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129 of 133 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent finale to a superb series
Here it is, the book I've been waiting nearly two years for: The Evolutionary Void. The conclusion to the Void Trilogy, started with The Dreaming Void and followed up by The Temporal Void, is by far my most anticipated book of the year and the series is making very strong noises to be my favourite finished series ever. So, with expectations that simply couldn't get any...
Published on 25 Aug. 2010 by Mark Chitty

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Disappointing Void
I was disappointed with this end to the trilogy.

Given some of the gushing 5* reviews, I should put my cards on the table - I love Hamilton's early work but for the Void trilogy I thought the first book was interesting but much too slow (3* for me) and the second picked up with plenty of action and excitement (4*) so if this had continued in the same vein as...
Published on 24 Nov. 2010 by XTR


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129 of 133 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent finale to a superb series, 25 Aug. 2010
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This review is from: The Evolutionary Void (Hardcover)
Here it is, the book I've been waiting nearly two years for: The Evolutionary Void. The conclusion to the Void Trilogy, started with The Dreaming Void and followed up by The Temporal Void, is by far my most anticipated book of the year and the series is making very strong noises to be my favourite finished series ever. So, with expectations that simply couldn't get any higher, does The Evolutionary Void meet these? Simple answer: Hell yeah!

The Evolutionary Void picks up immediately where The Temporal Void left off with no break in pacing, continuing the story in an effective, confident fashion. The many plot threads that have been built up over the first two novels are now dealt with convincingly, some with immediate effect while others come to the fore in preparation for the grand finale. It's very difficult, in fact nigh on impossible, to find any fault with this aspect of The Evolutionary Void. It is clear from many references and clues laid down in Dreaming and Temporal that the Void trilogy has been intricately plotted and even has details that go all the way back to the Commonwealth Saga. This is rather unsurprising when you consider that many of the characters present here have their origins in the duology.

Some of the story lines that I was most anticipating delivered the goods. The Deterrence Fleet is hinted at many times and the revelation of what it is and the capabilities it has still manages to surprise. This can be said of many of the plot points in Evolutionary. For example, Araminta is the descendant of two Silfen friends and this is used during Temporal to show how she is able to share her dreams of the Skylord (albeit unknowingly) with the Living Dream movement. This heritage plays a fairly big role in Evolutionary and leads to some aspects that I just didn't see coming, despite how obvious they are when looking back.

The format of Evolutionary Void also follows a similar path to that of the previous books, with the Commonwealth elements mixed with Inigo's dreams of life in the Void. While The Dreaming Void was roughly a 60/40 split in favour of the Commonwealth sections and The Temporal Void was roughly 70/30 in favour of the Void sections, The Evolutionary Void switches right back to focus more on the issues in the Commonwealth and the Void aspects taking a back seat, leading to the split being in the region of 80/20 in favour of the Commonwealth. This really does work in its favour and allows Peter to do what he does best: epic space opera. To say that Peter is ambitious in his plotting would be an understatement, but past good form is present here in every way possible, from bringing together plot threads to concluding the story in a fantastic way.

Peter has developed all his characters throughout this series, with familiar faces from the Commonwealth Saga continually being developed nicely and new faces to the Void trilogy satisfying all aspects I could hope for. Each development that forms the story is conveyed convincingly through the characters, from Araminita taking the bull by the horns to the eventual discovery of Aaron's identity and past. Edeard's progress is perhaps the most controversial and seeing him change during his sections left me somewhat non-plussed. However, Peter does do an exceptional job at showing how extreme power can affect all while still managing to portray Edeard's life in a most realistic way. The eventual outcome is all the more satisfying for this exploration of his character and serves the story very well.

One of the main aspects I loved about Dreaming and Temporal was Edeard's story, a story that is both gripping and emotional. I mentioned briefly above about his character in Evolutionary so I won't go into more detail here, but what did surprise me is that the format of consecutive Dreams is not followed here. It turns out Inigo had a lot of Dreams of Edeard's life and all that is covered in the first two novels is only a small aspect of it. Instead of sticking to the known, Peter goes outside this pattern and does not tell us everything, but rather select and important times of his life that have the greatest effect on the plot and story. Yes, I would have liked to read them all, but quantity does not always mean quality, and it is the quality and overall story that makes this approach powerful and meaningful to The Evolutionary Void.

