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The Causal Angel

(Jean le Flambeur #3)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  4,815 ratings  ·  359 reviews
With his infectious love of storytelling in all its forms, his rich characterisation and his unrivalled grasp of thrillingly bizarre cutting-edge science Hannu Rajaniemi has swiftly set a new benchmark for SF in the 21st century. And now with his third novel he completes the tale of his gentleman rogue, the many lives and minds of Jean de Flambeur.

Influenced as much by the
Paperback, 292 pages
Published July 17th 2014 by Gollancz (first published May 6th 2014)
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Jim Mchie If the question is, "Do I need to read the books The Quantum Thief and The Fractal Prince before I read The Causal Angel?" the answer is an unequivoca…moreIf the question is, "Do I need to read the books The Quantum Thief and The Fractal Prince before I read The Causal Angel?" the answer is an unequivocal "Yes". (a) There is a particular lingo/syntax shorthand used for terms that is barely explained even in the first book ("vir", "spime", "qupt", etc. forever), and which accumulates over the first two books, and trying to grab hold of it by starting the third book first I would say would be too confusing. (b) While each story has an arc to it, there is a bend to the arc that crosses all three books in a way that will have you scratching your head if you start at book 3 . . . Rajaniemi doesn't re-explain everything at the start of each book, so you'll have holes missing around motivations and relationships. (c) Just read The Quantum Thief and The Fractal Prince, they're great. The whole series is great.(less)
Joea The wiki page on the series has been extremely helpful for me.
The author's page has links to each books wiki page:…more
The wiki page on the series has been extremely helpful for me.
The author's page has links to each books wiki page:

I read the first 2 books as they came out and then reread them prior to reading the 3rd. It helped immensely to have the content fresher in my mind. I also cross referenced the wiki pages as I was reading.

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Average rating 4.21  · 
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Jun 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Only hard sci-fi fans
My mind has been traumatized. I understood barely half of what happened in this book.

I’m actually amazed and proud of myself that I finished this book. I don’t have a lot of things to say here regarding the content of the book. I really wish I could say more but I’m not able to because I just don’t understand more than half of what happened here; the uncompromising zero exposition was too difficult for my first read. This is definitely a trilogy that requires a reread to fully understand what ha
Tom Lee
Jul 18, 2014 rated it liked it
It's nice to have the trilogy wrapped up, but I found myself progressively less satisfied with each book. Rajaniemi's contribution is creating a narrative within a post-Singularity society, where minds are indistinguishable from computation and identity is no longer constrained by individuality. It's a dizzying thing to try to read, but if you enjoy consuming sci-fi that only becomes comprehensible in retrospect, this is cask-strength stuff.

But there are problems. The universe is invented in the
I cannot recommend this trilogy enough. It's smart, has mind-blowing images, really fast pace, and ideas to absolutely kill for, and kill again, and even aim for a true death before causality does a flip and the spooky zoku decide that it's time to revoke my entanglements and I lose a few hundred gaming levels.

This novel really feels N-Complete. I'm satisfied in a way that I rarely get, and I have decided to plop these novels into my most favorite books of all time. Sure, there are flaws, but w
Tudor Ciocarlie
Jul 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely astonishing ending of a mind-blowing series that is for me the greatest and the most beautiful science-fiction trilogy of all time.
David Katzman
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review is for Book 2, The Fractal Prince and Book 3, The Causal Angel. Books 2 and 3 were just as entertaining as Book 1, The Quantum Thief, although neither achieved the thematic heights of Book 1 (the premise of rewriting history that impressed me profoundly). Instead, we are treated to further adventures in this surreal far future world created by Rajaniemi. Rajaniemi continues to impress me with his ability to project into the extreme future what life might be like if consciousness coul ...more
Tim Hicks
Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
Two stars strictly for ambition. But this series has degenerated into a wankfest.

You may wish to see my review of The Fractal Prince, in which I started to wonder if the series might be getting a bit top-heavy with concepts.

Note: you might do better if you plan to read this right after The Fractal Prince while that book is relatively fresh in your mind.

