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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Part 8 in the 7 part series...
Originally announced as a 7 part series, this is the eighth volume. It seems that David Wingrove's style encompasses the continuation of the story without prior planning. This surely adds to the exitement, but the plot in this last book is a little over the top. Of the original characters of the first book, only a handful remain, namely Jelka Tolonen, Karr, Chen and Kim,...
Published on 9 Feb 2001

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The worst ever final volume of a series
Spoiler alert... If you don't want to know how the series ends, don't read on.

Few final volumes to long-running sagas are satisfying, but this novel has the worst ending I know of. For seven books Chung Kuo detailed a planet-wide rebellion in fascinating detail. Hundreds of interesting characters and many compelling plot strands were involved. Billions died,...
Published on 27 Dec 2009 by Blackhorse47


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Part 8 in the 7 part series..., 9 Feb 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Chung Kuo: Marriage of the Living Dark Bk. 8 (Paperback)
Originally announced as a 7 part series, this is the eighth volume. It seems that David Wingrove's style encompasses the continuation of the story without prior planning. This surely adds to the exitement, but the plot in this last book is a little over the top. Of the original characters of the first book, only a handful remain, namely Jelka Tolonen, Karr, Chen and Kim, and, of course, the malicious Howard DeVore. The nature of the latter is becoming more and more mysterious and supernatural, and personally I think it is one of the less feasible developments in the story. At the beginning, DeVore now controls Earth, where he has to fight a hostile plant form that threatens to overwhelm the once-so-proud seven cities, or what's left of them. Kim, the boy from the Clay, and now married to Jelka, has finally left Earth on his planetoid spacecraft to re-establish mankind on a near star system with possible habitable planets. Meanwhile he's working on an spatio-temporal gateway that could make a journey back to earth feasible, but it would also allow DeVore to reach them! The gateway also permits access to a parallel universe, where every major character seems to live in a future world that looks more like Earth as described in the Aristotles-files. I think that it's good the series finally came to a conclusion, without loose hanging ends. A few of the more recent developments in the story are far-fetched though, but still as a series, the books are compelling and well-written.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The worst ever final volume of a series, 27 Dec 2009
This review is from: Chung Kuo: Marriage of the Living Dark Bk. 8 (Paperback)
Spoiler alert... If you don't want to know how the series ends, don't read on.

Few final volumes to long-running sagas are satisfying, but this novel has the worst ending I know of. For seven books Chung Kuo detailed a planet-wide rebellion in fascinating detail. Hundreds of interesting characters and many compelling plot strands were involved. Billions died, and courage and cruelty were presented in the extreme. It controlled the personal dramas while detailing the history of a planet. It showed how extraordinary and ordinary people can change everybody's lives either for better or for worse. It was realistic. There were no good guys and bad guys. Totalitarian leaders executed millions but were kind to friends. Rebel leaders were sadists, but they acted for a common good. Everything was shades of grey. It was a classic, if you like that sort of thing.

By the end of book 7 the regime was toppling and the surviving characters faced impossible dilemmas, but book 8 starts as it means to go on by ignoring everything that happened before. It introduces a new set of characters who have nothing to do with the story and who all have tedious lives. Eventually they wander off never to be seen again and the main characters return, but they aren't interested in their problems. No longer are they complex men and women, but now the men act like schoolboys, and the women are more interested in rough rumpy-pumpy. Nobody cares that the world is burning when there's fun to be had. Then, what has to be the worst plot twist of all time arrives. Out of the morass of characters from book 1, one man grew to become a classic anti-hero. Howard DeVore was dedicated to destroying the old regime while power-mongering to set himself up as the new leader of a new regime. There were no depths he wouldn't plumb in his quest for power, nobody he wouldn't double-cross, no atrocity he wouldn't commit, and yet despite his base motivations, he saved millions even as he was gleefully torturing his closest allies.

So it's a shock to learn that DeVore isn't a man, but is in fact a giant immortal pan-dimensional space spider from the planet Zob, who came to earth to molest earth women. But then he forgot he was a giant immortal pan-dimensional space spider from the planet Zob - as you do - and so he hung around for thousands of years messing up earth history in his quest to get laid with as many different women as possible. It follows that the atrocities and rebellions everyone committed weren't done to change history. In fact every earth conflict in history wasn't the result of anything we earthlings did, but were carried out only because a giant immortal pan-dimensional space spider from the planet Zob was fascinating by the way women's jiggly bits move. This is a shock because although this can happen in sci-fi, Chung Kuo isn't that sort of sci-fi. It's gritty realistic sf about real people facing tough choices in dangerous times. This revelation was like getting to the end of War and Peace only to find it's set in a Matrix style alternate reality. And speaking of alternate realities, the story then surges even more out of control, as not only was DeVore not the man he appeared to be, but neither is anyone else. The civilization detailed for 7 and a half books doesn't exist. It's an alternate reality. And it's not the right reality. So the action leaves Chung Kuo with the plot strands and character arcs and conflicts unresolved, and moves to our world where alternate versions of the Chung Kuo people are alive and content. They have different characters, lead different lives, and are doing different things.

