Revelation Space

Alastair Reynolds
Revelation Space Cover

Revelation Space - A negative review


Revelation Space was a novel that had been on my reading list for a long time. Unfortunately I found it to be a lot less appealing than I had anticipated.

Alastair Reynolds does an excellent job of worldbuilding, using a rather unique and forboding universe, in which mankind struggles about at light speed. The lack of much hand waving "magic" particularly around interstellar travel makes a welcome change, and sets a relatively hard science fiction tone for the novel. Likewise the weaponry, biotechnology and AI are all well developed and feel like reasonable parts of the hard sci-fi world of revelation space.

Unfortunately, despite these strengths, I found the characters unengaging and difficult to sympathise with. I believe it would be unfair to the author to say characters were undeveloped, as motives and backstories were relatively well explored (particularly for this genre). However, few characters had any emotional appeal for me, which is particularly problematic to this story which hinges on the drives and motives of its few main characters. I was left feeling like most of them deserved their fates, if I cared about them at all.

My other criticism would be in pacing. The book felt overly long for what it delivered, and I felt large sections dragged - though perhaps they would not had the characters have been more engaging to me.

Overall this book is well written, and I could see it appealing to some people. Not my cup of tea however.