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on 15 May 2016
Be warned, as of 15th May 2016, Amazon are describing this as book 2 in the trilogy - well it's not, it's book 3. Wish I'd paid more attention to the reviews rather than trusting Amazon to get the series order correct, because now I know the ending before reading the real book 2 of the series, with the result that the trilogy is ruined for me. Way to go Amazon, and more fool me for not checking properly.
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on 22 March 2017
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on 24 June 2015
There are some fiction sequences where the parts can be read in any order, or even in isolation from each other. That's emphatically not the case with Rajaniemi's stunning trilogy, which reaches a, sort of, conclusion with "The Causal Angel.' I say "sort of", because my immediate reaction was that I'd have to go back and read the first two books again, then re-read the new one, in the expectation that it would make more sense. I doubt if I'm alone in this . Yes, it's a conclusion of sorts, yes, it's as overwhelmingly dazzling and confusing as the first two, and yes it does all make a sort of sense at the end, even if a few planets get destroyed along the way. It's less space opera than a kind of baroque, over-the-top collision between Jules Verne, Umberto Eco and Salman Rushdie. Does that make any sense? No, I thought not. Oh, go and read the damn thing.
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on 24 May 2016
I pity anyone who buys this on a whim without having immersed themselves in the first two books in the series. Mr Rajaniemi seems to expect his readers to have an encyclopedic knowledge of his first two books and their dizzying terminologies. Unless you know what gogols, spimes, the All-Defector, raions, oblasts and virs (etc etc ad infinitum) are from the first two novels then you are going to wonder what the hell is going on as there are no explanations at all from the author. You are left to work it out for yourself or refer back to the earlier books. The author seems to be writing for an audience of one - himself - and woe betide you if you can't keep up. I actually read and enjoyed the first book, The Quantum Thief, but was less happy with the second, The Fractal Prince. This one leaves me cold. The author acknowledges the late Iain M. Banks and his Culture series in the credits and there are signs that a more readable book lies hidden underneath the blizzard of interlocking terminology. But frankly this book is hard work. For fans only.
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on 29 August 2014
Excellent and well worth waiting for, the final instalment in the Le Flambeur saga. For fans of the first two parts, this book is probably required reading, but as a stand-alone piece of writing, you'd probably find it confusing to say the least. This isn't Elric of Melnibone, where each story stands on its own two feet, this is a highly complicated denouement of a fairly complicated trilogy.
So, does it work? In parts, I would say yes, but I would also say that the requirements of the plot tend to dictate what happens to a much greater extent than in the first two episodes, which gives it for me less exuberance than the first and second sections of the story. Nonetheless, this is operatic scale sci-fi at its best, and I loved it!
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on 26 August 2014
Brilliant, stunning, innovative, creative, cohesive... staggered. Just finished reading this third instalment and I think the author has addressed all the weak point in the previous two books and come up with a true bit of hard core sci fi space opera with computronics, game theory, quantum mechanics, astrophysics and even a bit of biomechanics. Gone are most of the new age hippy magics and the really, really bad science. Whats left is at the edge of possibility - as it should be!

OK - this is not for the faint hearted. It could be read in isolation, but you would gain a lot more from reading the first two. The universe Hannu Rajaniemi is a complex one with many competing factions, and it is very difficult to either (a) get your head around it or (b) let it flow around you and see it as a backdrop to the main text (I choose this because it would take me too long to do (a)). In parts it can be a REAL struggle to get through, but persevere and you are rewarded with some enlightenment (on entanglement) at the end (usually).

Much as I hate to say it, I hope this story line ends here. The character of the thief Jean le Flambeur should carry on with different adventures, different stories and different heists, bit I feel this novel represents a closure of the main plot. Personally I would like to see Pixel brought back (she was sooo cute).

Summary: Great story, but reading books 1 and 2 woud increase your enjoyment signifcantly.
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on 16 November 2014
Having found the first two books rather impenetrable, and being greatly irritated by their meaningless scientific pseudobabble, I wasn't intending to get this. But I did, and read it, and found it a bit easier going and interesting. than the others. But it didn't help to sort out my confusion, and I'm no nearer to understanding what it's all about. A pity - the three books would probably condense into one good one with a believable scientific basis and stronger characters. There is definitely something happening here. If only I knew what it is.
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on 14 August 2016
Probably 3.5 stars really, because it's definitely better than The Fractal Prince, with a stronger focus and clearer plot, but brought down by a disappointing conclusion built on hints rather than actually finding out what happened and which characters survived. There is the sense that despite the hard SF beginnings in the Quantum Thief, by the end of this book it is love and wishes that save the day - or seem to save the day (you never can tell what's real and what's virtual in these books). Not quite as many baffling neologisms as the previous book (and some of those from book 2 do get explained in this book), but they're still an issue. It goes quite Matrix Revolutions at times with characters taking over other characters and making copies of themselves in virtual worlds, which also means there is a need for a similarly "huh?" solution to the one used in that film. Overall, the story is compelling and the scope impressive, but the execution and ending let it down.
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on 16 January 2015
This is a great book. The charactors live in a post singularity worlds dotted over the solar system. Giant group minds orbit planets, and the Earth is mostly wasteland. The abiity to shape matter and space a reality, but it is a dark place where virtual gods fight for dominance. It is also a complicated tail of a theif. The main charactor fights a running battle between his master and other forces for the ultimate prize. I would suggest that this second book should not be started without reading the 1st, and the 1st book you should go with the flow and not try to hard to figure out the concepts. All will be revealed over the 3 novels.
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on 20 July 2014
I was wondering how Rajaniemi was going to pull this one off. I think he managed it, but only just, and this is something he seems to acknowledge after the books ending by thanking fans for sticking with him.

The book flits from location to location in virtual space far more than I would have wanted it to. In the first book we get to spend time really getting to grips with the Oubliette on Mars, and in the second the city of Sirr on Earth. I was hoping for the same treatment with Supra City on Saturn, but it doesn't really feel like Rajaniemi gave the location enough time to develop and impose itself on the reader in the same way that Sirr and the Oubliette did thanks to the constant switching between characters and locations in the 'spimescape', 'virrs' and various other digital locations.

The important questions are answered, but while Rajaniemi managed to avoid infodumps in the past it does feel like he's had to resort to using them for some of the really big answers that have been building up over the series, and it would have been nice to have seen these resolved more gradually throughout the book.

All in all I did really like it but I couldn't help but feel that Rajaniemi was trying desperately to do the fans of this series a service by wrapping up rather than weaving a more focused story, which could have been a lot less 'flitty' and a lot more grounded in a new location like Supra City.
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