January Book Review

The Abyss Beyond Dreams
By: Peter F. Hamilton

I was very much looking forward to reading this book. It promised to be another story in the Commonwealth series (Pandora’s Star, Judas Unchained and the Void Trilogy came before). I looked forward to meeting up with familiar characters and in that sense I was not disappointed, however, in others I was a little. 

The story picks up a long time in the future and starts with one of the founders of the commonwealth, original inventor of the technology that pretty much opened the universe to humans, Nigel Sheldon, who is on a mission to bring back a sentient starship that landed eons ago on a planet in the void; that ever expanding danger to the known universe. 

The beginning of the book was great, the last 200 pages were great - except the bit about ‘to be continued’ - but the middle many hundreds of pages felt a little like a repackaging of some of the void trilogy but without the depth of character development or story development. 

There were distinct comparisons to be made between the Waterwalker in the void trilogy and Captain Slvasta in the Abyss beyond Dreams. And the Waterwalker was a far more sympathetic character, or perhaps he had a chance to be better developed. 

It’s not like the reading of this book was a total bust, I did enjoy it and I also enjoyed trying to figure out where the author would go and how he would resolve some of plot points set up early on. Also there are recurring themes of poor against rich, social justice vs. totalitarian regimes, revolution, and how absolute power affects individuals. All worthy subjects for scrutiny whether in fiction or fact. 

In the aggregate, assuming this series will also become a trilogy, it was less about the Captain and more about battling the void. If the second book continues along those lines, then I’ll forgive the middle 400 pages of this book and take it merely as background filler. 

Now to wait for the next book and to see if I can figure out where the story will go.