Now, with Pandora's Star, he begins a new multi-volume adventure, one that promises to be his most mind-blowing yet. The year is 2380. The Intersolar Commonwealth, a sphere of stars some 400 light-years in diameter, contains more than 600 worlds, interconnected by a web of transport "tunnels" known as wormholes. At the farthest edge of the Commonwealth, astronomer Dudley Bose observes the impossible: Over 1,000 light-years away, a star...vanishes. It does not go supernova. It does not collapse into a black hole. It simply disappears.
Since the location is too distant to reach by wormhole, a faster-than-light starship, the Second Chance, is dispatched to learn what has occurred and whether it represents a threat. In command is Wilson Kime, a five-time rejuvenated ex-NASA pilot whose glory days are centuries behind him. Opposed to the mission are the Guardians of Selfhood, a cult that believes the human race is being manipulated by an alien entity they call the Starflyer.
Bradley Johansson, leader of the Guardians, warns of sabotage, fearing the Starflyer means to use the starship's mission for its own ends. Pursued by a Commonwealth special agent convinced the Guardians are crazy but dangerous, Johansson flees. But the danger is not averted. Aboard the Second Chance, Kime wonders if his crew has been infiltrated.
Soon enough, he will have other worries. A thousand light-years away, something truly incredible is waiting: a deadly discovery, the unleashing of which will threaten to destroy t...
©2004 Peter F. Hamilton; (P)2008 Tantor
"The depth and clarity of the future Hamilton envisions is as complex and involving as they come." (Publishers Weekly Starred Review)
The story is great! I couldn't wait to get back to it once I put it down. The people, places, and aliens are well thought-out and highly detailed. You can easily get engrossed in this great book - and picture yourself right there in the middle of the action. I CAN'T WAIT for the next one!!
Unfortunately, the worst part about this book was the narrator. His constant change in volume required me to get out my sound-cancelling head phones just to listen to it in my vehicle during my commute because of the constant need to turn the volume knob up and down! He would go from a normal speaking tone down to a whisper for no apparent reason - making you crank the volume - then he would speak normally again causing the speakers to pop and crack because they were maxed out! I also had a hard time following the change in speakers. From man-to-woman - or man-to-boy, I would have to do some quick calculations of what was said to assume who said it.
If you have a quiet room or some nice noise-cancelling headphones this is good audio-book of a great book!
I have been waiting for Audible to have something from Peter Hamilton for some time. I was completely sucked into "Reality Dysfuntion" after only eighty pages. I woke up five or six books later.
"Pandora's Star" has to be looked at as only a small portion of the whole picture. At the end of the book we still do not have a full grasp of the universe nor do we have an idea how the story will unfold. So I would not be too critical of the ending of the first book. It is difficult to end a book when the story is just beginning. I would blame the editor for the ending of this the first book because I am sure that the author just continued on with the story until the end. The editor was left with the job of determining the break points for each book in the series.
I really enjoyed the discription and evolution of the alien life form MorningLightMountain. I would agree that some of the haute couture was over the top.
Narration was good for the most part. I have 183 books in my audible library and this one definitely worth the credit. Enjoy.
It took me a couple of chapters to get into this story but I soon realized that this is among the best epic sci-fi books that I have read. Each chapter is almost a short story in itself with its own cast of characters and locations, very similar to George R Martin's Song of Fire and Ice. The universe is vast and complete with its own technology and alien races. The Aliens are particulary well written, there are no throw-away generic aliens like in many books but instead a hand full of fully detailed non humanoids that feel very alien. I havn't enjoyed scifi this much since the Hyperion.
This book was impossible to understand. The audio level is either not even or the actor thinks talking in high and low tones sounds cool. I have listened to over 40 audio books and have not had any issues understanding the voice acting untill now. This may actually be a good book but I will have to read it to find out.
Hamilton creates yet another great futuristic world and gives his trademark "epic" sci-fi stories wih great writing. The narration is good, not great, but the audiobook gets a 5 anyway. The story is just too awesome :)
I am brutally honest. Popular, love everything they read, reviewers are scared to go neg. and risk their ranking. It's your money!!!
The great thing about audible, especially the sales, is that it gives you the chance to try out new authors. If a writer writes a big book, does that make it a great book?
This author has been compared to Frank Herbet and I believe that to be fairly accurate. Other then Dune, what are your favorite FH books?
I really liked the prologue and thought the book would be very exciting. There was an exciting science discovery and the question was what would that lead to. Then we are taken on many side stories. Each chapter starts with the description of a different planet. This includes the fauna, how it was planted, how it grew , what happened to it over the centuries and what is like today. With a James Michener novel, when you know it is a real world this can be interesting, but on a made up planet, not so much.
I wanted to find out what was going to happen with this discovery, but my mind kept wondering. I would tell myself to concentrate and then PH would start describing some non-essential plant or building or waterway and the next thing I knew my mind was thinking about something else. The book is 37 hours long and I kept saying to myself, Stupid you could listen to three Robert J. Sawyer books in that amount of time. You would get the exciting science, maybe some characters you care about without the Hawthorne part. So after Eleven hours I quit and started a Koontz book.
About the sound quality. I don't know who is at fault, but I found listening very hard on my ears. For a couple of hours when ever John lee would start a new sentence the bass would vibrate in my ears, causing pain, as he would continue the sentence he would get quieter and just when it got comfortable, Wham, he would start a new sentence. That stopped for a while and then the volume would change with new chapters. Like watching a tv show and then a commercial comes on louder then the show. I have listened to hundreds of books and I have listened to John Lee before and this has not been a problem in the past.
