It has a very clever premise. I thought it a most excellent story. It shows Alastair Reynolds has not lost any of his creativity. Well done.
a Tech Exec who loves the stories about what could be and what should have been. Mixed with histories told from an outside perspective.
Overall the story seemed to draw from other tales I have read lately. The quality of writing is good, but the story as a whole is not completly unique. I am not sorry I read the story, and the pace was OK, but not on my must read again soon list. It feels like it was intended to be the first in a series with the core characters. Overall that would not be a bad thing, though if it is going to be developed into a serial, it could stand to be a little shorter.
Middle-aged, married dad of two, living in Northern Burbs of Chicago. Hard Sci Fi addict, and lover of great storytelling. Almost all of my reading is now in audio format.
Good story. Alastair Reynolds can tell a good yarn, and in this one, he does really well.
John Lee as narrator, though, just drives me up the wall. He's fantastic for fantasy - I LOVED him for Perdido Street Station, but I just can't get my head around him for sci-fi. Too proper, too tweed, too academic. Not enough Asimov, not enough tech, not enough laser.
But then, I'm probably too American.
The book tried to be genre hybrid between noir mystery and space opera, and failed at both genres. The two ideas worked against each other, with the mystery thread never picking up any steam because the sci-fi part stormed in; and the sci-fi section wasn't fleshed out to any satisfying level because too much time had to be spent on gum-shoe cliches. All of the action scenes were so cliche and predictable that they held absolutely zero tension, and the characters were nowhere near established or sympathetic enough to justify the melodrama.
There never seemed to be a clear antagonist. There was a bunch of random unpleasantness that killed of the dispensable characters, but there was never any real build up or show down. I just never got sucked in, or really cared much for the characters. There were a few good broad ideas in the book, like the concept that WWII never happening might have a great retarding effect on technological development, or the possible applications of nano-tech. But the ideas didn't feel fully worked out, the world didn't feel at all believable or alive. And the biggest sci-fi questions and their implications just got brushed under the carpet.
I guess all the french and german ones. Dude can do a solid foreign accent.
The basic founding concepts of the century rain universe are original and interesting. I just wish that they were explored in a better book.
Loved John Lee's narration. This was my first experience with Alastair Reynolds' books.
The story moves well on several levels and there are many twists that will surprise you. I'm hooked - I'll definitely read more of this author's work.
Whenever you get into an Alastair Reynolds book you know you are in for an epic adventure. This is no different. Although it is easy to get a little confused at the beginning, the story will work its way into a delightful tale long before you would even begin to think of giving up.
Which is always the case for me with his novels. This is why I know that I will enjoy the story even more the second time around, in a few months.
Maybe its all my years around SciFi that had prepared me for the possibility, but I was thinking along the lines of a planetary intelligence being behind some of the activities. When that is revealed as being the case, it was done in such a way that really kept me glued.
Whenever I am contemplating a new audiobook, if I see John Lee as the narrator, its a done deal. I could listen to him for a week. Actually, I am sure that I have.
A one-sitting read for an Alastair Reynolds book would be quite a feat. I listen at work. (I am a general contractor.) Although there are interruptions, this was a book that kept me interested the whole way through. After some distractions, I always backed up so that I wouldn't miss a thing.
I would recommend this book to any SciFi fan.
Enjoy the adventure
Sorry, but I could not stop laughing during this book. The primary plot involves a hardboiled detective living in Paris during the 1950’s who meets a woman from the future who is from Mars. Starts slow, but if the listener is able to hang on, the 2nd half is fast paced.
I believe I purchased this during a sale, and now I can't remember why it caught my attention. I made it through about half of the book before giving up. The main characters have very little personality and the clash between historical and futuristic fiction is not pleasant. The narration is mediocre and grinds on the nerves. Much of the story takes place in Paris, and the french accent was annoying and the "unknown" accent of the character from the future just sounded like she had a head cold.
This was somewhat disappointing, not because the story is mediocre, but relative to Reynolds' other works such as the Revelation Space series, Century Rain is simply not at the level of the author's capability. Conceptually, the plot is engaging, but the 1959 Paris events are rather bland, dry, and dragged out a bit. There was insufficient development of the competing political factions to make the finish much more than a drawn out interstellar car chase. There were also too many loose ends that could suggest a sequel in the works, but a more satisfactory resolution would have been nice.
As far as some of the commentary on the narrator, John Lee is outstanding. IMHO, he ranks up there with some of the best I've heard such as Scott Brick, Grover Gardner, and Geoge Guidall. Lee has done most of Reynolds' work and his performances for Peter Hamilton's works are equally top notch.