Ian's Reviews > Redemption Ark

Redemption Ark by Alastair Reynolds
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's review
Jul 25, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: audiobook, fits-like-a-glove, love-strong-women, space-opera, unique-theories, blowing-shit-up, revelation-space, the-innocent-get-screwed
Read from November 03, 2011 to July 20, 2012 , read count: 2

In Revelation Space, Alastair Reynolds set up the framework of a creative, somewhat unique, and entirely believable future universe in which humanity is a star-faring civilization over the local portion of our galaxy spanning maybe a few dozen light years. As I explained in my review of that book, he set up a framework with rules and limits, but still sufficiently flexible to allow for creativity and imagination. Reynolds' book The Prefect , a stand-alone novel set in one corner of the Revelation Space universe, is a good example of that creativity at work. Revelation Space itself also could be read as a stand-alone novel, thought it obviously leads threads dangling for a future sequel and, while you could find Revelation Space satisfying all by itself, if you enjoy it as much as I did you'll want to read the sequel right away. That's where Redemption Ark comes in.

Unlike Revelation Space, Redemption Ark does not read as a satisfying stand-alone. Redemption Ark clearly is a narrative bridge between the first and third books in the Revelation Space trilogy. That's not really a criticism—it is what it is—though it does, under my personal rules, mean I can only give Redemption Ark a maximum of four stars, as I dock a star for books that are not self-contained, baring exceptional circumstances. Redemption Ark is still quite good—maybe not as good as Revelation Space, but still skillfully and creatively written. I suppose, in other words, that Redemption Ark follows the typical pattern we've come to expect of the "second book" in a trilogy.

I enjoyed Redemption Ark, for sure. It introduced some new characters to the Revelation Space trilogy's storyline and introduced a new human society to the great congress of human civilization in the Revelation Space universe. The newly introduced characters don't strike me as deep or relatable as the characters introduced in Revelation Space—one or two are definitely more two-dimensional than I would prefer—but they perform their roles more than adequately. The newly introduced human society, the Conjoiners, are well thought-out and well adapted to both the Revelation Space universe and the trilogy's storyline, so Reynolds did a good job there.

Overall, Redemption Ark is more than worth your time if you're wanting to read the whole trilogy or if you just want to get your hands on anything set in the Revelation Space universe. Much, though not all, of the positive things I had to say in my reviews of Revelation Space and The Prefect apply to this book just as well. However, I would not recommend Redemption Ark if you're looking for a good stand-alone space opera, and nor should you begin your journey through the Revelation Space universe here.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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mark monday strange,in terms of characterization, i thought pretty much the exact opposite about both books than you.

message 2: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Mark, do you mean you thought the characters in Redemption Ark were not so two-diminsional, that they had some depth? Having just read this a second time, I think I agree (if that's what you're saying). I might have to change my review.

mark monday exactly. i thought the characters in Revelation Space were operatically two-dimensional. in Redemption Ark, i felt almost as if Reynolds responded to critiques of his characterization in that first book by trying to make the characters more real in the second book.

although by the end of the book, i thought he almost couldn't help himself, and reverted back to his original tendencies.

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