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Pandora's Star (Commonwealth Saga #1)

4.23  ·  Rating Details  ·  28,540 Ratings  ·  1,395 Reviews
It is AD 2380, and humanity has colonised over six hundred planets, all interlinked by wormholes. With Earth at its centre, the Intersolar Commonwealth has grown into a quiet, wealthy society, where rejuvenation allows its citizens to live for centuries.

When astronomer Dudley Bose observes a star over a thousand light years away vanish, imprisoned inside a force field of i
Paperback, 882 pages
Published 2004 by Macmillan
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Michael Bennett Because like the myth, when they visited Prime stars they unleashed, all kind of destruction and death on the human race. Very apt title once you look…moreBecause like the myth, when they visited Prime stars they unleashed, all kind of destruction and death on the human race. Very apt title once you look at it that way. The shielded star contained loads of evil.(less)
Gerard Ditch it immediately! Don't waste another minute on this overblown, badly written nonsense.
My god it was a terribly long march to the end and it just…more
Ditch it immediately! Don't waste another minute on this overblown, badly written nonsense.
My god it was a terribly long march to the end and it just got worse page by page. There were whole plot lines that went nowhere and characters who did nothing and added less.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Ben Babcock
We begin at the beginning, because the beginning is awesome and foreshadows the epic quality of Pandora's Star, as well as the sense of humour, levity, and gravity that Peter F. Hamilton uses to create an incredibly compelling and vast narrative.

Wilson Kime is the pilot of the first manned Mars lander. The mission crew steps onto the surface and raises the United States flag, only to be interrupted by a stranger in a home-made space suit. That suit is attached to a pressure hose providing a brea
Sep 11, 2008 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I have very mixed feelings about this book, and of the experience of having read it. As a result, I'm not sure I can say that I truly 'enjoyed' it; it's well-crafted, overall, but at the same time not without its frustrations.

First, the good stuff: there's a hugely epic plot here, ultimately concerned with ensuring the continued survival of the human race; bold, three-dimensional characters who are intriguing, and draw you into their story; plot twists that you truly never see coming, and which
6.0 stars. This one may make it onto my list of "All Time Favorites" but I am going to wait until I finish Judas Unchained as the two books should really be treated as one VERY LONG novel. This was an amazing read filled with mind blowing ideas and superb (and I really mean superb) world-building. Do not let the length of the book keep you from giving it a try. It is incredibly well-written throughout and I think the length is warranted given how much is going on. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
Dec 17, 2012 Andy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
From the other ratings, there are lots of people who like this a lot, so it may be unfair to review this book in comparison with the best "hard science fiction." Thus, this is a warning for the other people who don't know what "space opera" is and are looking for the next Asimov or OS Card. He's not here.

Space opera. According to Wikipedia, "New space opera proponents claim that the genre centers on character development, fine writing, high literary standards, verisimilitude, and a moral explora
Sep 13, 2010 Yarrow rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What a mediocre attempt. I somehow managed to slog through all 989 pages of this, and it never completely lost its narrative thread, in spite of an astonishing redundancy in unnecessary description. It is also significantly hampered by a lack of imagination; my suspension of disbelief cannot withstand the idea of the year 2380 basically looking *just like* the year 2010, only with extra planets, and a small handful of cool new tech. By the end of this tome, Hamilton has *almost* managed to put t ...more
Jul 23, 2013 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2012
5 Super big stars

A new favorite read of mine. This massive tome has everything that a sci-fi lover would ever want...

Review to come

What a total waste...I never came back and wrote a review for this book which is now among my very favorite novels. This is probably the longest novel that I have ever read, but I never felt it. Hamilton creates a massive cast, places them in an epic adventure, and has it cover vast distances of space. This is truly space opera at its finest.

I wish that I had taken t
David Sven
Nov 09, 2012 David Sven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, favourites
It’s been a while since I’ve read Sci fi this good. I’ve probably been making poor reading choices in this genre for a bit. But finally, I’ve hit pay dirt with an author who has hit the sweet spot with great concepts, epic landscape/world building, excellent plot, AND , very importantly, excellent CHARACTERISATION. The story is set some 300 years in the future where wormhole technology has allowed humanity to spread out to begin colonising other star systems.

This was a big book and a lot denser
Radu Stanculescu
May 27, 2015 Radu Stanculescu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: SciFi fans
Don't be fooled by the separation of the "Commonwealth Saga" into two books (this one and "Judas Unchained"). It's just a big-big book, so know that if you're starting this one you'll have a total of about 2000 pages to read. :)

More "mature" and with a more refined style than the "Night's Dawn" trilogy, the "Commonwealth Saga" is still a mix of a good number of different story lines that flow towards a (very distant) convergence point. It's got some pretty "alien" aliens, good humour and interes
At the end of the day, I liked Pandora's Star enough to finish it and continue with the second half of the story (Judas Unchained). However, this book took a loooong time to get going, and there were quite a few times when I was about ready to give up on it. There were also so many subplots that didn't seem to start connecting until near the end of the book, and were then finally realized in the sequel. I found it very easy to put down and forget about for a while, but I also found myself still ...more
Dirk Grobbelaar
First of all, let's get all the bad things about this book out of the way. Um... let's see. It's really, really thick. Oh, and it has a cliffhanger ending, because of the sequel. Um... surely there must be something else I can come up with?

