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Absolution Gap (Volume 3) (The Inhibitor Trilogy, 3) Paperback – June 2, 2020
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"A book of great fascination, rich description, and memorable action."―Locus on Absolution Gap
"Reynolds writes a lean and muscular prose where the intense action scenes are leavened with the kind of bright, shining, mind-boggling science talk that characterizes the best of post-modern space opera."―Science Fiction Weekly on Absolution Gap
"Alastair Reynolds continues his rise to the top of SF...Revelation, Redemption, Absolution...Reynolds provides them all."―The Guardian (UK) on Absolution Gap
"Fulfills all the staggering promise of [Reynolds'] earlier books, and then some...a landmark in hard SF space opera."―Publishers Weekly on Absolution Gap
About the Author
- Publisher : Orbit; Reprint edition (June 2, 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 592 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0316462632
- ISBN-13 : 978-0316462631
- Item Weight : 1.3 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.05 x 1.75 x 9.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #244,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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But damn... The man cannot write characters. The villians are all superhumanly bad and mutilated so you have to despise them. The heroes are rather blah. I never really feel like cheering for anyone.
The way Reynolds often starts with multiple storylines that eventually meet up in the last quarter of the novel is intriguing and I think he melds the stories together well. But what he doesn't seem to have a hold on in any of the four novels I've read is tension. There is no tension in this book until the final 100 pages (and it's a 750-pg book!). That's far too late. The story just plods along. Things happen. The plot moves forward. But there is no excitement. Even when things blow up or ship fight, it's as dull as dishwater. Reynolds writes a good plot, but it is no page turner. I could have left the book at any point and not really cared when I got back to it, if I ever got back to it again. A couple of times I got so bored that I considered abandoning it. But I had nothing else to read, so I kept going.
Although this one had tension in the final pages, it seems strange to have to read four books to get there. And the end of one book certainly didn't make me pant for the next one.
Reynolds certainly has some good plotting skills. But the lack of tension and the one-dimensional characters really leave me feeling "meh" about his writing. I likely won't read any more of his books.
"Absolution Gap"(2003) by Alastair Reynolds is a science fiction novel and is also known as book 4 in the 5 book (so far) "Revelation Space" series published during 2000-2007. Curious readers may ask can this novel be read without reading the prior books "Revelation Space"(2000), "Chasm City"(2001) and "Redemption Ark"(2002). In truth yes it can but your enjoyment and the comprehension of story events would be greatly enhanced if you had read the other books. You should read, if possible "Revelation Space"(2000) and "Redemption Ark"(2002) since they along with "Absolution Gap"(2003) form a trilogy. The novel "Chasm City"(2001) is a stand alone tale. In lieu of reading the books (not recommended) I would research the extensive and detailed articles about these books in the Wikipedia.
In this long novel, my paperback was 756 pages with a small font, several apparent unrelated plot themes wind and twist together to a mystifying inconclusive conclusion. Talk about cliff hangers and unanswered questions this novel would make a case study.
I will not attempt to summarize the plot - it is just too detailed and involved with so many factions and characters I could not do justice to the book or to the reader of these comments. I will comment on just one of the key themes - since it happens to be a science-fiction concept that has always interested me: spiritual/religious ideas in speculative fiction. Author Reynolds takes what appears to be supernatural intervention to save a spaceman's life and extrapolates that incident into a cult of worship. The faith object - a planet the disappears - draws pilgrims throughout the galaxy to a small insignificant moon out on the fringes of known space. The authors audacious extrapolations of religious belief, the cult that results, and the notion of enormous, constantly moving cathedrals is, in my opine, a mesmerizing concept that delighted this reader.
This is an elaborate and detailed science-fiction story that kept me up many evenings. Alastair Reynolds crams an encyclopedia of background in this novel that induced this reader to put aside many required tasks to finish this book. I am not exaggerating when I use the term encyclopedia. As mentioned the Wikipedia has numerous pages on the characters, factors and locations of Revelation Space. Readers are strongly encouraged to check out the information - I was impressed, indeed.
Mr. Reynolds, with his Ph.D. in astronomy is a master at technological extrapolation. Therefore this story exhibits many "hard" aspects of hardware type science-fiction that will cause long time fans weep with joy and others to whimper with annoyance. I wept, oh yes I wept!
