This book defeated me, I am ashamed to say. I do most of my audio listening whilst driving, but this requires you too pay too much attention, and thu..Show More »s, while driving you lose important plot points, for two reasons:
1) There is a lot of tech within the book, and diluted time due to near-light speed travel on ships, and there is a lot of scene-shifting within chapters, which leads me to...
2) Other reviewers have alluded to it already, but it was a bad move not to have some sort of pause or audio-cue when scene-shifting between chapters. What happens is that John Lee (whose other stuff is ok, in my opinion), moves between scenes without taking a breath and you completely lose where you are whilst driving.
Shame I have to give it up, it's supposed to be a classic series. But them's the breaks.
Alastair Reynolds is a fantastic writer, and often, the challenge is to pick a first read of this exceptional author. Well, this is a GREAT place to ..Show More »begin: Strong plot and subplots, wonderful descriptive wring that draws you in, characters with appreciable depth, and a universe that is chock full of original ideas and execution. Chasm City is, in my humble opinion, one of the author's best works.
And it's also a GREAT listen.
You've probably read the audiobook's description, and have made a general opinion. Well, stop there. You have NO IDEA how well this has been written for you, the listener.
From viruses that cause religious memories and experiences, to dna-level bio-political synchronicity, to infected nanotechnology that warps architecture, to biology and societies on a far-flung planet that went from becoming the hub of the known galaxy slowly grinding into the dregs of a forgotten but very active planet of biological and social mysteries. Place a ferocious chase between murderer and hunter in this maelstrom, and throw in a backstory involving deception on the multigenerational starships that delivered mankind to this world. It's simply engaging and listen-worthy.
AND. You can start here to get acquainted with the author's other works.
There is a challenge though, and it's keeping up with the sweeping storylines that crisscross at many points within the story. Pay attention, and you won't be disappointed.
Keep your hands in the car at all times, because this is one exhilarating roller-coaster ride.
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..Show More » 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.
As much as I like Reynolds, I can't give him a stellar review for Absolution Gap. It's as if he just gave up on the storyline and starting writing mi..Show More »nor drama to fill the pages. The ending was horrible, especially having come to think so highly on the Revelation Space opera. All of the sudden, nothing characters pop up that do nothing for the story, and then go away (thankfully) as fast as they arrive, and almost all of the major players I had come to appreciate are killed off in the beginning to be replaced with paper-thin characters that even by the end I can't find myself either liking or hating. If I had to describe Absolution Gap in a word, it would be "blah."
Reynolds again demonstrates why he is among the top of contemporary sci-fi writers. Readers familiar with the Revelation Space series will recall Chas..Show More »m City which was centered on the Yellowstone system. In that tale, surrounding the planet was a mass of space detritus known as the Rust Belt. Its state was the result of an undefined prior event known as the melding plague that destroyed nearly all nanotech. In Prefect, Reynolds sets the story prior to Chasm City when the Rust Belt was at its pinnacle and known as the Glitter Band. Encompassing 10,000 discreet and sovereign habitats, Reynolds explores the diversity and evolution of human societal organization (from voluntary tyranny to demoncratic anarchy). The conjoiners as well as Silveste remnants and the shrouders also play a small role.
Holding the hodge-podge together is our hero, Tom Dreyfus, a prefect who enforces the minimal rules for orderly interaction among the habitats. From what begins as a routine investigation, Dreyfus gradually peels back the onion of an ever expanding conspiracy that threatens the entire Glitter Band. Along the way, he must face, the corrupt, the gullible, the naive, and the idiotic, but he always manages to remain focused on his ultimate objective: seeing that justice is served.
As is typical of Reynolds, the sci-fi is first rate. He also has a knack for instinctively recognizing that unique interaction of science and society and the likely results. At the heart, the tale is an exploration of the human struggle to evolve beyond mere biology with all the potential pitfalls clearly displayed. Finally, as usual John Lee performs outstandlingly; his range of voices are superb and he sets the right tenor to allow the tension to develop.