There were two particular questions that I had before starting The Evolutionary Void, one relating to Inigo's Last Dream and the other relating to just how effectively Peter could conclude this trilogy. While I wanted them to hit the right notes I was just that little bit sceptical that they may miss the mark, just not being able to convince myself to ignore those doubts, unfounded as they were.

Inigo's Last Dream is one of the most beautifully written and poetic pieces of writing I have ever read. Seeing it coming from Peter was one of the biggest surprises and most pleasant finds in Evolutionary. While fairly short, it conveys so much emotion and feeling that I had to put the book down after reading it simply to absorb what I had read. Stunning is one way to describe it, awe inspiring would be another, but without a doubt it is the highlight of the novel.

The conclusion of the trilogy was something I hoped would be a fitting end and able to silence previous critics of Peters work. Not only does it do this, it manages to bring aspects laid down throughout the trilogy together in an ending that is grand in scale and perfectly suited to what has been laid out in the trilogy as a whole.

If I had to put forward one quibble it would not be about this book, but rather the fact that the Commonwealth Saga, which consists of Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained and is set 1200 years prior to the Void Trilogy, really needs to be read to gain a full appreciation of this epic story. While both are fairly separate, the story they form as a whole makes the experience much more fulfilling. There are aspects present in the Void trilogy, particularly Evolutionary Void, that hark back to this previous saga. While I wouldn't say it's a compulsory read, you will get the most enjoyment if you take the time to get around to them first.

So, I think you can probably tell from the above that I really did love this book, thought the trilogy has been exceptional and would recommend it to anyone in a heartbeat. It's intricately plotted and you'd be hard pressed to find another author who can pull off such a vision. For grand scale, epic space opera on a huge canvas it doesn't get much better than this. Highly, highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 10 Sept. 2010
By 
Shaun Horrigan "Shaun" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Evolutionary Void (Hardcover)
I waited a long while for this book to be published, Wow!, it was certainly worth the wait!

Peter F Hamiltion always writes epic books. They are epic is every way. Huge galaxy wide stories spread over a thousands of pages, dozens of characters all of whom add to the story, and if you looking for examples from just about every theme ever written about in science fiction you will find them all in this one book.

I was marginally disappointed with the closing chapters of Temporal Void as I felt at the time that the author had used a "cheap" technique to get the hero out of trouble. How wrong I was!! I don't want to spoil the plot for anyone who has not read the previous two books in this series, but I will say that the ability used by Edeard towards the end of Temporal Void is in fact crucial to the whole point of the series.

This book is also has a huge depth! It is easy enough to follow on the surface level, but underneath there is just so much more going on! I really must go back and read the entire series again as there is so much going on that at times you can sometimes miss seemingly minor things and then find that they were really important later on.

As anyone who has read the previous two books will know, there are two main interleaved plots. One pure hard sci-fi and the other a dream sequence set in an almost pure fantasy world. The linking together of these two stories is the entire basis for the series.

Underneath the two main plots there are at least a dozen sub-plots and even more personal stories that all add superbly to the whole. How Peter Hamilton kept track of all of them when he was writing the series I can't begin to imagine!

I must also mention the ending of the book and the series. With about 100 or so pages to go out of a series of 3000 pages in the trilogy, or nearly 5000 pages if you include Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained, I still did not know how it was all going to end.

I've read a few books recently were the story was great but the ending was poor. This was most definitely not one of those cases! The ending of this series is utterly superb. It is satisfying, rewarding, highly emotional (I actually had a few tears in my eyes!), and above all made perfect sense. Brilliantly done Mr Hamilton!

I will also add that this book reminded me a lot of some of Robert Heinlein's mid to later works that feature Lazurus Long. In fact some parts almost felt to me that they may be a homage to Robert Heinlein. I'm probably reading way too much in to this though, but if you are a Heinlein fan, keep an eye out for it.

All in all this book deserves nothing less than five stars.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Disappointing Void, 24 Nov. 2010
By 
XTR (Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Evolutionary Void (Hardcover)
I was disappointed with this end to the trilogy.

