Swaps55's Reviews > Absolution Gap

Absolution Gap by Alastair Reynolds
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Aug 08, 07

bookshelves: scifi-fantasy, alastair-reynolds, space-opera
Recommended for: Sci Fi fans
Read in April, 2007

This is the conclusion of the three part series, and while I thought it was the weakest of the series, I still get insane pleasure out of this man's writing. I think the main problem this book has is that it is missing what would seem to be a very vital sense of urgency concerning the Inhibitors. Now, the nature of this galaxy he has created reminds us that our perception of the passage of time is quite different from the galaxy's perception, but even so, there is a race of machines out there destroying mankind, and there is only one real moment in the book where that threat feels real and immediate. Granted, that one moment is one HELL of a moment, one that I as a writer who knows how much the characters and worlds you create mean to you might not have had the courage or willpower to write, but overall the Inhibitors themselves are surprisingly absent from the book, and when they do appear they just do not seem as terrible and threatening as they should be. I feel the same way about how the author treats the cache weapons, weapons so terrible that they were only made once, and the technology used to make them was then destroyed. They are called hell class weapons, and we are made to fear them utterly in the first book, but in the second and third, while they are used and coveted, we never really see or feel their devastation, which to me is a real missed opportunity.

Characters that I thought were slightly underdeveloped or unnecessary in Absolution Gap tended to be weeded out, which I suppose justified my previous opinion. The author's main fascination seemed to be with the character Scorpio, which I admit is a fascinating character, and Reynolds thoroughly addresses all of the things that make him interesting. We skulk in Scorpio's head more intimately than perhaps any other character in the series, though sometimes I think I am more interested in Reynold's fascination with the character than my own. The problem I think, is that in the second book there was a crucial transformation in Scorpio's character that we were told about but never really saw, and as such when the character reflects on that transformation, I have to take his word for it rather than understand it myself. Show not tell, yo. And on the note of characters, I think there were two HUGE missed opportunities in Grelier and whats-her-name torture lady from the very beginning, who were possibly THE most interesting characters he's ever created, and they end up playing a rather minuscule, undeveloped part, which is disappointing. Oh, and hey, whatever happened to the Mademoiselle? Rarely does Reynolds leave a thread like that unadressed, but the story never came back to that like I thought it would.

This book also ended more vaguely than the other books do, and if there is one thing I can generally count on Reynolds for, it's an ending that lives up to its promise. If I read the ending right, and it was a little hard to sort out, at least for me, it doesn't exactly leave you with warm, squishy thoughts. Which is fine, but it was so vague and out there that I felt a little let down. Those things said, there is no end to the fascinating creativity this man possesses. The nature of Haldora, the Cathedrals, the characters of Quaiche and Aura are all pretty brilliant if you ask me. I've been dwelling on the negative, but there is so, so, so much to like about this book, and Alastair Reynolds on his worst day is far better than most of the sci-fi junk that's out there. Read this. Really. Read everything this guy has written if you're into this genre.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Servius  Heiner I have to agree and disagree, I find his writing style annoying, and it was so obvious when he didn't know where something was going. It got really old really fast, but I still forced myself to read all 3 books because the story was good, he just did a terrible job writing it that’s all. Then to top it all off, I think the ending was piss poor performance that made me regret reading it, life is too short for bad books.


Robert SPOILER ALERT!

Mademoiselle went down early in this book - she only exists in Skade's head - she is the Night Council - and she dies when Skade does.


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