Sunday, May 17, 2009

Review: Absolution Gap

Absolution Gap is the last book in the Revelation Space trilogy of connected novels. The first two volumes were Revelation Space and Redemption Ark. You could read this novel standalone, but the universe would be a lot richer for you if you read those first two volumes before tackling this one.

Unlike the previous two volumes this one is a downer. Reynolds almost immediately wipes the slate clean by getting rid of characters we know from earlier novels. Second, he then provides a bit of misdirection by providing a separate plot on a new system known as Hela. As the two plots converge, we learn more about the nature of the planet, and how dire the fate of humanity is under the threat of the inhibitors.

Unfortunately, as warned by the reviewers on Amazon.com, the book has a bad ending. It's bad not necessarily because the plot is no good, but because after all that build up, the ending has nothing to do with either of the plot strands discussed earlier. It's as though Reynolds decided to pull a massive bait and switch. The science parts of the novel are fun and interesting, but I'm afraid even Reynolds can't hold a novel with just that. I can't recommend this novel as a result, though I think the overall series is still worth reading on the strength of the first two novels alone.
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