follow along. The novel itself is very detailed which is great for some but I believe could have been condensed just slightly as the story tends to stall in great chunks. Then the novel just ends without a real sense of conclusion. Knowing that their are two other novels though, this isn't really a bad thing. In a way, I think you could sort of say that this is a bit like Game of Thrones on Mars.
This reads more like a tech manual at times. Heavy handed on the realism/racism with the Arabs being what they are in this book (not really spoiler but kind of). Also the idea everyone loses their damn minds is a little hard to swallow to a point... Interesting story but just not entertaining. YMMV. My friends loved the series. so...
I think the main problem with the book is the author is trying to be really detailed, but the story covers too long of a time period (decades) to be detailed. She just gives really long descriptions of a small amount of what's going on. There are a lot of good ideas in the book, but it needs a better story. It didn't help that the narrator wasn't very good. I had to stop listening after about 15 hours, I couldn't take it anymore.
There was just way too much love story in this for any male reader IMO. I'd only recommend this to women who are into Sci-Fi and love stories. Definitely not my cup of tea! Won't be reading the other two in the series. If you're looking for a Sci-Fi book about life on other planets that not full of love stories, then I suggest you stick with male writers. That's what I'm doing from here on out.