I love alternative history and looked forward to reading this book, but I was greatly disappointed. It is a disjointed set of stories about a small group of people who keep being reincarnated, coming back in different forms, different lives, different genders, even as a tiger once. While this would sound, at face value, to be interesting, it was too jumbled up to be so. As for the alternative history part, the main problem is that the author did his research too well -- I consider myself fairly well educated, but not well educated enough to recognize some of the more subtle historical details that were changed or "alternative". I really struggled, wanting to like this book, but I cannot recommend it.
I finally finished the book. I won't say it was the most wonderful book I ever read, but I can say that it was 'good' - not great, but good. There were so many good parts separated by so many boring parts! I think this book could easily have been 200 pages shorter and be a much better read.
After slogging through the first 150 pages very slowly, it finally got very interesting at about page 250. The whole middle was quite good, then during the story of the Long War, it got boring again. Then the last section got interesting again.
This is not a book I would recommend to anyone in general. If you are really into reincarnation stories and have a lot of patience, go for it. If you have ANY kind of vision problems at all, get the hardback, or LP versions. The MMPB type is *really* tiny, IMO.
I struggled through 300 pages, but it never really held my interest. It's like 10 stories in one book, although they are loosely tied together. The premise is interesting (see the book description, above), but nothing much seems to happen in the stories. Call me hard to please, but if I'm going to spend my time reading alternate history, I want some really gory earthshattering wars, or at least some seriously dysfunctional people to waste my time with, not some nice guys floating through imaginary societies.
This is a weird book, it starts a little slow, but once you get the idea of it, it is very entertaining. It deals extensively with the idea of a group of souls who are re-incarnated for better or worse over and over again. I didn't think I would like this book, but I did. Be prepared to have a full weekend to read this book.
This is a fairly long book, but if you're a fan of Kim Stanley Robinson, it is worth the time and effort. Takes a bit to get past the first few chapters, but worth it. It is an epic alternate history that spans centuries. Very interesting, especially if you are interested in history and reincarnation. I know it is not the easiest read, but I can say that lots of it stuck with me a long time after.