Phew. I’m done. And I think I’m really done. One of the problems with reading on a Kindle is that you never know how long a book is before you start it. I mean, there’s ways to tell, but usually I don’t look. That can be nice, in a way, I guess. But check out the size of this trilogy— 😲
I’m not one to shy away from books on account of too many pages, but this book eventually turned into work for me, and that’s not what I was looking for. Instead of feeling like I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next, I usually felt something along the lines of, “Welp, I guess I need to read some more of that thing, so I can get it done.” That’s not the way I like to feel about a book I’m reading for fun. 😥
Maybe that feeling, in part, was due to the subject matter: I mean, a book about evil(?) forces chewing everybody up with almost unstoppable superpowers can get pretty grim. I did find it morbidly interesting that, by introducing such a bewildering array of characters, Hamilton makes it difficult to tell who’s likely to survive his apocalypse. So that was kind of suspenseful. I suppose. I can’t fault his action writing, either—there were plenty of times I was on the edge of my seat, so to speak, while a battle, escape, or some other unpleasant encounter was unravelling.
I found his universe interesting, too—his mechanics of space travel, the different technologies used by his “Adamists” and the bioengineering of the “Edenists,” the inherent difficulties of traveling, communicating, and surviving over vast distances. and the way the were all sort of introduced organically into the story—there was a lot of unique stuff there.
But ultimately, I just can’t commit. The bright spots don’t balance out for me—I’ve only got so much time to read, and too many times in this book, as it kept going and going, and knowing it wasn’t going to resolve because there were two more coming—I found myself thinking about other things I could be reading instead. I’ve read books where I’ve deliberately slowed down at the end, because I didn’t want the story to wrap up, or because I was reluctant to leave the characters or the world they inhabited, but at the end of this book, I was racing along just to see what part of the massive story he was going to resolve, and to get the thing over with.
The second book is longer. And
Al Capone comes back from the dead, along with other historical characters, to terrorize the future people? Yeah, no. I’m not up for ~ 1200 pages of that.
I am curious about this whole deal he’s created with an
afterlife that is nothing but grey torment, and that people are somehow coming back from to possess the living —is he making some larger theological statement? Is it just a bizarre plot device? How does he account, for example, for a Scotsman who’s been dead for 700 years and trapped as a spirit in a grey nowhere dimension yearning unendingly for a life of feeling and sensation he’s lost forever finally coming back to life by possessing another human’s body…and still apparently being a Protestant and believing in God? Is Hamilton grappling with the admittedly horrifying idea that what if there is no God, no heaven, no hell, etc.—none of that stuff—but also that death is not absolute oblivion? That what if sentient creatures have souls that, through some natural phenomenon, survive beyond physical bodies, but just—what? Float around loose? There’s nowhere for them to go or re-form? These are disturbing things, and I’m not sure now if he’s really grappling with them through fiction, or if they’re just part of a cleverly grim plot device.
I guess I’ll just look for a summary on the internet to tell me. 🤕