Given some of the gushing 5* reviews, I should put my cards on the table - I love Hamilton's early work but for the Void trilogy I thought the first book was interesting but much too slow (3* for me) and the second picked up with plenty of action and excitement (4*) so if this had continued in the same vein as the 2nd I'd have been happy.

It kicks off well enough but all the multiple plot threads run into the sand after a couple of hundred pages - let me explain why :

In Ankh-Makkathran, Edward had defeated his opponents in the last book so Hamilton has to find new adversaries for him, which is rather hard work. It feels a bit like a computer game where you save it at intervals and reset when you've had a problem. This was the strongest part of the first couple of books, but here it becomes much less interesting. And who could seriously think it would be a good idea for everyone to have the ability to reset time and try again ? I mean, really ???

The Deterrence Fleet is finally deployed but the author runs out of imagination in describing what it does - we hear about "selecting the appropriate aggressor function" etc - ooh, the excitement. Having made the "Fleet" nigh-on omnipotent he then has the problem of why it can't just squidge the opposition for the rest of the book, so he has to contrive a (pretty weak IMO) mcguffin to take it off the board.

Araminta goes walking the elven paths to escape pursuit which is mildly interesting, but not as good as the description of Ozzie doing the same in one of the earlier books.

The middle of the book feels like it is padding - not much happens and people are basically waiting for the finale. You know the author is struggling when you have scenes where people are stuck on a spaceship with a replicator that doesn't work properly - it might've worked as a Red Dwarf scene (in fact it probably was in Red Dwarf) but there is no humour here. I wonder if his contract specified 700+ pages...

The finale TBH left me feeling pretty flat.

So I'd say read this only if you've read the earlier books and simply have to know the ending. One to get out of the library and not buy.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing finale, 22 Jun. 2011
This review is from: The Evolutionary Void (Paperback)
I have been a big fan of Hamilton's earlier work (having read all his work and some of it twice). There are many reasons I like his books: the multitude of converging story lines, the way the futuristic technology is introduced, the weaponry and the action scenes in which it is deployed, the plot itself, etc. Obviously, these exact characteristics also become recognizable - and less novel - after reading sufficient books of the same author. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed re-reading Fallen Dragon after having read every book Hamilton has published up to the Temporal Void.

Unfortunately, my first (and most likely only) read of the Evolutionary Void was not such a fulfilling experience. For one, the actual content (plot) feels rather limited for a book this size. I think he could easily have made a "trilogy" of 2 books instead of 3. Next to this, the Void (Eduard) sections were very repetitive (no pun intended) and perhaps a little boring. Some of the Common Wealth sections were better, but I missed the clever plot twists, hi-tech warfare, etc.

In conclusion, a disappointing conclusion to the previous 2 volumes (that I liked a lot). The story is just too thin to warrant a book this size.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Finished It...Finally, 15 Sept. 2011
By 
C. Green "happily low brow" (Quenington, Glos, UK) - See all my reviews
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Its almost 4 years to the day that I wrote my review of The Dreaming Void (Void Trilogy 1), awarded it four stars and declared it a highly promising start to a new trilogy. I did however, add that "the book's real worth will depend on the strength of the next volumes", and whilst The Temporal Void (Void Trilogy 2) was also worthy of 4 stars in its own right I have to confess that I found volume 3, The Evolutionary Void, to be something of a slog that reduced the appeal of the series overall.

Now partly this was my fault for leaving it a whole year since its original publication in hardback to pick-up the Evolutionary Void. Having read the Temporal Void way back in 2008 the three year gap between volumes meant my memory of the trilogy's numerous plot strands was pretty sketchy, so it took quite an effort to reconnect with the story. (Not helped by once again there being no recap to preface this volume).

One critical problem however, is that I found The Evolutionary Void rather boring. Whilst there were bursts of action and incident there's also far too much inactivity and padding. As a couple of other reviews have noted this feels very much like the consequence of Hamilton taking two volumes worth of story and stretching it out to fill three. The result are narratives threads that meander or stall until a sudden burst of activity during the final quarter of the book.

