14 May 2018
This is the 3rd in the series, by Sylvain Neuvel, the in the series was a true masterpiece of Science Fiction, putting Neuvel up there with the greats in this genre. It was just an amazing story that left the reader thinking on so many levels, and took us to places we hadn’t been before.
The 2nd was a very well written book, brilliant by any standard, but was not quite as good as the 1st.
However, book 3 is another extraordinary story, again putting Neuvel into the realms of the greats, (Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke etc), a wondrous tale of human emotion, courage, and wisdom, looking at not just what we are, but who we are at our core. There is also a captivating, incredibly well-crafted and creative look at an alien species, and how we interact with them.
Part 2 finished with 4 of the main characters being whisked away to somewhere, after having just defeating one of the monstrous machines using a special compound that dissolved part of the machine itself.
As a result, Rose, Vincent, the General and Vincent’s daughter Eva are taken to Esat Ekt, the homeworld of the Ekt, those that created the Themis machines.
One of the fascinating aspects of these books has always been the 'Interview' or 'Recording' style snippet segments that tell the story, allowing the story to be provided to us by multiple characters from their points of view, whether it be a live recording of an interview, or a recording of live action from inside one of the machines themselves, or even the 'Notes' of one of the Characters being read by that Character as they write them down. Whilst it might seem like a disjointed way to tell the story, Neuvel does it in such a way that there is no discontinuity to the story, it just flows, and you find that you are utterly captivated by the story, enthralled by events as they unfold.
In the final book, we learn of the 4, after they return to Earth 9yrs later, an Earth that is totally different, in political, economic, religious and military upheaval, having found out that they are not alone in the Universe, and some other interesting facts. In the face of this turmoil, Rose finds guidance from an old friend, and help from some new.
Neuvel is just a genius at writing, I am not going to give anything away, but the way this book is wrapped up, the way the entire series is very neatly closed for us, is so beautifully done, that a lot of authors should read the book and take notes. It isn't rushed, not everything has to be spelt out, Neuvel leaves parts to our imaginations (something that some authors forget to do these days), but best of all, he closes off all the important parts of the story so we aren’t left wondering. One of the truly fascinating aspects of Neuvel’s work is the humanity in his work. He has managed to connect a lot of the issues that are in today’s society with themes in his book, and point out the dangers, the errors and the need to change how we view various religious and cultural groups so we can all live together in a better way. Whilst this is a Science Fiction story, and it can be enjoyed as such, for those that want to, there are some very clear messages in this book about making the world a better place.
This series is just a stunning example of Science Fiction, and you should stop whatever you are reading and pick up this series, you won’t be disappointed.