This new set of people potter around while being unaware of the billions who died in the reality that's no longer important. Then some people from the Chung Kuo reality inter-dimensionally shift to our reality before that reality winks out of existence. They meet the people in our reality, who aren't bothered to see them, but the Chung Kuo people are relieved they don't have to worry about the rebellion problems they had back in the other reality. Then some aliens in shiny suits arrive in a shiny spaceship and our reality winks out of existence too, although nobody's concerned as they're too busy collecting pretty flowers. The ending takes place in yet another reality, although by now it's hard to work out which reality is supposed to be the real one. The last-best-hope-for-mankind generational spaceship that left Chung Kuo earlier arrives at its destination. People who died in earlier books are on the ship as are people from our reality. Also there are people from the defunct reality who did get on the ship along with people who missed the ship. Everyone stands around being as confused as the reader is. Giant immortal pan-dimensional space spiders from the planet Zob are mentioned as being something they should avoid when forging a new life on a new planet. Then everyone wanders off to pick flowers.

Those are the lowlights, but practically every page has something that made my mouth fall open in amazement as another issue got dismissed in a casual manner, or another character did something so out-of-character it made me wonder if the typesetter had got everyone mixed up. The one thing that amuses me is that the book was so poor the publisher tried to pretend it never happened and printed few copies. The result is this final book is literary gold-dust as people who have been enthralled by the previous 7 books are always desperate to read the conclusion. And then they read it...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The engine ran out of steam, 3 Sep 1999
By A Customer
I concur with Daems (above) that Wingrove simply wan out of steam and needed to end the series. As an amateur writer I could forsee a number of spectacular endings that would have left the reader motivated and eager for the next Wingrove saga. However, the reader is left feeling a little cheated having waited 7 years for the final volume.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Meh... Wingrove should have quit while he was ahead, 9 July 2008
By 
M. K. Smith - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
After investing so much time in the other seven books, I managed to track down an older copy of this book for a ridiculously high price.

This finale of an otherwise great series feels contrived and silly in more ways than I can count.

After painting himself into a corner, the author creates a ludicrous deus ex machina ending that manages to magically tie up all the lose ends of the book in a couple hundred pages.

Not to spoil anything but:
The revelation that DeVore is not what he seems is perhaps one of the silliest stretches in science fiction history. The way it is revealed. What he actually is. All of it is completely ridiculous and a sad diversion from the direction the previous seven novels have taken.

If you read the first seven books and absolutely HAVE to finish the series, I imagine you can dig up an out of print copy for $80 or so, but afterward you may seriously question whether it was worth it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointment, 22 Oct 1998
By A Customer
Although I looked forward for the last book in of the best series I ever read. I found it a great disappointment the first half of the book is great, but then I did get the feeling the writer didn't know how to end the series. So he just wrote an end to it. For me the series end with the seventh book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great series - should be a movie!, 23 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Chung Kuo: Marriage of the Living Dark Bk. 8 (Paperback)
Just bough this second hand to complete my original series of 8 - have bought the new 2 prequel books for Kindle, but not sure if I will buy the full new series (of 20!) as I like the original and do not need more. Wingrove is an undiscovered British treasure!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars End of an "Epic" journey, 24 Sep 2003
By 
Pol Sixe "hpolvi" (Thornhill, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
OK, it's done, read the final book (Doubleday Canada paperback). I'm Ok with the wrapup, I've seen some posts expressing dislike over how Wingrove ended things, although it comes off a little like the TV series "Sliders". A rollicking finale through multi-dimensional physics, a lot of hints were thrown back in Book 6 even re: DeVore and Tuan Ti Fo. Book 8 has some good storytelling and develops a new character, Daniel Mussida. The depictions of the children's "DeVore Jugend" camp is kind of distasteful and way over the top, certainly could not be depicted with visual images, legally. Probably this is why the series is/was not that popular. It's very Euro and not to American tastes perhaps. Each individual storyline is tightly written and parts are real page turners, but the sum is lesser than the parts. The books pull you along but then it seems the writer runs out of room and has to wrap it up quickly. Too ambitious a project David.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ****, 3 Nov 2009
By 
A. J. Dees "Savvy" (Durham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chung Kuo: Marriage of the Living Dark Bk. 8 (Paperback)
this book was in awesome condition adn i enjoyed finishing the series as it took me nearly 3 months to finish all 8 books. although i was slightly disappointed with the ending it was a bit all over the place i thought but was still really good and definately worth the money
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Chung Kuo: Marriage of the Living Dark Bk. 8
Chung Kuo: Marriage of the Living Dark Bk. 8 by David Wingrove (Paperback - 16 Oct 1997)
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