The Evolutionary Void

by

I’m a long-time reader of Hamilton’s books, just look at the reviews on this site, so it’s fair to say I enjoy his works and I’ve followed him through various space operas as well as his stand along works.  I’ve enjoyed the other books in this trilogy, but I felt they were lacking something compared to his previous series.  This being the finale, I was expecting big things, but that’s not what was delivered.

The story, once more split between the world inside the void and the universe outside it, moves very slowly and most of the characters simply spend the book rushing here and there, spending more time in transit, searching or thinking about things than actually doing anything and there’s little conflict, physical or otherwise.  When you get big master strokes such as the barrier around Earth going up, or the Deterrence Fleet being deployed they just seem to be left hanging, with no real purpose in the bigger picture.

The sections with Edeard inside the void didn’t seem to have any purpose either, there was no real character development and when he did meet a strong antagonist, something I was hoping he would be able to get his teeth into, he simply resets the whole thing and the tension is pointlessly dismissed.  The battle with the Cat is likewise over before it really begins on the outside with another formidable adversary simply wiped aside.

Worse though, is the ending.  It passes by so subtly I had to go back and read it again to check I hadn’t missed anything.  After all those pages and all that maneuvering I was expecting fireworks, a real battle for survival with human evolution on one side and the possible destruction of the galaxy on the other.  What I got was a damp squib.

As usual the many strands of the story are handled well by Hamilton, though his characters seem to spend a lot of time navel-gazing with little development, some make little more than cameos.  Within the whole there are a few interesting stories or moments.  Araminta’s running and subsequent rise, Gore making more of an appearance, but not enough to lift the tedium.  I spent the entire book waiting for something to happen, believing it was just around the corner, a few more pages, but it never came.

If you’re looking for a grand spectacle with a big finish, you’ll be sadly disappointed.

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Reviewed: 5th November 2011