You know the recent craze to create the Best! Ever! Cocktail!!. where bartenders - sorry, mixologists -- toss in five ounces of liquor, most
Jul 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
originally posted at:

Last year I had the chance to read Hannu Rajaniemi's sequel, The Fractal Prince, to his stellar debut, The Quantum Thief. I am a big fan of authors who defy the normal set rules of fantasy and science fiction and create there own this can either turn out so-so or produce a very ambitious book. The Jean Le Flambeur series definitely belongs to the latter case. Hannu Rajaniemi holds a Ph.D. in mathematical physics and isn't afraid to us
May 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having finished the trilogy I just have to say this is my favorite piece of Sci-Fi work. Ever.

Hannu Rajaniemi is definitely on another level. His otherwordly settings put your imagination to work like a boot camp. Some of the things that happen in the book, the environments, the places, are just hard to imagine. Once again is the wedding of ultra-hyper-hi-tech and fantasy: the technology is just so advanced that whole realities (virs, Realms) can be created around whatever concept you fancy. And
Chris Berko
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book, a spectacular conclusion to an incredible trilogy, is a perfect example of how awe inspiring written words can be. If you dig sci-fi and have not read these books yet, please remedy that ASAFP. I really hope that the author revisits these characters in the future because even after three books, I am hungering for more of their hijinks and interactions. Speaking of characters, Rajaniemi gives special attention to Mieli in this entry. Where in the two previous books she had been given a ...more
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cyberpunk, scifi, on-hand
I don't normally blaze through a trilogy by chain-reading them all in a row, but I had invested so much headspace in figuring out the charterers, the various societies, and their technology that I needed to finish up while it was all still clear in my mind.

Also, I had to know how it ended.

And, as is typical for the writing style of these books, why it all began.

Beautiful all the way through.
May 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-read
Totally amazing book. I can't say enough about the series except that it is some of the best SF I have read. ...more
Liam || Books 'n Beards
This trilogy are the kind of books which really, really frustrate me. I understand just enough of it to know that, if I was bright enough to understand the rest I'd be absolutely blown away - but it is just that little bit over my head.

I'm not giving this the higher rating it probably deserves because honestly... I'm not sure what I just read. I enjoyed large portions of it, and I think I grasped bits but... yeah. And I'm not entirely sure if that's a failing on my part, or the author's.

Jul 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014, e-books
5 Stars

The Causal Angel, book three and final volume of the Jean Le Flambeur series is the best book by a quantum amount. I loved the ambition of this series so much so, that I took the time to reread books one and two before venturing on the final journey. I am so glad that it was worth my time and the payoff that much more.

Hannu Rajaniemi has created a complex, no holds barred amazing universe. He explores so many high level concepts that cover mathematics, physics, psychology, and even relig
Amitava Das
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The concluding trilogy to a fantastic sci fi series. One of the best in last 10 years for sure. What sets Rajaniemi in a different league is that apart from his extensive background in mathematical physics , for which he does the cutting edge science really well , he uses Scandanevian folklore and fantasy that Westernized readers are not really familiar with.
Michael Burnam-Fink
Jul 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, sci-fi, 2014
"We have received a communication from Jean le Flambeur. He claims that in precisely 57 minutes, he is going to steal a ring of Saturn."

It's all true, of course. The system's greatest gentleman thief *almost* always gives fair warning when he's about to commit a crime. The Causal Angel takes us into the white hot cultural heart of the system, the intricate games of the quantum Zoku posthumans, who have embraced quantum narrativism as a weapon against the cold computational simulational hyperpoli
Aug 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Anticipating this and a little disappointed that the release date has been pushed to July 17.
Holly (The GrimDragon)
“If there is ever a time to do forbidden things, it’s at the end of the world!”

Well, damn. What a rollercoaster of emotions that was!

You may or may not have noticed, but I read this series in relatively quick succession. Back-to-back-to-back, something I almost never do these days! I just wanted to gobble it up.

So I did!

“The sky comes alive with fire and war.”

The Causal Angel is the finale of the Jean le Flambeur series & what a grand one it is! After The Quantum Thief & The Fractal Prince, two
Daniel Burton
As I approached the final act of The Causal Angel, Hannu Rajaniemi's Jean Le Flambeur Series that started with The Quantum Thief, there was an uptick in the action, a movement toward battle and denouement. Giant space ships and lethal weapons were brought to bear, planetary defenses were invoked, and warriors on both sides came to grips...

