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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 19 April 2017
These two books are huge, unashamed space-opera with multiple storylines interweaving to join in the final chapters of the second book. The books do a fantastic job of world-building and then giving you detective story, alien first-contact mystery, space-battles, and even a multi-planet road-trip along the way. I find myself re-reading these every couple of years in a way that I do with very few other books.
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on 2 April 2017
LIke this series
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on 26 April 2017
good book
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on 28 March 2017
Really good and substantial read
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on 1 January 2006
I'm a Yank, and, having read Pandora's Star a few months earlier, I simply could not wait for the American edition to finally come out on February 28, 2006. So I bought Judas Unchained as soon as it was first published, directly from the UK. (You Brits are fortunate to have this fine author so conveniently at hand!)
I'm glad I didn't wait. The many charcters and very complex storylines begun in Pandora's Star are difficult to hold in one's mind for months on end. These two books are essentially one very long novel, with many parallel plot lines through which Hamilton rotates. I strongly recommend that people read them in (of course) the proper order, and one right after the other. As it was, I had some difficulty recalling who several of the protagonists were, and I had become vague about some of the events depicted in Pandora's Star as well. But I hasten to say that my problems in this regard were not the fault of Peter F. Hamilton, but more a matter of my aging mind's somewhat declining memory capacity. (I did have a compensating pleasure as I finally remembered various events and characters.) Do be forewarned: These are complex novels, so reading them straight through is probably best for all readers.
As for what happens in Judas Unchained, I will only say that all the storylines of Pandora's Star are appropriately and logically resolved. Hamilton has put even more of his rollicking, gee-whiz action into this concluding book, and the ending of the saga is both intellectually and emotionally satisfying. These two volumes are "space opera" at its very finest, and in the best sense of the term.
Hamilton just gets better with time. I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.
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on 5 April 2017
Delivery usual good standard. This is the second in the Common wealth saga and would be best read following Pandoras Star. I found this compelling, page turning book. The universe created was well rounded and characters good. A bit too much mixed wrestling for my taste but didn't distract from the story. Recommended for scifi fans.
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on 28 May 2008
Hamilton knows how to write a good character. Most of the (very many) people that he introduces in his massive books are developed sufficiently for the reader to identify with, and even care about. I think that in Judas Unchained he has improved in that his female characters seem far more sympathetically drawn than in some of his earlier works. However, he needs a better editor! I can't be the only person who has noticed that almost the only adjective he uses is "big". By the end of the novel I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when "big" was dragged out again. And what is it with this obsession with naming the manufacturer and model of every single vehicle that is mentioned in the text? Occasional mention of a brand like Volvo, adds a dysphoric jolt, that paradoxically makes the story seem more "real". But not even the most seasoned train spotter mentally notes such detail whenever they even see a car or a train, as seems to be the case in the inhabitants of the Commonwealth. A trans-planetary civilisation of ultra obsessional nerds?
Great story, clever twists and turns of the plot, enjoyable characters, well written action and believable sex. Worth reading, even if the ending did seem a little hurried.
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VINE VOICEon 31 May 2006
Despite reading a lot of it, I'm not actually a massive fan of Sci-fi, especially Space Opera. Although as a genre it's produced some greats (for example, Clarke, Brunner, Dick and Bear), the vast majority is easy-reading brain candy which helps me relax after a long day at work without making me think.

I've read a fair amount of Peter F Hamilton with this in mind - I wasn't overly smitten with the 'Night's Dawn' Trilogy, and Fallen Dragon was also very ho-hum. The first book in this series, 'Pandora's Star' was interesting enough to make me look forward to the sequel, but I still wasn't singing it's praises.

Judas Unchained starts unexceptionally enough with the usual SciFi and Fantasy staple of two dense pages naming the major characters and then the plot gets cracking.

About four hundred pages in I realised something. Despite dozens, if not hundreds of named characters and at least a half-dozen seperate plot threads which cross and weave at no point had I got confused as to who was who, what was going on or where the story was. As a feat of storytelling and authorial skill this is remarkable.

