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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost perfect...
...right up until the very end, when the 'deus ex machina' conclusion (and it's too-neat tying up of loose ends) spoiled it all.
Which is a shame, because up 'til then this had been an almost faultless series -- right up there with Julian May's 'Many-coloured Land' saga as my all-time favourite sci-fi.
Still well worth reading the trilogy though.
Published on 26 May 2000

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ultimately disappointing
As a suggestion it's probably best to read the three novels in the series back to back, or at least with minimal intermissions. The vast numbers of underdeveloped cut-and-paste characters tended to blend together after a while, and I spent a good proportion of this final novel trying to remember events in the previous instalment (read about a year previously) and who...
Published on 22 Feb 2009 by A. Williams


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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ultimately disappointing, 22 Feb 2009
By 
A. Williams (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Naked God (Night's Dawn Trilogy) (Paperback)
As a suggestion it's probably best to read the three novels in the series back to back, or at least with minimal intermissions. The vast numbers of underdeveloped cut-and-paste characters tended to blend together after a while, and I spent a good proportion of this final novel trying to remember events in the previous instalment (read about a year previously) and who these individuals who appear with no introduction actually were.
Even more than before, The Naked God reads like a collection of a dozen or so sensibly-sized novels thrown up in the air and the chapters shuffled into random order. On the down side, that did leave me wishing that the author wouldn't keep switching away from a plotline as I was just getting into it, but on the other hand it did create an sense of anticipation and a desire to keep reading to find out what was going to happen next.
Anyway, having enjoyed the first two books I knew what to expect, but I soon discovered that it was starting to turn into a soap opera with each return to a familiar scenario giving me my momentary fix before hauling me off somewhere else without very much having occured. I also found myself becoming increasingly alarmed as the number of pages remaining started to shrink with no sign of an impending conclusion, or indeed any indication that the plot had any intention of wrapping up. So the fact that the ending was rushed was not a surprise - the fact that it was so implausible and unsatisfying undoubtedly was. As others have suggested, the author seemed to have tied himself in knots with no way to untangle the various strands of plot without using a big pair of scissors.
Anyway, despite the lingering disappointment, and despite the impression I may have given up to now, I did enjoy the majority of this book and definitely the series as a whole - I just wish the author hadn't let it slip so far out of his control.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost perfect..., 26 May 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Naked God (Hardcover)
...right up until the very end, when the 'deus ex machina' conclusion (and it's too-neat tying up of loose ends) spoiled it all.
Which is a shame, because up 'til then this had been an almost faultless series -- right up there with Julian May's 'Many-coloured Land' saga as my all-time favourite sci-fi.
Still well worth reading the trilogy though.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent end to the trilogy, 11 Sep 2009
By 
A. Whitehead "Werthead" (Colchester, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Naked God (Night's Dawn Trilogy) (Paperback)
As well as being the final novel in the colossal Night's Dawn Trilogy, The Naked God is probably the single largest science fiction novel ever written (excluding Atlas Shrugged, depending on if you want to argue that as SF or not), coming in at an eye-watering 1,150 pages in length. In hardcover. That's 200 pages longer even than its two huge forebears, and it has to be said the flagging pace of the book probably owes a lot to that fact.

That said, The Naked God carries on the storylines left hanging at the end of The Neutronium Alchemist without interruption and, to use a rather lazy reviewing phrase, if you enjoyed the first two books I suspect you'll also enjoy the third. Numerous plot threads are in motion, and Hamilton deftly moves us between New California, Ombey, Valisk, Norfolk, Tranquillity, Earth, Trafalgar and other worlds with confidence and ease. However, he also has to time all his story threads to converge at the same point, which results in a number of middling problems contributing to the book's great length. Most notably, there's a discernible amount of filler in this book. Whilst it's great to finally get a detailed look at the ecologically devastated Earth with its population squeezed into immense domed cities, seeing Louise check into a hotel and get some neural nanonics does slow down the story at the exact moment it should really be gearing up for a thunderous climax. Instead, the story jumps around haphazardly, with an inordinate amount of chapters for the Valisk story given that very little happens in it but not much coverage at all of Joshua and Syrinx's mission, which should really be the dominant plot thread of the novel. Also, whilst an effective antagonist in the first two novels, Quinn Dexter's over-the-top villainy in this third volume does reduce him to a bit of a cartoon figure whom it is hard to take seriously. Hamilton should really not have given him the superpowers he did at the end of Book 2 (including virtual indestructibility), as they make his chapters somewhat tiresome. Indestructible characters, good or bad, make for dull reading.

