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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Ending... of Sorts
So, we come to the end of Reynold's debut trilogy (or quadrilogy, I guess, if you include the side novel Chasm City), and... I'm not entirely sure how to feel about it. Indeed, I vacillated between three and four stars for quite a while, because as epic conclusions go, this one is... strangely handled.

But first, the good stuff. By this stage in the series,...
Published on 22 July 2012 by Temple Phoenix

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This should have been the third in a quadrilogy
Firstly let me say that I did enjoy this book, but it really doesn't feel like the finale to such an epic series of events. Most of the book focuses entirely on the characters thoughts and feelings and very little on the continuing war with the inhibitors. Maybe the author after building the virtually unstoppable nature of the inhibitor threat over two previous books so...
Published on 25 Jun. 2007 by G. C. Bowen

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, 21 April 2004
By A Customer
A thoroughly entertaining novel containg many great ideas and displaying arich imagination and great characters. However, the ending isdisappointing-it seems rushed and what should have been the fourth novelin the series has been shoehorned into a short epilogue that doesn'tsatisfactorily conclude what is a fantastic trilogy. Despite this thenovel held my attention throughout and displays brilliant concepts (thebrane theory)and descriptive set pieces. I have now read all of Reynoldswork to date and am hoping to find another science fiction writer whosenovels can match the imagination and scope displayed by this author.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Absolution Gap is a fantastic and solid story!, 14 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Absolution Gap (Kindle Edition)
Absolution Gap is primarily about a mystery of the same name, and is compellingly introduced. It continues the Revelation Space trilogy, starting with unique characters and settings that really bring a human touch to events. There’s Rashmika Els, whose search to find her lost brother and discover the truth behind an extinct scuttler race pushes her to leave home. What starts as a rivalry between two scientists (Quaiche and Grelier) working for the Ultras develops into an epic search of discovery for Quaiche to save the woman he loves. The intrigue, conspiracies, and sub-plots on planets Haldora and Hela made reading Absolution Gap a rewarding experience.

I found this to be an improvement on the previous Redemption Ark. The characters, their histories and motivations, were much more exciting. The possibilities were limitless, and yet I felt that much of what made Absolution Gap exciting and intense was cleared up and concluded earlier than I had hoped. I wanted to learn of Quaiche’s achievements through his own eyes and struggles rather than have it cleared up so that a new story arc with the more familiar Revelation Space characters (Clavain, Skade, Khouri) could continue. My interest in the RS characters was actually kindled in the beginning, and I got to learn more about what had become of old military leader Clavain.

Absolution Gap is a fantastic and solid story, I really think I can see the author’s skilled progression as a plot-master in this later novel. I will eagerly anticipate the next Alastair Reynolds story, especially since there is much to commend for originality. In many ways it was like a much more exciting and developed Revelation Space.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific conclusion to the sequence, 28 Aug. 2014
Kate (Oxford, Oxon United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Absolution Gap (Paperback)
Absolution Gap completes the Revelation Space sequence. Therefore, tread no further unless you want to hear more of the horrors that faced our protagonists in Revelation Space and Redemption Ark.

A generation after the events of Redemption Ark, ship Nostalgia for Infinity still rests in the curious, conscious seas of Ararat, many years' distant from Yellowstone where the Inhibitors continue to destroy human life. Clavain has absented himself from the marooned colony while Scorpio, a hyperpig, acts as its ruler. Both are brought together by the news that a capsule has landed on the planet. On opening it they find memories of the past mixed with the first signs of hope, suggesting there may be a way after all to defeat the hungry black machine monster Inhibitors. The discovery demands they make a journey but before they can leave Ararat a great sacrifice is required. They must also wake up John Brannigan, the transformed captain of Nostalgia who is now much more ship than man, a presence that haunts the remote decks of this enormous vessel, frightening the crew who work to keep parts of Nostalgia still functioning as a spacefaring ship.

In another timeframe, Absolution Gap takes us to distant Hela, a world that orbits a gas giant that is able to do the unbelievable - it is able to disappear from sight, just for an instant. But this is enough to have attracted pilgrims and religious fanatics, people who travel on great caravans between mighty cathedrals that move below the orbit of the gas giant, always keeping it in sight, never even blinking for fear of missing one of its vanishings. Young girl Rashmika Els has run away from home, driven by something she can't quite understand to reach the principal cathedral, the home of the prophet Quaiche. We are in the fortunate position of knowing a little more about Quaiche than his disciples do, including the fact that he is haunted by shadows, driving him to cross the Absolution Gap.

