Member Reviews

This is a very long book. There is a bit of background information to support the world building-which is impressively imaginative- but….
So many different characters, on different planets, in different star systems, even different species…. I was confused, to say the least. A ‘who’s who’ list for this book is an absolute must. I read an ARC, so perhaps the published book will contain this.
A big source of confusion for me was that there were three or four separate timelines being followed. Not an unusual scenario in books but because of the relativistic effects of near-light speed travel, time passed at different rates for each group of protagonists; the time passed could range from a few months to thirty years.
Once I eventually managed to work out (sort of) what was going on, I realised that I really didn’t care about any of the characters, with the exception of Koa and Keizen, very minor characters who were only in it for a few chapters.
I didn’t dislike the book, but I just couldn’t get into it, with the result that it took me far longer than normal to read, and felt disjointed. And discovering at the end of 900 + pages that - spoiler alert- it’s not the end of the story…..I don’t think I’ll be waiting impatiently for book 2.
The writing style is good, lots of action and intrigue, and as I already said, highly imaginative. But you just may have to take notes as you go through it!

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I wish I had enjoyed this more, but I just didn't click with it. I used to really love Sci-Fi so I don't know if my taste has changed ,maybe I have been reading too many thrillers and biographies ,I hope I haven't lost my enthusiasm for SI-Fi and will try again next time I see a book that sounds good, but unfortunately this was not the book for me.

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The first thing to say about the book is that it is EPIC - I read it on my kindle and so didn't really have a sense of how big the novel actually was before I started reading it. It's big!! As a result, the plot is complicated - multilayered, with different timezones and lots of characters. Some sections were slow and hard-going to get through; other parts of the book were more pacy. That being said, overall it was an engaging, sweeping story that felt very cinematic. This is very much 'hard' sci-fi (and I'm personally more of a soft sci-fi fan) but I'm looking forward to reading the second book.

Thank you to NetGalley and the published for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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I became a fan of Peter F Hamilton over twenty years ago, after reading his Night’s Dawn trilogy. Its scope was vast, with a wide array of characters and planets. At the time I remember thinking the guy’s imagination had to be just as huge. Well, I seriously under-estimated him and his imagination. Exodus: The Archimedes Engine is truly epic. That is such a subjective term so let me clarify. This story doesn’t require world building but galaxy building. Literally. The story hops around from one planet to another within the Centauri galaxy, each location is detailed and utterly credible. His cast list is the equivalent of the Dramatis Personae of every Shakespeare play combined. The book opens with a background history that covers millennia. Now that is epic.
A century ago the term ‘space opera’ was invented by Wilson Tucker who wanted to define the ‘super-science epics’ of the time. Exodus is space opera at the extreme end of the term. Wager’s Ring Cycle is 15 hours long, that’s epic opera and it pales into insignificance against this book!
I’m focusing on the scale of the story because Hamilton must have taken the decision not to leave out anything. As a result, reading the book felt like a marathon, it took dedication and concentration. It’s densely packed with detail. Let me illustrate. In one section, Thyra wants to be the designated princess who will take over when the current queen dies. (A hugely simplified summary). She has to survive three trials to achieve this goal. Where Suzanne Collins did this in her Hunger Games trilogy, Peter Hamilton turns it into a couple of chapters in his. It’s a relatively minor diversion in the story.
Then there’s the science. It’s another reason for that need for concentration. Everything that happens is explained in scientific terms that is clearly the result of a lot of research. I grew up reading Arthur C Clark. These days much of his work has become normal for us (such as using the internet to work from home). In the future, they’re going to say the same about Hamilton. You’re convinced by so many of the concepts he introduces by the inevitability of what science might do. His explanations aren’t short and snappy either, exposition has the same epic feel as the rest of the story.
The story is largely about space politics that inevitably leads to battles taking place on different planets and in space. I love this and it’s a central tenet of Hamilton’s stories, conflict is inevitable where humans are concerned.
You’ll notice I haven’t mentioned characters in this review, or world building either. If I did, this review would be epic. Another reason why I’ve chosen to ignore them, it’s because the central premise and the plot dominate the story. The characters are players in a cosmic drama and they are dwarfed by its scale.
So, did I enjoy the book? As I mentioned, I’ve been a fan of Hamilton for a long time but, honestly, this book almost defeated me. I got to the end and heaved a massive sigh of relief, as if I’d run a marathon. It’s broadened my mind, made me think about the issues it’s highlighted. Like a marathon, I was left exhausted but, as I recovered, I felt an exhilaration that arose out of the experience. Hamilton will be exulted as a literary prophet, I’m certain of that, Exodus: The Archimedes Engine will be cited as yet more proof.

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Quite an epic sci-fi story this one. I felt a little lost at the start as it started off with the character of Finn in a tricky spot then the next chapter was something completely different with characters and references to things I had no understanding off. Then eventually we got back to Finn and things made a little more sense.

The major let down was the bad language. I dislike reading a story where almost every character needs to use bad language.

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Peter F Hamilton is back with another mind-blowing hard sci-fi. This time the worlds are 40000 years apart.

Set 42,000 years in the future when humanity has spread across the stars and is presumably not human anymore, it is a story of humans' place in the universe where they are relics of the past. Through genetics, humanity has splintered into multiple species and is ruled by the powerful crown dominion. Tension starts to build up when another one of the old arkship arrives and provides Finn, our protagonist, a chance to leave his elite but mundane lifestyle and explore the stars. It is also the story of Ellie, a human of the old arkship for whom this world is unknown, Fletcher, an excellent character with high morals, Helena-chione, now and forever queen of Wynid, and a lot more characters.

The first one-third of the book is slightly slow-paced where we explore the world of crown dominion, and celestials and are introduced to a plethora of characters. Like always, PFH world-building is beautiful. But considering the number of worlds and characters involved it becomes difficult to follow the plot. If you wade through the same, then the plot starts to make sense, characters become relatable, action starts to build up and anticipation is exciting. The ending is amazing though it leaves us wanting for more.

I would be eagerly waiting for the second part of the duology and the Finn story to conclude.

Thanks Netgalley and Pan Mcmillan for the ARC.

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I find that I blow hot or cold with books by Peter F Hamilton, probably because my preference is towards hard sci-fi.
This book seems very long and I found the first third very slow and I almost gave up reading it , especially when I have not taken to some of the previous ones. However things changed up a gear for the rest of the book and I liked the grand sci-fi concepts explored in the book.
The first section spent a lot of time documenting the exodus of humanity from Earth and the establishment of colonies in the Centauri cluster of stars. Other ark ships diverted to that destination but that led to thousands of years difference in arrival times that led to different classes of humans and much time in this section is spent describing the celstials of the crown dominion and it’s extrememly powerfull handfull of families that control the lives of billions of inferior humans.
Finn is one of the main characters and he has been born into one of the very powerful families but is disillusioned with life and restless. He teams up with Emma who has arrived with one of the last arriving arkships and is disappointed by what she finds. I found it hard to take to Finn and some of his exploits were a bit too swashbuckling for my tastes but the plot development in the last half of the book is excellent and I was keen to read how it would all end, having forgotten that it is a two book series!
But the end of the book is satisfying enough making it less than obvious how the follow up book will pan out.
Thanks to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for the ARC.

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