I received a free kindle edition of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This is very much a book of 3 parts and, as I wasn’t aware of the fact, it took me by surprise when the characters I’d gotten used to for 48% of the tale were suddenly irrelevant.
This is a ‘long-view’ tale of space exploration and colonisation and as such is not one for readers who like to become invested in the characters. The author sums it up best in his afterword:
“It’s difficult to write these sci -fi sagas. In general, the time spans are long. As a consequence, the number of characters is often similar to Tolstoy’s in War and Peace. The plot also often appears as short-story-like events blasted out and interspersed with narrative often described as world-building. There is an overall continuity here , of course, but important characters in Part One are less so in Part Two and a faint memory in Part Three.”
This style of storytelling can be a bit frustrating as there were certain chapters that I read but later found were completely pointless (such as the Martian colony cave in) whilst there were some aspects of the tale that weren’t explored in as much detail as I’d hoped.
Once you get past this possible negative however it’s easier to appreciate the grandness of the story arc. The idea of the Mensan virus profoundly affecting human development and everyday society, for better and worse, is unique, challenging and fascinating to read even if the final part does seem to ‘leap’ a little too often out of necessity.