Absolution Gap moves between times and places, combining the continuing stories of familiar protagonists with the emerging and influential lives of new characters. There is a different feel to this novel than to the preceding ones - Absolution Gap is mostly planet bound, although it still contains scenes aboard Nostalgia, one of the most extraordinary and memorable of all science fiction space ships. We see less of the Inhibitors, although what we do see is terrifying, especially now that we know what they can do. The horrifying glimpse we are given of Yellowstone's remains leaves us in no doubt of what these machines intend for all mankind. But in Absolution Gap, something is shown of the wider picture, of the other ancient life forms that may be out there. Mankind is possibly the least significant of the lot.

Much of the novel takes place on the mysterious and unforgivable world of Hela. Rashmika is a new principal character to the series and it is a joy to get to know her with all her strange ways, not least her power to always know when someone is lying, an invaluable gift on this world where everything has a price to be bartered. The cathedrals and caravans are vividly imagined. Religion has become grotesque on Hela, personified in the almost pitiable figure of Quaiche and his terrifying blood collecting surgeon.

For me, the outstanding characters are Scorpio and Brannigan. Scorpio knows all too well that he is not human, with all the prejudice that this entails, and his character continues to grow throughout Redemption Ark and Absolution Gap. At times he is more human than anyone else but there's no doubt that he suffers more as a result. As for Brannigan, by contrast, there is very little of the human left in him. During the series we have watched the captain progressively become as one with his ship, the victim of a melding disease that has afflicted much of human colonised space, holding back its progress. Brannigan is a ghost in the works, living in his own timeframe, at his own pace, on his own terms.

We are reminded of the past constantly. There are encounters with names from previous novels, including, I'm delighted to say, the loathsome Skade. But Absolution Gap also hints at a future, giving us clues to the role of the Inhibitors and mankind in a Galaxy that is even more mysterious and dangerous than could have been guessed at in Redemption Ark. Just as the Inhibitors always feared, when mankind began to explore space it opened doors that could never be shut again.

Absolution Gap is an outstanding novel, certainly my favourite of this terrific series. It is immensely rewarding, thrilling and moving, quite often tragic and even humorous in unusual ways. It is always thought-provoking and visually abundant. Above all else, it is a wonderful well-told story by an author whose imagination is irresistible.
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3.0 out of 5 stars An anticlimactic ending to a great series, 22 July 2014
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This review is from: Absolution Gap (Paperback)
There's no disputing that Alistair Reynolds is one of the all-time great writers of Space Opera. All the novels leading up to this one are artfully crafted masterpieces of cybergothic storytelling, and this final novel in the series is no exception - until you get to the end.

The novel builds up nicely in much the same way as the prequels, from a set of apparently unrelated, disparate peoples and events which begin to meld together into an adventure of cosmic proportions. A strange new faction is revealed in this book - the Adventist Church. I didn't like them, I found them dull and irritating and I found the details of their history and traditions to be an unnecessary diversion from what I felt was the real story of the inhibitors. Having said this, I was quite prepared to give Reynolds the benefit of the doubt, knowing how well everything had eventually come together in his previous novels. The problem is that it doesn't. The story builds and builds - and it's a good story! The inhibitors are ancient and powerful and intent on wiping us out, this we already knew, but now there are whispers of a potential ally of even greater power. The main characters, some old and some new, strive to overcome the insanity of the church and make terrible personal sacrifices to reach these allies, and then at the crucial moment, they just change their minds and decide not to bother. And that's the end of this entire saga! 2000+ pages to get to that! Then there's an epilogue that briefly explains that some other less-powerful-but-still-more-powerful-than-us aliens showed up and helped us out with the inhibitors.

It feels like the author realised he was running out of paper and needed to wrap up the whole story with only half a page left to write on.

