©2008 Alastair Reynolds; (P)2009 Tantor
"Reynolds confirms his place among the leaders of the hard-science space-opera renaissance." (Publishers Weekly Starred Review)
"The best of the new breed of space opera. Wild action on a grand scale spans well-imagined and developed worlds." (The Denver Post)
I've gotten the three books in this series as well as Chasm City, a stand alone novel in the same universe. When reading these reviews, I notice many negative comments, and I actually, at one point, probably written the same.
However, after quitting the first book, and focusing on books by other "british space opera" writers such as Peter Hamilton and Richard K. Morgan, I went back to give it another try.
I think what makes these books great is probably the same thing that turns some listeners off. The mythology of the universe is so deep, that until you are familiar with it, it is overwhelming with the references to the different factions, planets, aliens, etc.
But once that familiarity is gained, the stories are so rich, that I am disappointed that I have finished.
And as far as the narrator goes, it seems as though people either love or hate John Lee. But he is incredibly talented with a unique style and once you get use to him, his narration is addicting.
I tried reading "Revelation Space" over a year or two ago and put it down quickly. Very "dense" stuff.", I thought. "Too
complicated". I then I picked up "Absolution Gap" in print. I knew by then it was the last in the series but so what? After the first chapter, I couldn't put it down. So, I got the others on
Audible. Each one in the series can easily stand by itself but its a great series. All are beautifully written.
They are tightly plotted, highly and originally imagined with empathic characters who play their parts honestly, without any contrived motives.
Each book is an equal of the others, which, for a
series, shows, I think, an author who truly cares
about his audience. I have been an avid SF reader
for nearly 60 years. In my opinion, this series
is a masterwork. It is to hard SF what "Lord of
The Rings" is to fantasy. In my opinion, the author is in the first rank of the very best of all English language novelists, based on this series.
I'm a technician that does a lot of driving for his job. I use the "windshield" time to listen to audiobooks.
I really liked Revelation Space, Chasm City, and even The Prefect. This is a small step backwards. I still think his best work is Pushing Ice, or House of Suns.
Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).
This is book two in the main sequence of the Revelation Space series. I found that I was much more engaged with the story and characters in this novel compared to my level of interest in REVELATION SPACE. Many of the story elements that were introduced in the first book are given meaning here. This is grand scale Space Opera, on a level with Olaf Stapledon and Stephen Baxter. Humanity is starting to branch into political factions that resemble different species. In many ways Reynolds reminds me of Larry Niven, especially in the way he throws out big ideas. It is a book full of ideas and that is its strong suit. This was a fun book to listen to, and even though the situations had nothing to do with reality, I found myself reveling along with the author; rooting him on to see what he would come up with next.
I have heard it said that Reynolds was trying to tell a meaningful story without resorting to the usual worn out Science Fiction trappings such as Faster than Light travel, and tractor beams. In this he is not entirely successful. His slower than light ships do require certain plot constraints that FTL stories neatly avoid. The time-scales for the story are necessarily lifetimes long. To do this he must, of course, include longevity and hibernation technology to insure his characters live long enough to see the end. There is a nice use of Time Travel that becomes a critical plot element. Of course steller evolution plays a big part in Revelation Space, as indeed the very idea of evolution of intelligent life. This is so central to the story that if you are not already familiar with the Fermi Paradox you will be by the end of this book. So it seems that Reynolds has traded one SF trope for another. All just tools in the story teller’s kit.
John Lee is again the narrator for Reynolds. To my ear Lee is much more in sync with the text in this book than in the previous novel. I do think that here he had better characters to work with, and his voice is as soothing as ever. His voice is so sonorous that at times I found myself tuning the story out and listening to John Lee almost as I would listen to music. And that is a danger for this book, for, like all the Alastair Reynolds books I have encountered so far, it does require an attentive listener. This book is much better than REVELATION SPACE but does ot reach the level of excellence of CHASM CITY.
Reynolds is a good writer and Lee is a good narrator. The story and content is well above average. The curious thing is that the author presents some of the most radical concepts and themes almost as mundane life in the 28th Century descriptions.
I am listening to this book every chance I get. It's complicated, sometimes confusing, but always interesting. Characters that appeared in the first book of the trilogy, suddenly appear in this book, pulling the story together and allowing the author to take the story in all kinds of directions. The narrator, John Lee, is one of my favorites. He did some of Daniel Silva's earlier books. I really hope audible gets the third book in the series, Absolution Gap. I can hardly wait to hear it.
Alastair Reynolds writes a great tale. He's a former physicist and tries hard to keep his yarn consistent with the universe we inhabit... except in one thing. For some reason, he thinks the flow of time increases in a gravitational well... of course it does exactly the opposite (time slows.) It's a weird error and not even necessary as a plot device - so maybe it's better he sticks to writing. :)
JL's performance is excellent - far better than it was in Revelation Space
I really enjoy this author. I find his books to be a bit of a work to get into but then the story really takes off and you never want it to end. I highly reccommend.
I thought this book was pretty awesome... I especially liked the way the writer invents the technology of the time, and even describes how it works! I mean, you know it's SF way beyond our capabilities, but the way it's introduced into the story makes the reader believe that it's completely feasible for the era and not just a mind prop.
