Bearcatmark's Reviews > The Player of Games

The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks
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U 50x66
's review
Jun 13, 2011

really liked it
Read 2 times

This is my second foray into Banks' Culture series and he certainly did not disappoint. In the two books I have read so far I love the way Banks has shown the Culture how it works, without really detailing it straight forward. You have learned about the Culture first in Consider Phlebas from a changer hostile to the Culture in the form of Horza and then in this book from a Culture Citizen who has dedicated his life to games. This book deals head on with a specific example of what Contact does to incorporate other races as peacefully as possible. In it we learn of a younger Empire that's entire power structure revolves around a game. Our protaganist Jernau Morat Gurgeh is sent to play against the Empire of Azad in their game also known as the Azad. We learn of the strengths and moral weaknesses of the Azad largely through the lens of the Culture. The pacing of this story is good, many of the action sequences are intense and interesting (particularly the last on the fire planet) and the characters are fairly engaging. I look forward to moving forward into Banks' other works in the culture series.

In general I think I prefered Consider Phlebas because it had some very grand scenes, but I thought the pacing of this story was often better whereas I felt a few parts of Phlebas could have been left out.

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