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Publisher's Summary

Nine hundred thousand years ago, something annihilated the Amarantin civilization just as it was on the verge of discovering space flight. Now one scientist, Dan Sylveste, will stop at nothing to solve the Amarantin riddle before ancient history repeats itself.

With no other resources at his disposal, Sylveste forges a dangerous alliance with the cyborg crew of the starship Nostalgia for Infinity. But as he closes in on the secret, a killer closes in on him because the Amarantin were destroyed for a reason. And if that reason is uncovered, the universe - and reality itself - could be irrevocably altered.

©2008 Alastair Reynolds; (P)2008 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"One of the best books of the year." (Science Fiction Chronicle)
"Ferociously intelligent and imbued with a chilling logic - it may really be like this Out There." (Stephen Baxter, co-author of The Light of Other Days)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    1,201
  • 4 Stars
    1,102
  • 3 Stars
    603
  • 2 Stars
    231
  • 1 Stars
    126

Performance

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    1,223
  • 4 Stars
    769
  • 3 Stars
    376
  • 2 Stars
    150
  • 1 Stars
    115

Story

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    1,042
  • 4 Stars
    848
  • 3 Stars
    461
  • 2 Stars
    182
  • 1 Stars
    102
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  • Overall

I did not enjoy this book

I did not enjoy this book, though I finished it at least. The characters were the issue, poorly developed with not a redeeming quality between them. The story would sway from tedious slogging detail about the most mundane topics, and then blow through interesting bits in a paragraph or two.

I'm a huge fan of Peter F. Hamilton's "universe" and have devoured them all. I guess I was hoping for something of that quality with this series. Alas, no.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Excellent Read (Listen)

Mr. Reynolds is an excellent story teller and, in particular, a great SF author. He is able to weave a delightful tale mixing extraordinary scientific developments with an intriguing account incorporating mystery, adventure, and beguiling characters. Mr. Lee is well suited to tell the tale. His slight accent and intonations add to the suspense. This book is a must listen for anyone who likes SF.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great premise, perhaps overly intricate

If you like hard science fiction this is probably worth a listen. An expansive, harsh universe is revealed through multiple points of view in the book. Perhaps the most interesting ideas in this book are related to examining inevitable outcomes of multiple species evolving to the point of interstellar expansion... and, of course, conflict.

Three things that were distracting in the book for me:

1) The narrarator's conucopia of dialect: you can play spot the accent with French, Japanese, Russian, and (I kid you not) rastafari.

2) The insertion by the author of almost trite names for important players in the book like "sun stealer" and "nostalgia for infinity." Imagine if Frank Herbert had called Arrakis "the big sandy orb."

3) All the grand and mysterious buildup seems to end rather abruptly.. left me wondering if the author was writing to beat a deadline.

Those issues were not enough to prevent enjoying the book.. great concepts, interesting ideas.

11 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

"Endured Revelation Space" achievement unlocked

With all my prior audio books, I never read the descriptions before buying them. With this one I should have. Everything you'll read about the horrible audio engineering in this production are true. The quick cuts in the scene changes didn't bother as much as they bothered other people, but I was really frustrated with the way that the end of every sentence was cross faded into silence. I perpetually thought I had an incoming phone call or something.

The actual narration is good. The accents help deprecate the charters and John lee's style is fitting for the subject matter. I don't think any of the fault is on him.

All that aside, this just isn't a good book to be read allowed. It requires too much concentration and time to mull things over and pause. Even when I was doing nothing else but listening to the book I would find myself constantly going off on mental tangents caused by the ideas in the book and then having to rewind once I remembered I was supposed to be listing to the story. In the end, I probably listened to this book twice with all the rewinding I had to do.

10/10 though amazing. Will be reading the remaining books however.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Slow fuse with a Big Bang!

