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Poseidon's Wake (Poseidon's Children) Hardcover – February 2, 2016
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From Publishers Weekly
The conclusion of Reynolds's Poseidon's Children trilogy (after On the Steel Breeze), set in the 27th century, effectively resolves the major story lines while leaving room open for a return to this complex universe. Ndege Akinya carries the guilt of having caused the death of over 400,000 people as the result of a single miscalculation, but her brother, Mposi, offers her a path toward at least partial redemption. A communication from over 70 light years away has reached the planet of Crucible, where they both live, and all it says is "Send Ndege." Mposi believes that her acceptance of that cryptic request from an unknown source could be viewed as a selfless act on behalf of her fellow citizens. The repercussions of her decision form one of the major plot threads; another deals with another family member, Kanu, who died in a terrorist strike on Mars but was returned to life. Reynolds tosses a whodunit into the mix. In the classic speculative fiction tradition, he grounds his vision of the future in timeless discussions about the meaning of existence. (Feb.)\n
Praise for Poseidon's Wake
“In the classic speculative fiction tradition, [Reynolds] grounds his vision of the future in timeless discussions about the meaning of existence.”—Publishers Weekly
Praise for the Poseidon’s Children novels
“Engrossing…[Blue Remembered Earth] demonstrates Reynolds’s genre mastery.”
—Los Angeles Review of Books
“For SF fans, the possibilities and imagination that has gone into the book will remind them of the heady days of Asimov and Clarke, of an age where imagination and people were more important in telling the story of humanity and guessing about its future.”—British Fantasy Society
“Reynolds is a master of the slow build up leading to apocalyptic action, and On the Steel Breeze is no exception.”—National Space Society
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I would give the trilogy as such 4 stars, but Poseidon's Wake I can only give 2. Reynolds can do MUCH better than this.
Recommendation: Read Blue Remembered Earth, it stands fairly well on its own and is a great read. If you are curious on the continuation, read On the Steel Breeze. Finish up with Poseidon's Wake only if you are really hooked but keep your expectations at bay.
There exists, within this novel, two of the most beautiful expositions I have ever read. One is almost devastatingly destructive in its description in the total nothingness and futility and life, and the other is a vivid and passionate counter to this argument. Both of these passages remain with me still, a year after reading the novel. It's a crowning achievement for me, when it comes to his novels, this standing out as one of the finer pieces of not just sci-fi I have read, but literature in general. This series feels truly deserving of the title masterpiece.
On the other hand... man that story was incredibly lacking, and you really don't find that out until about 80% of the way through. You learn relatively early on about this interesting planet with some very strange surface structures, and then quickly learn about a defense mechanism that shows a "terrible truth" (quote from the leaflet) to whoever tries to visit. Here's the thing. Once it becomes obvious that the characters are all trying to get to this planet, the rest of the book is dedicated to that journey, but by the time it all gets sorted out, you've literally learned nothing new about the planet, it's structures, or the "terrible truth" that you didn't already learn 300 pages ago. From a narrative standpoint, this makes that plot a gigantic waste of time.
Now, you might contend that these books have never REALLY been about building a believable Sci-Fi world, and instead the real point of the novels is character / relationship building and the journey of the main characters, and that it's using a Sci-Fi backdrop to tell that story. That would be all well and good except for the fact that by the time the novel ends, there's not even a hint of how things are going to end up for any of the characters.
********** SPOILERS BELOW **********
You could have easily taken the entire sabotage subplot, and if you REALLY weren't going to resolve anything about the Gliese 163 system subplot, you could have taken about 100 pages of characters literally sitting on a cliff waiting to get rescued, and replaced it with plot resolution at the end of the novel. The sad thing is as I mentioned up top, the writing (at least in my opinion) was compelling enough that none of this was actually boring to sit through, it's just that actually having SOME resolution to the plots/subplots of the novel would have been better than what we got.