Amanda's Reviews > The Neutronium Alchemist

The Neutronium Alchemist by Peter F. Hamilton
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's review
May 12, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: sci-fi, space-opera, the-aliens-are-coming, 1990s, intergalactic-war, aliens-will-kill-us-all
Read from May 12 to June 05, 2012

I think I'm going to have to do a more thorough review later. At this point, I'm just going to focus on mechanics.

I like this book. And this series. Honestly, I do. However, I'm at the point where I really think that the whole Night's Dawn series was actually written as one big tome of an epic, and the publishers decided to break it into three (or six, as you decided to buy them) novels just for the sake of the spine. And geez, what a doorstopper a 3500 page book would be anyway. There are just limits.

But, when we hit the last chapter of The Neutronium Alchemist, I really didn't feel like we were building toward a climax. Nothing heart-wrenching, no amazing clincher that wraps the book up, not even a real cliffhanger to make people want to read the next one. There were a couple of mysteries, but not really a "OH HOLY CRAP WHAT THE HECK'S HAPPENING" sort of thing. And starting the next book, the first chapter felt like it was just the next chapter of the previous book.

I think that's the thing that's getting me the most, besides the outrageous number of POVs and locations. It's really taking a wiki for me to get through this without losing track of who's where and doing what. And the plot feels like it's ramping up at a steady pace, and in such a way that it feels more real to me than a typical epic. I feel like I could be reading a tome about WWII at this point, although I think an author would have selected fewer POVs for an actual history book to avoid confusing his reader.

I'm finding the meat of the series interesting in and of themselves; we don't often deal with religions in science fiction that are not utterly imaginary, unless it's a Christian Sci-Fi novel, which I steer clear of. Hamilton definitely handles it with the care of a historian -- no proselytizing, just reflecting the different beliefs of the systems and cultures he's working with. It's interesting, and something I'd like to write a review or an essay specifically addressing, but one that will take some significant research and thought on its own. I'm still curious about the implications of Father Horst's abilities, but it was mentioned in the first book and then never again.

As it stands, I'm continuing on in the slog. Not because it's particularly sloggy, as it t'were, but because the world building really is intricate and extensive. Not an easy series to read by any means, but if you're really looking for something TRULY EPIC in its story, this is definitely what to go for.
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Reading Progress

50.0% "Oh my god, does this series ever end?"
50.0% "Oh my god, does this series ever end?"

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Clouds I must have read the Nights Dawn trilogy in it's entirety half a dozen times! I wanted to call my son Joshua after Captain Joshua Calvert (my wife said no...)

Tamahome Isn't there a large explosion at the end?

Amanda Tamahome wrote: "Isn't there a large explosion at the end?"

Yep, there was. I dunno, maybe it was just me, it just felt like another event in the progression rather than a climax. :)

Amanda Cloud wrote: "I must have read the Nights Dawn trilogy in it's entirety half a dozen times! I wanted to call my son Joshua after Captain Joshua Calvert (my wife said no...)"

Lollerskates. There was apparently a similar conversation between my parents about Kassandra and... um...Sabina? I think? Apparently I ended up with something out of a sci fi book of one persuasion or another, and it strikes me that it was Ray Bradbury but I may be wrong.

message 5: by Clouds (last edited Jul 22, 2012 03:20AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Clouds If my wife had been born a boy her mother was going to name her Jareth after the goblin King played by David Bowie in the film, Labyrinth!

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