An innovator praised as one of the inventors of "the new space opera", Peter F. Hamilton has also been hailed as the heir of such golden-age giants as Heinlein and Asimov. His star-spanning sagas are distinguished by deft plotting, engaging characters, provocative explorations of science and society, and soaring imaginative reach. Now, in one of the most eagerly anticipated offerings of the year, Hamilton brings his acclaimed Void trilogy to a stunning close.
Exposed as the Second Dreamer, Araminta has become the target of a galaxywide search by government agent Paula Myo and the psychopath known as the Cat, along with others equally determined to prevent - or facilitate - the pilgrimage of the Living Dream cult into the heart of the Void. An indestructible microuniverse, the Void may contain paradise, as the cultists believe, but it is also a deadly threat. For the miraculous reality that exists inside its boundaries demands energy - energy drawn from everything outside those boundaries: from planets, stars, galaxies...from everything that lives.
Meanwhile, the parallel story of Edeard, the Waterwalker, as told through a series of addictive dreams communicated to the gaiasphere via Inigo, the First Dreamer, continues to unfold. But now the inspirational tale of this idealistic young man takes a darker and more troubling turn as he finds himself faced with powerful new enemies - and temptations more powerful still.
With time running out, a repentant Inigo must decide whether to release Edeard's final dream: a dream whose message is scarcely less dangerous than the pilgrimage promises to be. And Araminta must choose whether to run from her unwanted responsibilities or face them down, with no guarantee of success or survival. But all these choices may be for naught if the monomaniacal Ilanthe, leader of the breakaway Accelerator Faction, is able to enter the Void. For it is not paradise she seeks there, but dominion.
Into the Void? Listen to more in the Void Trilogy.
©2010 Peter F. Hamilton (P)2010 Tantor
"Epic, multi-stranded, full of wonders." (SFX)
An amazing conclusion to Hamilton's “Void” trilogy!
Humans have colonized a large part of our galaxy, and have met other sentient, civilized species. And then, the powerful “Living Dream” political-religious movement has become aware of a quasi-medieval human civilization that exists inside the “Void,” the enormous black hole at the core of our galaxy, in which a form of bio-organic “magic” takes the place of our science -- The “Living Dream” movement has become mesmerized by its "vision" of the Void, believing that it is paradise in reality -- and has taken steps to have the Void engulf the entire galaxy… Will the galactic civilizations react in time to avert universal destruction? There can be no doubt that Hamilton is a great science-fiction writer!
You probably do not need this review if you have listened the rest of the series until now. If you have *read* the series and not listened to it, then I can say that there is no better Narrator than John Lee so you are in good hands to listen to the last part.
If you have never read this series, the entire series is on Audible. Start with Pandora's Star. Check out Peter's website for the entire bibliography of the Commonwealth Series. It is outstanding and certainly my favorite "epic" modern sci-fi series.
Hamilton succeeds at writing a worthy finish to his epic sci-fi Commonwealth series. Lesser sci-fi authors get caught up in a clever premise and punt at the ending, but Hamilton shows his epic was well planned.
The Void trilogy is a continuation of Hamilton's Commonwealth series, so best to get Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained prior to the Void books.
Audible: While Hamilton works on his next series, please add some of his other books.
Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
While the Void Trilogy is three books, it is only one story. Each of the three could easily have been 2 or even 3 books by themselves. I believe that they were that rich in depth and breadth. I had finished the Commonwealth Saga not too long ago and was blown away by both books. I could not say which I enjoyed more given that again there was a great deal of continuity between the two and I read and reviewed them as one.
Interestingly, the Void Trilogy is set in the same universe 1200 years later (AD 3580) and contains many of the same characters. That's good for those of us who elected to read the story from the beginning but not totally unacceptable for those who chose to pickup the story from from the Void. Having a background about or history on the characters helps. When I first ventured into the trilogy with the Dreaming Void I was a bit disappointed. I thought that it was slow and difficult to figure out. However, I stuck with it and with the Temporal Void (#2 of 3) things really picked up in pace and action. In fact, of all three books I think that the second was the most exciting. This was the brilliance of Peter Hamilton that I remembered from the Commonwealth. Incredibly unique landscapes, characters and creatures. But not to be only bowled over by the senses, these books are heady, contemplative and complex. These are not books to listen to while doing something else. They require, they demand, they deserve our full attention or forget it. Read something lighter.
By the time I got into the last in the series, The Evolutionary Void, my biggest concern was how this epic was going to end. These worlds and stories were so gargantuan and magnificent in almost every respect, how could the conclusion possibly do justice to all that came before. But again, somehow Hamilton pulls it off.
However, I would submit that there is still something missing in Hamilton's characters. While there is incredible opportunity for character development just given the lengths of these books, the characters themselves seem to lack something. I have struggled with this wondering if this is a lack of mature writing on the part of the author or just the way beings are 2500 years into the future. I kind of got attached to some of the characters but then not really. Maybe when you live for a thousand years people just become less concerned about you; less caring.
Two, three, let alone five of these books required an investment in time and energy but it was one hell of a ride. The narrator I have listened to in a great number of books. He was not the best part of this one.
