“Revelation Space” by Alastair Reynolds – great ideas but the characters are hard to care about

revelation space“Revelation Space” was my first Alastair Reynold’s book. I came to it with high hopes, having seen him compared to Iain Banks, Ken MacLeod and Neil Asher.

I can see the strengths that prompted these comparisons: the ideas are bold, plentiful and on a galaxy-spanning scale; the plot is clever and well executed; the world/culture/technology mix is convincing and sometimes intriguing and the writing style is clear and accessible.

The difference for me was that I couldn’t bring myself to care what happened to any of the characters. The book is 567 pages and I read at least the last 100 pages just to find the answer to the riddle rather than because I cared if the characters lived or died.

“Revelation Space” is the first in a series and, despite the impressive ideas and clearly described worlds, I ended it unsure whether I wanted to read the rest.

In the months since then, I’ve continued to have Reynolds recommended to me and been told he’d be worth my time. I’ve also found that the ideas in the book have stuck with me, together with some key scenes, so I’ve downloaded “The Blue Remembered Earth” a stand-alone novel that is read by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, who does such an excellent job with the “Rivers of London” series.

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3 thoughts on ““Revelation Space” by Alastair Reynolds – great ideas but the characters are hard to care about

  1. Blue Remembered Earth isn’t a stand alone, and wasn’t written as one originally, either.

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