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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars406
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 23 November 2012
Another classic culture novel from Iain M Banks with twists and turns and ideas to stretch the mind, as always he delivers and had made my journey home bearable.
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on 20 December 2012
The decadence, intricacy and convolutedness of the Culture is something that few other SF writers offer, so you always end up coming back to Banks. But by this point he is basically coasting: the images are starting to get repetitive, there's a combination of the long convoluted chase scenes of _Against a Dark Background_, the massive trains in massive tunnels of _Consider Phlebas_, the Mind conspiracies of _Excession_, but nothing really strikingly new here.
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on 18 November 2012
I always look forward to new Iain M banks book and was not disappointed with this one. Looking forward to the next culture novel.
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on 20 May 2016
Brilliant book
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on 22 July 2013
For the average Culture/Iain M Banks fan I think that this novel, which as it turns out will be the last proper Culture Novel (I am still hoping that some other brilliant auther will take up the reins), is fairly average - which is to say it is pretty good.
Not sure if it would be a good place to start if its your first Culture story though; For that I would still recommend The Player Of Games.
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on 23 March 2013
Brilliant. Another gem - long live The Culture! I've read all the rest twice - how sad is that. Also worth reading the non-M books - some beauties amongst those. All repay the effort involved; the more care taken to understand details of plots & characters, the more you'll get out of these books (Still think "The Use Of Weapons" is the best)
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on 22 July 2015
Banks' best!
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on 9 November 2013
sad to say i gave up on reading this about 200 pages in why? no good characters poor plot i could go on but unlike the book will refrain, very sad to hear of his death and will certainly be reading his last non sci-fi novel but am at a loss to explain how he went from being one of the worlds best sci-fi writers to one of the worst his non sci-fi seems to have remained fairly consistent not necessarily that stong on plot but with very strong characters and a real feel for location, unfortunately the last four sci-fi novels have been the kind of rubbish that put many off sci-fi altogether weak characters poor meandering plot overlong silly names etc
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on 1 November 2012
This book is great. It has been a few years since I read a culture novel, so I had forgotten how stylish and witty Iain M Banks writing style is.

This book was superb. It is infused with humour but is also the good ol' sci-fi from Banks that we are used to. The characters are great.

I saw a few complaints in other reviews regarding the price of the Kindle version. The price is fair and also bear in mind that the Kindle price includes tax, which is why it is more expensive than the paperback version.

This is one of the best Culture novels.

Definite purchase.
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on 18 February 2013
This books suffers terribly from a lot of poor writing style choices. There is excessive use of unnecessary punctuation, such as the ellipsis, and strange dialog formatting, in particular between the ships. This just makes it annoying to read and adds no value to the story.

I endured this nonsense but only to be left with a very unsatisfactory ending. Not only is it predictable, the characters in the book predict it early on, including the eventual outcome. Even worse, said prediction is perhaps the least exciting outcome the story could possibly have taken.
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