Throughout the first two books of this series, the Edeard story line (from inside the Void) seemed to overshadow the far more numerous threads related to events happening outside the Void. Edeard's life in Makkathran was just more interesting and the growth of his psychic powers kept things fresh as he pursued his quest to achieve fulfillment. As his story line progressed it also provided much needed context to explain why the human Living Dream movement was willing to put the entire galaxy at risk with their pilgrimage into the Void. Despite numerous factions and alien species willing to go "all in" to stop them, Living Dream was prepared to do anything for a chance to achieve fulfillment. Would their pilgrimage trigger a Void expansion phase so large that the galaxy was consumed? Would anyone be able to stop them before they got there? With the stage finally set Peter F. Hamilton answers those questions and more as he concludes the series and unveils the mystery of the Void once and for all.
I have to say that I finally got into the "outside the Void" story lines in this one and that made this the best book of the series. All of the main characters and threads converge on the Void for the big finale and it is not obvious how it is going to play out until the very end. So many questions from this complex story finally get answered: Will Living Dream achieve fulfillment? If fulfillment is so great why does Inigo, the founder of Living Dream, think it is a bad idea to pursue it? Is fulfillment the same as going post-physical? Can the nature of the Void be changed so that it doesn't pose a threat to the galaxy any longer? If not, will the Void expand? If it does, can the expansion be controlled in some way? There are so many possible ways the story could go that you are driven to get to the conclusion as quickly as possible just so it can finally all make sense.
When it is all said and done it becomes obvious that the mystery of the Void itself is the main character and everyone else's story is related in some way. Luckily things are explained in detail and wrapped up nicely so you need not worry about being left hanging. You also need not be concerned about having to read any other books first. Although this trilogy is part of the same literary universe as the Commonwealth Saga series it is completely stand alone and complete. John Lee narrates many of the books in this universe and does a great job with all of them so listening instead of reading is a great option. If you are in the mood for some sci-fi on an epic scale with some fantasy thrown in for good measure then give this series a go and you too can experience the mystery of the Void for yourself.
Did you know you can put in a set of Ear-Buds, slap your Hearing Protectors over them, and Mow the lawn, Weed-Eat, etc, without your book being drowned out by engine noise? OR, you can just let the horses in the yard, and THEY'LL mow and weedeat (literally) FOR YOU!
What a roller coaster ride this series has been! I've decided not to start any new books for a little while because I just wouldn't be able to give them a fair shot after getting so caught up in this saga, for such a long time... it was actually that good.
...and here's what kinda worries me, as always; Once in a while an author has a series or two (or three) that gets people caught up in them, and wanting a lot more... yet for some reason the author suddenly decides that they're tired of writing the type of books that really made them stand out WAY above other authors. They veer off into another genre, or style, that just isn't "them", that just doesn't attract the same following, and just doesn't allow them to use the Gift they have for writing to the best advantage.
I've seen some fantastic authors pronounce that they wouldn't be writing any more books of the style (or containing characters) that got their name to be so well known to begin with, and then they start putting out books that I just can't get into, and certainly can't spend money on. I often listen to people talk about some of these authors in the past tense even... that is an absolute shame every time see it.
I hope nothing like that happens with this series of books, or with this style of writing! When you've got a winning combination of personalities that you've developed, along with a unique style that can be recognized even without a "By-Line", It may be time to stick with it for a while...
...especially when you've been given a Gift that allows you to take the ragged edge of the newest scientific theories and discoveries, and extend the possibilities of those discoveries far into an imagined future where they've found a daily "practical use" that no one else would have ever thought of! Anyone can imagine what "computers" will be like a few hundred years into the future, it's been done to death, but to take some obscure bits of Quantum Physics and show them being used as a Social Networking Tool in the future (and do it as a mere afterthought, no less!) is the kind of genius that gets Planets, Space Ports, etc, named after an author! As an engineer I can say that it's rare to see someone instinctively understand a complicated science to the point where their mind just naturally comes up with a plethora of "everyday mundane far-future uses" that have nothing to do with High-Tech Devastating Bombs or Planet-Splitting Devices... while using other bits of the same science to imagine (and describe) "devastating bombs and planet-splitting devices" (and to write them into fiction in such a way that they don't just seem gratuitous)
I'm highly impressed by this series, and by this style of writing, and I hope both will continue on in some form! It'll have me waiting to click "Add To Cart" the day they become available!
Mr. Hamilton, I am a Fan!
But to be perfectly honest, I enjoyed the first 2 books of the Commonwealth saga and the Nights Dawn Trilogy books of the Confederation saga much more. The Void Trilogy was good...it just didn't knock me out like the other story lines written by Hamilton. I think it's because the "bad guy or thing" wasn't that "bad". In Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained we have some seriously scary bad guys (The Prime and the Starflyer)...and in Nights Dawn Trilogy the dead come back to life and terrorize the living. Really good stuff!! But in the the Void Trilogy the Void itself just isn't that scary and the I missed having that be part of the story. Took some of the edge and adventure away. I'm hoping he continues with the Commonwealth saga...he seemed to hint at it when one of the characters in the end sets up business to find out what happened to the Ark ships. Hope so...
If you've read the other four books in the Commonwealth series then you can't stop without listening to this book. Because here it is all get parceled up into a completion of the myriad of plot lines in the pervious 120 hours of audio (Which he does very nicely). If you have not read the other books then STOP and start reading "Pandoras Star". It's been a long journey through many thousand pages/over a hundred hours of audio. It took me all summer but it was very enjoyable.
Hamilton just keeps getting better and better. Just when one thinks he can't top himself, he comes up with still another incredible feat. In my opinion, Peter Hamilton is one of the best "large venue" saga hard sci fi writers ever. The Void Trilogy (really spanning 5 books) is simply great. I am once again VERY impressed. OZZY LIVES!
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