I will also confess that I found that after a three year break since reading The Temporal Void I found Hamilton's style of writing less appealing than I used to. I don't read much Sci-fi but in the past few years I've discovered the works of John Scalzi and Chris Wooding and by comparison to these two I found Hamilton's lacking a real human scale. I found I could only really relate to the character of Araminta, and even she less-so as the story progressed towards its conclusion. The constant melodrama and the bombastic style where stars were forever being destroyed, thousands of people killed in an instant and characters seemed to be permanently in conflict with each other or themselves just became rather wearying by the end. As for some of the concepts he deployed, especially those related to space-time and similar ideas, I just found them baffling. At this point I'm still not really clear what the hell happened at the end.

I still think he's a talented writer and I will continue to read his books in the future. In this case however, he strayed to far away from the 'science' and into the realms of wild fantasy for my taste. I also firmly believe that that he needs the hand of a far stricter editor steering him. For me his best works remain the Greg Mandel Series, Fallen Dragon, Pandora's Star (Commonwealth Saga) and Judas Unchained (Commonwealth Saga). In all these cases he offers tighter stories on a more human scale that are consquently far more enjoyable.

I am pleased that I managed to finish the Void trilogy for the sake of completeness if nothing else. I just wish it hadn't felt so much of a slog to get there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Space Opera at its finest, 10 Sept. 2010
This review is from: The Evolutionary Void (Hardcover)
Like many others I waited for this book with some anticipation.

Like many others I re-read the previous two books to get ready for it (I didn't go all the way back to the original three, although with PFH's ability to bring all aspects of his world together seamlessly at times I wish I had.)

I was waiting to dislike it - PFH had built quite high expectations both with the first two books and with the conclusion to his first trilogy - it just didn't seem possible to bring it all together in one book without resorting to some pretty weak plot moves.

Which is why I'm shocked to say that it lived up to my expectations in every way. The plot is complicated enough that I needed to concentrate to stay on top of it - however I was never bored or feeling like it was work. Neither did I feel that at any time had the author cheated, he stayed true to the universe he had created all the way through.

This book really does prove that PFH is the master of space opera, he creates characters which are detailed enough to be recognisable, and vivid enough to be likeable, even though there are hundreds of them. In this, book six of this universe, he brings back characters last visited in book three, which I read years ago, and I remembered them immediately.

If you are reading this new to his work and are wondering whether PFH is an author worth getting into then please just trust me, he is worth every penny and every hour spent reading it. There are about three other authors in the world who can match him, in sci fi terms he is basically required reading.

If you have read the first two and wondering if the hardback is worth the money to buy it early, well, I did, and I think it was worth it (read the others first though - if you start at book one then by the time you get back here it might be a paperback anyway ;-)

Can't wait for his next work, but I hope that he finds a new path to go down, I can't see how he can take these ones any further. . . then again I've thought that before !!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Addictive, 23 May 2011
Not much point in a full review as the one by Mark Chitty is excellent in all regards. I suggest you read it if you want to make a decision on whether to buy Hamilton'a latest. I will add the my own experience of the Void Trilogy was to read all three books on the Kindle in about a week. It is addictive and in a manner that had me accelerating through at a page every 8-10secs...something no book has inspired me to do in a very long time.
Yes, you need to read 'Pandora' and 'Judas' to fully appreciate what is happening and the characters retained in this latest; yes it is fascinating that Hamilton has effectively written two complete trilogies with the stories of the Commonwealth and Querenica - one a pure sci-fi, the other pure fantasy.
Hamilton is the current master at space opera. He does it extremely well, handling a cast of thousands and the problems of a galactic species in a manner that is, quite frankly, exhilarating.
I could pick holes in parts, observe some grammatical issues, perhaps sigh at some repetition and the rather cavalier sweeping generalisations that come through in the books. But that would be to entirely miss the point of them.
Hamilton is here to entertain us.
He does it brilliantly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A happy ending too far?, 12 Sept. 2010
By 
Amazon Customer "m_farncombe" (Guildford UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Evolutionary Void (Hardcover)
This third volume in the Void series (you can't really describe them as separate books, as if you haven't read the first two you haven't a hope of understanding this) neatly ties up all of the story lines - what happened to the people inside the void, what happens to the nutcases in the Living Dream church, the fate of the first and second dreamers and even the factions that make up humanity.