I did enjoy the book as a whole. Reynolds skills as a writer are quite enough to get me through 700 pages on a week. I just wish he could have thought up a better ending.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Why Mr Reynolds, Why?, 8 Feb. 2014
This review is from: Absolution Gap (Paperback)
Warning, many, many spoilers.
Simply put, I'm a great fan of Alastair Reynolds' work, This "trilogy" in particular. Revelation space was an impulse Christmas present from my 11 year old sister, and was an exceptional piece of Sci fi, which had many concepts copied from it by man of steel. (seriously, if you don't believe me, read it then watch the film. A lot of ideas are "borrowed"). Reynolds successfully created a unique sic fi universe, with fascinating and involving characters, but also manages to look at the technological and social trends of this universe, the idea of the ultras (essentially the crews of interstellar ships travelling at relativistic speeds called lighthuggers, who due to isolation forced upon them by relativity are completely disconnected from the rest of humanity) being a personal favourite. Redemption Ark was even better, my only qualm being the inordinate amount of time in which it took for the inhibitors to come onstage and act, especially after the terrifying opening chapter with Skade and Galiana. But being the mysterious, Ancient enemy I was willing to wait until this volume, for when the Inhibitors break out into the Galaxy at large, although I was wondering exactly how he was going to portray the whole interstellar war when the only places he's went into any level of detail (albeit an intense level of detail) about where Resurgam and Yellowstone. Quite simply put... he doesn't. And that's only a minor qualm about this book.

I read the first two books over a very short period of time, halted only by my work at a summer camp, and being in semi-isolation for nearly three months without access to wifi or a Bookshop with new releases, I was forced to wait for a Nearly six weeks for this book, and even rushed a reading of the excellent "lies of Locke Lamora" (sorry mR Lynch, but worry not, it's getting re read many more times) to pick this up faster. And upon opening the book, What do find? Reynolds seems to have said to himself "How can i kill everything that the reader's loved about the previous two books?", and boy did he do a good job, of the cast of the original book, only one remains alive, (sorry sylveste, being mentioned in passing as part of a star?supercomputer thingy does not count as alive), Doesn't show up until halfway through the story and barely participates when she is present. Worse, her personlality seems to have completely changed, from the hard as nails soldier to a extremely irresponsible mother. Some of our favourite characters, such as Thorn and Felka have died out of narrative, The whole section about finding Galiana again seems to have been optimistic at best, as she hasn't returned. We find Clavain has grown Senile, and are forced to read about him getting a horrible and pointless death due to a very brief celebrity cameo from Skade, who also gets a pointless death ( this is someone who can survive being sliced in half, and even an exploding ship by sticking her disembodied head in a torpedo, yet can't survive childbirth. Thank's for giving an awesome villain a terrible end) we watch scorpio, who has also become senile age rapidly, and even he seems to have had a mild personality transplant from the previous book- What happened to the compelling figure who eventually managed to rise over his well deserved hatred of humanity for the greater good? He's turned old and despondent, and despite being the only likeable character left alive, you somehow end up wishing he had died as well. Worse is the fact that he introduces a "miracle girl" called aenea... sorry, called Rashmika,) who appears and grants miraculous reality bending weaponry..... from her unborn Brainwaves. Even worse are the Inhibitors, who the Author admits defy the basic laws of physics, and seem to be completley indestructible.... except for when the plot allows.

So, horrible use of good characters, blatant ignorance of certain laws of physics, which now seem to work as the writer wants them rather than as they do.... This is hard sic fi? the inhibitor angle is underdeveloped to the extreme, What little descriptions of inhibitors smashing up Humanity's' empire are limited to a few pages as we briefly pass through yellowstone, and otherwise they are the seemingly Absent threat that's afraid to attack a low tech world with one spacecraft. to make things even worse is the fact that between a third and a half of the book is spent following Rashmika on her epic Journey across Hela, Which ultimately proves to be completely and utterly pointless, Yet manages to completely slow down the story, to the point hat the main storyline doesn't actually kick off to any degree until halfway through the book. The Hela angle, whilst necessary for the story, really didn't merit the level of detail in which it is described, and, is all negated by the colossal deus ex machinma at the end, which leaves the reader wondering "what was that all about?". It is so colossal I'm not even going to attempt to describe it, As it it upsetting to the point of writing the remainder of the review with the caps lock on, but i will simply say, it negates the rest of the book, and brings a very unsatisfying end to a unsatisfying book.

On the plus side, I will give reynolds some credit, He has a very descriptive and engrossing writing style, which really shines through in many scenes, particularily the escape from Waterworld of whatever it was called , and bar a few deus exs, he mostly remains on the level of reality. The books is worth a read, although I'm still clinging unto the hope that he will write another to Finish the series properly, but I don't expect it. And will say, the plot twist at the end is ominous enough for my liking, Creates a loop in the story that means it must be looked at from a new angle. So in conclusion, well worth a read, but not worth a honoured place in your book collection.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Promising finale peters out in the last few chapters (Spoilery), 11 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Absolution Gap (Paperback)
I have really enjoyed reading the Revelation Space series, and Absolution Gap is no exception to that. Picking up twenty odd years after the end of Redemption Ark, A.G. throws in some fresh new characters and brings back some old favourites a few years down the line from when we last met them. As with all of Reynolds' books, the description and narrative are fantastic in A.G., with some particularly strong imagery regarding a procession of moving cathedrals circumnavigating the moon, Hela.

