Wednesday, November 23, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: A Night Without Stars (Chronicle of the Fallers, #2) by Peter F. Hamilton

A Night Without Stars is the sequel to The Abyss Beyond Dreams, which is the latest entry in Peter Hamilton's Commonwealth saga. The Commonwealth saga takes place in the fictional Universe of some of Hamilton's greatest works, whch include the great duopoly Pandora's Star / Judas Unchained and the Void trilogy (The Dreaming Void, The Temporal Void, The Evolutionary Void).

A Night Without Stars is a somewhat inconsistent but very enjoyable entry in the Commonwealth saga. There is a very strong ending (with cameo appearances by some of the most famous and beloved figures in Hamilton's recent oeuvre) rescues this entry in the Commonwealth saga from relative obscurity.

One of the most exciting aspects of this new duopoly is the completely new setting of the planet of Bienvenido and the interesting possibilities for new plots and characters this allows a grandmaster of science fiction like Hamilton to create. There is a huge twist that happens about halfway through A Night Without Stars that I kicked myself for not seeing (it's even hinted at in the prologue!) which guarantees that any Hamilton fan will enjoy reading this book. However, there are some definite drawbacks in the book as well. There are some clumsily written (heterosexual) sex scenes between some of the new primary characters that were a bit cringe worthy.

Hamilton's primary strength, in my opinion, has typically been his imaginative portrayals of a technologically complex world, coupled with intensely violent and action-packed conflicts between (often alien) intelligences with competing (and competitive) ideologies. There are definite stretches of the book which are pulse-pounding scenes of action, but there are also stretches of the book bogged down in prosaic depictions of political intrigue with one-dimensional characters.

Overall, I'm very glad that Hamilton is writing in the Commonwealth universe again and would LOVE him to write many more books in this series. However, the way the book ends, it feels like he is ready to move on to something else, However, for some reason this doesn't bring me sadness, it makes me feel gratitude at how much he has already created that I have enjoyed for so long.

Title: A Night Without Stars (Chronicle of the Fallers, #2).
Peter F. Hamilton.
Paperback: 720 pages.
 Del Rey.
Date Published: September 27, 2016.
Date Read: October 13, 2016.


OVERALL GRADE: A- (3.67/4.0).

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