Elsewhere, the book is as well-written as the rest of the trilogy has been, with a welcome strong return for the horror elements present in Book 1 but largely missing from the second book. There are also more big battles in space and on land, and a strong philosophical streak running through the book about the morality and application of warfare. Hamilton definitely seems to be having fun tweaking the noses of his American space opera counterparts, who all too readily resort to solving their problems with lasers and nukes, whilst he gets his characters to think their way out of their problems instead (although sometimes with the odd maser barrage as well, just to keep things colourful). There's also some nice ideas about consequences and choices and responsibility, although given the number of people moaning that the book and the ultimate solution to the reality dysfunction crisis doesn't involve a fusillade of antimatter explosions, perhaps this doesn't get across to the reader entirely successfully. Most notably, Hamilton has said the trilogy should have been called Joshua's Progress, as it is his (well-handled) character evolution and development which brings him to the point where a solution to the crisis can be found. Unfortunately, in The Naked God Joshua actually takes a bit of a back-seat to proceedings and is merely one among many, many POV characters, meaning his sudden importance to the plot in the final chapter is rather jarring.

There's some excellent characterisation in the book. As well as Joshua, characters like beleaguered General Ralph Hiltch and Louise also develop in interesting and unforeseen ways. As with the previous book it does feel like Dariat and the Valisk story are somewhat superfluous, with their actual contributions to the overall plot (the hellhawks in Book 2 and the melange - not the Dune kind - in Book 3) not really justifying the immense length of their narrative.

That brings us to the ending, which on one level is epic, cosmic and genuinely impressive. It is also rather too neat, and Hamilton is probably a little bit too exacting in detailing 'what happened next' to the characters, right down to a minor car thief arrested at the start of Book 2 (although that bit is quite funny). It isn't a totally perfect ending, and he does leave one huge 'plot bomb' waiting to explode which could be followed up on in future books, but in this age where slightly more ambiguous endings are all the rage Night's Dawn does feel like it dots all the 'i's and crosses all the 't's a little too pedantically. Also, whilst the ending isn't a deus ex machina at all, it is certainly brought about by a plot device, which some readers have found anti-climatic. I found it worked quite well.

The Naked God (****) is the weakest book in The Night's Dawn Trilogy, as conclusions often are, but it is still mostly well-written and characterised, with fun action sequences and an impressively thoughtful air to proceedings that will hopefully get the reader to think about some of the issues raised. The book is available now in the UK and USA.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Spiffing good read with a disappointing ending, 18 Nov 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Naked God (Hardcover)
Having enjoyed the first two parts of the trilogy a great deal, I came to the third part with great trepidation and excitement. I had had to put off the reading of it for a month because I had gone on holiday. On my return I picked it up from Waterstones in Brighton and started to read it on the train home. Hamilton has a significant talent for taking you out of yourself. I was instantly back in the universe I had enjoyed so much before. I finished the book in 11 days, which for me is an amazing pace (it took me a month to read the Neutronium Alchemist, and I could hardly put that down!)
Overall I think it is an amazingly good read, truly unputdownable, but as the novel progressed I did find myself increasingly disappointed. I thought the ending was too easy, too trite, with everything tied up too neatly, and too nicely. The homily about why people end up in the beyond made me cringe. I think it a shame, that the ending does come across as rushed. Tho' the ending wasn't inconsistent with what had gone on before I do get the impression that Hamilton could have gone on for another 1000 pages had he wanted to or had been contracted to. And that is where the other disppointment derives - the sense of relentlessness of plot. I love plot/story/narrative or whatever you want to call it, but by the end I was gasping for something more...
Anyway, I look forward to his next one with great anticipation nevertheless!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good denouement to an oddly compelling series, 4 Jan 2011
By 
DB "davidbirkett" (Co. Kildare, Ireland (but born & raised Liverpool, UK)) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Naked God (Night's Dawn Trilogy) (Paperback)
I assume, given that you are reading a review of the third volume of a trilogy, that you have already read the first two volumes (and that you at least quite liked volume 1). Which means you will know who Joshua Calvert and Quinn Dexter are. So I wonder if you'll agree with me that these two central characters significantly weaken the series? For me, Joshua is almost a caricature of a space opera hero - God's gift to women, a tad caddish but good at heart, a maverick and a brilliant pilot. While Dexter is just too bad to be "true" - a supervillain, dedicated to evil for its own sake and apparently impossible to defeat without some pretty jaw-dropping alien intervention.

