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On the Steel Breeze: Poseidon's Children, Book 2 | [Alastair Reynolds]

On the Steel Breeze: Poseidon's Children, Book 2

Chiku Akinya, great granddaughter of the legendary space explorer Eunice and heir to the family empire, is just one among millions on a long one way journey towards a planet they hope to call their new home. For Chiku, the journey is a personal one, undertaken to ensure that the Akinya family achieves its destiny among the stars. The passengers travel in huge self-contained artificial worlds - holoships - putting their faith in a physics they barely understand.
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Publisher's Summary

The award-winning author of Blue Remembered Earth continues his saga as the next generation of the Akinya family crosses interstellar space seeking humanity' s future...

Chiku Akinya, great granddaughter of the legendary space explorer Eunice and heir to the family empire, is just one among millions on a long one way journey towards a planet they hope to call their new home. For Chiku, the journey is a personal one, undertaken to ensure that the Akinya family achieves its destiny among the stars.

The passengers travel in huge self-contained artificial worlds - holoships - putting their faith in a physics they barely understand. Chiku' s ship is called Zanzibar - and over time, she will discover it contains an awesome secret - one which will lead her to question almost every certainty about her voyage, and its ultimate destiny.

©2013 Alastair Reynolds (P)2013 Hachette Audio

What Members Say

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  •  
    Banyan US 08-07-14
    Banyan US 08-07-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Biased Reynolds fan"
    Would you consider the audio edition of On the Steel Breeze to be better than the print version?

    The written version is better in this instance. African Flute music after a dramatic scene bringing up the next chapter is a little contrived.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of On the Steel Breeze?

    The Saturn tragedy was interesting.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Charlie Chan Chinese accent. Slavic (Russian?) accent that sounds like Kate Mulgrew on "Orange is the new Black". Disparate California Hispanic Cholo accent. Tom Brokaw flat American accent. Broken Australasian. Pleasant, emotive, soft RP English. South African accent while thick seems authentic compared to native speakers I've heard. So many different accents - while admirably attempted - were just overwhelmingly distracting. I'd rather have heard an emotive soft RP English accent with conviction than a mangled, harsh, Charlie Chan Chinese screech.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Not possible - Reynolds is a long-haul operatic proposition.


    Any additional comments?

    When a companion character died - I was glad. Only because that broken Cholo accent would never have to be heard again.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SciFi Kindle Cheshire, CT USA 07-28-14
    SciFi Kindle Cheshire, CT USA 07-28-14 Member Since 2012

    I'm a Hard SF & Space Opera-loving, alien android from the future. I bring gifts of SciFi eBooks & accessories for your leader's Kindle. Take me to him/her/it.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Earthier, narrower, more feminine than AR's work"

    Taking the history he created in ‘Blue Remembered Earth’ forward another generation, Alastair Reynolds succeeds in teasing the reader’s interest in the alien mystery waiting at the end of a 200-year old journey, but keeps the scope of events surprisingly restrained for an author known to write in cosmic epochs that laugh at stacks of expired civilizations. Again, he keeps his dramatic perspective on one single family, which can really be said to in fact be one person, duplicated across three cloned bodies who occasionally synchronize their mind states. This concept I found fun, and made for some interesting moments as the separate lives of our tri-fold protagonist, Chiku Akinya, reconciled herselves with the existence of multiple husbands/lovers and families at either end of her dual lives. There is also some great world building here within one of the main settings for the action, the asteroid-sized holoship traveling as part of a caravan to a new and promising alien world. Reynolds, in 2001’s "Chasm City", has previously written about a rivalry between en-route colony generation ships which violently escalates once the prize comes into sight, but with much more believability here. The other two setting loci, Earth and the destination world of Crucible, both have similar challenges for the Chiku heroines in the form of an all-powerful artificial intelligence willing to kill in order to ensure it’s own survival. Like Chiku, this intelligence, Arachne, has been cloned across two distant star systems, but these have remained un-syncronized, and have begun to drift apart in their thinking towards humanity.

