1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Great Culture Novel,
This review is from: Surface Detail (Hardcover)
I very much enjoyed reading this book, for all of it's massive length it didn't feel drawn out or flat in any places. This book is a slight change to the usual format of the Culture novels, favouring a more expansive ensemble cast then usual, which some of the other reviewers here seem to feel was spread a little too thin. In the end though, I didn't care that a couple of the characters were a little lightly sketched, because the core characters were truly excellent. Some deserve special mention, including the ship Falling Outside The Usual Moral Constraints (for all that this is an irritating mental mouthful to read), by far my favourite ship since the Grey Area, and the Space Martial Vatueil (in all of his incarnations).
The plot is also a stunner, I really liked the concept of another (possibly even larger than the Real) Universe being present in the virtual afterlife. It does suffer slightly from being as twisty as a four-dimensional corkscrew, and at no point are you allowed to relax into the story. I also found the introduction of other Culture-Equivalent civilisations to be a great enhancement to the book, as they were my favourite bit of Matter by far. This book far exceeds Matter in terms of quality, storyline and characters, and I would rate it almost as highly as Excession and Look to Windward (my two favourite Culture books so far).