Book Review – Revelation Space

Revelation Space, the first in Alastair Reynolds’ science fiction series Revelation Space held some big surprises for me.  Reynolds was an astrophysicist who worked for the European Space Agency until he became a full time author.  This book is a hard SF novel with plenty of interesting future technology.

I went into this book not knowing what to expect.  Although I read the blurb on the cover, it doesn’t really tell much of the story.  This story takes place mostly on the planet Resurgam, but also in space and another planet, Yellowstone. The settings are quite dark and gritty.  It seems much of the technology is very advanced, but there are problems.  Everything is described quite well, although Reynolds uses a lot of very technical terminology.  He was a scientist, after all.

I found it difficult to get into this book in the beginning.  For the first half, I didn’t really care about any of the characters.  They all seemed so self-centred and not very likeable.  However, many of the main characters began to grow on me, and I liked them by the end.  Dan Sylveste is a very interesting character who is single-minded in his quest.  Ana Khouri is probably my favourite character of the book.  She’s a strong character, but still has many doubts.  Ilia Volyova seems like such an unlikeable person, but I grew to really like her by the end.  Pascale is a decent character, too.  Sajaki is probably one of the more unusual characters, being a chimeric with a desire for power.  Hegazi wasn’t developed very well, and I just couldn’t figure out what to make of him.  But I particularly enjoyed Calvin Sylveste, who was a very colourful character.  However, I could never be sure who was bad.  It kept me guessing.

As I said, I didn’t get into the book in the beginning, though around the halfway point, I was looking forward to opening the book and reading.  It’s quite scientific, and some things were explained somewhat like a textbook.  There was a lot of secrecy between the characters, and it made some of the story unpredictable, as I couldn’t tell what some of them were thinking.  Towards the end, it was fantastic.  I felt like I couldn’t put down the book.  I certainly couldn’t predict the ending.  I’m interested in what will happen next.

I’ll give this 4 1/2 stars.  The ending was amazing, but I found it hard to get into in the beginning.  Some of the terminology may be difficult for some, but with my background in astronomy and physics, it wasn’t a problem for me.  I found it fascinating.  Highly recommended.

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