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on 24 September 2010
First class from Mr Hamilton again.The only downside is the wait till he kicks off a new tale.
I would recommend you re-read the first two beforehand if you can show the restraint.A top notch read.
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on 23 May 2011
Not much point in a full review as the one by Mark Chitty is excellent in all regards. I suggest you read it if you want to make a decision on whether to buy Hamilton'a latest. I will add the my own experience of the Void Trilogy was to read all three books on the Kindle in about a week. It is addictive and in a manner that had me accelerating through at a page every 8-10secs...something no book has inspired me to do in a very long time.
Yes, you need to read 'Pandora' and 'Judas' to fully appreciate what is happening and the characters retained in this latest; yes it is fascinating that Hamilton has effectively written two complete trilogies with the stories of the Commonwealth and Querenica - one a pure sci-fi, the other pure fantasy.
Hamilton is the current master at space opera. He does it extremely well, handling a cast of thousands and the problems of a galactic species in a manner that is, quite frankly, exhilarating.
I could pick holes in parts, observe some grammatical issues, perhaps sigh at some repetition and the rather cavalier sweeping generalisations that come through in the books. But that would be to entirely miss the point of them.
Hamilton is here to entertain us.
He does it brilliantly.
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VINE VOICEon 12 September 2010
This third volume in the Void series (you can't really describe them as separate books, as if you haven't read the first two you haven't a hope of understanding this) neatly ties up all of the story lines - what happened to the people inside the void, what happens to the nutcases in the Living Dream church, the fate of the first and second dreamers and even the factions that make up humanity.

As with the conclusion to his earlier Night's Dawn trilogy (which was perhaps a far more rewarding read for hard science fiction fans) Hamilton seems unable to end the book without resorting to a Deus ex Machina (quite literally, a god from a machine) to sort things out. It's a shame, as I would have liked to seen the protagonists think their way out of the problem without summoning divine intervention. Oh, and there's one final plot twist, involving one of Edeard's girlfriends, that left me seething and may do the same for you..

Anyway, I'm being picky. Hamilton's ability to create an entire universe, describe it in depth, and create characters that you care about is quite astonishing, and if if you like a little fantasy in your science fiction, this series is worth the investment of time that it takes.
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on 28 December 2010
Why the "Void" series is often compared to Dan Simmons' amazing masterpieces Hyperion/Endymion is beyond me. The characters are shallow, poorly developed; the universe depicted is large, the story takes place on many planets and in many environments, but all of them are everyday fodder in scifi -- nothing very creative; there is simply no edge to this novel.
None of this would stand in the way of entertainment, however, and this could have been the kind of novel you read once and then forget about. But the real problem is aimlessness. The author seems more intent on parading various settings and technologies than on moving his plot along; and this makes for boring, rather than entertaining reading.
I usually devour books (it took me 3 days to read all four volumes in Hyperion/Endymion, marveling the entire time and eager to start reading them all over again), but I had to push myself through the 2nd and 3rd volume here, out of curiosity -- was the author going to fix his poor narrative and make the most of his otherwise considerable talent? Sadly, I must answer this one in the negative.
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on 28 September 2010
When I received my copy of 'Evolutionary' from Amazon, I decided I'd forgotten a lot of what had happened in the story so I decided to read the whole trilogy from start to finish. Unfortunately, what this did is show up the fact that The Evolutionary Void is the weakest of the three books and by a large margin. When I look at what Hamilton did in the two books of Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained for the Commonwealth Saga, I was gob-smacked how little is actually in 'The Evolutionary Void'.
Whereas both the previous Voids have tons of deception, manipulation, battles and fantastic space opera scope with a great fast pace, I felt this book was much slower, with large stretches of the book where not much happens. It's almost as if he made a deliberate decision to make the book different to the others - this book is much more philosophical in a sense, with lots of characters pondering on things such as the Void, the Silfen motherworld, existence and so on, rather than there being the huge space battles and planetary destructions of all his previous novels.
The other major flaw this book has is the way it treats the Waterwalker sections - unlike the other books, in the Evolutionary Void, these are shorter and a lot less interesting, which really disappointed me as I'd really liked these sections in the previous books.
The major let-down to me though was the end - I was expecting something really dramatic but nothing really happened. I remember putting the book down and going 'Oh, is that it?'
Overall then, I'd describe 'The Evolutionary Void' as a competent but un-exciting end to a good story.
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on 11 September 2010
Like other reviewers I was looking forward to this book. Unlike other reviewers I'm not so sure I enjoyed it as much as I had hoped to. On the positive side:

+ It's imaginative, cleverly-plotted, and well written;
+ A complex galaxy-spanning 5-book story finishes in an appropriately dramatic way;
+ All the plot threads are tied off;
+ Older/major characters are very well developed.