I can really only recommend this for someone with a great deal of patience. The narrator does a terrific job, but Reynolds' prose is overblown, unnecessarily grandiose and moves at a snails' pace; one chapter was devoted almost entirely to the ship's weapons being aimed. That said, Reynolds has a knack for high concept science fiction and his characters are absolutely captivating. If you don't mind the wait, you'll see why Revelation Space is considered by many as an under-appreciated Sci-fi classic.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Story is very interesting but terrible narration

Story is intriguing with a very exotic and alien world. There are a lot of elements thrown out at you immediately which are difficult to follow without any reference within the world to clarify. I assume one would slowly build up an understanding of this universe except the narration makes it frustrating to follow. The narration is very wooden and blasts right thru scenes with hardly any verbal cues. I found it extremely painful to follow and often didn't realize the story had shifted to a different place or character. Overall the reading was just so poor I didn't want listen any more.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Narrator makes a mediocre book bad

What would have made Revelation Space better?

I generally like Alastair Reynolds, but there is zero character development in this book. I could care less about any of them.

Would you recommend Revelation Space to your friends? Why or why not?

No. Weak book and a worse audiobook. Drags on, repeats itself, broken sequencing just for the sake of it.

How could the performance have been better?

The reader is too quiet too much of the time. I listen in the car and had to constantly adjust the volume because he moves from mumbling to speaking normally every other sentence. His natural speaking voice isn't bad...but every accent he has sounds like a soft-spoken vampire being forced to speak in a French accent at gunpoint.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Enjoyed it but editing was difficult

Great story in a very interesting universe, but the performance suffered because the producer left no space between sections.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Enjoyed the story but difficult to listen

Any additional comments?

I see others like John Lee's performance but I found it to be the most annoying I've ever experienced. I must follow up that he does improve with the subsequent books. I suspect that he read Redemption Ark after Revelation Space and made Chasm City his third reading. This is because I noticed a great improvement in Chasm City, which I read second and then noticed Redemption Ark was as poor as the first. I'm speaking of his tendency to drop off at the end of every sentence. I listen primarily on the road and found it nearly impossible to follow the story. I'd turn the volume to maximum and have the first of every line blast out but still the end of the sentences were mostly unintelligible. And I've heard much better voice diversity in most other performances. He started the series with only three or four voices and I have yet to hear gender differences. Plus, the lack of pause between sections. He was one or two paragraphs into a section before I realized difference characters were speaking in a completely different environment.
BUT, I do notice great improvement with each subsequent book. I hate criticizing someone who has a talent that I don't have. I am amazed at anyone of the narrators of all audio books as they are mostly gifted speakers. But I've grown used to much better performances.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Dubi
  • New York, NY
  • 09-12-15

Ultimate Revelation: Tedious, Anticlimactic

I really wanted to like this book. Recommendations I highly trust convinced me to buy it and listen. I really wanted them to be proven right, despite some reviews to the contrary. After 26 hours (22 hour running time plus several hours of relistening to parts that were hard to follow, sometimes two, three, four times over), my feeling about this book was clearly going to hinge on the ultimate revelations during the final hours. No spoilers, but after so much tedious writing and listening, the reveals were disappointing and anticlimactic. Not worth the wait. An investment gone bad.

Until then, I was at about 3 1/2 stars, ready to conclude that this is a book better read than heard. The pace is glacial, plot and character development inching along at an excruciating rate, if at all. The writing style, from start to finish, consistently violates the first rule of good fiction: show, don't tell. Here's a newflash, Al: having your characters explain things to each other as their main form of dialogue is no better than your own lengthy expositions -- both are prime examples of bad writing. Not that I'm here to judge you as a writer -- it's just painful to listen to.

A book editor should have cut this novel in half and instructed the author to dramatize, not recite, his plot points, technical descriptions, settings, etc. Newsflash number two, Al: that also helps in character development, which you have absolutely failed to do, despite a number of highly original creations. Case in point, to take a scene where you do show rather than tell: when Ilia is falling through the ship and figures out how to save herself -- an action scene that shows us her character and describes the ship and its propulsion technology. Sadly, the only example I can think of.

