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3.6 out of 5 stars58
3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 29 November 2012
I felt that this book shared some of the exquisitely creative concepts demonstrated in the quantum thief but the execution was slightly muddled with the clarity of the storyline sometimes suffering. It is worth persisting since the last fifth of the book does tie things together but especially in the early parts of the novel it is easy to feel a little lost.
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on 10 May 2014
I was hugely excited by vol 1, The Quantum Thief. I thought that only 3 other books had opened things up for me like this one did: ( they are, Gibson's Neuromancer, Robson's Natural History and Stross's Accelerando). So when this came I jumped at it but was disappointed - at first ! I did not finish it the first time. I realised that I was not smart enough to read it and get my head around the story. Then I was angry, thinking the author could have made a bit mor effort to help out a slow-coach like me. But I persevered and finished it, and very glad I did too. There are some fascinating ideas here well clothed in literary skill. I like the ideas part of my brain being pushed as well as the entertainment receptor enjoying a good story. This delivers plenty of both. I am still left with a nagging sense that I did not fully 'get' all that was happening - I still need a spoiler! But I would advise all to keep on because there is a big richness here worth exploring . . . . And vol 3 is due soon . . .
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on 28 November 2012
Struggling to find words for a review. I read tons of accessible sci-fi. this is a little more challenging but fabulously original and engaging. Don't expect the stainless steel rat. I thought I had almost "got" the fist book and soon realised the the sequel just kept pushing the boundaries of what might be and how much you can keep in your head. Its rare to see so many invented words to describe complex and extreme new concepts but, like the first book this new language is essential. Ultimately I confess I just let a lot of the bits I didn't fully follow completely just wash over me - in a good way. Not the easiest read - but then the most inventive and imaginative works rarely are. Impossible to to explain to the uninitiated. I wonder what the author will come up with next - ill get it whatever it is.
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on 18 October 2012
This book is difficult. The author is ruthless about not giving any help to the reader in explaining the meaning of technical and made-up words, or indeed just what on Earth is happening in the story.

Reading this is a bit like watching a really great movie (Inception, say) on TV during a thunderstorm - I was able to make out enough of what was going on to think it was pretty good, but frustrating because I wasn't always able to make everything out.

I don't understand what happened at the end - there was some kind of plot twist possibly introducing a new character, but I dunno. The ending promises a third instalment though, so maybe we need to wait a year or two to find out?

If you like sci-fi then like me you'll probably want to read this, because there is a definite something about it. I hope the author moderates his style in future though to accommodate the reader a bit more.
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on 1 March 2014
How you respond to this book will depend very much on how you view exposition in science fiction novels. Do you want pages of history, or artificial dialogue explaining what everybody in the story knows? Or do you want the background of the story slowly doled out as you go? Or do you want the option chosen by Rajaniemi in his two books so far - take it or leave it? There is effectively no explanation, no exposition, no definition, no backstory. On the one hand this makes your head ache. On the other hand it produces a story of almost overwhelming richness, that you will want to read several times, and in which you glimpse depths which make you think "I must go back and read that again later." This is baroque science fiction at its finest.
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on 25 March 2013
The Fractal Prince is interesting, but sometimes difficult to read. It leans heavily on extending current digital concepts into a future space, and you are never quite sure if some of the analogies work...but they provoke thought! I also found it difficult to follow some of the names used, this might be my own dyslexia, or just the writer choosing bizarre names that I find impossible to pronounce. I think there is a hint on this in the authers name, obviously not from Wales I would guess. It makes the writing tough goping at times, but it is worth sticking with, as now and again some very original ideas pop up and suprise you.
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on 14 January 2013
Having read Quantum Thief I was really looking forward to reading this, and I got 2/3 of the way in before I started to realise this really is not the hard SF of the first book. It seems to be an attempt at merging fantasy and sci-fi in the far future (think Warhammer 40k with plot). And even when the author tries to justify the fantasy in science terms, it is really a bit contrived and I was left feeling there needed to be more explanation or left as fantasy.

Saying that, Hannu Rajaniemi does maintain his impecable story telling. The book starts with 2 distinct threads which gradually and inexorably intertwine to produce a fast passed finish, one thread being hard SF featuring out hero, Jean le Falmbeur, while the second is based on some far future earht (probably). There seem to be few inconsistencies, but as with the first book, if you are expecting any background to the world Hannu has conjured up, you will be disappointed. That said, it is worth reading The Quantum Thief first - this one would leave you even more confused and exacerbated at the lack of world development and I suspect would enhance your reading of this book.

Personal Summary: Great story but mix of SF/F does not mesh well in this, and some plots seem a little contrived.
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on 30 November 2012
As a sequel to The Quantum Thief this amazing book is a big step up - from an already very high standard. It achieves my gold standard of 'Blimey!' after each chapter. But this is heavy duty SF and you have to have your wits about you. There are no explanations of the basis of the scenario, no explanations of the terms used and a well-disguised plot - if that's the right word. It's hard work but rewarding. As a form of writing I find it quite brilliant and absorbing.Thoroughly recommended to lovers of hard SF. Well done Hannu.
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on 28 October 2012
I couldn't wait for the hard copy to arrive so bought the iBook version thinking I could get started with that. It was a good idea, but I had read The Fractal Prince within 48 hours of getting the iBook version!

Refreshingly different, intelligently written and engrossing themes explored. Many happy hours spent following up on the science concepts introduced. An absorbing, thought provoking and thoroughly entertaining book if you are a fan of science fiction or have an inquiring mind. Light reading it is not!
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on 14 March 2013
There is a genre called hard scifi - and this is it. I accept it is my failing buying the book having read the reviews. I love quantum mechanics, have a pretty good understanding of the concepts. But OMG this book and the other in the series will stretch your mind. I just wish Hannu had put a cheat sheet at the end, for those of us not blessed with super high intellects or a family that requires our presence of mind! Still - I read it through and felt better for it. But still cant tell you I understand everything.
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