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Customer reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

on 25 April 2013
Older edition but the words are still the same . . . . . . . . . . . .
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on 8 December 2009
Many of us were intrigued by the Riverworld, as it was presented in the short story, 'Riverworld', and 'To Your Scattered Bodies Go'. Why was everybody who had ever lived resurrected, in a world where death was only a temporary setback, and where cultures clashed on a daily basis? Who had terraformed the river planet, and where were they? How would they react when their fortress at the north pole was threatened?

By the end of the fourth book, all these mysteries had been answered. There were some inconsistencies and plot holes, but it had basically been a thundering good adventure story and character drama. Now, our heroes find themselves inside the citadel of the people who had set everything up. They have incredibly complex machinery at their disposal, and vast powers as a result. What will they choose to do?

As it turns out, not very much. The travails that the surviving characters face in this last Riverworld book are trivial; even comical. An adventure that started with an interesting juxtaposition of stone age and ultra-tech falls flat once the Big Secret has been resolved. We're left with a third-rate whodunnit and some computer blather. A real disappointment, to round off a story that had kept me guessing and wondering for ages.

Only buy this book if you really, really feel the need to complete your collection. Otherwise, leave things as they are at the end of The Magic Labyrinth.
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on 26 March 1999
I really enjoyed the first 4 volumes of the series, even though I had some small gripes about them. This one, however, is simply a book nobody needs. The plot`s basically been finished at the end of No. 4, and though I won't spoil the fun by revealing the gimmick of the this book, I might safely tell you, that it doesn't really offer any great new insight. What we have here instead is a typical sequel: The author doesn't really have anything more to say, but since the readers are willing to buy another volume, the author's gonna write it. The reslt is a book filled with situations that are anything but credible. Would you believe, for example, that people decide not to do anything about an armed takeover of their home, because they don't want to miss a party they've been invited to? Or that they spend days pursuing an unknown person that causes strange things to happen - and then one day they just stop doing so, because they just find something else to do? It just doesn't work - and that goes for the whole book: It just doesn't work. Read the first four and skip this one - or if you must read it, get it from a library.
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on 26 January 2008
I really enjoyed the first book 'to your scattered bodies go' and thought it was an amzing read, but found as I read the sequels to this they became less and less interesting.

This is one book I felt shouldn't have been written. It contributes nothing and ruins your experience of the series.

Some of the other books had racial comments, but these were in the frame of the story. The author himself said that some of the comments made by people should only be attributed to the person who was saying them - ie if you had a eigteenth century slave trader talking he's unlikely to have 20th century ethics. Indeed the second book with Samuel Clemens made the point that racialism can occur on both sides and that sadly it can be the person being racialised in the past that can turn into the agressor because of fear, or that was how I interpreted it.

In this book black people cause trouble and overpopulate the building, there's a beautiful Chinese girl who just wants to have sex with the white man rather than her Chinese husband, and is raped by a black man, then most of the black people are drowned in gin. honestly it couldn't get more awful racial stereotyping. Also the way they happily spent their time going through other peoples (private) memories I also found pretty disgusting.

I know he's basing the story on historical figures and that they would necessarily act in the spirits of their times but in this (last) book though I couldn't see the reasons for the stereotyping and it made me uncomfortable. I also felt there was a a total lack of a coherent story. (spoiler) The bit where they don't stop am invasion cause they don't want to ruin Alice's party is pretty unbelievable.

I'd say by all means read the first 4 books, you'll enjoy an amazing story, but you don't need this one to complete the saga despite some (poor) revelations.
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on 24 June 2014
I've read and re-read the "main" four titles in the Riverworld series ("To Your Scattered Body Goes", "The Fabulous Riverboat", "The Dark Design" and, last but not least, "The Magic Labyrinth") a couple of times down the years, and was always fascinated by the clean, crisp story and, more to the point, how it gets to where it's going (I'll not give any hints, so as not to spoil what happens next).

The whole series is a romp, and I enjoyed Farmer's mix of characters - his are definitely books where you could side with the good versus the bad. The fourth book "ended" the original series according to Farmer But ..... there was a real cliff-hanger at the end of the "The Magic Labyrinth" and, having read that book again after what must be a 20 year gap, I was intrigued to find I still wanted to know what happened next; a proverbial itch to scratch. I'd not thought about this series since the late 80s, now, with all things internet, I was very pleasantly surprised to find that Farmer has added more to the saga. Added in spades, at that, as there is more than just "Gods of Riverworld" to savour.

I try to get most of the books I know I'm going to keep in hardback, because, for me, there's really something different about the tactile experience of reading a hardback. This book came all the way from the US, and doesn't disappoint; mine, inside the dust cover, is lilac with a black spine binding - character from the start! It was in excellent condition, and, if it's been read it shows no signs of wear. Mine feels just as it should. The dust cover is just fine, and shows very few signs of having been moved or used down the years; certainly nothing to detract from the whole experience.

I've just started reading it. Farmer, helpfully, gives a four page outline at the back of the book - he calls it an "Afterword" - I think he made that up! If you've read the other four books at the start of this series, but, like me, it's been a while since you've read all four, then this outline is really useful to get a flavour of "last time in the Riverworld".

I contacted "Daily Deal" (the seller) a couple of weeks after my order was placed to see what was happening, and they very quickly checked my order and said that the short delay was due to it having to be ordered from the US - it turned up 2 days later, so was clearly on its way.

Seriously recommend.
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on 30 January 2000
Having read the rest I just didn't want to leave Riverworld behind. I wish he would write another!
If you haven't read the previous books, then do so first. A thought provoking and exciting adventure series encompassing many famous historical players.
Thankyou Mr Farmer.
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on 7 November 2014
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