Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The Saints of Salvation by Peter F. Hamilton

 I love Peter F. Hamilton’s work. I love the Commonwealth Saga and I especially love the Great North Road. So I was excited a few years ago when the Salvation Sequence began. The first book was fun! It was like a hard sf Canterbury Tales, or reminiscent of Hyperion - a bunch of travelers telling their stories which contained an overarching narrative ending with a dramatic twist. Then, in book 2, it seemed to take an odd turn - a bunch of new characters were introduced and the alien invasion seemed to drag on way too slowly while the preexisting characters got short shrift. It felt like middle book syndrome, where not much could happen or it would rush the conclusion. 

Now we are at book 3, the conclusion. (And thank you to NetGalley for a free eARC in exchange for an honest review.) So how was it? Disappointing. The story of the new characters from book 2, the last survivor of the criminal gang and his love interest, are quickly dispatched from the plot, their narrative purpose spent. The characters from book 1 have lost all of their nuance and individual voice. All except Yirella, a character from the far future time frame who has the most to do but without a huge amount of explanation why she is the only one who can see the problems, let alone the solutions. 

The other disappointing part of the story is that it felt over the first two books that there was something else going on with the alien invaders, the other alien species that opposed them from the shadows, and the mysterious deity at the end of time that the invaders worshipped. I was expecting a final book revelation that the aliens were all related, that humans in the future had sparked the entire alien pilgrimage, something! But no. The alien invaders remain two-dimensional, the mysterious plot threads are left unaddressed. 

I don’t regret reading this, because lesser Peter F. Hamilton novels are still enjoyable space opera, but I cannot say that I was fully satisfied when I finished this book. Til next time, Mr. Hamilton. I look forward to your next series. 

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