Author: Alastair Reynolds
Publication Date: May 28th, 2002
There were definitely some moments in this book that were fantastic. By the end though, I just wanted it to be over.
Revelation Space follows the story of three characters: Ilia Volyova, Dan Sylveste, and Ana Khouri.
In trying to write this review, I have found something that really bothers me: I don’t know anything about Volyova or the ship that she is on. I know that the ship can fly damn near the speed of light (thus is called a lighthugger) and that her and the crew want to heal/fix their Captain.
The Captain is a cyborg and a plague has taken over him to the point that he is only alive because he has been frozen for several years (possibly decades, that’s another thing I’m not really clear on). But there is nothing about what the crew of the Infinity does when there is no Captain in need of medical attention. Are they space pirates? Are they a passenger ship? Are they mercenaries? After 580 pages I really do not know what they do for a living.
I think the point at which the book actually started to fail was about the time that all three plotlines converged. Volyova and Khouri’s story converge first and they, along with other characters whose perspective we do not see, head toward meeting Sylveste. About the time all three characters are together, the book that was already slow to begin with seems to hit the brakes.
It is at this point that all the “mysteries” of the novel seem to start being resolved in a few paragraphs of dialogue so there are lots and lots of pages of not a whole lot happening while all the characters talk. A lot of this talking would be one character basically retelling what has happened from their point of view up to that point in the book and that was really unnecessary for the reader to sit through. Ultimately, this made me not really care how the book was going to end.
Despite the slow pace up to that point and the occasional jump info-dump, I was actually enjoying this. I liked the dark grittiness and I actually really liked the idea of Sun Stealer. Alien civilizations that are so foreign to our own that it is nearly impossible to even communicate with them, much less comprehend their motives/needs, have always fascinated me. The Sun Stealer actually kind of terrified me at times.
I would have to say that this book did impress me enough that I would continue reading this author’s work if someone recommended it, but I doubt I will be rushing to get another. I need a break before jumping back in. :)