Top reviews from other countries
It’s true, as some other reviewers have said, that the story here could have been told in far fewer words, but then much of the texture of the story telling would have been lost and I think this is what makes this such a great book!
The characters and themes are believable in this universe. I think the story could have been very different if certain characters had not been killed off so early or at all. It’s always a shame when a lot of the main thrust of a previous book (Redemption Ark) is undone, but this is often how things play out in the real world.
I achieved what I wanted by re-reading Absolution Gap, I’m up to speed ready for the next installment. The problem is that there is so much in the Revelation Space universe I now feel the need to go back and read it all again.
Ignore the naysayers. Read this book. Love this book.
Over the series of books we have been introduced to a number of sentient species across the universe, we have got to know them in depth and what motivates the various factions, and over the course of several centuries these various species and factions have come together to try and stop the universe wide plague of Inhibitors, who's sole purpose is nothing short of wiping out all sentient life in the universe. The Inhibitors are all powerful, relentless in their aim of destroying all life, and adaptable to any challenge made against them. The greatest weapons the universe has ever know has only slowed them down, but never stopped them.
So all of this is to be wrapped up in the Absolution Gap.
Over the first few chapters of this book, as well as seeing the old familiar characters continuing their struggle against the Inhibitors, we are introduced to some new characters. These new characters are exotic, interesting, and their motives are as varied as they are devious. After a couple action packed chapters of setting the scene, the book settles down to a crawling pace as the characters go on individual journeys to discover "answers, and the book begins to examine their motives in minute detail. At first I was fine with this, after all there was going to have to be a massive payoff at the end of the book to show how sentient life survives (or not) after many centuries of being defeated time and again by a seemingly unstoppable universe wide force ... however after the first couple of chapters the book never again gets above (quite literally) walking pace. I remember realising I was getting very near the end of the book, and being surprised that nothing had happened. There was no hint of how the Inhibitors could possibly be defeated, no gearing up for a final battle, no plan amongst the factions. Surely the payoff was going to begin soon?
Then the book ended.
If the book had ended on a cliffhanger, I wouldn't have minded, sometimes getting to the pivotal point in a story and then leaving the rest to the readers imagination can be better than spelling out a long and convoluted (sometimes forced) plot twist.However this was far worse. After a whole series worth of set up, literally the last page saw characters we have known from the beginning being killed off in a single sentence and the all powerful Inhibitors being dismissed in a single very vague paragraph without any real idea of what happened. It felt as though Alastair Reynolds had set himself a page limit, got to the last page, realised he hadn't resolved anything, and so scribbled a couple vague notes to wrap it up.
The two stars are for the first couple of chapters, after that the rest of the book isn't worth the time to read. In fact I would advise stopping at the end of the previous book, at least that had a cliffhanger.
The novel builds up nicely in much the same way as the prequels, from a set of apparently unrelated, disparate peoples and events which begin to meld together into an adventure of cosmic proportions. A strange new faction is revealed in this book - the Adventist Church. I didn't like them, I found them dull and irritating and I found the details of their history and traditions to be an unnecessary diversion from what I felt was the real story of the inhibitors. Having said this, I was quite prepared to give Reynolds the benefit of the doubt, knowing how well everything had eventually come together in his previous novels. The problem is that it doesn't. The story builds and builds - and it's a good story! The inhibitors are ancient and powerful and intent on wiping us out, this we already knew, but now there are whispers of a potential ally of even greater power. The main characters, some old and some new, strive to overcome the insanity of the church and make terrible personal sacrifices to reach these allies, and then at the crucial moment, they just change their minds and decide not to bother. And that's the end of this entire saga! 2000+ pages to get to that! Then there's an epilogue that briefly explains that some other less-powerful-but-still-more-powerful-than-us aliens showed up and helped us out with the inhibitors.
It feels like the author realised he was running out of paper and needed to wrap up the whole story with only half a page left to write on.
I did enjoy the book as a whole. Reynolds skills as a writer are quite enough to get me through 700 pages on a week. I just wish he could have thought up a better ending.