I've read some books in Alastair Reynolds' Revelation series and I more or less liked them. So when I've heard of a new book from the same author I've decided to try it. The result is mixed. For most of Revenger I disliked the characters and the story, but the ideas in it made me want to see what was going to happen next.

What you need to understand is that this is a straight pirate story, only set in the future and in space. It starts with two girls that decide to leave their world and join a spaceship crew in order to make some money. Only they get jumped by pirates, so one of the girls must fight the system and her own nature to become hard enough to find the pirates and save her sister.

The problem is that the characters are hard to empathize with, are pretty inconsistent and always stretch belief in this world in which space crews are uneducated louts speaking in jargon and going from world to world in search for ancient technology they cannot understand that was left by long gone alien races. The only part of the book that made me want to read the next one was the very end, the rest was people acting weird, not thinking too much and speaking a lot.

Bottom line: I can't recommend the book. I might read the next one, after all the books in Revelation Space had wildly varying degrees of quality. The ideas are nice, the implementation is what hurts the book.

Ugh! The fifth book of the Revelation Space series , The Prefect, is the worst so far. Not only is it standalone, but it is also a prequel, something that happends pre-plague. All the characters seem to have been lobotomized some time in the past (possibly in an operation that also mixed their brains around so that they all sound and act the same), including the bad guys, and the story is completely boring. Nothing in this novel makes any sense, nor does it make you feel anything special, quite the contrary, the scenes that were supposed to bring out feelings for the reader felt really forced and had the opposite effect.

The only good thing in the book was the ClockMaker, all 10 pages of it or whatever. Couldn't you start with the ClockMaker, continue with the ClockMaker and end with the ClockMaker and forget all about the stupid and randomly emotional people, mr Reynolds?

The fourth book by Alastair Reynolds that I've read recently, also set in the Revelation Space world, Absolution Gap follows the adventures of the ship Nostalgia for Infinity as it flees the "culling" of the Delta Pavonis star system by the swarm like machines called the Inhibitors. There is no purpose in reading the book without the others, as the story starts where it had left and continues to a more or less open ending.

This felt like the best book so far, however the enjoyment that I got from it had its very brutal ups and downs. While the beginning starts with full force and made me want to not let go of the book until I finish it, there was a side story that seemed not to have any connection with the main arc. When they finally met, they left me with that "What the fuck?" feeling. The ending was a jiggly up and down ranging from very cool and completely dumb. Not that the writing style faltered, but the behaviour of some of the characters really annoyed the crap out of me.

I would have to say that the ending was the most anticlimactic of all the books in the series, but the book is definitely the best yet.

As I was saying in the last posts about the Revelation Space books by Alastair Reynolds, the guy has a problem with his own personality bleeding into the one of his characters. However, as the second book was better than the first, so the third one, Redemption Ark, seemed to be better than the second. It may be because now the main focus is on the Conjoiners, the fabled human faction that gave the star drives, facing the threat of the Inhibitors. Also, a very promising explanation of where they got the idea from in the first place.

We are seeing a lot of old characters from the previous books in this third installment, which bothered me a little because they weren't really needed, but it's not too annoying. Also, some of the awesome technological feats in the book are only partially explained and sometimes even completely ignored and left to a vague description, like "distant lights" when referring to a Hell weapons vs Inhibitors battle. But the focus, as always, was more on the human interaction than on the technical part, although there was blessingly more tech than in the first two books.

Since I've finished the book while away from home, I started reading another book, not the fourth in the series, so you will probably have to wait a while longer before I review that, but rest assured, I fully intend to read the entire saga.

Chasm City is the second book from the Revelation Space series written by Alastair Reynolds. It is set in the same universe, give a few hundred years, and it felt to me as a better, more mature book than Revelation Space. However, truth be told, the ending had the same flaw: the personality of the author bled through all the characters, transforming them into a do-good Scooby Doo gang, eager to solve mysteries and help people. Sorry, Mr. Reynolds, you're just too nice of a person! :)

Anyway, this time the plot revolves around issues of personal goals and identity, the very definition of a persona and of quality of life. While the story is intricate enough to make it a great book, I thought many of the concepts in it were very interesting, but insufficiently explored. Then again, explore any concept long enough and you never get to the other end, so at least having a complete coherent story that spans the entire plot is a big plus.

I just started Redemption Ark, the third book, which (finally! :) ) deals with the Conjoiners and a technologically advanced alien race. Or at least it starts that way. Happy reading!

I had not read a scifi book in quite a while, but then I heard of Alastair Reynolds, once an employee of ESA, and now turned hard sci fi writer. I just had to read something by him and I started with Revelation Space, the first of the Revelation Space universe books, which spans 5 books and several short stories and novellas.

What can I say? I loved the book. Not in a very intellectual way, though. Certainly the universe in which the action takes place is very ingenious and the story full of twists and hi-tech marvels, however, I felt like the writing style was not completely to my liking. The characters are all very much alike, the leaps in logic are pretty big and only to support previous ideas that the book had put forward. It seemed lazy to me. But I did say I loved the book, once I got over the "revelation" that the PhD in Astrophysics and the ESA work did not compel Mr. Reynolds to be very thorough. Besides, it's only the first volume. Maybe the next ones will be more natural, now that a first book has established the rules of the universe.

Prepare to delve in a place where technology is way more advanced than today, but faster than light travel is not yet possible and the lives of people on spaceships, frozen in stasis and moving at relativistic speeds, feel like weeks have passed between a world and another, while for the people on the planets decades or even centuries have passed. Extinct races, time spans of billions of years and impressive armament (both in the physical and virtual realms), favourably offset the fact that humans are pretty much the same and they all sound like Asimov characters :)