Yet even with these serious flaws I found the overall series and this final volume addictive. I was interested in most of the interweaved plot lines (in so far as I could keep up with them - huge tales like this should not only have a Who's Who at the end but it should also be page referenced so you can remind yourself of what the characters were doing when they last appeared) and I was wondering, quite near the end, just how Hamilton was going to tie them all off. He does it cleverly, but bizarrely in such a giant book, he does it in a bit of a rush. Great fun anyway, and if you fit the description above you should definitely finish off the trilogy.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Here ends the excellent Nights Dawn Trilogy, 9 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Naked God (Night's Dawn Trilogy) (Paperback)
When I first saw the size of "The Reality Dysfunction" (part one of this trilogy (Night's Dawn)) I was a bit wary about buying such a large book by an author I didn't know. It turned out to be a great decision. I couldn't put the book down. Even with so many characters and different threads of stories, the book is easy to follow with a gripping stroyline. Enough of the minor stories came to an end to make it an excellent book but the cliff-hangers ensured I bought the next book, "The Neutronium Alchemist". Once again I was not let down. This too was a brilliant book. The plot thickened as it developed. The carefully thought out technologies of the future become intriguing parts of the book as opposed to just being extras. By the time I had finished I was desperate to read the final part of this 3600+ page trilogy. The Naked God excelled where the other books shone and it brought together all the plot elements that had been so carefully seeded during the first two books.
The science-fiction I typically read normally comes either under 'hard science-fiction' (such as Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, etc.) or very easy going such as the Aliens and Predator books. The Night's Dawn trilogy (and especially the Naked God) manages to settle very comfortably in the middle. There is enough action, romance and horror to keep the easy reader attached to the book whereas at the same time Peter F. Hamilton manages to make his invented technology sound so real and so natural to the people who use it (while at the same time not so alien that we can't understand it), the typically 'hard sci-fi' reader will find themselves submerged in a believable far future of mankind.
While in my own opinion, no one can come close to Isaac Asimov's ability to portray a 'History of the Future' in so many books, if anyone should try, Peter F. Hamilton should. He has the ending in this brilliant trilogy, he has some short stories in 'A Second Chance At Eden', now he needs to expand on the history of his universe which he has already outlined at the end of each book.
People have compared Peter F. Hamilton's work to that of Iain M. Banks. Banks' Culture novels are superb but have such amazing technologies in them that are thrown around and introduced only when needed, can confuse the book or offer quick ways out of difficult situations (just read about the bike in the non-culture novel 'Against a Dark Background' to see what I mean). Peter F. Hamilton introduces the technology in a similar way to how he introduces people. You get to know and understand the technology/person so when it does something, while unexpected, it is believable (in a sci-fi kind of way).
I have read the entire trilogy twice from beginning to end and still want to read it again. The only thing that is stopping me is I have to sleep sometime, don't I?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hngh... grr... I dunno, 28 April 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Naked God (Hardcover)
The first books were tense and gripping, and seemingly simple solutions abandoned. This one, however, just slotted together too neatly. As a previous reviewer said, the society should have sorted itself out. But I think that Hamilton dug himself too deep a hole- it would have either made this book MUCH longer or made a fourth necessary.
However, the role-reversal that was seen was very enjoyable (despite what others say), with Ione, once almost infallible, reduced to watching the solution unfurl and the return of Powel Manani. Dariat and Tolton won the book for me though. Their desperate struggle, as well as those who used to be on Mortonridge and their helplessness, was beautifully written and conceieved.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stodgy progress toward a quick, flawed conclusion, 23 Jun 2014
By 
2theD "2theD" (The Big Mango, Thailand) - See all my reviews
How do you face 1,332 pages?
How do you confront 469,000 words?
My solution: Dedicate as many waking moments of my day for 16 consecutive days. I could have read four or five normal-sized novels in the same time, but I chose to finish Hamilton's Night's Dawn trilogy.

