Amedama Absolution Gap (Revelation Space Sequence):Amedama
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Absolution Gap (Revelation Space Sequence):Amedama

Alastair Reynolds
Alastair Reynolds Published in October 18, 2018, 1:31 pm
 Absolution Gap (Revelation Space Sequence):Amedama

Absolution Gap (Revelation Space Sequence):Amedama


Mark_C Reply to on 10 April 2016
Since discovering The Prefect in 2008, I've been a big fan of Alastair Reynold's books, the Chasam City series was fantastic. However, this the last book in the Inhibitor's series, finishes in a far than satisfactory manor.

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.
F. M. Havicon
F. M. Havicon Reply to on 28 July 2018
By this, the third in his original trilogy of novels, Reynolds has got "padding it out" down to a fine art -- you'll see for yourself while reading just how he manages to double the length of everything. Quite a skill he has at wordy bloatinghood. This novel would be twice as good if it was half as long. Prune out all the formula-based extensions... Well, read it for yourself and see. Alternatively you can read his "short fiction" in a number of anthologies, and it really is good stuff. I'd recommend it any time over his bloatware novels.
GoodOldNorthernLad Reply to on 22 July 2014
There's no disputing that Alistair Reynolds is one of the all-time great writers of Space Opera. All the novels leading up to this one are artfully crafted masterpieces of cybergothic storytelling, and this final novel in the series is no exception - until you get to the end.

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.
random redhead
random redhead Reply to on 22 October 2012
Revelation Space Redemption ArkI really enjoyed this book. You need to read the preceding books to get the most out of it. The only thing I did not like was the pig. I used to keep pigs, they are more intelligent than most dogs-not my collie dog or my sadly missed Jack Russell, definitely higher IQ than the Pugs down the road. The pig in these books are gross.
I love the Alphas who live on space ships with personality and warp drives. They deserve a book of their own. The spooky nano bits that live in the dark of space, who arise to wipe out races that get to clever with space faring, are all too believable. Explains why nobody has come a calling. Although the Revelation space books are all set in the same little corner of the Galaxy and have vague sequence the books can be read alone and out of order. However unless you read the previous book you have no idea how much you should hate some characters especially the Conjoiners. The characters are well drawn and follow their own agendas which often do not fit in with the rest of the players.
My one dislike is not enough gory details of space warfare. The description of space battles are not detailed enough to portray the problems of firing anything. The physics of hitting another space ship with any kind of weapon are formidable. The use of spaceships to decimate people on a planet or orbital is far better bet, even an asteroid nudged off course toward a planet will do damage.
Like many contemporary sci fi books the space ships often have personality, not always nice personality's. This is a very punk galaxy; decimated by a plague so some of the better inventions are destroyed or warped. I would love a book about that, I do not think Absolution Gap is quite as strong as the preceding books, but still a good read.
Couchgrouch Reply to on 31 July 2010
Reynolds has created an amazing universe in these books. I love so much of it; the Conjoiners, the Demarchists, Chasm City, the Jugglers, the Melding Plague, and so on. As far as the 'hard' science is concerned, I could not tell you if any of it makes sense or is total rubbish, but I like it: Tau neutrinos and Brane Space? Sure, bring it on.

He is also a master in creating characters that you have a great deal of empathy for, and there are plenty in this series: Sylveste, Clavain, Skade, Felka, Volyova, Khouri, the Captain, Scorpio, Bax and Remontaire.
Now this is where I fall out with Mr Reynolds, because he has a habit of just throwing said characters away in a sentence.
To quote (names omitted): She thinks of x,y,z and all the others...none of them could have survived the phase of bombardment when the pieces of the ruined moon began to hit the ocean."
Well thanks very much for that death of a main character in such a pointless fashion, but it's not the only one, and it happens far too often. I also thought the Clavain/Skade incident in Absolution Gap was completely unneccessary; that's right - completely and absolutely unneccessary.
If he had treated his characters a bit better, this would have got a higher rating from me. Kill off main characters at your peril.