Unfortunately, I'm not sure I understood half of it. The weapons, vehicles and concepts seemed to require a robust understanding of quantum and theoretical phy
Jul 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Ah, Rajaniemi... the author I so want to like, and sort of do, but goddamn I don't get half of the technical babble in these books. And I've studied biochemistry a few years in the uni, too! Not that I was any good at it, but still... The technical aspects in these books are, if I've understood correctly, remotely possible already or at least theoretized, but I have no effin' clue about what is what and how do they work. And it annoys me. It makes me feel dumb. And this time I _know_ the proble ...more
Molly Ison
Worth reading as a complete series but somewhat disappointing as an ending. In the first two books, technical and scientific concepts, fantastical sci-fi and a sense of mystery and possibility, even upon rereading, make up a fascinating world and overcome a few problems with pacing and characterization.

Unfortunately, I felt the ending to be overwhelmed by sentimentality and a sort of humorlessness. (The many nerd references weren't charming to me, they were mostly so unsubtle, an unfunny wink-w
Johan Haneveld
Jan 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Phew ... like the other books of this series, reading this was 'mind blowing', to say the least. Not literally of course, but it is a rush storming past concepts, ideas and descriptions on an exciting roller coaster, having an idea of what's happening, but not a clear grip, having to grip your seat to hold on for dear life. Some passages can be incomprehensible read on their own, filled with words to describe a far future solar system, but making sense none the less if one has read the previous ...more
Sep 05, 2014 rated it liked it
I'm not sure if *Causal Angel* was actually worse than the first two in the series, or if I only enjoyed it less because my own tastes have changed -- somewhat radically -- since I originally read them. Whatever the reason, *Angel* felt flat and deflated compared to the high-energy originality of *Thief* and the promissory note left by *Prince*. As much as I found Rajaniemi's style engaging in those books, the same trappings felt worn and irritating here. Too much feels like it was skated over i ...more
Michel Meijer
Aug 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wow, what a read. Complex rich sci-fi, possibly redefining the genre into the 21st century. The whole trilogy is not an easy read, especially for a non-native like myself and due to the technical terms woven in the language. Sometimes I wondered if the techno mumbo-jumbo was not too much, but decided against it. This is what Rajaniemi does, and he has done it very well. Five stars.

November 2017: I reread the complete trilogy, and I think this one is the best of the three. Still 5 stars.
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I gotta send a qupt to a gogol of mine to fully understand every single q-concepts thrown by the author in this brilliant, hi-tech, fast-paced, interesting yet infuriating trilogy. Hopefully, my other selves have more brilliant minds and they manage to create a vir for them to store their understandings for me.

3.5 Star!
Brianne Reeves
Dec 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
Just. Yes. Read it. Read it now.
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really liked the book and the series. Unlike the first two books, this one did not bring any new factions into the picture. The two main sides, Sobornost and especially the Zoku were given much more depth and their technology and ideologies were more fleshed out.

The main characters stayed awesome and I realized that Mieli, the cyber-valkyrie was in a way even more of a main character than Jean, the gentleman thief. The book starts with the characters far apart and there's a 'friends betrayal'
Feb 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Others, notably the top-rated reviewer Tom, have done an excellent job of analysis and criticism of the trilogy and this final installation, most of which I agree with.

My main problem with this book is the depth of the characters. I honestly felt no anxiety or any other emotion for any of the main characters.

The author continued his whiz-bang "ain't I somethin'" theatrics to an excess with this novel, much to its detriment. Ray Bradbury is, in my opinion, the master of writing beautifully in t
Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fitting end to the trilogy.
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Bringing Jean le Flaumber's adventures to their completion, thus closing his first big chapter of his career, Hannu Rajaniemi returns in The Causal Angel, the third and final book in the series, back for one last time in his futuristic Solar System, in a story of thieves, warriors, secret agents and immortal beings, but also in an adventure of choice, consequence and war, in an incredible, high-concept finale.

Ever since the Sobornost became the main beings of the Inner System, taking over
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Release date is July 17, NOT April 17 1 24 Apr 04, 2014 01:58AM  

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EN: Hannu Rajaniemi is a Finnish author of science fiction and fantasy, who writes in both English and Finnish. He lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, and is a founding director of a technology consultancy company, ThinkTank Maths.

Rajaniemi was born in Ylivieska, Finland. He holds a B.Sc. in Mathematics from the University of Oulu, a Certificate of Advanced Study in Mathematics from the University of Ca

Other books in the series

Jean le Flambeur (3 books)
  • The Quantum Thief (Jean le Flambeur, #1)
  • The Fractal Prince (Jean le Flambeur, #2)

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