Adrian's Reviews > Century Rain

Century Rain by Alastair Reynolds
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's review
Sep 16, 11

it was amazing

I've recently become a big fan of Alastair Reynolds, and with good reason! His currently released clutch of Science Fiction stories are inventive, well written, suspenseful, surprisingly close to actual scientific theory and generally really rather good. Despite his great writing style, it's always worth noting that, while many of his stories work as stand alone reads, they really are best when tied into the overarching world, and the explanations of his plethora of inventive new technological macgubbins can seem very stuffy and over-long if your not the type to care about how finely and realistically crafted his work is (I think those in the know call it "hard Sci-Fi", but I don't know if I'm in the know, so I really don't know, y'know?).

Century Rain is a bit different for several reasons. Firstly, it's a complete stand-alone story, with no links or mention of his other works. Secondly, its premise involves flip-flopping (note: not the technical term) between gritty film noire land and slick sci-fi in a move that might sound schizophrenic but actually works really well.

I don't want to give anything away (beyond what's on the blurb at least), but the marrying of these two very distinct worlds and the clashing personalities they contain is done brilliantly, with a deft touch that stops it ever becoming unnatural. The characters are a brilliantly written band of wildly varied people (something Reynolds is a bit of a master at), the story full of intrigue and mystery, and both settings are so well-realised as to be characters in their own right. He never overdoes the technological descriptions, which might upset fans of the awesome ideas the Revelation Space arc is stuffed with, but really improves the atmosphere and feel of the overall read.

Personally, I can't recommend this enough. It's a fantastic, gripping book that is both clever and enjoyable without ever being overwhelming, and a great change of style and pace to other sci-fi and detective stories. First class!
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