Enjoy the adventure
In the distant future, humans are locked in a desperate civil war for control of the Universe. Ah, but there is a third entity who is lurking in the outer realms of space with plans of hunting down and killing all humans. They are ruthless, relentless and should be feared.
I enjoyed Alastair Reynolds’ “Chasm City” and decided to listen to his Revelation Space Series. I hated book one, “Revelation Space”, and quickly abandoned my plan. After several months of healing from the bad listen, I decided to fire up “Redemption Ark” and learned that resistance is futile. I will lower my shields and be assimilated by this Hard Sci-Fi series.
"Well written and brilliantly read"
Just to put things right this book is the SECOND in the series. There are other books in the same universe parrallel to this one. However this one continues the story on most directly from "Revelation space" Time has moved on though and new charecters take the lead. Its as fantastic as the first and exceptionaly well read. Can't wait for the next installment. Wikapedia has a good entry on Reynolds and all his books and short stories.
"Good quality Hard SF"
This is the sequel to 'Revelation Space', which was a truly terrific book. I enjoyed this one too but, frankly, it's not in the same league as 'Revelation Space' - narrative momentum does flag at times and the plot is not so skillfully knitted together, so you feel the length as it were. But still worth a listen.
The third book in the series 'Absolution Gap' is a mess by comparison - easily skipped.
John Lee does a fine job on the narration.
The first hour lasted so long, i couldnt get into the story and so much time was spent on seemingly poinless information. I have given up after 3hrs and i still couldnt say what was going to happen or where it was going.
"Very enjoyable, but tedious in a few places"
I got this as an audiobook because I really struggled with the print version. The overall story is great, but Reynolds needs to dial down the needless theoretical physics chat. Hard sci-fi is great, but not when it's so hard you need a physics degree to enjoy it.
Revelation Space and Chasm City weren't like that and they are excellent, so I have hopes for Absolution Gap.
The span of this trilogy is such that a second listen is very worthwhile. The narrator is excellent.
Just finished "Redemption Ark" and I have to say that this was a far better
story and better crafted than the previous book in the series, Revelation
Space. I was glad I hadn't judged the author based on "Revelation Space"
which was the first Reynolds book I had read because if I had then I
would've missed out on this far better sequel.
I found the story telling in this book far easier to follow than Revelation
Space and I was never left confused like the firs book in the series. The
whole thing is better strung together and was a real page turner for me.
Reynolds also spared the reader from much of the long reams of rather
unnecessary dialogue as I found the case to be in the first book of this
Redemption Ark is the middle act of the trilogy and does a sterling job of
adding real substance to the plot. Certain threads were explained that I
felt satisfying and the new characters introduced in this part are more
interesting than the rather dull ones from Revelation Space. Even those
characters that are present from the first book appear to have become more
Reynolds does an excellent job of dealing with some of the key scenes in the
book. However, as other reviewers have mentioned, Reynolds robs the reader
of the expected battle between the Inhibitors and the opposing human forces
and after building us up to the brink of the conflict lets us down and
cheats the reader by conveniently skipping the climactic end game which,
quite frankly is a big disappointment. You can forgive movie makers for
resorting to this old cop-out due to budgetary constraints, but not an
I thought John Lee's narration competent and thankfully we only get one
French accent in this instalment which is better than the several present
for large swathes of the previous book in this series. However, I also noted
pauses that are often depicted in written form by a large vertical gap or
series of spaced asterisks were not really present during the narration
which made for momentary confusion as the story switched threads. Some might
argue it was the fault of the
narrator, but ultimate control must be down to the production team. Even if
the narrator left no appreciable gap where one was needed the production
processes could've have inserted one, so no excuses in my view.
Oh, and one other minor inconsistency I believe I noticed. For most of the
book the Clavain character was Neville Clavain. However, in a couple of
parts I'm sure he became Neil Clavain? Unless, of course, Neil is a
generally accepted shorthand for Neville that I am not aware of.
Also, in one part of the book describing the construction of an Inhibitor
weapon, it was stated that the growth rate was 280 kilometres per second.
Later, it was 280 metres per second. This could well - as per the last
observation be a mistake by the author and not the narrator - but I've not
got the written form of this book, so cannot tell.
Still, I enjoyed Redemption Ark and would recommend it.
Rashmika & Scorpio
If I could, Yes!
I rushed straight into this from Revelation Space, let's face it, you either love or loathe this style of science fiction, me, I'm an addict, wonderful story-line , beautifully plotted, I'm an Alastair Reynolds customer !
"Brilliant Book, Excellent Narration!"
Having read the book and now listened to it (twice), I am getting more out of it each time. The narration brings the characters to life. It is a long book and needs to be 'worked at' to get the most enjoyment. If you didn't enjoy it the first time, listen again and it will all make enjoyable sense!
very good follow on from rev space however end seemed a little rushed and a bit weak.
"Not as good as the first volume"
Again the scope draws you in until the tedious detail and repetition start to make themselves felt.
Some very nice ideas and scenes, just far far longer than they needed to be.
The ending is almost easy to miss, the concluding action is not actually seen, just described in passing some time after the events in question, highly unsatisfactory and once again quite at odds with the rest of the book.
Many intricately detailed plotline and characters are just thrown aside at times or seem to go awol, unfortunately feels like there was no real of idea where the writer wanted the story to go until he ran out of pages.
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