August 12th, 2004


Revelation, Redemption and Absolution

I've just finished Absolution Gap, the final book in Alastair Reynolds's Inhibitor sequence. I think I liked it a bit more than talvalin but I pretty much agree with his review.

All Reynolds's old faults are on display. The book is ridiculously baggy and poorly paced: my paperback is practically cuboidal but in its 700 words pages big events are often compressed whilst minor ones are leisurely pondered. He's still playing the enigma wrapped in a mystery game which infuriates as much as it intrigues and sunk his first novel, Revelation Space. The characterisation is a little unconvincing because not enough time is taken with it, especially in Vasko's case. There is a nagging feeling that everything is subordinated to the plot which is frustrating when not enough care has been spent on the plot. The ending does turn away from the huge deus ex machina it appears to be hurtling towards but its new direction is not it particularly convincing. Again this is a problem with pacing, the ending is much too rushed, and it is not a worthy conclusion to the brilliant premise of the Inhibitors themselves.

As I said though I still quite liked it. Reynolds is a natural writer and I think his flaws come from a lack of graft. Its not as good as the previous book, Redemption Ark, but I await Century Rain optimistically.

Department of Egregious Blurbs: the back cover mentions major events that take place in the last forty pages. Shocking behaviour.