Long winded with very little resolution. No strong protagonists or antagonists. The phrase "we push ice, that's what we do" is supposed to resonate strongly with the reader. Heavy emphasis on tablet-like computers called "flexies" - people are always flicking out their flexies or charging their flexies or taking photos with their flexies. Unlikable, interchangeable characters.
I can't believe this book hasn't been made into a movie. It is a wonderful story, well told, and beautifully read. It is really science fiction--having a story written by an astrophysicist, makes for great science along with the fiction. The characters were believable and story huge in scope and time. It was fantastic listening all the way.
The concept as a whole is an A+. One of Jupiter's moons decides it's time to take off! The nearest and most likely candidate to intercept the moon/spaceship is not the Space Marines or the Starship Enterprise, it's "Rock Hopper" a space mining ship. What's not to love!!
Thus begins a space opera unlike any other, the adventure is mind boggling and will leave you, in the end, with many more questions then when you started. This is not necessairly a bad thing but it does take 20 hours to get to that point.
I enjoyed this story and would consider it a worthwhile book credit for those who like "First Contact" type storylines.
I also enjoyed Pandora's Star, Judas Unchained and House of Suns.
There was a lot of potential for this book, and parts were amazing, but overall it was so-so. It felt like the author got lost part-way through before he found the thread of the story again. There was also a long section of "he said, she said" between two factions that were both plausible, so the bickering was tedious. The author also seemed more interested in getting the story out there, rather than telling it. I never got a feel for what things looked like or personal mannerisms of the characters. It was about half-way in before we knew the color of one of the main character's hair, for example. Overall, the book had interesting ideas, but so-so conveyance of those ideas.
The narration was okay in most places, but horrible in others. There are not significant pauses between sections of the story, so completely different characters were doing things before I realized we'd switched scenes. Early on, this completely threw me, but I grew accustomed to it. The accents were also iffy, many so close to each other that I couldn't tell who was speaking until the "Jim said" or "Craig said".
I especially enjoyed that this book spanned not one year or two, but multiple life-times. It gave it a scope that most books don't have.
Sorry, but of all the books I've listened to, this was one of the most painful (but maybe that's because I didn't just turn it off when it got really bad). This story started out slow, but had an interesting enough presence to keep me listening. Once I got hooked into the plot and wanted to find out what happened, it went from slow to boring to "Please stop!!!". Honestly the only reason I finished it was because I didn't have anything else to listen to. What should have been a SciFi story about encounters with aliens, etc turned into a drama about two rather unlikeable women who were always banging heads with each other, and both convinced of their moral superiority. I like John Lee as a narrator, but after hours of listening to him impersonate an arrogant, self righteous woman with a Russian accent (far from the best use of his voice talent, and kind of annoying to listen to), I may never be able to listen to him again. Skip this one, there's plenty of other good books out there.
This was my first Alastair Reynolds book, and it will surely be the last. The basic idea, a moon pulling away from the solar system and the crew of a ship stuck on it and being pulled into interstellar space had the smell of potential, and it made me get the book. However, it is a mystery how it got so positive reviews. John Lee is a good reader, that was alright. But the story was flat, the characters without any real depth, many parts of the story without connecting relevance, the contrast between the two main characters too black and white.
The prologue/epilogue seems completely out of place, without any function. To summarize, I cannot recommend this book at all.
This is the seventh book by Alastair Reynolds I've read so far (or eight if you count Troika). This wasn't my favorite, although it certainly had its awe-inspiring moments when the big mysteries are revealed. This doesn't happen until later in the book, however. The pace at times feels painfully slow. It's mostly about the interaction between the two main characters, and as they struggle against each other at times you simply wish for one of them to just die, or at least pay for their actions. I would certainly have preferred less of the back-and-forth, but the book is, after all, mainly a character story.
At first it seems like the book will be one of the most near present-day that Reynolds has written, but the book takes several interesting turns that lead you on a journey where you're not sure at all what the destination is. In the end, there are a few questions that were not answered, and for me personally several unsatisfying turns of events happen. I also feel that it paints a rather bleak picture of the universe, where the message is, simply put, "Nothing Lasts". This is why I dropped it from four stars to three.
John Lee, by the way, is spot on, and always one of my favorite narrators. I did eventually get annoyed with Svetlana's Eastern European accent, though that is the author's fault for choosing such a character, and Lee had no choice in the matter I'm sure.
I really need to start proof reading my Reviews before I post them.
This story makes me want to be a better person. The conceptual frame work in this story is awe inspiring. Huge scope and micro-level details. I felt sorry for the fish.
The book really held my attention. But I can't say I liked the main characters at all. I found myself getting angry with the two main antagonist, and wishing they would just die. In fact, I became so negative, I realized I had to give the book a high rating.
The author should right a sequel.