Or the ‘Slow Painful Death of Reality’…
There’s a brilliant tale somewhere in ‘The City at the End of Time’, it’s a book full of pregnant thoughts and weighty expectations but in the end I admit I was left just as unfulfilled as I did when launching into this difficult piece of prose. By splitting his story between so many characters the author, Greg Bear, risked spreading his story too thin but in fact it’s perhaps the characters themselves that let the grander tale down.
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I received this book as part of a Goodreads Giveaway at the end of 2012, and I’m glad to say it continues the trend of high quality fares available from this site. Brett Battles ‘No Return’ is an excellent mystery/thriller story which is partly about the navy covering up the death of a US Fighter Pilot but also partly about one man’s return back home for the first time since childhood. At its heart is a strong, surprisingly affecting tale about facing up to the consequences of your actions, something lead character Wes has been hiding from for fifteen years. This is something I’m glad of because the ‘high octane’ blurb on the back didn’t sell itself to me nearly as much as the close-nit tale Brett Battles story deserves.
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This is it, this is the grand finale to one of the longest trilogies I’ve ever embarked on, a grand space opera that aims to both epic in scale and incredibly personal at the same time. It’s a laudable aim and this book probably comes closest to achieving Peter F. Hamilton’s goal. The scale of this adventure increases once again, branching out into other constellations and star systems and even other universes but at the same time focus shifts from these cosmic matters and onto the individual choices and actions of our protagonists.
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‘The Neutronium Alchemist’ demonstrates many things; drama, action, wit, intelligence but most of all it boasts staying power. I read and enjoyed ‘The Reality Dysfunction’ although I commented on how bloated it felt; incorporating many plot threads that went nowhere or weren’t developed upon. It’s a description I stand by, the first book in this trilogy could have been a much tighter more condense read, however those extra chapters weren’t just fat. Slowly but surely Peter F. Hamilton has been placing all the pieces on the board for an enormous free for all which ‘The Neutronium Alchemist’ boasts freely.
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Be warned: ‘The Reality Dysfunction’ is a long book. Over 1225 pages, and even then it provides only the first chapter of a truly epic story that spans multiple solar systems, species and planes of existence. If I had to sum up Peter Hamilton’s achievements here in one word I would simply use ‘epic’.
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