Now, the good: and, boy, there is a lot of that. This novel reads like a greatest hits of everything that is cool about science fiction. Yes, it is a massive book, but that's because it's filled with all kinds of goodies. You want it? It's probably here. It a
May 06, 2011 Sandi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, audiobooks, 2011
90% of Pandora's Star irked the crap out of me. First, it just goes on and on and on. It's seems like a bunch of stories pieced together with no real connection. Many of the storylines never even go anywhere. Hamilton does a phenomenal job of over-describing everything. It gets mind-numbing.

Second, the sexism really annoyed the heck out of me. I'm not usually one to scream "sexism", but Hamilton can't resist talking about any female character's looks and about how some male character would like
Mar 16, 2016 Kaitlin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-2016
This book was my first forray into the work of Hamilton, a very well-established Science Fiction writer. Sadly, although I think some of Hamilton's ideas are super interesting and would make for a hugely complex and exciting Universe, these good ideas are so few and far between in amongst the 1,000+ page length that with the time it took to get to the next 'moment' I had already lost my excitement for the last one. I am definitely not afraid of a big book, in fact big books are some of my favour ...more
Mar 22, 2015 Apatt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-20, sf-top-20
This book is fat!

That was my first thought upon picking up this book. Still with all the recommendations I have been getting from the good people at Reddit's science fiction books community ("r/Print SF") and other reviews I wanted to give it a go. With a book this long I would end up either rating it one star for wasting so many hours of my time or five stars for entertaining me for those many hours. I think I'll be magnanimous once again and go for the 5 stars option! This is not to say the bo
Daniel Roy
May 03, 2011 Daniel Roy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
Being a huge fan of the 'Night's Dawn' trilogy, I was naturally very happy to get my hands on this book. If you liked 'Night's Dawn', there's a chance you will find something to your liking in here - but don't expect anything approaching the quality of 'The Neutronium Alchemist'.

In this series (completed by 'Judas Unchained' next year), Hamilton seems to set out to do something similar to what he did in 'Night's Dawn': present a riveting, complex world and then take a sledgehammer to it. The uni
At 1,144 pages, Pandora's Star by Peter F. Hamilton is not a casual read. Hamilton uses all of those pages to create a rich and detailed future of the human race. Entertaining, frustrating, and exhilarating, Pandora's Star slowly pulls the reader into it's grasp and doesn't let go.

Pandora's Star has a lot of characters and plenty of points-of-view, making it a little daunting at first. That said, Hamilton does a great job of making each character distinct and interesting. Even characters I initi
Well then. I hope that book reviews don't need to be a length that's proportional to the size of the book being reviewed. Actually, I can safely say that this one definitely won't be.

Damn, that was a big tome. And as much as I like John Lee, I need a new reader in my next book. Between this and Revelation Space, I've heard John Lee's voice more this year than any member of my family's voice. My wife does say I can tune her out, and unfortunately I think this happened with Mr. Lee as well for lar
Jun 08, 2009 Jim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is almost 1,000 pages long and is only Part 1 of a 2 part series. If you throw out 2/3 of it, you have one whopping good story.

This is "book bloat" at its worst. There is so much non-essential garbage in this book that I could not wait to finish. It is filled with non-essential details of people you wind up not caring about and who, in effect, are not all that germane to the story or even worth caring about.

A reviewer listed on the cover warns us that we will not be able to put this do
M Hamed
Mar 07, 2016 M Hamed rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, hard-sci-fi
Problem 1:
the writer answer to grand families and intersolar dynasties (what is the difference you say?? no idea )is the eternal fight between capitalism and Communism ,the writer Presents communism as the ultimate answer to the problem of the corrupt wealth ,and of course this is believed by one of the most intellectual characters in the book ......
Now as the story progresses. you get the feel that the writer is not an idiot. as he constantly bring the problems you have with the book and discus
Antonio Diaz
Este Peter F. Hamilton es una joya. El libro es buenísimo, un compendio gigantesco que presenta una humanidad que ha logrado extenderse por la galaxia gracias a un sistema de agujeros de gusano al más puro estilo Stargate. Las naves espaciales son inexistentes porque resultan totalmente inútiles, ¿por qué volar de un lado a otro cuando puedes teleportarte?

La exploración y colonización de muchos mundos en un periodo relativamente corto de tiempo ha terminado con muchos de los problemas de la huma
‘La estrella de Pandora’, del inglés Peter F. Hamilton, es una de las mejores space opera de los últimos tiempos. Aunque la variedad de temas que toca la novela no se quedan únicamente en este subgénero. Trama política, especulación, novela policíaca, ciencia ficción militar, primer contacto, aventuras, misterio, todos estos temas también están presentes en ‘La estrella de Pandora’.

La historia nos sitúa a finales del siglo XXIV, en una sociedad transformada por los grandes avances tecnológicos.
Jul 10, 2007 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: space nerds
This book is some awesome sci-fi. The author busts opens two major limitations of modern science, mortality and faster than light travel, and coolness ensues.

