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The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. - Jane Austen

Review: Alastair Reynolds – Century Rain

alistair-reynolds-century-rain1When Mike lent me this book, he thought that I might not like it, but it actually turned out to be my favourite of the four books. I have definitely found a whole new genre of books that I will be trying more of this year – I couldn’t put it down!

The first few chapters introduce you to the two main characters, Verity Auger and Wendell Floyd, and the respective worlds that they live in. It didn’t make much sense to me to start with, but I’m glad I stuck with it because after a few chapters you start to see the links between the ‘Paris’ in both worlds.

The Paris in Auger’s world is way in the future after Earth has already been destroyed by a build up of weather control machines designed to reverse global warming, but end up destroying the earth in an event called the Nanocaust. Auger is an archaeologist exploring the ruins of Paris for any remaining artefacts, and when a girl she is working with dies in her care, she is offered the chance to get out of the tribunal and inevitable punishment and carry out a mission. She is initially given no real information about this mission, but doesn’t really have much choice but to accept, knowing the alternative.

The mission is to Floyd’s version of Paris, which is 300 years back in 1959, and turns out to be a copy of Earth made before the Nanocaust wiped out all traces of life on Earth. E2 (as it is known) was frozen in time until 23 years prior, when suddenly it came back to life again.

After Auger has completed the mission she is sent to E2 to complete (with many hiccups and a LOT of help from Floyd), she and Floyd end up on a mission to save E2 from complete destruction by the Slashers. The Slashers believe that they should embrace all new technology, whereas the Threshers (to which Auger belongs) believe that they should never embrace any technology which could lead to a repetition of the Nanocaust. These two sides are now at war with each other in a battle to keep control of the Earth.

There are many nail biting moments along their journey, including many times when I absolutely couldn’t stop reading because I had to know what happened next. I won’t say too much in case you want to read the book, but I will say that I didn’t expect the book to end up quite how it did, although the way that it ended was brilliant.

It’s hard to pick my favourite part of the book, but I do have a favourite quote which jumped out at me as soon as I read it. Auger (a Thresher) is reflecting on the help that she has had from Cassandra (a Slasher), and the feelings that she had towards her from the start of the story.

The simple fact was that she no longer hated them as a matter of principle. It was also a source of shameful amazement that she could ever have wasted so much energy on groundless prejudice, when acceptance and tolerance would have been the easier, even the lazier, course.

Pretty meaningful, it definitely stuck in my head, and I think it’s something that we could all take to heart at times.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in sci-fi novels, but also to anyone who likes a good nail-biter with plenty of action and a bit of romance thrown in. It’s definitely changed my mind about reading sci-fi novels in the future.

5-5

Comments:

  1. I am definitely not a sci-fi girl, but it usually does have plenty of nail biting moments. I think I will pick this one up to get me through the last few days of pregnancy and then the long days of labor ahead. it will be distracting to step outside of my comfort zone and try a thriller. thanks for the review!

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