I'm always wary of reviews before I read a book; I do not avoid reviews, but after having been burned so many times by hype I find it's best to be car...moreI'm always wary of reviews before I read a book; I do not avoid reviews, but after having been burned so many times by hype I find it's best to be careful of taking others' opinions to heart before I've had a chance with the book myself. That said, the one thing I allowed myself to take away from the few reviews of The Long Earth I'd read beforehand is that it shouldn't be read with the expectation of Discworld or Good Omens in mind. That's very good advice.
I would say that The Long Earth is a near-future speculative fiction with elements of fantasy, tweaked-history, hard science and humor.
The Long Earth's building of both character and setting is beautifully done, starting with vignettes that gradually fill in and come together in a tightly-woven whole. It doesn't begin in the near future and it begins with almost a fake-out; I began this book thinking that this seemingly-unimportant Private that began this story during WWI would be a main character - he is and, then again, he isn't. I continued - more cautious, now - thinking that a policewoman would be a main character. This sort of thing keeps happening, and I think that part of the point of this book is that all of these characters are, in their own way, very important. If it is a fake-out - I'm still not sure about that - then it's a masterful fake-out. I'll have to re-read this book to figure that out.
For those expecting Discworld-style humor, you won't be disappointed. This is not a humorous book, but it does have heavy doses of rather dry humor throughout. For those looking for relatable characters and compelling plot, this book has both in bounds. However, for those looking for a neat and satisfying ending, hope that it's a series and read it whether or not it's neat and satisfying an ending - I certainly want more. (less)
Please note that this is a review written of a book that I have not finished. Once I've finished it - if I ever do - it will be given a review I feel...morePlease note that this is a review written of a book that I have not finished. Once I've finished it - if I ever do - it will be given a review I feel it deserves.
This is not a bad book. Indeed, it is a fairly good book that has received critical acclaim but it is the sort of sci-fi that I, at least, need to be in the mood to read. It jumps into itself in a fairly haphazard fashion and continues in that vein through to the point I've stopped at. Whether any of its various threads connect to make a cohesive whole I don't know, but I do hope that that's the case.
There are very few books that I abandon for more than a few weeks at a time and later come back to. This has turned out to be such a book, having sat for more than a couple of months on my shelf without being able to bring myself to restart it. To be fair, this book finds itself in good company for me, other such books having turned out to be some of my favorites; I, Robot was such a book, as were Footfall and Heart of the Comet. Until I can pick it back up, however, it's sitting in limbo between those noble examples and a truly abandoned read.(less)