This novel had lots of potential...suspense, good imagining, nice snaky plot and, starting off, at least, characters whose actions seemed to stem from natural human motives. Some pretty original sounding stuff, to boot.
Its a long, long listen. So when the intricacies start beginning to resolve, one has put in
a lot of hours of involved listening. I was waiting, almost eagerly, to get to the end stages.
About halfway through, the author began throwing in junk but not enough to make me stop. By the last third, it all went south. What I seemed to end up with was pure, trite, drivel... a) another boring ecological lecture about humanity's unrelenting destruction of nature,, b) another female super hero who beats up the monster with ninja style moves c) the main protagonist, female, who changes from a complete uber rich, selfish, dishonest, decietful, sociopath (fairly interesting) into ...someone else whose loving, brave, hard working, selfless soul must have been transplanted secretly without the reader's knowledge because any reader will be hard put to figure out how she ended up with it, much less whether the story ever made clear why she deserved it. d) most males except for the uber rich ones and one cop are mostly depicted as basically dumb, simple and incompetent, who play only one note...sex..and e) an ending more reminiscent of "Its A Wonderful Life" than any decent sci fi I've come across. Overall, although I have read or listened to several books by this author and found one or two good ones, (so I believe the author has some skill), this one ends up being an ode to political correctness and easy fixes. I found it both disappointing and dishonest. Fortunately, the reader was very good or I would have ditched the thing 2/3s of the way through.
This very long audible book encompasses two novels. One is a well-written and well-plotted mystery that launches the book. (Great narration, too) The police detective characters are great and the way they solve the mystery is smartly written and plotted. The other part is basic horror story: Isolated team gets picked off one by one by knife wielding monster that stalks them. Cue scary music. And why do characters go out in a blizzard by themselves to get slaughtered again and again? Be warned: How the horror story resolves itself may make you scream: WTF! I can't help but wonder if the publisher was screaming at the author: "Finish the bloody thing already."
Despite all of this, I do love what Hamilton tries to accomplish in his novels. He imagines interesting new worlds with complex people. I also don't mind the back and forth of the narrative, as he jumps back into time to give the reader background stories on the various characters. In this case, it is partly to keep the reader guessing. He hides key clues by doling out details slowly.
And, yes, I'll probably listen to another Hamilton story.
This is a wonderful, great sprawling sci-fi mystery book, and a great way to remember what you liked about Hamilton if you've been suffering from series-fatigue after some of his recent efforts. The classical elements (setting, plot, character) all come together in a delightful tangle.
Setting and characters are greatly enhanced by the skillful narration of Toby Longworth, who gets to show off his range to superb effect. The array of UK accents is exactly what the author ordered, all internally consistent and consistent with the text. Even the American accents are at least credible--unusual in a British reader. Female characters sound female, male characters sound male. It's all precisely as it should be.
I've read many other Peter Hamilton novels: the Commonwealth, Void and Greg Mandel series. Loved those, but this one just didn't take. I suggest any sci fi fans who've read nothing by Peter Hamilton start with those series and in that order. Only consider 'Great North Road' after that.
At that point, my review to those folks would be that 'Great North Road' has all the elements of those previous efforts, but it was less interesting, developed, exciting and thought-provoking. In addition, it was mired in several large sections. I recommend giving it a pass.
To end on that first point though - I very much enjoy the many other novels of Peter Hamilton, and look forward to more!
If you like listening to grass grow, this book is for you. There are a few exciting moments and ideas here and there but having to mow through 36 hours to get them is not worth it.
sloooooow to get moving. I've read most of his work. this is exceptionally slow. painfully so. I'm halfway through and I'm losing interest fast. the story line is blah. although the tech aspect is as impressive as I'd expect from this author the meat and potatoes is not here. the story line could have been developed better. the subject and ideas were great but I don't think they warrant 40ish hours to get the thing told. the narrator was his normal great self. the performance was the savior here.
My books are water; those of the great geniuses are wine; (fortunately) everybody drinks water. - Mark Twain
Ayn Rand thinks this novel should be compressed. I've read (not listened to) Atlas Shrugged, The Stand, and several other long novels. I've listened to many long novels as well. Sometimes as you progress through a long novel you start to get the feeling of being cheated, you've invested the time and now the author is getting too far fetched. That is my feeling on this novel, it could be a lot better if it was considerably shortened and condensed.
I really enjoyed Hamiltons Pandora Star series. I thought the setting was fun to learn about and the characters interesting and amusing, if sometimes a little two-dimensional. This, on the other hand, featured a tedious setting/culture, and characters I could care less about.
Sorry I just could not get into this book!! I have tried Hamilton books before and I don't think he a writer for me. This was his last chance. Will not buy a Hamilton book again.