However, all of this is let down by the end of book, which is indeed the end of the Revelation Space series itself. Reynolds puts all the pieces into place for an interesting and satisfying ending to the sequence throughout the book and then throws them all away in the final chapter. The entire 'goal' of the book is disregarded in a few paragraphs, while subtle references are made to suggest a new solution to the Inhibitor problem could be plausible. However, instead of following up on these references in depth, Reynolds instead skips 400 years (yes, four hundred years) into the future in the Epilogue and essentially says 'So yeah, those things I vaguely hinted at but did not pursue throughout the book worked, but now there's something else bad happening so it doesn't really matter, I guess. The end'. Such a confusing disappointment at the end of an otherwise great book and fantastic series.

So, 3/5 stars - +3 for the continually powerful imagery, as well as the fantastically realised universe that persists throughout this book, alongside an interesting plot. -2 stars for the complete disregard of the majority of this plot in the final chapter and the weak ending that almost feels as if Reynolds had all the ideas in place for a fantastic ending but simply couldn't be bothered to write it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars No Revelation, but Reynolds didn't take the easy way out... ish, 12 July 2013
Conor Syme - See all my reviews
This review is from: Absolution Gap (Paperback)
I'll start by saying that I have read the previous novels in the Revelation Space Sequence and have not picked this novel at random as some others have. It is by no means perfect. It does not meet the standard of the previous instalments, however it does make a fitting end to the series...ish.

Where, normally, in most science fiction trilogies we are met with a force - intent on wiping out a race, human or otherwise - in the first chapter, we see the developments in the second chapter and, usually, we find the writer realises (in a moment of sobriety or Absolution), that this enemy is in fact unstoppable in weeks preceding the beginning of the third chapter. They panic. So, the easy way out. We find a weapon, prophet, magic buried jack'o-lantern, and all of a sudden the tide turns.

Alastair Reynolds has not done this. To a degree. This novel contains the classic Reynolds twists and reveals that has brought most of us this far in the series and some of them are genuinely inspired. Developments that you can see are absolutely justified - in the Reynolds sort of way - that you'd have thought then planned from the first instalment. Dropped this readers jaw. Nowadays, you have to look back, to the classics, novels - written decades ago that you may never have had the chance to read - to get that similar kick.

Couple small gripes, pacing. The first 35% of the story is a little slow but there is a great deal of character building which is very strong in this book, worth the time spent if you're a hasty hedgehog. I know, setting the scene and all that, but he absolutely could have concentrated it somewhat. Also, the Inhibitors, after their prominent role they take a short sideline and pretty much disappear. Driving force is still established, but we do notice it fizzle a little.

Like I said, this novel isn't perfect. In fact I personally do not see this as an ending. It is, of sorts - you get the whole picture. But it is not the ending that most will expect, or respect for that matter.

The easy way out would have been the standard - and they won the day/everything died sort of deal. Instead we get something else. Like Reynolds changed his mind in the last chapter - relatively similar to one of the characters - and that he went against his plan. Maybe this was his plan. I couldn't tell you. But what this reader encountered was an ending that provoked thought(and a mild amount of aggression for what seemed a premature ending).

Personally I feel there could be another instalment. Cut out that epilogue and show us what happened.

If you haven't, read Revelation Space - the beginning of the sequence - and get the full picture. It is also one of the best pieces of SF out there and was recently accepted into the list of SF Masterclass publications by Gollancz.