On the not-so-positive side:

- Newer/supporting characters are not so well developed. Three of them in particular (Aaron, Cat, and the 'Lady') play major parts, but these roles seem to be based on events which take place between the previous series and this trilogy. And some rather interesting characters seem to pop out of nowhere - I even checked back as far as Misspent Youth for one of them (Paul Cramley), but couldn't find a mention. I've enjoyed piecing together the puzzles in previous PH books - some of them (e.g. Fallen Dragon) are very clever, but I felt a bit cheated this time.

- Consistency. All the plot threads weave together to make a nice pattern, but at several stages throughout the book the story became a bit implausible. I can't accuse PH of introducing a deus-ex-machina plot device because it was central to the previous series, but how come the Raiel can't penetrate an anti-everything shield they themselves developed? (But they can pot moons around like the universe is a giant snooker table.)

Overall I enjoyed this book. It was well paced and exciting. However, towards the end I began to find it all a bit convoluted. In particular during some of the space battles the characters are phasing in and out of space-time, blowing up suns and simultaneously having a conversation with people who are split across the universe. Since they're fully capable of using all sorts of 'technology' to manipulate time and gravity I found it hard to believe that they were grappling with what ought to be a very parochial problem for a 36th century civilisation.

It was a good ending to the series, but I think I prefer my sci-fi to be a little less fantastical and more character-focused (e.g. Night's Dawn or even good old Greg Mandel).
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on 27 September 2011
Five book series? But surely this story is a trilogy?

Yes, but this book starts to really go back and rake up the material from the previous books. In tying up the trilogy, old scores are settled and old allies reunited, which might make it a little confusing for anyone that hasn't read Pandora's Star/Judas Unchained before this.

That sounds like criticism, but it's more a warning than anything else. This book screams along at a remarkable pace considering its length, and the end is superbly plotted. It's 600 pages of multiple chases, doomsday weaponry and intrigue, well woven together.

I just wish I'd re-read the first two novels in the Commonwealth universe first.
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Fan's of Sci-Fi will no doubt have heard of Peter F Hamilton for his no nonsense hard hitting Science Fiction which looks not only into the future but seeks to delve into the psyche of mankind in this, the third and concluding part of the Void Trilogy. Well written, this no holds barred offering is something that I really couldn't put down once I started. The prose is ideal for the material, the dialogue is sharp and above all else it's the characters that really make this title pop. A real gem of a title and one that will not only fulfil the readers hopes and promise but one that will hopefully establish this as one to set benchmarks by.
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on 19 October 2010
I was really looking forward to receiving this book. I think the only book I've ever wanted more is the next chapter of 'A Song of Ice and Fire' by George R R Martin (although it's looking like I might have died of old age before that gets into print). I even considered paying a huge sum to buy The Evolutionary Void earlier than it was released in the UK. Peter F Hamilton is one of the most outstanding SF writers around and the mix of the Waterwalker sections with the hard SF really worked for me as I enjoy both fantasy and science fiction. If you haven't read the rest of the Void series then it's definitely worth reading the whole thing.

So, why 3 stars?

The Void series promised so much, and if you've read the earlier books I would definitely suggest reading this one; but as some other reviewers have mentioned, the ending just didn't cut it. It felt a bit like the publisher had said, 'come on Peter, you need to get this volume finished now' and after months or even years of work writing the series, the ending was knocked out in an afternoon. Kind of reminded me of the first Otherland novel by Tad Williams - which after a rollercoaster of action throughout the whole book, just came to an abrupt end with no real conclusion. Stephen King in his Dark Tower series talks about coming back to the series at a later date and rewriting sections of it - wish the same could happen for The Evolutionary Void as the Void series could be one of the most impressive works of science fiction of all time.

I think it's worth keeping things in perspective though, despite the ending of this book I don't regret buying it and will certainly be looking forward to the next works from Peter F Hamilton.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 September 2010
I've been looking forward to this book for ages, after randomly picking up Pandora's Star last year, and rattling through the rest of the series.

Once again, Hamilton doesn't disappoint with the conclusion to the Void trilogy. I think even more than the other void books, this was unputdownable (if that's a word!)

Having finished the series, I had a think about why I enjoyed them so much, and came to the conclusion that it's the characters that Hamilton creates that really hooks you in. In a massive novel, with a huge amount of plot strands, and characters, how he manages to come up with so many compelling personalities is truly impressive.

Even ones that actually haven't been fleshed out all that much (the Cat) are riveting - another reviewer does make the valid point that there are some characters that are interesting because of stuff they did between the Pandora's Star books, and the start of this series. I actually thought that made them even more intriguing, and surely sets the scene for a filler book set between the 2.

This is truly great sci fi, which doesn't fall into the trap of letting the technology take over - the story and the characters are the main thing, and that's what makes it so readable.

In summary, a must read - but start at the beginning Pandora's Star (Commonwealth Saga 1), then Judas Unchained: Part Two of the Commonwealth Saga, before the Void trilogy - The Dreaming Void (Void Trilogy),The Temporal Void (Void Trilogy 2), then this wonderful book to tie it all up!
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