- Paperback: 512 pages
- Publisher: Tor; Reprints edition (12 April 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0330457616
- ISBN-13: 978-0330457613
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.2 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 199,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Departure (Owner series) Paperback – 12 Apr 2012
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The beginning of a new series from a master of space opera
About the Author
Neal Asher was born in Billericay, Essex, and divides his time between here and Crete. His previous novels include the Agent Cormac series (Gridlinked +4), Spatterjay series (The Skinner +2), Polity series (Prador Moon +4) and The Owner trilogy (The Departure, Zero Point +1). He has also written The Gabble: And Other Stories
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Top Customer Reviews
I don't mind opposing or strange views, I relish them. That's one of the reasons why I read science fiction. Part of that though is the challenge of engaging with the ideas and thinking through the implications etc. Sadly, as interesting as the sci-fi elements are, the political elements are sigh-worthy. Earnest, yet difficult to believe, like being stuck on hold for an hour and having to listen to a pre-recorded voice tell you every 30 seconds that your call is important.
It kinda works as satire though, so you may enjoy it more if you think of it that way.
Imagine the best car chase you ever saw in a movie. For me, that was what this book equated to. I really enjoyed it, with my heart in my mouth for half the time.
Well, I didn't. I thought it was a good story in its own right and echoed many themes used in 'Polity' novels from a different perspective and within a more familiar framework.
I think many people may have been disappointed by the fact that the main character, Alan Saul, is not particularly likeable and is portrayed as something of an 'anti-hero'. In many stories, a person/entity such as Saul would be the bad guy. However, as a long time reader of the Thomas Covenant stories, I can deal with the 'anti-hero' concept and didn't feel it was a problem.
There's also been a lot of comment about the amount of violence in the book. I think it is more bloody than other works of his but it's hardly venturing into Shaun Hutson territory. It's there but it's not covered in minute detail.
However, it's not perfect. I would have liked more character definition, even if it only made me dislike them more. A lot of the characters, including the main ones, felt a bit shallow. I'm also not entirely convinced about the basic plotline right now but, given this is the apparently the first of a series, I would assume that there's a bigger picture to be revealed and I'm certainly interested enough in what happens to buy the next instalment and find out.
The Departure is very dark.
It really is.
Pretty distasteful in places, but the writing effectively paints a frankly disturbing picture of a society that has surrendered its scary freedoms to the safety of governmental dominance. It seems to me to be a critique of over-reliance on the state, something you can see happening in this country whatever the colours of the ruling party. I certainly didn't read it as a socialist bashing diatribe. In fact to me it reads more like a warning of how a society can fall into subservience to a fascist like governmental/corporate system. A society where things have gone horribly wrong largely through inaction and apathy rather than through subjugation by some overarching bond-like villain. What I think gets under your skin is the link Asher makes between this horrifying future and the actions (or lack thereof) of ordinary people (just like us) in the present day.
As an opening book in a series I feel it sets the scene very clearly. It's quite different to the other works by Asher, which to my mind is a positive. It's an impressive author who can create totally separate immersive worlds and not rely on constantly going back to safe and reliable ground. I normally only read on the Metro on my journeys to and from work (about 15 minutes each way) so it takes me a while to finish a book. I found that I was so engrossed in this one that I had to read through it rather more quickly. Now I'm going to have to buy the second book on the kindle and then probably despair at how long it takes before the third book is ready, not that Asher is slow, heck I've waited for George R R Martin, but just because I'll really want to know how it works out.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very,very good. Great read well written.Will buy and read more.
The start of the book was a bit slow but but soon got my full attention.
Neal, Neal Neal....not my favourite old bean!
But still very readable and you're still one of my favourite authors. Maybe book 2 will turn it around for me?
I've recently reread the trilogy one after the other -- and this is how they need to be read, it's one book. Much as I love Neal Asher's work this is not my favourite. Read morePublished 9 months ago by El Hawks
The first novel in what I'd consider to be the authors best series to date. It's ultraviolent, dark and the characters take some getting used to but it also explores interesting... Read morePublished 11 months ago by David Timlin
The underlying scenario is a good one, but the prose is quite leaden. There's an over-reliance on the use of jargon, and the old trick of plucking a future technology out of the... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Mr. T. J. Staffell
Since I'm relatively left-wing/liberal - a longtime SF fan but new to Asher - it's a tribute to the man's writing that I soon forgot about the explicitly anti-left flavour of his... Read morePublished 17 months ago by S. G. Gilman