I read this book almost 20 years ago in my late teens and I do remember I quite liked it. Some of the situations and characters created by C.J. were memorable enough so I remembered this book through the years.
On my second read, 20 years older and wiser (or dumber, depending on the point of view), the memorable characters and situations are there. Yet some of the intense emotional engagement I remember having with the various deaths and injustices suffered by some of the characters in the book wasn't there any more.
On the one hand, the latter stages of the story seemed to me now to be rushed - as if C.J. was in a hurry to put an ending to the story. I wasn't very impressed by a character - continuously hinted at being a major menace for Downbelow Station - is killed out of hand almost by accident. C.J. achieves to blur moral judgements in the book, but this felt as a cheap McGuffin. Other passages resulted tiresome - especially those regarding the life in the underground of one of the main characters reads a bit like "X goes to the toilet, it doesn't flush because of major plot device. X is sad remembering better days, etc.".
On the other hand, one of the most interesting characters in the book makes a quite crazy series of realignments in a very short period of time... I was wondering, whether after the third change in sides, it wouldn't have been wiser just to shoot her ship out of the space in order to keep things simple and predictable :)
It's a quite good book, that has stood the test of time very well compared with other Sci Fi works of the same time (Gregory Benford's Chronoscape comes to my mind). But probably not as good as the Chanur's Pride novels set on this same 'universe' , which are sadly unavailable on Amazon Kindle.
- Hardcover: 769 pages
- Publisher: Thorndike Pr; Large Print edition (4 February 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1410476065
- ISBN-13: 978-1410476067
- Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 3.8 x 21.6 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 839 g
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews