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This book kept popping out in my recommandations and being a fan of John Lee's performance from China Mieville's books, I looked it up on good reads. Most of the critique concentrates on being slow, it having too many characters... This doesn't bother me, so I picked it up. I now regret my choice.
First of all, the audio performance wasn't what I expected. Hamilton changes characters multiple times in a chapter and quite abruptly, but it is read without any changing in intonation, without a pause... One moment X running through a jungle on one planet, the next Y is turning to talk to W in a bar on a station. Doesn't matter that Y is a woman and X was a man... It sometimes takes several seconds to register that the scene has changed. It makes it hard to follow. Add to this the few dozens of characters, some that die after their sequence, add to this the descriptions of planets and stations that sometimes interrupt action scenes (which is part of hamilton's style, but the narration doesn't make an effort to help) ... and you get a very confusing experience.
Then there's the writing from Hamilton... If you like erotic science fiction, or just erotic literature, you might appreciate the main character. Every woman (and I mean literally every woman) he mets wants to sleep with him, sleeps with him and then only thinks about him. Doesn't matter that the woman in question is one of the most important persons in the galaxy, when Hamilton focuses on her, she's either talking to the main character or thinking about him. And it's completely artificial! He never gets to show any reason why so many women are in love with him, appart from the descriptions of his performances in bed... Which are basically: they get to screw multiple times and they get sweaty. You'd think that in a culture with genetically engineered people that get to live 200 years, that can sustain 9Gs, you could have more sexual imagination than just repetition.
The story is slow, there's no suspense really... nobody that matters dies, when they die it's phoned in... The only thrill in the book is achieved through the cruelty of the bad-guys... it's basically a book about torture in space with lots of sex. If it tried to be a horror book, it failed. If it tries to be an erotic novel, it fails. If it tries to be a space opera, it succeeds in being a low grade one. And it's a shame really. You can see Hamilton has lots of talent in his phrasing. He has a nice scifi imagination, a good attention to details. It's just a bad novel and I won't be following the series.