I really like Alastair Reynolds, but this is definitely not my favorite book of his. Mostly, the situation of the characters goes from bad to worse to worse again and to yet worse still. And the ending is, well... It's hard to say. Perhaps not completely depressing, but definitely not happy. In any case, this was a slog for me because I was depressed by listening to the book. At the same time, I didn't want to stop because there was so much to like about the setting and the mystery of the story. I think this would be good to listen to if you wanted to be in a sour mood!
Didn't read the printed version but I really liked the audio version.
I wasn't able to predict the out come the whole way. I like that
I tried to hard to listen to this thing, but finally after about 1 1/2 hours had to give up. While set in mid-21st century a little bit of the book sets the plot but the characters go on and on and on apparently trying to establish the characters. I gave up after 2 of them were in this interminable discussion of their sex lives. If I wanted a Romance I'd have bought one!
The beginning of the story is quite a bit more interesting and plausible than the ending. The author does a great job of building the characters and setting the scene for the drama in the beginning of the story. As the story progresses, however, I think the quality drops somewhat and becomes less interesting. What starts out as an above average SF story develops more and more into a "space opera" driven by illogical emotions and stupid choices.
The idea that a space vessel (albeit commercially operated) is run by consensus seems (and is certainly proven to be) a recipy for disaster. The captain of the space ship (and later leader of the human colony on Janus) is initially pictured as a very concensus oriented person who sets aside any personal ambitions to secure the lives of her crew, which makes me wonder why she is captain in the first place. Her character seems somewhat plausible in the beginning, but when she shows no ability to learn from what her lack of ability to enforce unpopular (but correct) decisions, and really carry the responsibility her position as captain entails, it becomes more annoying than enjoyable.
Towards the end the author tries to add spice to the story through the introduction of alien species and new technology, without great success. To me it seems like the story had grown long enough already, and that the author needed an ending (rather quickly, please).
By all means not a bad story and will certainly kill some time, but is certainly not among my top SF picks on Audible.
I tried this book to see if I would like Alastair Reynolds' SF and I still don't know because of the worst narration I've ever heard. Not only does John Lee have a thick accent, but he reads every sentence with the exact same cadence and modulation. You know that each line is going to end on an up note, you know that the rhytm will repeat itself no matter the the content of the text. He does a terrible job at voices, and there are no breaks between scenes. One moment you're in the captain's cabin dealing with a mutiny and,as though it's part of the same scene, you're 2 weeks later in another location. No breath, no pause. Most of the time I didn't know which character was speaking, since there was little pause there either and so little change in voice. (Svetlana's Russian accent done with Lee's Scots accent was the exception. I think it was Scot, At first I thought it was Eastern European. I don't mind an accent if it doesn't get in the way of the narration, but this was boglike.) I missed long segments because I fazed out due to the tedious narration and by the time I got to Part 3 had no idea how the characters had gotten to that point. John Lee may very well be an excellent actor but he cannot read a book aloud outside his immediate family.
After reading the excellent Asimov and other SciFi, I wanted a decent SciFi book that brought concepts that were really futuristic and this is it. On top of all, the story plot is very good. Really enjoyed it.
In this story Alaster Reynolds really immerses you into a world of highly competitive type "A" personalities. Some of the complaints I've read about this story is that the characters are shallow and not very well fleshed out. I find this is very far from the truth. I find the scenarios depicted and the strife that exists in the high pressure situations to be very realistic and true to life. I've been around such people and have worked in very high stress situations, and people really do act like these people do. (Well maybe not so extreme, at least no one killed anyone that I am aware of, though I know the thought may have crossed a few of our minds with certain people, LOL ) I have found in my life that, when under high stress, intelligent competitive people tend to see only their view point and do get slightly paranoid, making mountains out of mole hills just as the main characters did in this story. I think the reason people who read this story get irritated with the main characters is because the reader does have more info than the characters and also believes that they would have behaved differently in the same situation. It's just like in the horror movies when you're yelling at the character on the screen not to open the door because you know the monster is on the other side, and you just can't understand how the character can be that stupid. So you do the same with the characters in this story. Because of what you know you can't but help to wonder how they can act so stupidly. And that brings us to what makes this story so good. You suddenly realize that you are involved in the story. You are yelling at the characters, and you are deciding how you would have handled the situation. And that is what Reynolds does so well, he sucks you in and involves you without you even realizing it. It's not just the techno industrial setting of the story and the tension of people trying to survive an incredible situation, but the fact that he gets you into the story, and that he forces you to see what can happen to people when they are placed under tremendous stress. He makes you look at yourself and makes you wonder how you would handle the same situations. He makes you ask such questions as - Will people, if given the chance, rise above their animalistic selves, or will they travel down the path of anarchy and cruelty? Very similar to what was depicted in "The Lord of the Flies". So if you like psychological drama and conflict with a good amount of action and cool technology, I think you'll enjoy this book very much. I've also started reading the other Revelation Space books and so far I've enjoyed this book more than them. So I highly recommend this book, and rate it as a Full Price read.------- In-case you are wondering about the 3 star rating for performance, it is this. The one big downer of this story was the reader, and I really feel that using this reader hurt this story because he was not totally up to the job of fully fleshing out this story with his reading skills. I guess I've been spoiled by the readers of the "Ender" series and also that of "Atlas Shrugged" with the wonderful way they made the stories come alive. If they would have had the same kind of high caliber reader like they did, I think it would have made this an easier and more enjoyable book to listen to. But don't let this deter you from listening to this book. He does do a passable job, it is just that it could have been better, and it is really overall only a minor downside.
When a book makes me stay up listening until 2am, it's a good book. The description of of the storyline really does not do the book justice. When you think you have a grasp on the limits of the situation they find themselves in, you will be surprised with yet another twist.
Also don't think that the story is about crew on a comet. The crew is only on the comet at the very start of the book. This book is about first-contact, aliens, survival, the human species, the future, technology, friendship, trust, betrayal, living forever, good aliens, bad aliens, etc, etc, and Reynolds does a great job filling your mind with imagination. Wow, what-if!!
Highly recommend this book!
I've listened to John Lee in the Pillars of the Earth, World without End, and a couple more. This was my favorite performance for John Lee. Great job.
This book made me think and imagine and hope.
Can't wait for a sequel.
Great Sci-Fi story with lots of plot twists. Every time I thought I knew where the story was heading something unexpected would happen, introducing entirely new story elements which led the plot along a different course. The author is very skilled and having worked for the European Space Agency allows him enough knowledge to make believable details about space and space travel. John Lee's reading was good and very enjoyable.
Having a daughter, I am always happy to find books with strong female characters in major roles. This book centers on 2 such characters and the changing relationship between them. My daughter is only seven, so won't be reading this book any time soon, but I am glad to find books like this.
Near the top of the sci-fi stack. I listened to the first Revelation Space book, and it just didn't grab me - so I avoided Alistair Reynolds for quite a while. This book, however, thrilled me from start to finish.
About 6 or 7 hours in I realized that the book wasn't even halfway over yet. This was significant because more had happened in less than half a book, than happens in so many other books. Densely packed, and wonderful for it!
I've listened to a ton of John Lee; he may not do nuanced differences in character voices - but he does imbue them with a lot of personality. If John Lee reads a book, I'm 80% sold... he's that good.
Only hoping that Alistair Reynolds has more like this up his sleeve. This was epic in scope, and exactly what I crave in good sci-fi. Coupled with John Lee - you get a perfect audio book.