I may have glutted on the first two books, requiring two months of recovery before attempting to finish the trilogy; in foresight and hindsight, this was a wise choice. My grasp of the numerous plots didn't slacken and, after all that time away, I had developed a thirst for immersing myself into a thick novel. The only other to-be-read novel in my collection which comes close to rival this length is Roberto Bolaño's novel 2666.

Hamilton's The Naked God is a rite of initiation (after this, all books are short), a rite of passage (I would have eventually read this), and rite of finality (the trilogy's capstone). It might be a superlative novel in some regards, but the grammatical superlative "greatest novel" I cannot bequeath; rather, the base form adjective "satisfactory" must be used without any use of emphatics.

Rear cover synopsis:
"The Confederation is starting to collapse politically and economically, allowing the `possessed' to infiltrate more worlds.

Quinn Dexter is loose on Earth, destroying the giant arcologies one at a time. As Louise Kavanagh tries to track him down, she manages to acquire some strange and powerful allies whose goal doesn't quite match her own. The campaign to liberate Mortonridge from the possessed deteriorates into a horrendous land battle, the kind that hasn't been seen by humankind for six hundred years; then some of the protagonists escape in a very unexpected way. Joshua Calvert and Syrinx fly their starships on a mission to find the Sleeping God--which an alien race believes holds the key to overthrowing the possessed."

------------

Quinn Dexter has made it to the surface of Earth using his dark powers to conceal himself and infiltrate key arcologies. Though his desire to see Banneth dead in Calgary, New York is on his immediate list to seed with the possessed, who will in turn seed other cities across Earth. Little does he know that Earth has been watching out for him, trying to understand hi s motives and figuring out how to destroy him before he destroys the planet. The secretive and powerful B7 group flexes its might to cordon off entire arcologies, quarantine cities and shut down transportation; the danger is unparalleled, so their efforts reflect this.

The B7 group also has a avuncular eye out for Louise Kavanagh and her sister Genevieve. The upper-class sisters from the devastated planet Norfolk utilize their father's wealth in London while staying at the Ritz, splurging on outfits and even implanting a neural net (against the taboos of her home world). B7 understands the importance of her connection to Dexter; they strategize ways to allow Louise free reign of transport and indulgences. Her naivety is valued by B7.

Louise's beau, Joshua, has been selected to head a mission to find out what and where the Sleeping God is. The Kiint are interested in the Sleeping God, too. With Syrinx, their first destination is a anti-matter production station which Capone is using to fuel his war against the Confederation. This visit kills two birds with one stone: (1) Joshua gets loaded up with essential anti-matter fuel for the 1,000+ light-year journey and (2) they can destroy Capone's only source for anti-matter. However, when Capone's fleet comes to refuel, they see the Confederation ships, which results in a standoff. One ship hangs back observing their next jump, a jump which is aimed either at empty space, meant to deter following, or toward one of the Tyrathca colony home worlds.

