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on 28 December 2013
Let me start by saying that I enjoyed The Long Earth. Not sure how much of it was Mr Pratchett but it was an enjoyable departure from his usual fare and I thought on the whole, it worked very well. The book's main premise of travelling across the same planet but through an infinity of parallel universes was an excellent one and interestingly worked by the authors (Let's just conveniently overlook the means shall we?). I was less convinced by the total collapse of modern technologies plot line, though this does admittedly add a certain 'steampunk' flavour to the novel, which, I'm sure, was much enjoyed by fans of blacksmiths and hot air balloons the world over. On the whole a good collaboration, an interesting read and the promise of more to come.

Unfortunately book 2 adds nothing of any significance.

The Long War really just drifts along to a rather limp ending (Why is it called 'The Long War' anyway?...there is no war involved - just two not-quite opposed groups, doing their best to avoid each other, on infinite worlds. Shouldn't it have been called 'The Nearly War' or 'The Almost War'?).
What we do get is another thinly plotted world tour for our reluctant hero and selective friends, flitting across worlds, fighting sapient Beagles (...Beagles...really!!) and that tells you all you really need to know basically. All rather underwhelming it has to be said. I have no idea if there will be a third in the series. After this one I really don't care.
It has been quite some time since I felt quite so let down by something that promised so much and delivered so little. This book is not terrible (just don't raise your hopes too high), and I'm sure that ardent fans of the two authors will defend it to the hilt but these are two world class authors - and they really should be able to churn out something of more substance, given that they did all the hard work by coming up with the first one!

Recommended to all completists and those lucky souls with plenty of free time on their hands.
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on 15 August 2013
This seems to me like a poor hybrid of Robin Hobb's intensely irritating style of rapidly switching the narrative between multiple story arcs with the "journey of the uninvolved observer" style exemplified in The War of The Worlds but without the pace and final twist or conjunction that allows the reader to forgive these foibles. We're bombarded with a stream of different perspectives, all of them having great potential and every one lacking substance or even logical reasons for how they proceed, many with amnesia-like time gaps that could have been filled had the book been more focussed. Most of the protagonists were unlikeable enough to prevent identifying with them but without the depth or familiar human flaws to make them anti-heroes and exhibited none of E M Forster's "roundness" to drive the story onwards.

The content from this book would have served better as a companion "Scenes from the Long Earth", as a set of novellas/vignettes where the lack of focus and static characters wouldn't be as much of an issue. Instead as a novel it forms a sort of bland mush that slowly spreads out in all directions without saying anything profound or even particularly interesting about life, the universe or the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.
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on 26 June 2015
After the brilliant introduction of the first book what this series needed was an intense exploration of the plots and characters already seen. Yet what we get is a brainstorm of all the various ideas the authors could come up with for the Long Earth. As a result no one story gets the attention it really deserves and there are numerous subplots that really go nowhere. Some of these stories deserved to be fleshed out into their own novels, others should have been dropped altogether.

The conclusions are particularly unsatisfying and short, really I think the editor needed to be firm and cut a lot of the story sub-plots out and make up the difference developing the key aspects.
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on 15 September 2013
Now I have read nearly everything Terry Pratchett has written. I purchased The Long Earth because of his name on the cover. Now I liked the first book and thought the idea had legs and looked forward to the next instalment. Frankly reading the other reviews it seems I am not alone in thinking the The Long War started by going over the story of the first book and took a while to start on the new tale which seemed to me to wizz about here there and everywhere in a rather disjointed way. I personally think that maybe the author's, are in this book setting the scene for the upcoming series. Hopefully the next instalment will stick to telling one tale but with a bit of a sub plot so we can still learn more about The long earth somewhat like the disc world stories do. Not sure I can get my head around two writers with different styles writing as one. You start to wonder how much of the actual story Terry himself has written because I can't detect much of his light comedic wit. Maybe the idea was his but the written work was done by Mr Baxter. Anyway none of this we stop me from eagerly waiting for The Long Earth 3.
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VINE VOICEon 21 October 2016
This series is very different from the normal Terry Pratchett novels. They have a very different style to them and have a tendency to be a lot slower in their build up. I cannot find anything wrong with the writing but they just do not grip me in the way that Terry's novels normally did. For that reason I can only give The Long War a 4-star rating. Other people may think they are fantastic stories and I suspect it is just a matter of taste.
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on 22 July 2013
I wanted to really like this as the previous novel The Long Earth gave a fresh twist on parallel worlds. Sadly, I felt that this did not quite live up to the title, with several plot twists just going no where. Lots of background with the politicians doing what they do best which is err not a lot except pandering to people's worst fears! That said, there's enough action and sub plots to keep interest going, but no "War" which is surely the point of the title!

