Britain's bestselling SF writer returns to outer space.
In AD 2329, humanity has colonised over four hundred planets, all of them interlinked by wormholes. With Earth at its centre, the Intersolar Commonwealth now occupies a sphere of space approximately four hundred light years across.
When an astronomer on the outermost world of Gralmond, observes a star 2000 light years distant - and then a neighbouring one - vanish, it is time for the Commonwealth to discover what happened to them. For what if their disappearance indicates some kind of galactic conflict? Since a conventional wormhole cannot be used to reach these vanished stars, for the first time humans need to build a faster-than-light star ship, the Second Chance. But it arrives to find each 'vanished' star encased in a giant force field -- and within one of them resides a massive alien civilisation.
©2004 Peter F Hamilton (P)2008 Tantor Media Inc
"Horrible, horrible narrator"
Another reviewer commented on how great he found the narrator. I absolutely cannot agree.
I can't say anything about the story itself, because I had to quit after 1 1/2 hours (during the bar scene with the socialists).
John Lee's intonation is just maddening. He starts every sentence - every single excruciating sentence - much too loud and then drones off into a low mumble, sometimes making the last few words barely understandable.
At first I found this only mildly annoying, but after the first hour it began to feel like Chinese water torture to me.
Definitely check out the audio sample before you buy the book. If narrator's style doesn't bother you, ignore my review. But if you find Mr. Lee's style even slightly off-putting, consider staying away from this audiobook as the sheer length of the recording will drastically magnify the problem.
A space-opera on a grand scale, this really is a modern classic. The narration is fabulous, John Lee has a great style, all the main characters have their own voices, that are instantly recognisable, making it a pleasure to listen to. Even better this is a great vision of the future for the human race, not one of the more depressing dystopian affairs.
I originally bought this because of the lengthy run-time (lots of long-distance driving) but this should not put anyone off - it's very easy to listen to, the pace never lets up, and you're through it all too soon. Some of the characters you can't help but love, even some of the more machiavellian (Ozzy, the super-genius surfer dude, is my personal favourite).
For those who like this, Judas Unchained is the sequel that continues the story and is equally as good. I have a feeling, after this, most of Peter Hamilton's books are going to be making their way into my wishlist.
"To long and to many people"
This i not a bad book. This book is way to long, but i hate unabridged versions. I haven't finished the book yet, but after 17 hours nothing has happened yet...ohh sorry, the starship has visited the Pandora Star but that is not a part of the story. So far we have only been introduced to the participants in the story and that feels like an unending list op people. You jump back and forth between the characters with no notice and yes, i have lost track. However, after 17 hours two of the characters finally meet so maybe things will start happening now. Not really suited for audio because you have to reference earlier chapters all the time if you wish to keep track of the many participating characters.
"Just can't listen to narrator...."
I have listened to a lot of audiobooks, usually as passenger in a car.
Everyone is different, but for me I also could not continue listening to this book. I listened to the preview and thought it was OK, but believe me after a while it is totally brain numbing.
Peter F Hamilton takes ages getting to the point, and likes to describe loads of scene setting stuff and frankly tons of superfluous detail and observations that are of no real relevance to main plot or story. This is OK if reading - but somehow this narrator so slow and tries to dwell on words as if he is enacting a dramatic scene in a dark twisted play - and he does this ALL the time. It's difficult to concentrate on, and he moves from chapters as if there is no break so you sometimes don't realise he's talking about a different scene or person until its a minute in so you have to rewind.
I actually ended up trying to listen to him at 1.5 times speed - and was surprised that even at that speed, some words at the end of his sentences still seemed unnecessarily drawn out. Sounded like a cross between Richard Burton reading in the stye of James T Kirk (the actual character not William Shatner)
This narrator might be good for some styles of books, but definitely not P.F.Hamilton.
In the end I have tried on 3 separate occasions to listen to this in the car - and have decided to give up.
"One of the greatest space operas yet!"
Absolutely love this book!
Set against the backdrop of a world connected by wormholes reducing distances between Earth and the stars combined with the process of rejuvination - the plots, subplots, conspiracy, love, sex - this book is a masterpiece.
Looking forward to getting through the next one!
"Nice aliens, shame about the people"
This is tedious stuff, full of dull rich people, leading meaningless, near-immortal lives. A thousand pages in there is a bit of action when the aliens finally arrive; by now you are hoping for a swift annihilation of the human race, but then you discover that this was only part 1.
"Sometimes its best to ignore reviews!!"
I read this book when it first came out, loved it.
then thought what would it be like with someone telling the story.
I actually think that John Lee did an excellent job.
Fantastic story and well narrated, will be listening to it again in the future.
"I've listened to this epic story 4 times now!"
Of the series Peter Hamilton has written, Pandora's Star is in my opinion the best. Like many epic stories, you do need to hang on in there while he sets the scene with numerous seemingly unrelated lives and events; but as they slowly cross over and come together the result is highly satisfying.
Possibly the most interesting part was the detailed description of the alien race, and how it evolved over time. Rather than some standard generic humanoid race that you can relate to in some way, the race really does feel alien. The detail of is biology and its motivations providing a fascinating break from the norm.
And for the fans of warfare, this story also delivers. As with the Night's Dawn Trilogy, he takes what feels like a much more 'realistic' view on future technology and its use in everyday life, and in combat!
I keep coming back for more, and I have to admit that the second reading is much more satisfying than the first in many ways. This is due to the fact that the seemingly unrelated story lines often have much more significance than you realised on your first pass.
I have no problem personally with the narrator. Perhaps his range of voices for the various characters is limited, but otherwise he tackles this epic with a strong and steady pace. With 37 hours worth of reading, you can't really expect more!
This is the first part of two culminating in Judas Unchained. This book, whilst entertaining, proves to be more difficult to engage, as there is much foundation to the plot and characters to be established. Peter Hamilton's description and character development are again superb and this book is well worth the effort, particularly as the second part of the series is 5 Star.
"this book should come with a warning"
straight to the point this book is bad, after seven hours I could not care enough about any of the characters to press play on part 2,
I actually felt sorry for the narrator, despite what other people on here have said, to have to read ANY of this book could make any narrator sound like Chinese water torture.
the long winded boring predictable story was not even the worse part, the fact that further books in the series are recommended to me 2 years after a 1 star rating is almost as if the Chinese water torture of the book will live on for me years after I hit stop. reminding me of the horror films where the painting or object returns even when though destroyed just to taunt the owner more.
Buy at your own risk, you will be pushed to get more from this author until the day you close your account (the actual advice given by customer service to stop 6 recommendations a week form this series was exactly that, close my account)
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