2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Seeds of excellence, some on barren ground,
This review is from: Seeds of Earth: Book One of Humanity's Fire (Kindle Edition)
Right. This book and indeed the series has received some pretty mixed reviews, I come down on the positive side of the fence. I bought and read all three in sequence because the plot was such that I wanted to know what happened next - it kept my interest throughout. My review will cover aspects of all three.
Characters are on the whole good. I especially enjoyed the stoic dour Scottish vein that runs through some of them. The different races whilst occasionally a little confusing were relatively diverse - I would have liked to have seen more in the way of profiles and histories and notes, but that's not a big thing really.
Simply put you have your heroes and you have your villains, the author is not trying to create ultra deep challenge your belief system characters, this book isn't (like some sci-fi) pretending it's classic literature. Readers looking for a sensitive Danlo wi Soli Ringess (David Zindell, Requiem for homo sapiens) type characters will be disappointed. But if you want Skywalker and the like then you'll have no problems. Additionally while it may be Opera it's not hi-sci-fi, so the premises and the 'science' are underplayed, it's a 'warp well' you don't need to know how it works. Which is fine because consistent throughout.
The ship vs ship fighting was descriptive and well fashioned as was the growing political tensions that begin in book one and continue beyond. In fact that's one of the better points about the series, Cobley has an acute sense for well ratcheted growth, both in story and character. It's very much 'just when you think things aren't going to get any worse, something bad happens.'
Does it have faults? Yes. One or two sections are almost entirely superfluous. To the point it felt like Cobley went off his writing plan, then decided that rather than deleting the last 5 pages, he'd just have somebody rescue the characters. Having such a wide range of characters in a series that moves with a fair lick of pace, means that he doesn't always develop character journeys completely. Reactions to certain things are often...blasé "Oh my best friend died, oh well" and character's thought process - especially in relation to the person who killed the best friend - don't seem affected. The big 'monster race' of horrible cyborgs held up throughout the books as utterly terrifying 'if they break free' inevitably did break free and then weren't that terrifying - and just didn't seem that grievous.
But I enjoyed all the books and would recommend them. They're not going to be classic sci-fi, however they are good fun and don't take themselves too seriously. There are some lovely conceits put forward throughout the series, and some really imaginative descriptive moments. At times there seems to be a brilliant grasp of the horrific as well - look out for the story of the Hyperion's rogue AI when it get's explained a bit later. So basically - its' flawed but still good and worth your time and money.