6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Good SF - bad fantasy-equivalent,
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This review is from: The Temporal Void: The Void trilogy: Book Two (Void Trilogy 2) (Paperback)
Another Hamilton tome under the belt. The void trilogy is turning out to be tepid by Hamilton standard, though still engaging enough to have you read all three installments. The novelty of this trilogy is the introduction of a strand which is more fantasy than SF - and not really interesting fantasy either. We get to follow Edeard, a country hick who ends up in the big and somehow living city, shows distinguishing "magical" abilities, takes on a set of brawlers and big-wig politicians. The political machinations are, frankly, a bit of a drag, the social interactions in this feudal society with democratic elements likewise. A lot of pages in this strand come across as ho-hum, and ignorable. Even the fighting seems unusually unengaging, and it is easy to see why: Edeard has access to the writerly bane of a deux ex machina, one that will obligingly help him overcome anything and everything. How I would have loved this when I was 15! Superpowers that expand just as you need them, princesses that swoon before you, an adulating population! But of course I am not 15 any longer, and these dreams begin to look a little dated. I sometimes wonder whether Hamilton realises that his readership is changing; getting older. We are 17 years away from Mindstar Rising, and the teenagers who picked it up with trembling hands are now in their thirties. At least he has cut out the more explicit, and teeth-baringly awful, sex-scenes that so ruined the first installments, so that's something I suppose.
Now. The initial inspiration must have been to combine a fantasy streak with a hardcore SF streak (though it has in fact been done before. Anne McCaffrey's Dragonrider series had such elements for instance.). The trouble is that Hamilton's strength is so obviously the SF bits, and that the fantasy bits come across as (at least for this reader) little but nasty page-stealers. I found myself flipping pages, going, yeah, yeah, yeah Edeard, get out of my face so I can get some solid space battles. But certain proper space opera sub-narratives are just as Hamiltonian as I could desire, fast and furious and these easily made me click the pre-order button to get my paws on the upcoming final installment. Now what I am hoping for is for someone to nuke Edeard and the whole sordid Makkathran world in the first ten pages of the next book, followed by 600 pages of epic space mayhem. Kill your void darlings, Hamilton, and let's see what the fabled deterrence fleet can do. Oh, and let's see much more of the Sentient Intelligence. A no-holds-barred brawl between it and ANA:Governance: now that would be something.
2/5 (if that) for the fantasy parts; 4/5 for the proper space opera stuff.