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5.0 out of 5 starsBold and Interesting
Reviewed in the United States on March 6, 2018
I think I get the mixed reviews for ‘Final Days.’ If I had not just finished the author’s excellent ‘Shoal Sequence’ I may have passed on this novel after reading the third or fourth chapter. The criticism I agree with include the fact that the beginning has too many similar characters and I think would have been stronger following the point of view of the main protagonist from start to finish. Also, the beginning promises one type of sci fi book and then proceeds to deliver an entirely different book until near the end at which point the initially promised book reappears. That said, the concept was interesting and once the story threads crystallized ‘Final Days’ was quite a ride. Moreover, the sequel is superior and I hope the author returns to this series. I really liked the backdrop and concepts laid out here.
3.0 out of 5 starswhich is not necessarily a bad thing. I may be disappointed to finish it
Reviewed in the United States on February 26, 2015
I've had it in my kindle for months and am up to about 95% finished. I mostly read it while I am traveling and it has a tendency to put me to sleep, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I may be disappointed to finish it.
This book was OK. The plot was good and I liked the "hard science" story. But the characters weren't that interesting and - as another reviewer pointed out - the most interesting character isn't the one who turns out to be the "hero". The book did have one nice surprise at the end. Either the reviewer who states several times that this is the first book in a series has some inside information, or he was thinking of another book. The book has a satisfying ending and there aren't any major loose ends - mostly because all the characters except one wind up dying one way or the other.
The sense of helpless impending doom and subtle mind-bending, woven into a chase story had me by the B***ocks from start to finish. Cheers Gary. Have just got Angel Stations on the back of it!!
2.0 out of 5 starsDisappointing, lazy, soggy sci-fi.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 9, 2013
Hmmm...tricky one, this. I tried to like it, honest, but the alleged intricate plot, compelling characters and superbly imagined alien civilisation were nowhere to be seen. What I saw was a plot predicated on a very esoteric bit of physics (time travel via FTL wormholes), sloppy grammar, an over abundance of shallow, disposable characters and a disappointing linear and unfulfilling plot. Think Tom Clancy does the script for a Stargate game and you won't be too far from the truth. I had hoped, all the way through, that there would be some overarching conspiracy to add some meat to the paltry plot but it never happened. You are left with loose ends flapping about all over the place and an overall impression of `why?'; what was the point of the story but mostly why have I just spent several weeks of bed-time reads struggling to enjoy this?
5.0 out of 5 starsCombines science fiction, thriller and apocalyptic vision with an accessible mix of lightness
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 18, 2012
Final Days is one of those novels that has a hook in its opening pages that you will seize on to. Far in the distant future, during a time of few stars, when most galaxies have died, a team of scientists are exploring Site 17, the enigmatic remains of an alien civilisation. These enormous and dangerous ruins form the final destination of a network of wormholes through which mankind has begun to populate the universe. Two members of this secret expedition are consumed by a liquid in a pit that is so destructive a sample cannot be collected. Nevertheless, one of the men - Mitchell Stone - emerges, naked and unharmed but in shock. They return through the wormholes to 2235, the present day of the novel.
The wormholes, then, cross great swathes of space but they can also travel through time. Much of mankind, though, is being kept from the full knowledge of the networks and the alien Founders. Another secret expedition into the near future of Luna (the moon) reveals a devastated solar system, with only one human being surviving - Mitchell Stone preserved in a cryogenics lab. He is returned to earth, as is video revealing the final days of Earth, in the process of destruction by enormous growths towering from the oceans.
Saul Dumont knows all too well the power of the wormholes. His wife and daughter are stranded on the distant planet of Galileo, the wormhole having malfunctioned. While he waits for another wormhole to be connected, ten years on and in just a matter of weeks, he uncovers the truth that the government does not want him or anyone else to know - the truth of the imminent final days of Earth.
Through the novel we follow Saul and a number of other individuals who all know more than they should. Jeff Cairns, a colleague of Mitchell Stone from that calamitous trip to Site 17, has uncovered a conspiracy of his own, realising that he and Mitchell may well be the only survivors of that expedition. Others in power who know exactly what is in store have to deal with it in their own way. And then there are the two Mitchells, both of whom have undergone something incomprehensible at Site 17 - something that has made them different. Saul's mission is to prevent the forces destroying Earth and Luna from reaching the distant colonies. This will take drastic measures and great courage.
Final Days is my first experience of Gary Gibson's novels but it most certainly won't be the last. The story is utterly gripping. There are multiple characters, a few red herrings, and elements that only make sense as the novel continues, and these knot together to create a fascinating, exciting and poignant depiction of Earth's final days.
As well as seeing Earth during these weeks, we also travel offworld into the colonies with Saul - all are vividly portrayed and different from Earth. This is a universe ruled by personal enterprise and the control of government seems tenuous at best. In fact, one feels that rebellion may not be far off.
There may be lots of characters in Final Days but many of them are memorable and not only those who feature throughout the novel. Some are only in the novel for a few pages but their stories matter. While the individual stories cross at various stages of the novel, in the end they are all on their own.
Final Days contains some scenes that completely twisted my mind - most especially in Site 17. There is one idea in particular that I still can't get out of my brain and you need to read the book to discover it!
Final Days combines science fiction, thriller and apocalyptic vision with an accessible mix of lightness and depth that made my jaw drop while bending my mind into all sorts of shapes at the idea of time travel, alien wormholes, stranded colonies, and humanity and free will on the brink of extinction. Quite apart from the mindblowing ideas and the thrilling pace but utter poignancy of the excellent plot, the characters are compelling. And there are so many of them! Final Days may have challenged my memory skills but I thoroughly enjoyed every page.
I suspect that if you know little about science fiction but want to find a way in, Final Days is just the book.
This is my first real dip into a science fiction novel for a long time and I have to say that I absolutely loved this book! I was thoroughly unable to put it down until I'd savored every last word.
The book is really quite complicated. However, it appears to revolve around the responses and reactions of various characters to an extinction-level event on earth caused by human error with regard to the mishandling of extra-terrestrial devices retrieved from something called the Founder Network. I get slightly confused after that and will re-read this book a good few times to thoroughly understand it.
However, the descriptions the author gives us of alien worlds and a future Earth are stunning. The technology and science are fascinating and intriguing. The plot does leave you guessing until the last couple of chapters and is thoroughly engrossing. I don't pretend to completely understand this book just yet but I did truly enjoy it and can't rate it highly enough.
This is a great read, even if your not a wormhole expert or far-future specialist. Truly fantastic, try it!
Full of great ideas and seems to be full of promise, just poorly laid out. I have read some very convoluted stories in my time but this one is really disjointed. From the begining I couldn't understand what was really going on - even read it twice to try and fully understand. The individual bits, scenes\chapters, are very well written and nicely executed; it is just the linking of them all together that is poor. Jarring. I think it could be a great novel, just hope the sequels are better laid out.