Since the habitat Valisk had been transported through the ether to a senseless, dark universe, the ex-possessed suffer with cancerous growths and ghosts haunt the surface, one of which is Dariat, who is still in tune with the mind of the habitat. The wisps of darker mist outside the habitat don't interact with its mass, but probing beyond the mist proves fruitless. Unexpectedly, something from the void visits them, smashing through the windowed hull and attaching itself to a source of energy. Soon, these nebulous aliens gather more and more in order to seep away the life force of the habitat, but not without a fight by tooth, nail, and, most importantly, with flame.

Having lost his secret anti-matter station, Al Capone must find other ways to antagonize his enemy: the powerful yet abstract Confederation. He decides to rain terror onto local worlds by seeding them with possessed, too. Each planet's orbital defense network destroys most of the shot attempts, but only one survivor is enough to turn a planet from non-possessed to full-blown possessed. One of his most devastating missions--sending a human bomb to Traflagar--comes to fruition and really, really pisses off the Confederation. Capone may not have realized the repercussions of the attack until it's too late.

The Kingdom of Kulu has decided to post a massive front against the possessed on the planey of Ombey. Effectively sealed off, the attack begins with the orbital defense platforms firing lasers down upon the red cloud hanging over the province. The band of orbiting lasers pour dispersed energy into the cloud, into the possessed generating it, and into every single possessed person in the Confederation. When the cloud dissolves, the moisture that was pent up is released in an epic rainfall which erodes the land, turning everything into mud. The ground forces, mechanic bodies of transferred personalities, must trudge through the mud and capture and evict the possessed from every single little town of the province... except the patch of land where resistance quickly becomes escape when the entire landmass under their feet disappears. Now in a soupy dark void, tens of thousands of soldiers are displaced and thousand of the possessed must face death by suffocation as the air is slowly used up.

Meanwhile, Ione and her habitat Tranquility had faded an attack by Capone but, rather than sit and die, Tranquility instantly materializes in Jupiter orbit, shocking everyone and giving the Confederation a damn near heart attack. The Kiint were less sure of the tactic and displaced themselves through space to their home world, a distant location where a necklace of planets circle a sun unknown to humans... well, most humans that is. The Kiint's secret ability to transport themselves is also shared with a number of human "observers" who had witnessed the last two thousand years of human history and now are trying to intervene; should the Kiint assist the humans in ridding themselves of the possessed or is their non-intervention policy an ethical choice?

They live in interesting times.

------------

Though I finished the novel in sixteen days, the book felt sluggish. With 300 pages left, I couldn't see how all the plot lines could wrap up in time... then with 200 pages left, I again couldn't see how everything could be resolved... with 100 pages left, I suspected everything would be revolved thanks to some deux ex machina; and certainly, my suspicions proved correct. With over 3,400 pages dedicated to the trilogy, how could everything boil down to a one-all solution (the end to The Reality Dysfunction offered a hint). The plot thread which leads to the novel's conclusion is tenuous; the impetus is weak, the follow-through is linear and the finale is too grandiose. While the vehicle for the deux ex machine isn't exactly "out of the blue", the reality and function is what tips the ridiculousness scale.

A novel could be written about the deux ex machine in this trilogy, or perhaps a trilogy itself.

As mentioned above, the numerous plot thread felt hasty; they trudge along at a snail's pace without developing very much meanwhile feeling like the reader was simply being set up for something (that something is the deux ex machine). Reading the third book in the trilogy felt stodgy, a very inorganic process following the preceding two books... in other words, it felt forced (much like the conclusion).

Then there are holes in the trilogy:

1. Why did Laton, way way back in Book 1, sacrifice himself and offer a message reassuring people that there is a way past the beyond: not everyone is doomed to be a wandering soul (with very little satisfaction, there is an answer to this and it affects the course of mankind's future history). The importance of his role in the first third of the book could be the stuff of a prequel, but words of assurance don't return until the conclusion is drawing out.

2. As Joshua is gallivanting about the galaxy in his anti-matter powered spaceship, his crew come across evidence of the Kiint following the exact same line of inquiry; they're methods of electronic restoration is identifiable, their concern about the Sleeping God known. Yet, in the three giant leaps it takes to get to the conclusion, the Kiint are only implicated in the first step. If they are so powerful and all-knowing, why could they not take that one step further, like the measly humans did?

