I've been searching for years for a book like this.... big (galatic-scale) story, complex plot with a stage full of characters, and multiple storylines that are woven delicately together. The science fiction theme only adds to the story. This is my first Peter Hamilton novel... I'm hooked!
Take 4 separate books, rip the last half of the pages from each and discard them, then assemble the first halves into a single book, using ten pages at a time from each, and there you have the perfect Peter F. Hamilton book. A series of unrelated, partial stories, in a convoluted mix is not my idea of good storytelling.
I loved this book! I have read a lot of reviews from people who can't get through this book, but it's definitely worth slogging through some of the wordier sections to get to the meat of the story. This is an excellent story of first encounter with an alien species, set against a background of intrigue and human politics. The range of characters and scientific possibilities in this book is astounding, and the alien "menace" in the story is a very fascinating concept.
I'm reading Judas Unchained right now, the next book after this story. I can't wait to find out who incited these two species to fight one another, and why...
I read 290 pages before I gave up. It just couldn't hold my interest.
I can't read Peter Hamilton's book's everyday, but I really enjoy them once every few years. He has a literary style that is unique, telling grand stories with dozens of characters. The characters serve the plot and are our eyes, so that the reader gets to know the whole tale. This can be frustrating, I'm sure, for those who want to get to know and spend time with a character. Often, characters in one chapter are not revisited for dozens of chapters. Meanwhile, the story is opening like a flower.
What Peter Hamilton is great at, is painting a whole world and its crisis for you. Somewhere along the way, you start feeling right at home in his universe.