    The story has well-paced action scenes that don’t rush in too close together, and characters that are compelling to follow, though a bit too saintly and flawless, I felt. I think a reader who hasn’t read the earlier story would feel unsatisfied with this one, and clearly too many questions remain unanswered to give up on ready the series now.

    Adjoa Andoh’s narration is impressive for it’s commitment to thickly, haltingly accented English coming from a variety of multi-national characters, but being impressive is not the same as being enjoyable. Whether it’s the baseline Swahili accent of the protagonist, the guttural fish-man accent from the aquatic mer-people, the crafty old lady variant of the earlier swahili accent (this one used for no less than 3 characters), I found them all just a little too over-the-top. I’m sure I’m revealing my own anglocentric cultural bias here, but my ear just needed a rest from the added work of mentally decoding every spoken word. The final straw for me was the dual accent-fail for Chiku’s two significant others, Lucas and Pedro. I want to write about how offensively bad they both are, but I… just.. can’t listen to that exaggerated Texas drawl or caricature Mexican again. Let me instead just stick to my complementary remarks, however- and it’s genuinely the case that Andoh makes a very ambitious effort which must have been quite exhausting, and I know I have no such talent at all.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael G. Kurilla ROCKVILLE, MD, United States 07-14-14
    Michael G. Kurilla ROCKVILLE, MD, United States 07-14-14 Member Since 2005
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    "Weak middle of the trilogy"

    On the Steel Breeze is the 2nd installment of Alastair Reynolds' Poseidon's Children trilogy. While the focus is still with the Akinya clan, this is the next generation with Chiku Akinya, Sunday's child splitting herself into multiple entities and sharing memories. This trick allows Reynolds to craft two simultaneous stories, one in our solar system and the 2nd on a "holoship" heading towards a distant star system. Improvements on rejuvenation technology permit this story to be technologically advanced relative to Blue Remembered Earth.

    Basically, an alien artifact around a distant star has spawned a caravan of holoships, hollowed out asteroids transporting millions of humans to what is expected to be a newly formed world. Mysteries surrounding the alien artifact around Crucible drive the plot with both Chikus doing all the digging while avoiding the nefarious interference of an artificial machine intelligence with vague, ill-defined motives.

    Sadly, while the writing is engaging with excellent pacing and solid character development, there are serious deficits that render much of the action inscrutable at times. For example, the holoships take off for Crucible and use their supply of slow down fuel to achieve more speed and arrive quicker, but without a way to insert into orbit on arrival. The politics on the holoship and the caravan as a whole are inadequately detailed and so the prohibition on research to figure out a way to slow down simply doesn't make sense. As with the 1st installment, the fascination with aquatic biological engineering doesn't fit with an outer space themed environment. Also, Reynolds liked the character of Eunice so much that he created a machine intelligent clone of her, hidden away on the holoship overseeing intelligent elephants which made little sense other than adding some dramatic action scenes and a setup for volume 3. Finally, the denouement with a pseudo-computer virus resetting Earth, seemed a bit like the TV Batman series with a unique, one time utility belt day-saving gadget.

    The narration is well done with an excellent range of voices, with appropriate tone and mood. The musical interludes that separate the different Chikus was also much appreciated. Finally, one observation, not a criticism, just an observation: the story has the sense that Reynolds took a bet, a dare, or even a voluntary challenge to write a story where every major character (even including the elephants and machines) is female.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Miriam 07-31-14
    Miriam 07-31-14 Member Since 2010
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    "Excellent second novel in series"
    What made the experience of listening to On the Steel Breeze the most enjoyable?

    I liked the way the narrative shifted between the two cloned protagonists. The world of this series — a future in which Africa and China became the superpowers — is refreshing.


    What about Adjoa Andoh’s performance did you like?

    Adjoa Andoh has a lovely voice, and her voicing of the main character(s) was impeccable.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    It was satisfying to catch up with some of the characters from the first novel in the series.


    Any additional comments?

