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on 11 February 2011
Like other reviewers I also found myself wondering at times whether I should be taking notes; much of the technical and historical / future history sections are a little 'preachy'. It's clear that the author has spent a long time in research and a long time building his world but it's also clear that he wanted to make sure everyone realises this. There IS a good story here but this lecturing does get in the way.

However, I was more concerned by the flow of the narrative. The story has two main timelines and a several points I became confused and realised I'd been reading as though it were one when in fact it was the other. Some greater clarity on the switches between the timelines would help a lot. I also found on occasions that the narrative leapt from A to C when it could really have done with a B in the middle. It's as though the editing has been a little over-zealous in some places and overlooked in others.

Overall though this is a good story, well written - I read well into the small hours to finish it, which for me is always a sign of a gripping read. If it were priced similarly to 'mainstream' fiction I would have got only three stars but at this low price it gets an extra for good value.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 April 2011
I have only recently started using my kindle to read novels, but thought at the price and given the genre this would be a good start.

Its not a bad read, as others have said, there are lots of technical explainations of the technology, which I found a good thing.

I worked out what was going on by less than 1/3 of the way in, and watched the plot unfold as I predicted, but it was still a good read.
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on 22 December 2014
This series must be read in order. This is the first book.

Arik was genetically engineered to be the greatest mind ever born. Anywhere. Being one of the magical 100 children born on Venus is just the beginning for him. He cannot be contained or curtailed as he was designed to solve impossible problems. Too bad no one told him that solving problems isn't always a good thing. Especially when some problems are not meant to be solved as solving them would destroy the fabric of their society. But as with most geniuses hearing the word no is just and extra incentive to do what he wants to anyways.

This is a true SciFi gem set far in the future. What starts out looking like a Utopia quickly shows its dystopian mores. Plenty of intrigue and mystery spice up this cerebral thriller right up until the end! I can't wait to find out what happens next in the next book!

***This series is suitable for mature young adult through adult readers who like nothing is what it seems SciFi and don't mind fictitious science/history lessons adding to the realism :)
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 31 January 2013
This is a most peculiar book to review. Fortunately I'd read some other reviews which said stick at it and it'll be worth it in the end, and in many ways it was and I'm glad of the advice, because a number of times in the first half I nearly gave up.

That had nothing to do with the writing- Cantrell is a fine writer and the book is well edited, but it is just too frontloaded with technical information rather than story. For a novel, it is just way too technical; the science is definitely sound and the author deserves five stars for his research and technological know-how- the tech explained here and the whole scenario is entirely believable- it's just that there are pages and pages of technical description that is frankly brain numbing in a work of fiction- the art of a good 'hard' sci-fi book should be that the technology is believable and acceptable without lengthy descriptions disrupting the story telling...Alistair Reynolds is a good example of a writer that pulls this trick off.

However for much of this book, it's difficult to discern whether the author is wanting to write a series of articles for New Scientist, or a novel. In that way perhaps he would have been better providing all the techy info in an appendix or maybe a second, technical back up booklet, I don't know, it's just what at its core is a great story, is just muffled by a lot a stuff I- and I suspect many people- will just skim through.

Having said that- and the fact that the characters are inevitably very cardboard with all of this authorly attention to the technology- at exactly the halfway point the story suddenly takes off and you have an absorbing page turner that for a while you can't put down. Quite extraordinary. That fascinating tale is then muted a bit again by more OTT technical info but a real novel with an interesting story emerges.

In fact strip away all the techno guff and you have an excellent, old school sci-fi tale here competently written and worthy of five stars. The author needs to decide though what sort of book he wants to write, and perhaps if in novel form, concentrating on the storytelling and characters a bit more, because if he does so, he's clearly capable of producing some very good books indeed. As it is though, I finished this book feeling let down through a wasted opportunity...too much science and not enough fiction...shame.
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on 14 February 2012
I picked this book on Kindle for the pricey sum of zero, but I've learnt to be sceptical about freebie books as I've downloaded several stinkers.