As with the conclusion to his earlier Night's Dawn trilogy (which was perhaps a far more rewarding read for hard science fiction fans) Hamilton seems unable to end the book without resorting to a Deus ex Machina (quite literally, a god from a machine) to sort things out. It's a shame, as I would have liked to seen the protagonists think their way out of the problem without summoning divine intervention. Oh, and there's one final plot twist, involving one of Edeard's girlfriends, that left me seething and may do the same for you..

Anyway, I'm being picky. Hamilton's ability to create an entire universe, describe it in depth, and create characters that you care about is quite astonishing, and if if you like a little fantasy in your science fiction, this series is worth the investment of time that it takes.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good but not awesome finale to a great series, 28 Sept. 2010
By 
Mr. Sean P. Gaffney (UK) - See all my reviews
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When I received my copy of 'Evolutionary' from Amazon, I decided I'd forgotten a lot of what had happened in the story so I decided to read the whole trilogy from start to finish. Unfortunately, what this did is show up the fact that The Evolutionary Void is the weakest of the three books and by a large margin. When I look at what Hamilton did in the two books of Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained for the Commonwealth Saga, I was gob-smacked how little is actually in 'The Evolutionary Void'.
Whereas both the previous Voids have tons of deception, manipulation, battles and fantastic space opera scope with a great fast pace, I felt this book was much slower, with large stretches of the book where not much happens. It's almost as if he made a deliberate decision to make the book different to the others - this book is much more philosophical in a sense, with lots of characters pondering on things such as the Void, the Silfen motherworld, existence and so on, rather than there being the huge space battles and planetary destructions of all his previous novels.
The other major flaw this book has is the way it treats the Waterwalker sections - unlike the other books, in the Evolutionary Void, these are shorter and a lot less interesting, which really disappointed me as I'd really liked these sections in the previous books.
The major let-down to me though was the end - I was expecting something really dramatic but nothing really happened. I remember putting the book down and going 'Oh, is that it?'
Overall then, I'd describe 'The Evolutionary Void' as a competent but un-exciting end to a good story.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastical, 11 Sept. 2010
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This review is from: The Evolutionary Void (Hardcover)
Like other reviewers I was looking forward to this book. Unlike other reviewers I'm not so sure I enjoyed it as much as I had hoped to. On the positive side:

+ It's imaginative, cleverly-plotted, and well written;
+ A complex galaxy-spanning 5-book story finishes in an appropriately dramatic way;
+ All the plot threads are tied off;
+ Older/major characters are very well developed.

On the not-so-positive side:

- Newer/supporting characters are not so well developed. Three of them in particular (Aaron, Cat, and the 'Lady') play major parts, but these roles seem to be based on events which take place between the previous series and this trilogy. And some rather interesting characters seem to pop out of nowhere - I even checked back as far as Misspent Youth for one of them (Paul Cramley), but couldn't find a mention. I've enjoyed piecing together the puzzles in previous PH books - some of them (e.g. Fallen Dragon) are very clever, but I felt a bit cheated this time.

- Consistency. All the plot threads weave together to make a nice pattern, but at several stages throughout the book the story became a bit implausible. I can't accuse PH of introducing a deus-ex-machina plot device because it was central to the previous series, but how come the Raiel can't penetrate an anti-everything shield they themselves developed? (But they can pot moons around like the universe is a giant snooker table.)

Overall I enjoyed this book. It was well paced and exciting. However, towards the end I began to find it all a bit convoluted. In particular during some of the space battles the characters are phasing in and out of space-time, blowing up suns and simultaneously having a conversation with people who are split across the universe. Since they're fully capable of using all sorts of 'technology' to manipulate time and gravity I found it hard to believe that they were grappling with what ought to be a very parochial problem for a 36th century civilisation.

It was a good ending to the series, but I think I prefer my sci-fi to be a little less fantastical and more character-focused (e.g. Night's Dawn or even good old Greg Mandel).
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The Evolutionary Void
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