3. Quinn's dark powers peak near the conclusion when he tries to summon the fallen angels of his God's Brother. The result of his invocation startles him and startles the reader. There's a crossover of plots regarding Quinn and the invocation brings the two separate plot threads together in a wholly unexpected and, to the reviewer, inexplicable way. Considering Quinn's prowess with connecting with the dark side or whatever, he ought to be capable of tapping more greatly into the same realm... but what he invokes is way out of right-field.

------------

I guess pleasure can be found in the Night's Dawn trilogy, not from the thoughtful prose or engrossing storyline, but from the challenge. The challenge in reading the trilogy is to keep all the storylines in your mind without having to refer to the character list or flipping back to the preceding chapters. For me, it's a bit too much (1) military action, (2) galactic gallivanting, (3) whimsical fornication, (4) fantasy of the soul, and (5) downplay on importance of alien intelligence.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars i was deeply dissapointed with this final installment, 23 Nov 1999
By 
William P. Howard (san francisco, ca, usa) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Naked God (Hardcover)
that probably puts me in the minority. i was so anxious to read The Naked God, i couldn't wait until it was released here in the States and ordered it directly from amazon.com.uk.
maybe i'm being naive. after the first two books, how could hamilton top himself? but, i felt there were a number of inconsistencies from the first two books (The Reality Dysfunction/The Neutronium Alchemist) which prevented me from enjoying this book fully.
for example, why did hamilton bring minor characters from the first books to the fore in this one? and, what happened to major characters like ione? she was relegated to a bit part as were others. and, what of bitek and affinity and edenism? the first books deeply explored the ideas in ways that brought real wonder to my mind. these truly original concepts also seemed relegated to bit parts, and hamilton did little to advance our understanding of them.
the possessed lost their ability to terrorize, not to mention their ability to withstand whatever the confederation could throw at them. unstoppable earlier, they seemed easily stopped here. and of all the billions of billions of lost souls, didn't anyone else find it a mighty coincidence that recently deceased souls took possession and ran into people they knew? almost like, "oh it's you again." you'd think some of those souls yearning for centuries might cut to the head of the line. finally, the whole capone thing just got tired. introducing capone was cute gimmick, but centering the better part of the final book around him was a bit much.
like others, the ending was just a little too neat for my taste. more like tolkienish fantasy than science fiction.
still, hamilton is as good a sci fi writer as there is today, and i'm looking forward to whatever he does in the future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little bit of a let down, 25 Oct 1999
This review is from: The Naked God (Hardcover)
First, I have to say that the first two books in this trilogy are among the best books I have ever read.... Secondly, judged on its own merits, The Naked God is also a very competent work, on of the better SciFi novels of recent years. It's just when you compare the excellence of the first two with the seemingly hurried approach of the third that it seems lacking. I had some problems with number three... I didnt buy a lot of the ideas: anti memory seemed to be a little too convenient and underexplained. The resolution of the Al Capone saga was ... um... unresolved. The introduction of the new Xenocs (the Mosdva) was unnecessary. The final resolution was way too simple. Characters that were pivotal in the first two books became background (Alkad Mzu, Fletcher Christian). The possesed seemed hopelessly underpowered compared to the indesctructable superbeings of the first book. And for some reason, the whole "dark realm" part just left me feeling unsatisfied.
But having said that, for all its faults, I really enjoyed the Naked God. I liked the "what happened to tranquility?" revelation, I liked the Kiint details, I liked the humanising of the possesed. I kind of liked the final fate of the confederation, though it might have been brought about in a more "trying" fashion. The Mortenridge Liberation was handled superbly as were the earth sections.
Unlike most people seemingly, I liked the epic scope and countless numbers of characters and plotlines. The major fault I would say was the fact I got to page 1000 with no resolution in sight, then in the space of 100 pages the whole trilogy was wrapped up.
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