I've been reading Larry Niven since I was eight and for over thirty years I've been enthralled by the worlds of known space. Niven's works always balanced storytelling, characterisation and imaginative flair with a slight vagueness within the detail and logic. It might have been the vagueness which allowed more room for my imagination to paint in the gaps and create the wondrous worlds I'd always viewed in my minds eye when reading about known space.
In this latest series, the "worlds" books, Niven has been attempting to fill in with plot some of the gaps left in his earlier works. It could have been an admirable effort instead it's killing the grace, style and panache of the earlier stories and reducing his most glorious creations, the puppeteers to mere humans in silly costumes.
On a technical level "Destroyer of worlds" is a good book, pacey and well written with the return of the paranoid but extremely capable Sigmund Austfaller as the prime foil behind yet more drama for the fleet of worlds, this time from a ravening horde of Protectors. It ties up yet more strings from various short stories and books of Known space, mostly "Protector" and it wraps up to an intellectually satisfying conclusion. But on an emotional level it's sterile, smug and reads like a fan-boi wish list wrapped in narrative rather than anything truly new.
From the dénouement of this work, it feels like the end of the process as the narrative timeline is almost up there with the start of Ringworld though there might be space for one more volume. But after 30 odd years of obsessively buying all of Larry Niven's books I though I thought I'd never say this, it's time to stop Mr Niven, you haven't anything more to say here.