    The director did Ms. Andoh a disservice when s/he had her voice practically every character with a different national accent. The effect of multicultural diversity could have been achieved less jarringly, particularly with the male characters. This is not a reason not to listen to her marvellous reading of this highly interesting novel, however.One final suggestion: when different actors read novels within the same series, it might be less confusing if the recurring characters are not voiced in a radically different way.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Loves Park, IL, USA 06-21-14
    Mark Loves Park, IL, USA 06-21-14 Member Since 2008
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    "Almost Unlistenable"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I love everything Alastair Reynolds writes...but this African accent is so difficult to listen to, I can't listen to it. Im sure its good story, as it is from Reynolds. And Im sure the voice is good, but not to my taste at all. The first volume also had an African accent, male, and it was hard to listen to, but I made it. This one is a female reader and the accent is so thick I can't take it. Bring back Mr. Lee. He is amazing to listen to!


    Would you ever listen to anything by Alastair Reynolds again?

    Yes with a different narrator.


    What didn’t you like about Adjoa Andoh’s performance?

    Difficult to understand and therefor enjoy.


    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr. T 09-22-14
    Mr. T 09-22-14 Member Since 2012
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    "This book could use a "breeze" of fresh air."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I would change the premise. The triplicated main character and the nonsensical re-emergence of and old acquaintance...oh so very contrived. The pace was languid and the switching of perspective was jarring. The motivations of the characters especially in their interactions with each other were silly and unbelievable even in the whimsical world Reynolds has crafted. All in all, this is a very disappointing installment in this series. It fails to live up to the level of the Revelation Space series.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Starplex by Robert Sawyer


    Would you be willing to try another one of Adjoa Andoh’s performances?

    Oh dear god no. Her thick, overdone accents were almost literally painful to listen to, from the simpleton Asian accent to the literally unintelligible MurPerson accent.


    Was On the Steel Breeze worth the listening time?

    Honestly no, I would not spend 23 hours listening to this given what I know of its resolution.


    Any additional comments?

    This was a very weak installment and feels like a filler novel. That said, I am a completionist, so I finished it, but I am having serious doubts about the third installment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Rohnert Park, CA, United States 09-08-14
    Robert Rohnert Park, CA, United States 09-08-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Not the Reynold's I expected"
    If you’ve listened to books by Alastair Reynolds before, how does this one compare?

    I was expecting a storyline more in line with the Revelation Space Universe. The novel is leisurely paced by a narrator who did an admirable job. Maybe too leisurely and not the fast paced and hard science fiction novel I was expecting.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Portland, OR, United States 09-07-14
    Daniel Portland, OR, United States 09-07-14 Member Since 2005
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    "Impatient For The Third Book"

    Humor, joy and wonder, this is high end sci fi. Alastair Reynolds read by Adjoa Andoh is just about perfect.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    gary Tecumseh, MI, United States 07-30-14
    gary Tecumseh, MI, United States 07-30-14 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Meh"
    What disappointed you about On the Steel Breeze?

    It is hard for me to write this review, being a HUGE fan of Alastair Reynolds and having read everything from him to-date... But... This story is simply unremarkable. Very thin plot, little action, the reveal is very anticlimactic and simply disappointing. Twenty-three hours of listening to Ms. Andoh was painful, at times quite literally.


    What could Alastair Reynolds have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    The first book in this series was fine. Maybe not great, but good. The story arc that flowed from the first book was tired and contrived with no real arrow of finality. Certainly NOT worthy of being in the same book rack as all of the other Alastair Reynolds books.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Adjoa Andoh’s performances?

    I will not listen to another reading by Ms. Andoh. Her screeching voice in character and her thick accents made this listen very unpleasant. I turned the EQ of my radio to flat and still her high-pitched voice screeched at times and made me cringe. Her accents are so heavy it's difficult to understand her with some characters, which was also annoying because you find yourself constantly having to analyze the sounds to decipher the words. I've listened to performances I didn't like, but I was into loathing on this one. I found the heavy African and Chinese accents especially annoying, which are most of the main characters in the book.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Meh.


    Any additional comments?

    Disappointed on so many levels with this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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