If that's not enough for you, there is political intrigue, conspiracies and hyper-aggressive aliens to battle.

Please to enjoy.

I give Pandora's Star five terra-formable planets out of five.
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Mar 30, 2016 Rachel (Kalanadi) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
3.5 stars, rounding up

Quick pros: complex story, huge cast of characters, and it was cool to see how people crossed paths. I love that it's very, very hard SF. With huge stakes!

It's easier to spew about the cons than pros with this one, honestly. I just really enjoyed the story and the worldbuilding and really need to know how it ends!

Quick cons: Um. The sexism. Yeah. Paula is the only main female character who doesn't get a sex kitten moment. Probably because she's written as a man. And just -
Feb 03, 2015 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: space opera fans
Recommended to Rob by: David Sven
Executive Summary: A really enjoyable hard sci-fi space opera, with only a few minor complaints to prevent it from a 5 star rating.

Audio book: This is the first book I've listened to narrated my Mr. Lee. He does an excellent job. He does a few voices, but I sometimes had a hard time determining who they were at first. It felt like he was using the same voices for multiple characters at time. Overall I was happy with the narration though.

Full Review
Is Epic Sci-Fi a thing? If not it should be. O
Feb 25, 2016 Colin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
Made it about halfway through until there was a chapter filled with such monumentally, unbelievably stupid actions on the part of the some key characters that I had to go look up on Wikipedia how things were going to go.... whether the whole plot depended on these monumentally stupid actions.

It turns out it was even worse than I thought. Just lazy, stupid, unconvincing, and not particularly original plotting.

So, the bloated first 534 pages or so do have some interesting ideas, underneath the blo
Billy Maise
May 27, 2009 Billy Maise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever read a book so life-changing that you don't know what to say about it? Well, this is that kind of book.

I got this book from the library a few days before by sixteenth birthday. Little did I know that it would blow my mind within the first 100 pages. And then, when I scooped all of the brain matter off the walls of my room and meticulously reconstructed my cranium, it blew my mind again. And again. And again.

There was a scene where the aliens capture a member of a human expedition c
Dec 11, 2015 Shari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
What a read... Over a thousand pages... I thought it would take me a long time to read but it was so exciting I finished it in a little over two weeks. A lot of things happen in this novel - mystery, alien encounters, engineering, politics, detective work, battles, invasions; and these parts took a long time to converge and make sense. But when they do, there was no other thing left to do but order Judas Unchained before finishing the last 200 pages. What I truly liked in this novel is not only ...more
Nov 24, 2015 Sumant rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pandora's star is my first book of Hamilton which I have read, first thoughts which come to my mind after finishing this book is that it is a huge book and their are multiple plot lines which run parallel to the main plot, but Hamilton manages to keep your attention throughout the book. He has created a rich world, which he describes throughout the book, but instead of feeling tiresome reading lengthy descriptions about the different worlds and their species, it enriches your experience, more so ...more
Andrew Obrigewitsch
Jan 08, 2015 Andrew Obrigewitsch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
That ending made me LOL, seriously the author wrote it for all those people that hate cliff hanger endings.

This series strives to compete with the likes of Dune and Hyperion, which are the top space opera books, and the ones which set the highest bar. And trust me that's really tough competition. It actually does a good job of measuring up, but doesn't make it.

There are just a few minor flaws.

One thing I find funny in Sci-fi and that characters always talk about current science that is being
May 05, 2011 Ryandake rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
just finished off Pandora's Star--am vacillating wildly between wanting to punch hamilton in the nose and wanting to read the sequel.

i mean, what a great, great setup. i am smoking with envy for the imagination that dreamt up the world(s) hamilton built. and the kick-start for the book--the disappearance of the stars--is breathtaking. i mean, it's so like humans, to be unable to leave that alone.

hamilton's cast of characters wouldn't fit on a double-decker bus, but that's ok. he makes it work. a
Jan 13, 2009 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hamilton does it again. By 'it', I mean: weaves an excellent story, fully realizing an amazing sci-fi universe told from the perspective of about thirty different characters. By 'it', I also mean: writes 1 gigantic book, then breaks into parts that have no business being called 'books' of there own.

Pandora's Star took a long time to get going. I pushed through the slowness in the beginning because I knew, having read him before, that it would all mean something. Thirty desperate stories all humm
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Peter F. Hamilton is a British science fiction author. He is best known for writing space opera. As of the publication of his tenth novel in 2004, his works had sold over two million copies worldwide, making him Britain's biggest-selling science fiction author.
More about Peter F. Hamilton...

Other Books in the Series

Commonwealth Saga (3 books)
  • Misspent Youth
  • Judas Unchained

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“How you humans survive so much experience is something I shall never understand. To do so much and react to it all in the way you do is as much a curse as a blessing. You never take time to digest and appreciate what happens to you.” 13 likes
The hostile force! The reasone the barrier was established. "Astrophysics, do we know what's causing that?"

"No, sir," Bruno said cheerfully. "Not a clue".”
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