The plot immediately seemed to my tastes, it's science fiction about man colonising the solar system. The characters are likeable from the outset and the story is well set up, you get a real sense of the surroundings they endure every day. The writing is smooth and I found myself drawn into the story much more than I was expecting.

The plot moves along quite slowly at first and after dropping the slightest of hints through the story, the twist is excellent and really draws everything together well, I wont give it away!

Overall the book isn't a large investment even now the price has been restored. It's well written, feels plausible within context (obviously I know living on Venus isn't) and engages the reader. There are plot aspects which felt a little left open, and as a sequel doesn't feel likely they'll remain so. Well worth a read!
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on 6 December 2011
I am a great fan of all things scifi, particularly on the theme of survivalism and planetary colonisation. This book delivered it all - an intriguing and well thought out premise, detailed and believable scientific and background historical descriptions, perceptive comments on the nature of the human psyche, likeable characters and a mystery waiting to be solved. Whilst I am aware that some readers have criticised the ending, I found it both poignant and restrained. It would have been all to easy to overwrite the ending to this story but the greater skill lies in knowing when to stop, and I feel that in this instance Mr Cantrell got it just right. I read the entire book in one sitting (it is also the first book I read on my first Kindle, which is, if I may momentarily digress, a work of genius on Amazon's part) and can recommend it highly.
I will be downloading the author's other available works which I hope will live up to the high standard which 'Containment' has set.
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on 18 March 2014
This novel does have a major problem with exposition - there's just so much of it, not interweaved into the narrative but plonked into the middle of it. Of course it's great that the author, a software developer by trade, has put the thought and research into coming up with explanations for the workings of the Venus colony, even providing a full history of it but there is some stuff that the author needs to know but the reader doesn't. The pace of the first half of the novel is much slower than it could have been, given the opening and the memory loss plot.

It reminds me a little of Hugh Howey's Wool, being a potrait of a community living in a confined space, surrounded by a hostile environment.

I bought this novel because it was available via an offer for £1.19 and found it suitably entertaining for that price. By the end, when the exposition becomes sparser (or had I just got used to it?), it kept me reading into the small hours.
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on 29 October 2011
This is a really well written story, the author has obviously put a lot of thought into the background of the story ... or perhaps more appropriately the futuregrounding of the story. This books classification as sci-fi probably doesn't help, if it was classed as a thriller it may well attract more readers, the sci - fi tag shouldn't put anyone off. Its just a really well paced and interesting story, the science fiction elements to the book really do help the story move along and are an integral part of the plot - its not about star-drives and space ships in the least ...perhaps a more dystopian future vision would be a better way of describing the book and the story is well told and believable ..at least I thought it all seemed really plausible and I'm not a techy person in the least. The central character of the book is engaging enough that you do care about whats going to happen in the next page, and this book for me was a definite page turner.
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on 10 September 2014
I really enjoyed this book.

It's not too long, and I think the pace was perfect. I particularlly enjoyed how the story was set both pre-coma and post-coma. I expected it to get confusing, but it was written well enough that I always knew what "timeline" the story was progressing in. The end is a bit abrupt, but only in as much as I feel I want to know what happens next. Surely that's a sign of a good book!

As a software developer, you can clearly tell the author also leads a similar career. His "technobabble" sounded like most of it could be completely true - which is what I love about good science fiction. Not just "that sounds like we could have that in a few decades", but "I can guess what the code for that looks like". I loved this part of the book, although it seems like other reviewers disliked it.

I won't say much, but the author handles the twist very well.
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on 5 January 2014
I have to say that I really enjoyed this book. If you don't think too hard about the science behind this story (which isn't that hard if you like modern sci-fi on the TV!) then this is an excellent read.

The book tells the story of a colony on Venus and how they came to be there. This means the book flips between history of the Earth and life on Venus. There is lots of detail about the colony as the book goes on, and we start to find out more about some of the second generation of colonists. As with many books, the pace of the book and the desire to read it increase as you progress through the chapters. I found myself picking up my kindle more and more as time went on, eager to find out what would happen next.

I don't want to say too much about the plot but I'll suffice to say that this book was one of the best and most engaging sci-fi novels I've read recently
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