Critics have compared the engrossing space operas of Peter F. Hamilton to the classic sagas of such sf giants as Isaac Asimov and Frank Herbert. But Hamilton’s bestselling fiction—powered by a fearless imagination and world-class storytelling skills—has also earned him comparison to Tolstoy and Dickens. Hugely ambitious, wildly entertaining, philosophically stimulating: the novels of Peter F. Hamilton will change the way you think about science fiction. Now, with Pandora’s Star, he begins a new multivolume adventure, one that promises to be his most mind-blowing yet.
The year is 2380. The Intersolar Commonwealth, a sphere of stars some four hundred light-years in diameter, contains more than six hundred worlds, interconnected by a web of transport “tunnels” known as wormholes. At the farthest edge of the Commonwealth, astronomer Dudley Bose observes the impossible: Over one thousand light-years away, a star . . . vanishes. It does not go supernova. It does not collapse into a black hole. It simply disappears. Since the location is too distant to reach by wormhole, a faster-than-light starship, the Second Chance, is dispatched to learn what has occurred and whether it represents a threat. In command is Wilson Kime, a five-time rejuvenated ex-NASA pilot whose glory days are centuries behind him.
Opposed to the mission are the Guardians of Selfhood, a cult that believes the human race is being manipulated by an alien entity they call the Starflyer. Bradley Johansson, leader of the Guardians, warns of sabotage, fearing the Starflyer means to use the starship’s mission for its own ends,.
Pursued by a Commonwealth special agent convinced the Guardians are crazy but dangerous, Johansson flees. But the danger is not averted. Aboard the Second Chance, Kime wonders if his crew has been infiltrated. Soon enough, he will have other worries. A thousand light-years away, something truly incredible is waiting: a deadly discovery whose unleashing will threaten to destroy the Commonwealth . . . and humanity itself.
Could it be that Johansson was right?
This book was pretty much amazing. So why 4 stars instead of 5? Well it ends in a literal cliff hanger. Actually, more of a waterfall hanger, but same difference. I'm going to have to read the next book to finish the story. Which is okay, I was going to read the second book anyway, but I just do not like that kind of extreme cliff hanger.
Anyway, like I said this book is great. It's very complex. The universe is massive, the character list is large and the scale is epic. Within the first few chapters you are introduced to at least 5 major characters. So there is a lot to keep track of, but Hamilton handles it beautifully. He's great at creating distinct voices for all the characters.
This book was a slow start for me. But I think that was mostly due to me not being used to reading science fiction. I'm used to reading about horses, swords and magic, not wormholes, laser pistols and quantum physics. But I still got pulled in so hard and the characters were so well established in my mind that even after taking a two week break from the book, I could jump right back where I left off and still love it.
Also, this story covers every classic scifi theme possible. There are wormholes, spaceships, aliens, artificial intelligence, robots, people living forever, war, politics, terrorism, everything. It's a complete, living breathing world.
Overall, 5 stars, minus one for the mean cliff hanger ending, for a total of 4 stars. And yes, I will be reading the next one, Judas Unchained, as soon as I can get my hands on it.