Overall marks for the trilogy:
Revelation Space universe 5/5
Characters 4/5
Treatment of characters 1/5
Storyline 4/5
Mr Hunt
Mr Hunt Reply to on 15 October 2017
By far the worst of the trilogy. Waaay too much time focussing on a specific on-planet storyline which is incredibly boring rather than the space battles being fought elsewhere. It feels as if the author just didn't have the capacity to describe the events that he'd been building up to so instead decided to relegate it to a footnote of "Oh yeah, by the way that massive battle we've been building up to for two books happened". The first two books went at a decent pace but I found this really slow going and ultimately left the series feeling like an opportunity was lost.
If you're reading this as you're halfway through the book and wondering if it gets any better, it does, but not a lot and I wish I hadn't bothered. If you're not enjoying the first quarter or half of the book, you'll be disappointed at the end I'm afraid.
Karl Kirkby
Karl Kirkby Reply to on 9 May 2013
This is part 3 of the "Revelation Space" trilogy and it is the only book of the 3 that I didn't really enjoy. Without spoiling anything I will say that the first 2 books (Revelation space & Redemption Ark) really took their time to build a believable and well thought out saga that I found gripping and Absolution Gap undid all that good work. Don't get me wrong it's not a bad book it just felt like he tried to introduce too many new ideas and it all felt a bit rushed and disjointed by comparison. The last 200 pages I read thinking "how can he possibly hope to wrap up the whole story in these remaining pages" and he didn't (I felt). Shame really because up until this book it was an excellent read.
Chris Reply to on 11 August 2013
I have really enjoyed reading the Revelation Space series, and Absolution Gap is no exception to that. Picking up twenty odd years after the end of Redemption Ark, A.G. throws in some fresh new characters and brings back some old favourites a few years down the line from when we last met them. As with all of Reynolds' books, the description and narrative are fantastic in A.G., with some particularly strong imagery regarding a procession of moving cathedrals circumnavigating the moon, Hela.

However, all of this is let down by the end of book, which is indeed the end of the Revelation Space series itself. Reynolds puts all the pieces into place for an interesting and satisfying ending to the sequence throughout the book and then throws them all away in the final chapter. The entire 'goal' of the book is disregarded in a few paragraphs, while subtle references are made to suggest a new solution to the Inhibitor problem could be plausible. However, instead of following up on these references in depth, Reynolds instead skips 400 years (yes, four hundred years) into the future in the Epilogue and essentially says 'So yeah, those things I vaguely hinted at but did not pursue throughout the book worked, but now there's something else bad happening so it doesn't really matter, I guess. The end'. Such a confusing disappointment at the end of an otherwise great book and fantastic series.

So, 3/5 stars - +3 for the continually powerful imagery, as well as the fantastically realised universe that persists throughout this book, alongside an interesting plot. -2 stars for the complete disregard of the majority of this plot in the final chapter and the weak ending that almost feels as if Reynolds had all the ideas in place for a fantastic ending but simply couldn't be bothered to write it.
Dan Reply to on 29 May 2012
Previous reviewers have stated that this book has a disappointing end. They are entirely correct, but it's not just the ending where it goes wrong. Perhaps the last third of the book is markedly inferior to the rest of the story, both in Absolution Gap and the previous books of Revelation Space and Redemption Ark.

The first two books are excellent. Full of intricate plotlines spanning across the years. I particularly like the way that two initially unrelated storylines taking place years apart eventually converge due to the relatavistic effects of almost-light speed travel.

The first two thirds of Absolution Gap are equally interesting and well written. But (assuming you are enjoying the story) you will get to the final third where you can see the writing has taken a turn for the worse. The story becomes very rushed. Various things occur and are simply explained away very casually without any of the usual intricacies. Loose ends abound and finally the book comes to a very unsatisfying end as if Renolds suddenly realised he had a week left to finish it or have to return his publisher's advance. It just feels very untidy, which is a shame as until I hit that point I thought this was turning out to be one of the most epic trilogies I had read.

I really think the series should have been extended to another book, allowing the full story to be told in all the glory it deserves. Certainly worth buying if you have read the first two oustanding books. But unfortunately this one is the weakest of the series and will leave you feeling underwhelmed and a little disappointed.
Junjun Reply to on 20 December 2013
...recommend reading from the first in the series.
Reynolds has matched Iain.M.Banks and Hamilton in creating a grand space opera. The story captivates and culminates in Absolution Gap with some madness thrown in with the science fiction.
Having read Hamilton and Banks it is true that Reynolds is not as smooth or flowing in his style, but his writing has a certain edge which is uniquely his own.
Look forward to reading more in the future.
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