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Didn't Meet My Expectations
on October 22, 2003
After reading Revelation Space, Reynolds' first novel, I was hoping to enjoy Chasm City just as much. In fact, I tried - really, really hard - to enjoy this book more than I did. But if I'm honest, it fell far short of my expectations.
As in Revelation Space, Reynolds interweaves multiple storylines in this book, each of them occurring in a different time frame. However, he doesn't handle them nearly as deftly as he did in his first novel, making Chasm City a rather uneven read. I agree with the other reviewers who felt that the Sky Hausmann storyline is the best part of the book. By contrast, the Chasm City storyline, which is ostensibly the main plotline of this novel, is very shaky. The characters behave unbelievably, the environment (Chasm City itself) is not nearly as interesting as it could have been, and the author ruins most of the plot twists by dropping numerous obvious hints along the way. In the end, I couldn't even forgive Tanner Mirabel his erratic behavior, even though Reynolds tries to justify it through one of his plot twists.
Don't get me wrong - this is not a terrible book. In fact, parts of it are great. In addition to the Sky Hausmann story, I thought that the first couple of chapters with Tanner Mirabel were riveting. It's just that the novel as a whole does not live up to this auspicious beginning.
So, while I can't enthusiastically recommend this book, I can make a qualified recommendation: If you loved Revelation Space and want to experience a different part of that universe, consider Chasm City. Just don't set your expecatations too high.