David's Reviews > The Dreaming Void

The Dreaming Void by Peter F. Hamilton
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Jun 06, 2017

it was ok
bookshelves: dnf

I don't give up on books; I always see them through to the end. I came close to quitting Rainbow's End, but I stuck with it. But not this time. 80 pages in and I'm done.

When I ran an indie book review blog, I had a simple system set in place. If the blurb piqued my interest, I'd read the first chapter to see if I was hooked. It was a good system, but not perfect. Some clunkers got through. Apparently, I need to apply that same system to traditionally published books. Blurbs (and Goodreads recommendation engines) aren't enough.

The opening sentence was a dud. The Prologue was dull. Every single bit of writer's advice that I've heard and read states that you have to hook your reader with the first sentence, the first paragraph at the very latest, but this doesn't do that. The first sentence:

The starship slipped down out of a night sky, its gray and scarlet hull illuminated by the pale iridescence of the massive ion storms that beset space for light-years in every direction.

Pretty, but not exactly hook worthy. The rest of the Prologue describes this guy's arrival at an scientific observation post and then his attendance at a party. When he's tired and had his fill of socializing, he goes to his quarters to sleep. And then he has "the dream." End of Prologue. I think that was the hook.

The book blurb says that said dream was of a paradise that lies within the spatial anomaly that the observation post has been studying for centuries. This is the fantasy setting that people have referred to in the comments. Apparently the dreams spawned a religion and everyone wants to migrate there. But why? Magic? These people already benefit from FTL spaceships that reduce travel time to distant stars to mere hours and have all the body modification abilities that transhumanist wannabes could possibly desire. I found it lacking. Maybe transhumanists in the future are bored (spoiled?) with centuries long lifespans and want more.

There wasn't any action until page 57, and it came out of nowhere. Everything was character introduction and gee whiz fantastic tech. The character who participated in the action scene never revealed any indication in his previous scenes that he was anything more than a pilgrim just chillin' before the big trip. I had trouble forging any sort of connection with the characters. I felt lost and bored, struggling to read more than five pages at a time.

If I'm reading Hamilton's bibliography correctly, this was his 11th novel. His publisher must figure that he's got his audience. No need to mess with the formula; it works. No hooks necessary. The man is the hook.

Even though I didn't like the book to this point, I'm giving this at least two stars for world building, pretty prose, and—I'm going to make an assumption here—an intricate story. With the right audience, it works. However, I'm not that audience. And that's a pity. I'd read "Blessed by an Angel" and I was keen to explore the worlds he created. Now, not so much.
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Reading Progress

July 8, 2013 – Shelved
July 8, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
May 25, 2017 – Started Reading
Finished Reading
May 26, 2017 –
page 25
3.97%
May 29, 2017 –
page 30
4.76%
May 30, 2017 –
page 35
5.56%
May 31, 2017 –
page 40
6.35%
June 1, 2017 –
page 45
7.14%
June 2, 2017 –
page 50
7.94%
June 3, 2017 –
page 60
9.52%
June 5, 2017 –
page 65
10.32%
June 6, 2017 –
page 80
12.7%
June 6, 2017 – Shelved as: dnf

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

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David Finally got some action on page 57. Woo hoo. Still putting the pieces together on who these people are and why I should care.


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