13 September 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Salvation (Salvation Sequence #1) by Peter F. Hamilton

My rating: 5 out of 5Like so many Peter F. Hamilton [PFH] readers, this has been my most anticipated release of 2018, so much so that I tried a number of channels to get hold of an advance reader copy. But, alas, my efforts were to no avail and I had to wait until the official release like most others. Was it worth the wait? My oath it was!

As a definite space opera and PFH fan, I was bound to sink my teeth into this one and most likely enjoy it. But, there's no undue bias here when I say that this book is simply superb. There's no other way to describe it and this new standalone series from PFH certainly looks like it's going to be another epic. The style in which it's written is very good, and typically PFH, and he didn't seem to get as bogged down in minutiae this time [as I feel much of his earlier work is affected]. All of the action and sub-stories are firmly part of the greater storyline, which is only just beginning to take shape in this book. The format is excellent, with numerous flashbacks and flashforwards from a central narrative, all of which link together and give you a hazy yet tantalizingly intriguing picture of where the story appears to be headed. It finished well and I am very excited to see where the series goes, this book being a good introduction to the universe and players before the story slips into a higher gear. Now tell me that doesn’t sound exciting.

To read, it felt a lot like a short story collection where the individual stories link together to form the framework of a larger tale, and this is pretty much what it is, each “chapter” giving a portion of the background, mostly about the key characters but also about the places and things within this new universe. As per usual, PFH’s world-building is second to none [ie. awesomely cool] and I found myself re-reading more than once some of his descriptions of locations and technology so that I could better grasp the wonder of it. Another hallmark of Hamilton’s fiction which is again present are lots of high-tech future cops and robbers and there’s no shortage of these in Salvation, with most of the central characters being some sort of police officer, security specialist, mercenary or criminal. The future flashforward sections are excellent, slightly reminiscent of other child or youth sci-fi soldier stories that you may have read, the characters struggling to come to grips with the knowledge that the future existence of mankind rests upon their shoulders. Overall, you can quite clearly how the different timelines relate to each other and how things might transpire.

Now we get to the part where I resist going into a breakdown of the story which would only add potential spoilers, but there are a number of excellent professional reviews online [like HERE and HERE]. What I can say that it is supremely entertaining and filled to the brim with good solid sci-fi action and intrigue. It’s space opera as it should be, a story painted on a canvas of galactic scale with an abundance of massive awesome stuff contained therein. There are interesting alien life-forms, interesting alien agendas and interesting alien technology, which is totally what you’d expect from PFH. Anybody who enjoys good sci-fi [and galaxy-spanning space opera in particular] will just devour this and love every moment of doing so. It’s a must for any PFH fan and also a perfectly suitable starting point for any readers new to his work. Hamilton has been shortening his novels a little in recent years and his work is much the better for it in my humble opinion, meaning that his work is probably that much more accessible for a mainstream audience. The earlier Night’s Dawn Trilogy, Commonwealth Saga and Void Trilogy books, while truly excellent books, were seen as a bit daunting by some readers. Such were my observations anyway. There are no such worries with this one, however, and it should be a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable read for a lot of people. Get into it.

5/5 for concept
5/5 for delivery
5/5 for entertainment
= 5 out of 5

Buy the ebook HERE (Amazon US)
Buy the paper book HERE (Book Depository UK)

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