At the end, it all ends fairly encouragingly yet I felt that not all the loose ends were there, what happened with the Neil Armstrong 2, and so forth. I think there is at least another book (or several) to come, which is no bad thing as it's an immense and intriguing subject. Just wish the plot-lines could have been "tighter" and nearer the title. Hopefully, this is something the sequels ( yes please!) will sort out.
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on 24 July 2013
Having enjoyed the Long Earth, I was looking forward to this return Baxter & Pratchett's high concept multiverse, but I came away feeling a bit disappointed. There's a lot of wandering about worlds with nothing much in them, a bit of politics and mulling over definitions of sentience (the whole story is mainly focused on humans being nasty to the "trolls" we saw in the first book), and then it ends. The optimist in me hopes this is just one of those "middle stories" in a trilogy or series before we get to the good stuff, but the pessimist in me thinks they've come up with an interesting concept which, almost by definition, lacks dramatic tension (its ironic that most of the interesting action ends up taking place on the "datum" Earth); its a universe where its too easy to avoid conflict, just by stepping off to another world; something the authors themselves seem aware of.

I also think the biggest problem with the concept is this idea that's only one human world. There's a bit of weird logic flaw here; how were these worlds created in the first place? The implication of no humans in other worlds is that the Long Earth was formed before people existed and no new worlds have been formed since, which cuts across received wisdom about how a multiverse would work.

I'm not going to give up on this series, yet, but I hope the next one has a bit more a pace and a bit less meandering and philosophising.
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on 11 June 2014
The book in the series was simply excellent: I just couldn't put it down and I devoured the thing in less than a day. The first book was, in my mind, it was perfect because it had the depth of Baxter's science-fiction but lightened by Pratchett's prose.

The second book simply reads like a rough draft. The characters, even the ones that we have met in the first book and got to know well suddenly became like the rest of the new characters -- two dimensional.

After a third of the book I simply couldn't care any more; there was no characterisation, the story didn't flow and it was hard to care what was going on. The new characters were introduced in the first pages and then when they made their first real appearance it felt as they just popped up with no reason.

Some have complained that there wasn't any of Pratchett's humour. Well, we did have the hotel named "The Mended Drum" which made the book even more forced.

For me the series died a death here and I can't recommend this book at all.
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on 25 March 2015
Having read the first book and found it ok if not outstanding, I thought I'd move onto the next one. This was a decision I came to regret as I slogged my way through 400+ leaden pages. The book takes an eternity to get going and Lobsang, the most memorable character, is conspicuously absent for almost the first two thirds. Why?

It's not that there isn't some good stuff but the interwoven narrative thread approach, commonly used by Baxter, makes for a frustratingly disjointed read. I liked the Star Trek style American Aegis and the Chinese deep exploration missions, but found both got lost amongst the dross and the whole thing amounted to rather less than the sum of its parts. There's also a telling absence of Pratchett humour which makes me think this is more of a Baxter book with possibly limited input from Terry Pratchett as his illness progressed.

A brilliant concept has been sadly squandered by this offering. The Long Mars has similar potential. Is our Mars a "joker" in an infinite pack of lush worlds, or is there the odd habitable planet hidden deep within the arid wastes. But after this, I doubt I'll bother to find out.
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on 22 November 2014
This to me seemed like a book in waiting - waiting for the next one.It was an unsatisfactory read witn so many threads of stories going nowhere which presumably will ge taken up inthe next one The Long Mars. I am still trying to decide if I have enough interest to read the next. I loved The Long Earth it had much more of the quirkiness I associate with a Pratchett book. This book lacked that going for some absolutely preposterous story lines as described in other reviews. Yes its fantasy and I am prepared to suspend belief but this at times just made me sigh with weariness at pushing the bounds just too far again.
I was disappointed at what I see as a book which only sets the scene for the next one.
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