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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 20 October 2015
This is definitely a book of two halves. It starts off really well. We are introduced to the two main characters as young children, and the way that their two incredibly different worlds are brought together is very cleverly crafted. The translator who transcribed this from German has done an amazing job, you would never realise when reading that this was written in a foreign language. The suspense around Hiroshi's idea and Charlotte's gift is very well done, and you just have to keep reading to find out what his idea will be, and what she is going to discover using her power.


But then everything seems to go completely crazy. That "crazy" there really needs a powerful expletive in front of it, but this would never get past the censors if I included it. The story just goes haywire, and it seemed to me as though the book from this point on (and if you have read the book, it is very obvious which point I am on about) was written by an entirely different person. All the subtle plot lines from the first half are just tossed aside and barely referred to again, especially Charlotte's power to discern the history of objects just from touching them. It is merely referred to again in passing at the end, as a very unconvincing attempt to explain where Hiroshi's instant and miraculous understanding of the nanites and his ability to communicate with them and control them came from. I really thought that the explanation was going to be that someone had stolen Hiroshi's ideas and taken them to the next level, so that he was dealing with what was effectively his own invention. That would have been a good espionage/thriller take on things, rather than what we ended up with, which I thought was all rather limp.

A nice idea, but overall the end result is a bit unsatisfactory.
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on 28 October 2015
I was initially puzzled - I thought I'd bought a sci-fi novel but nothing sci-fi was going on. It was very late that the sci-fi began, and maybe that is a criticism yet it also is a strength as it seems to make the sci-fi more believable. There was only one plot error that I noticed and that was only some time after I'd finished the book so it didn't detract at the time. Will be looking for more books by this author.
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on 27 May 2017
6 stars for coming up with a solution to Fermi's Paradox.
It oscillates somewhat between a story about people and relationships and then back to the SF and fantasy (Mills and Azimov almost). The ending plonked for me (cheaply predictable). It's not a proper Ian M Banks 5 stars, but well worth reading
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on 8 June 2017
What an interesting novel - bringing together sci-fi and a touch of fantasy in a readable novel.

It felt a bit like watching a movie, as characters met each other in different locales and decades.

Well done.
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on 21 April 2017
I got this e-book free from Amazon because it looked interesting. Wow, it is a truly amazing story with a breadth of hundreds of thousands of years and physics totally beyond my understanding. And yet it is also a human love story without an ounce of sentimentality. I am blown away and really sorry that I have finished it.
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on 15 June 2017
Very good book; I omitted one star because I was disappointed at the ending, but you should read it.
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on 6 August 2014
When I found this book on my kindle app I couldn't remember where it came from, perhaps it had been a special offer or free with another purchase? Anyway, having not read the blurb or any reviews I was pretty clueless as to what kind of book it was. As I read on I couldn't decide whether it was going to turn out to be about robots, or aliens, or psychic powers or simply a love story. As I got past halfway I still wasn't sure what direction it was going in and I think that made me like the book even more. By the end I was completely gripped and wandering round London bumping into people while trying to find out how it ended (I was supposed to be on a family trip).
I'm really glad I bought this book (found it? won it?) and I think I have decided it is a standalone sci-fi drama. Whatever it is, it's good and it will stick with you for a long time. In almost a scary way...maybe there's a bit of horror in there too.
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on 23 May 2017
It's hard to know how to describe this one. I found it a compelling read but felt that overall it lacked a coherent storyline. It was more of a biographical account of the two main characters Hiroshi and Charlotte, though I'm not really sure why Charlotte was the focus of so much attention. A lot of things happen *to* her throughout the course of the book, but she herself doesn't really do anything to advance what plot there is.

The scientific concept was interesting and certainly held my attention, this was probably the book's strongest point. There were a few moments of utter brilliance in amongst the biographical stuff.

The ending seemed rushed. A lot of threads weren't tied up and a lot of questions weren't answered. SPOILERS -> The human antagonists, such as they were, just seemed to disappear without any resolution to their involvement in the protagonists' lives. No explanation was given (unless I missed it) as to where Hiroshi and Charlotte got their mysterious abilities from. I guess the implication is some sort of connection to the previous human race(s), but how and why?
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on 4 March 2014
Andreas Eschbach allows his sense of wonder to range far and wide. The author takes a very believable robotics theory and develops it over the lifetimes of his two central characters. His story begins with two children from very different backgrounds who come together by their own machinations but these two have talents that are not given to ordinary people. Hirohito the boy, has a vision that if realised will free mankind from all toil. Charlotte, his companion is able to view the past by just touching relics. Their lives are loosely intertwined and their stories, whilst they are developed separately, have relevance to each other.

Perhaps my only criticism is that there is sufficient material for the author to have written two books.One as a sequel to the other. I look forward to reading more from this author.
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on 13 March 2014
An enthralling read that is strong both in characterisation and plot. The author's scientific background shows clearly - he knows his stuff. Actually, the only reason I gave four stars and not five was that he got a little carried away sometimes with his technical explanations. But I still recommend this book very highly. The premise is a fascinating one, with some unexpected and clever turns. Some reviewers disliked the ending but I thought it was just right.(no spoilers here, you'll have to read it yourself!) This would make a fantastic film... if anyone's got the budget. Great human storied, great themes, and a few 'what if?' questions that get stuck in your head like a swarm of nano bots.
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