I've never doubted Hamilton's imagination, but in the past his writing has left much to be desired. With Judas Unchained he seems to have overcome his former limitations and this book is, undeniably, the work of a tremendous writer at absolutely the top of his game. Yes, there are criticisms. Other reviewers have pointed out that his characterisation of women is poor and that is his big weakness as a writer. Beyond that, though, Judas Unchained is a remarkable work of the imagination and of writing and whatever your views of SF, this is a book I'd heartily recommend.

Five Stars.
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After one misfire (Mispent Youth) and a so-so effort (Fallen Dragon) Peter F. Hamilton returned to form with Pandora's Star, the first volume in the Commonwealth Saga. Now, with Judas Unchained, he concludes a story that, in terms of scope if not length, surpasses his previous work; the Night's Dawn Trilogy.
As with its predecessor in the series it is another tour de force of intricate plotting, epic themes (genocide, time travel, human evolution), personal relationships, interwoven story strands, high politics and pounding action. Picking up where Pandora's Star left things, it follows the same characters, human and alien, minor and major, as they find themselves caught up in a battle for human survival against alien forces seen and unseen.
Trying to summarise the plot here would be pointless. There are simply too many storylines running in parallel throughout this book to come up with a succinct description. All readers need to know is that Hamilton handles each strand, without exception, extremely well. Be it the intrigues of high politics or the down and dirty survival of troops on the ground he gives each one as much care and attention. He also pulls off the almost impossible feat of bringing them all together so that there are no dead ends and even the most minor character has some key role to play in events.
All this is combined with Hamilton's highly evocative descriptions of mankind's future. This is an epic tale set in a fully realised and wholly believable universe. By combining the utterly fantastic (laser weapons and wormholes) with the mundane (trains and Volvo trucks) he gives the reader points of reference grounds the story even during its wilder flights of fancy.
Of course, as with any second volume it is imperative that you read Pandora's Star first. In fact, even if you have already read it I would recommend refreshing your memory of events before you tackle Judas Unchained. With so many characters and events it can be difficult to remember who's who in the universe the author has created. It is in testimony to him that most are fleshed out enough to be individually memorable, but when minor characters from volume one reappear to play major parts in the story's conclusion it helps to be able to remember who they were.
So, as a conclusion to the saga Judas Unchained is brilliant. Don't read it without tackling its predecessor first, and even then you will need to pay careful attention if you're to keep up with the labarynthine plot and numerous story arcs, but by doing so you will be amply rewarded. The climaxes are breathless, the final conclusion uplifting and it leaves you wanting to spend more time in the company of the characters Hamilton has created.
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on 13 April 2010
It is said that all good things come to an end, and the principle (unfortunately) applies to the Commonwealth Saga. While I was reading Judas Unchained, the second and last book of this saga, I found myself racing throw the pages, eager to discover the end result of the war between humanity and the Primes. As the final pages drew near a thought crept in my mind, increasingly persistent it reminded me that there was no third book, that after 2400 pages I would cease to accompany the Commonwealth towards their (ours?) brighter future. And how I wished to keep contact with all of those fantastic characters; Nigel, Ozzie, Mellanie (ah...Mellanie...), Kime, Adam, Johansson, the SI, the HighAngel, Qatux, Tochee... they all were like close friends now (even Dudley Bose).

But, not everything is perfect, and I found the end somewhat rushed. Maybe I expected a more refined ending, with more finesse, or something like that. Nevertheless I can't give this book nothing less than a great score. The thing with Peter Hamilton's sci-fi books is that they sound so plausible that you can almost see those same things happening, or wish you will live enough to, at least. So you just devour the pages, hoping to catch all what the future reserves us, and how humanity will meet the challenges those times present to it.

Well, like I said in the beginning, all good things come to an end and, believe me, the Commonwealth Saga is good enough to be missed in the end!
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