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3.4 out of 5 stars
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3.4 out of 5 stars
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on 26 August 2012
After finishing all of Pete F Hamiltons brilliant multiple series, I thought I have a look at some other authors.
My son suggest this series, so I gave it a go..

The positives:-

Characters seem quite good, with a reasonable mix of types (goodies and baddies) that you can identify with.
The plot is also quite good, and spans a big enough arena to fit in with what one would expect from a 'space opera' as per Peters stories.
There are enough multiple threads that wind through the individual plots to keep you interested.

The negatives:-

Michael is obviously a fantasy writer, and this REALLY gets going in this, the 3rd, book!

There are far too many weird names and descriptions used - it's almost as if he needs to use all the letters of the alphabet hundreds of times, and also seems to lean on the types of things from HitcHikers (which Douglas Adams did in order to demonstrate OTT humour and silliness) but Michael tries to use seriously. I fully expected to read about the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal and The Great Green Arkleseizure!

The excessive weirdness and things like clones of clones of clones and levels of levels of levels, for me, both overly complicated the story and got in the way of what could have been a great (rather than, at times, a frustrating) read. There was a feeling that Michael had been to a writers group and was throwing in all the suggestions the groups had mentioned to him.

Obviously each author is different, but Peter F's stories have as much complexity, characters and much more punch and 'I don't want to stop reading this' than Michaels has.

Overall, I'd say - an interesting start but if he concentrated more on KISS and less on including everything including 'the kitchen sink from the Twilight Zone' then he'd have a more punchy and readable story.

I'd give it between a 2.5 and 3 score.
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on 11 March 2012
The first two books set this trilogy up to go out on a high note, the stage had been set for an epic conclusion drawing together several plot lines into a great finale. Unfortunately that didn't happen, rather for the first half of the book characters were developed and new ideas and plot twists were introduced and then in the last few chapters it was almost as if the author had either a rapidly approaching deadline or was getting near his word limit. Plot lines were left hanging, like almost implied endings which didn't work to well, or wrapped up so rapidly that it felt that not much effort went into it. Main characters were killed off for no apparent reason and in passing without any description in cases.
I enjoyed the ideas presented in the book but it could have been much better
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on 22 August 2016
ive read all three books and this was by far the worst book. it went off on a complete tangent and felt like it was written by numbers. really disappointing as I enjoyed the first book and I feel that there is a message here for those authors/publishers, just tell the story in one book, don't pad it out into yet another, yawning trilogy as you are going to lose me as a reader and buyer.
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on 20 November 2011
I'm half tempted to write a negative review of this book, simply because the author seems to be engaging with his detractors here on Amazon. To do so would be a great disservive to what is an intelligent, well written and thought provoking series of books.

As much modern science fiction and space opera does, Humanity's Fire takes the form of multiple viewpoints and weaves 4 or 5 different but connected storylines into one tapestry, the book reviewed here being the summation of that. While many of the features of the series read like a tick box checklist of contemporary writing (weapons of unimaginable power, evil aliens etc.), what seperates Mr Cobley's work from those around him is the innovative way he crafts these - the indiginous Uvovo (who I can't help but thinking of looking a bit like Ewoks) use nature as their power, much like early Studio Ghibli films; similarly the concept of dead universes forming the tiers of hyperspace is refreshing.

As the author's mate Dave says in another review, the human stories here are well written and you do genuinely care about the fate of the various protagonists, something that, say, Stephen Baxter is probably guilty of overlooking - this is not a book where the ideas overshadow the characters.

Amazon are currently offering the whole trilogy for less than £20, and if you frequent charity shops in north London you can get the fisrt book pretty easily for less, so put down the cash and buy this series - you won't regret it.
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on 2 December 2012
I was advised to read this series by a close friend. But after reading the first two books in the humanity's fire trilogy (which I loved), and with the excitement building, I was left disappointed by the finale.

Too many characters, factions, and, with so many story lines converging in book 3, I was left in a state of general confusion.
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on 22 June 2012
I have to agree with many others that this third book is very disappointing. Chapters follow each other in an ultimately wearisome succession of cliff-hangers. In the end I found myself anticipating the appearance of the bad guys every time the good guys set off on yet another journey by space shuttle. I also had the same problem as others in having to look back time and again to remember who was who, as all the characters started to blend together. The writing also becomes very stilted, and if there were awards for sheer clunkiness, a lot of the dialogue would win gold medals. All in all a pity, since in the first book the characters, although often near caricatures, are reasonably interesting, and the setting full of promise. The books are full of interesting ideas about the nature of consciousness and reality, if only these had been given time to develop fully. Did the author want to write three books, or did the publishers see a trilogy as a money making proposition? It feels like the latter.
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on 13 April 2012
Well, book 1 was sort of enjoyable, the writing was a little stilted and the initial opening descriptions of Darien were very clunky and the Scotish angle was presumably in there to appease a "Scotish American heritage" audience or something because it was stupidly over the top. I was surprised to find he hadn't actually had them eating freeze dried space haggis and wearing tartan space suits, but pretty much everything is about them is a stereotype.

That aside, it got better and must have done for me to make it as far as buying book 2. Definitely an improvement here, the story became more complex and was ticking along fine.

Book 3... oh dear, what happened? Suddenly we've got a massive influx of new elements to the story, battering your senses at every turn where nearly every chapter seems to launch at you some major piece of largely irrelevant nonsense.

The "virtual" sections were just full of daft techno babble and I quickly zoned out on these, mashing the button on my Kindle to try to escape them.

In the end the epic showdown comes along, involving the aforementioned mixed bag of alien cultures, some of whom just seem to be introduced for this final clash and then.... well, its all over before you know it.

Overall I have very mixed feelings about the whole experience - in places its good, but not really in this volume.

I find it unlikely that I'd be tempted to read any more of the authors work, but I suppose he did get the price of three books out of me before I gave up.
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on 5 April 2012
I was looking forward to this book for months but what a let down. I suspect that the author has starting reading Ian M Banks and decided that the third novel in this series would be of the same ilk. It does not work at all and he should have stuck to the same style as the first two volumes which I enjoyed reading. Time for a re write?
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on 25 December 2012
Having read the first two books in this three part saga, I was excited to pick up the third and final instalment.

Overall the story picks up well from book two and maintains the same excellent formula of adventure and action backed up by good science fiction elements. The strong character developments is also furthermore present and the book is a joy to read.

If you liked the first two books in the series then you will most likely like this one as well. The story flows nicely, with a similar pace as the first two books, which is not a bad thing.

Having completed all three books, I would say that the story as a whole is excellent and very imaginative. There's a lot of great SciFi all the way through for fans of the genre. I loved the great character focused format used throughout. My favourite characters in the end over the three books are undoubtedly Robert and Theo.

A very good read with an excellent story and a quite satisfying ending. I can only highly recommend this fantastic book.
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on 7 December 2011
I see a lot of people complaining in their reviews that the book was too complicated and hard to follow, but I didn't feel it was any worse than the others in the series. Besides, lots of different stories entwined like that is what I love so much about the space opera genre.

My only real problems with the book were the overuse of silly terms such as "meta-quantal" and the idea that non-physical realms would behave and be experienced in a way very similar to the real world.

But I enjoyed the book, it wrapped up all the stories nicely and had a pretty decent ending. So if you enjoyed the first two books enough to want to read the third you will probably be all right.
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