Commonwealth by Peter F. Hamilton
I have read both Commonwealth books back to back and they are indeed one book.
The plots and sub-plots are so intricately woven together that I can only speculate on how Hamilton kept track of characters and events. I am a software developer by trade so I know about flow and logic - my conclusion is he must have used a flowchart and some heavy duty techniques to map rationships. The characters, like all good characters, took on a life of their own. They behaved in a consistent and believable way at all times.
Well done it's up there with all those Nebukar winning novels of the past!
Submitted by James
Phew... Itís been along time since I felt like taking a shower after reading a book. I believe I have sampled an infinitesimally small taste of what a rape victim must feel. My primary gripe is that MR. Hamilton was able to use so many words to tell such a small story. There were whole pages that did nothing but describe the vein pattern of the leaf of a species of plant that grows in the depths of a jungle twenty miles from where any of the plot takes place. Expansive and un-relenting world building is a trap generally confined to the novice authors. MR. Hamilton needs a new editor (or perhaps a meaner one).
Why would I torture myself by continuing what was obviously a painful experience for me? I really liked the Greg Mandel series, and hoped that some of that would be recaptured in the Commonwealth. I threw down the Void trilogy in disgust half-way through the second book, and wanted to give Peter an opportunity at redemption. I should have cut my losses with the Commonwealth series as well, but then I would not have had a right to write this review.
Unless you relish paragraph upon paragraph of peripheral, inconsequential tripe, and donít mind that you have to read 2,016 pages for one story (beginning, middle and end), then save yourself the pain of reading this (these) book(s). Most of us just donít have the patience for that kind of sacrifice.
The basis of the story was fine. I enjoyed the portions of the book that related to character and plot development. However, most of that development had little to do with the climax. Entire communities of character and plot were developed and then abandoned. There were whole planets that could have been cut from the story without damage to the overall arc of the story. Then entire work can be summed up with one word: BLOAT.