I don't normally put sci-fi on my list but I found this intriguing and I have enjoyed listening to John Lee read other audio books. This seems to be another John Lee sounding totally bored with what he is reading and the monotonous timbre of his voice is driving me nuts. Also, as others have mentioned, the sound volume seems to be up and down and up and down and up and down. I can see how the story could be a fascinating read but listening to it is kind of like water torture. Sorry Mr. Lee but it's a no go for me. I could easily see picking up a copy of the book and reading it. In fact I probably will. I'm finding this was a waste of a credit. I wish Audible would have am exchange program so I could trade it in for something else.
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
I listened to Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained back to back and the Commonwealth Saga is not complete without both books. Now I find I can't write a review of them separately so this is a combined review of the duo. Overall, I was very entertained by these two massive books and recommend them to anyone who loves space opera, but this is a qualified recommendation.
THE GOOD (~70%)
* Fascinating Vision of the future and the universe on a grand scale - entertaining and thought-provoking concepts.
* Terrific use of multiple POV's and subplots woven together to create a much bigger picture.
* Twisty plot lines, evocative settings, and wonderful mysteries that totally engage the listener.
* Some of the characters, especially MorningLightMountain (a terrifying sentient enemy alien who thinks NOTHING like a human) and Paula Mayo (genetically engineered human programmed by OCD-type genetics to be the ultimate detective).
* Narration - not John Lee's best performance, but not bad. Lee is particularly good with the 50's American slang sound he uses for Ozzie's voice.
THE BAD (~25%)
* Too much of a good thing - the future of biology, chemistry, physiology, IT, politics, government, astronomy, the kitchen sink, and pretty much everything else. Hamilton's reach to incorporate all the ramifications of future science and technology is bigger than his story and my patience could handle at times.
* Ozzie's Wilderness Survival Subplot - most of the subplots were engaging, but the story of Ozzie Isaacs trying to find the adult Silfen to get answers reads more like Kerouac's "On The Road" (probably intentionally) than like a sci-fi adventure and I found that it dragged down the story each time Hamilton cut to an Ozzie update. This was maybe 20% of the narrative in Pandora's Star, but less of a factor in Judas Unchained.
* Some of the characters, especially Ozzie (a Beatnik born 100 years too late who totally, like, overuses the word man, maaaan, you dig?) and Melanie, who is a dirty old man's fantasy of a very young, very slutty woman. I hated her, but even people who like the character aren't going to identify with her because she is not like anyone you know. A character based on a sexual fantasy never seems like a real person so it's hard to care about what they do or what happens to them.
* The Science might work, but it hurts the fiction - in the Commonwealth Universe, rejuvenation is routine so people have an indefinite lifetime potential. In addition, if your body or brain are injured beyond the ability of medical science to heal, you can have your memory dumped to a clone and start over. Hamilton does not go into all the science of how this would work, but I didn't have trouble buying into his concepts as presented. What did cause a problem for me was how do you get invested in people who really can't die? No matter how intense and suspenseful the plot becomes, it is just hard to stack the emotional stakes high when most folks aren't going to stay dead!
THE UGLY (fortunately only ~ 5%)
* Many semi-graphic sex scenes - I am fine with sex scenes in my fiction when the plot requires it or even gratuitous sex scenes when they are well-written. However, I think very few authors can write sex scenes that are erotic, passionate, or romantic and more often (as is the case with Pandora and Judas) these scenes come across as self conscious or skeevy. And worse, these stumbles in the bedroom (or wherever) often slow the narrative and break the plot progression. Pandora/Judas would read better without the corny and sleazy sex scenes.
This proves once again that just because a book is overlong, that doesn't make it epic.
This story is just a tedious 37 hour grind, mostly filled with subplots that don't really go anywhere, way too many characters that are hard to care about, and uninteresting political jockeying (since the characters are wooden, so are their politics). The story could have been half as long to make it twice as compelling, but the plot doesn't really resolve, and the author just kind of stops writing. So in the end, what's the point?
As one subplot winds up, one of the characters yells in frustration, "You've got to be F*ing kidding me!". That's how I felt. Very disappointed. It's like the author is playing a joke. Then I searched audible to see if I had missed downloading the last chapters. But nope. This is all there is. Oh well.
I did like the alien aggressor point of view sub story, but that isn't introduced until about 2/3rds of the way in. It would have made a nice short story by itself. Toss the rest. That's about it.
The Narrator isn't as bad as everyone says and I didn't hear the volume changes everyone is complaining about. Sometimes you can tell when he is picking up a new take with different mic placement. Whatever. The producers could have paced his pauses between subplots better, sometimes it was hard to tell when the subject or setting had changed. Honestly, though, these are niggling details compared to how bad the actual story is.
If there is a sequel (there has to be since nothing is resolved at the end of this monstrosity), I don't even care. I'd rather just forget the 37 hours I spent with this tedious drivel.
This is by far the longest series of 2 books I have ever listened to. I normally prefer non-fiction, but I love science fiction in film so I thought I would give it a shot... WOW! Never in my life have I enjoyed listening to any books more... The author is AMAZING!... IF YOU LIKE SCI-FI... YOU MUST LISTEN!... ENJOY THE RIDE!...
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