The audio director should have been fired for the hatchet job this book has undergone. Many reviewers have already lambasted the lack of any way to distinguish between sections as scenes and characters shift, as well as the gratuitous accents. Not that John Lee does a bad job, he is actually pretty good, reading at a good pace, and doing well with the accents -- the director should have directed him to just read, no accents.

One technical issue that hasn't been pointed out elsewhere: The volume variations make this recording almost unlistenable in a car or through ear buds. It goes from sotto voce to a shout in a heartbeat, and back. I found that a single uptick of volume often took it from too low to too loud, and vice versa. And then of course, with relevant plot points occurring only once every half hour or so, if you're stuck in volume purgatory, you can easily miss it, and not even realize that you've missed anything until hours later.

One reviewer says that this is not the Revelation Space book to start with, so I think I will give the series another shot. Not right away, mind you -- I'm going to listen to something short and funny next.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • JP
  • 01-15-18

It was worth persisting with...

Any additional comments?

It took me a while to get to grips with the narration, but I'd heard so many good things about the book and in the end it was well worth persisting with. Particularly annoying was the habit of starting sentences loudly and tailing off at the end - at what volume do you set your headphones! Sorry, that's more than enough. That said, I found this a complex and ultimately very satisfying story and once I got into it, I was able to keep track of when and with whom the action was taking place. The author's scientific background comes through enough to make the sequences plausible without overloading with too much geeky detail and I just downloaded book 2.

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  • ross
  • 12-04-17

good, but with flaws

its a combination of the performance and writing, but in the first part of the book, it can be hard to tell when one strand of the story changes to the next. third is also definitely a book which believes in lots of description. in places you could quite easily remove two thirds of the sentences without damaging the plot.

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  • Ben
  • 10-25-17

Slow start, gets good

Starts very slow, but gets really good in the final third. If there is an abridged version, go for that instead.

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  • murrayi001
  • 10-19-17

not bad, but looses its flow

not bad, but jumps from location to location with the reader barley taking a breath, so throws things and looses the flow

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  • mr scott weir
  • 10-16-17

Amazing book, best SF ever

I love this series. So many different elements to explore. Mind boggling concepts to make you think.

  • Overall
  • Iain Leedham
  • 08-16-17

Confusing

For most of the time this had me slightly confused the rest of the time I hadn't got a clue what was happening

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  • Jon Wilson
  • 08-11-17

Gid Moaning

As so many others have said, the reader's accents seem to be channeling Arthur Bostrom from 'allo 'allo. I can only guess the producer fell asleep, because apart from telling the narrator to take it easy with the silly voices, they should also have applied some compression: he has a peculiar vocal style where the first half of every phrase is louder than the second. It trails off to the point that when I'm listening anywhere with any kind of background noise I have to rewind to hear what I missed.

As for the story, I can only imagine Reynolds is a huge Arthur C Clarke fan, and that's no bad thing. I think I'll be seeking out more of his books (or even audiobooks if the narration is better)

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • J. Concannon
  • 08-07-17

Lack of pause between scene changes

The narrators failure to pause between changes of scene and character made following the narrative more difficult than necessary. The story was so so, none of the characters sympathetic enough to sustain interest in their fate, the plot neither really mysterious enough nor with sufficient action or suspense to hold attention. I struggled to pay attention. Not in the same league as, for example, Ian M. Banks.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-02-17

I'm sure it's a great story but...

the narration jumps between linked storiez without so much as a breath. this has the effect of not knowing which story/timeline you're actually listening to and a sense of total confusion ensues... had to stop listening as I really didn't know where or what was going on.

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  • Matt Trudel
  • 07-28-17

Boring and dull

I'm a huge fan of science fiction but not even that could hold my interest. Long explanations and dull tangents made this a chore. Also the performance by John Lee only serves to make this even more tedious. I got this on the daily deal and I still feel ripped off. Avoid.