Anyway, back to Absolution Gap. Pretty terrific. I loved it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good sci ti, 22 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: Absolution Gap (Kindle Edition)
Revelation Space Redemption ArkI really enjoyed this book. You need to read the preceding books to get the most out of it. The only thing I did not like was the pig. I used to keep pigs, they are more intelligent than most dogs-not my collie dog or my sadly missed Jack Russell, definitely higher IQ than the Pugs down the road. The pig in these books are gross.
I love the Alphas who live on space ships with personality and warp drives. They deserve a book of their own. The spooky nano bits that live in the dark of space, who arise to wipe out races that get to clever with space faring, are all too believable. Explains why nobody has come a calling. Although the Revelation space books are all set in the same little corner of the Galaxy and have vague sequence the books can be read alone and out of order. However unless you read the previous book you have no idea how much you should hate some characters especially the Conjoiners. The characters are well drawn and follow their own agendas which often do not fit in with the rest of the players.
My one dislike is not enough gory details of space warfare. The description of space battles are not detailed enough to portray the problems of firing anything. The physics of hitting another space ship with any kind of weapon are formidable. The use of spaceships to decimate people on a planet or orbital is far better bet, even an asteroid nudged off course toward a planet will do damage.
Like many contemporary sci fi books the space ships often have personality, not always nice personality's. This is a very punk galaxy; decimated by a plague so some of the better inventions are destroyed or warped. I would love a book about that, I do not think Absolution Gap is quite as strong as the preceding books, but still a good read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Reynolds, 19 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Absolution Gap (Paperback)
This book definitely shows how far Reynolds has come as a writer since starting. I'd say that this one has a shot at being possibly his best novel, definitely his best in the Revelation Space series.

At over 700 pages, this is a long one, but it never really drags. There are 2 major plot-threads in this one. In the first, the remains of Nevil Clavain's crew from the previous novel, now lead by his associate Scorpio, have to deal with the Inhibitors, a race of super-advanced alien machines whose purpose is to prevent the emergence of intelligent life. In the other major story arc, 17-year-old child prodigy Rashmika Els runs away from home to find her long-lost brother, who sought work in the churches that dominate her world, but has not been seen since.

There are plenty of things to like about this one. For one thing, it has plenty of the awe and wonder that Reynolds does so well. There are plenty of unique ideas, such as the unearthly "hypometric" weapons that remove their targets from space-time, to the Cathedrals that circle the ice moon Hela to watch for the miraculous events on the planet it orbits. A few of Reynolds' more common flaws have also been eliminated this time- for one thing, he no longer skips over action sequences as much, and the battle towards the end of the novel is very satisfying, as are a few space battles (which are a refreshing change from the standard sci-fi fare). The characterisation is also much better than before: Scorpio, the modified "hyperpig" who has to grapple with his failings against the already impossible challenges he faces, is one of Reynolds' best characters, as is Rashmika, a strange girl with preternatural intelligence and determination but whose all-too-normal fears make her easy to empathise with. And finally, the novel raises a few interesting questions about the nature of religion and faith and their real significance, if any.

The main thing that disappoints readers is the somewhat deus-ex-machina situation at the end. In my view, though, it doesn't cripple the novel entirely. For one thing, the novel's storyline itself is brought to quite a satisfying conclusion, although the primary issue of the inhibitors is conveniently eliminated, but a different, even greater threat, now looms on the horizon. The ending sequence that describes this, however, is so eerie and haunting that it's not entirely worthless. The novella "Galactic North", available in the book of the same name, goes some way to explaining what happens after the novel is over.

In short, a slightly disappointing end to the overall trilogy, but a very good novel in its own right.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing end to an otherwise great trilogy, 29 May 2012
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This review is from: Absolution Gap (Paperback)
Previous reviewers have stated that this book has a disappointing end. They are entirely correct, but it's not just the ending where it goes wrong. Perhaps the last third of the book is markedly inferior to the rest of the story, both in Absolution Gap and the previous books of Revelation Space and Redemption Ark.

The first two books are excellent. Full of intricate plotlines spanning across the years. I particularly like the way that two initially unrelated storylines taking place years apart eventually converge due to the relatavistic effects of almost-light speed travel.

The first two thirds of Absolution Gap are equally interesting and well written. But (assuming you are enjoying the story) you will get to the final third where you can see the writing has taken a turn for the worse. The story becomes very rushed. Various things occur and are simply explained away very casually without any of the usual intricacies. Loose ends abound and finally the book comes to a very unsatisfying end as if Renolds suddenly realised he had a week left to finish it or have to return his publisher's advance. It just feels very untidy, which is a shame as until I hit that point I thought this was turning out to be one of the most epic trilogies I had read.

I really think the series should have been extended to another book, allowing the full story to be told in all the glory it deserves. Certainly worth buying if you have read the first two oustanding books. But unfortunately this one is the weakest of the series and will leave you feeling underwhelmed and a little disappointed.
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Absolution Gap by Alastair Reynolds (Paperback - 11 Dec. 2008)
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