Poseidon’s Wake (Poseidon’s Children, #3)

By Alastair Reynolds

Rating: 4 stars

I didn’t realise this tale of far-future space exploration was part of a series until I added it to my GoodReads list, a couple of hundred pages in. I found out later, from Reynolds’ website, that all three books in the series are intended to be able to be read individually and I’ve got to tip my hat to the man, I very much enjoyed this without having read the others in the series. Reynolds’ world-building is impeccable, he introduced elements that have presumably been major points in previous books with a deft touch, never infodumping, but never leaving me floundering, wondering what was going on.

I feel like I know Eunice and Chiku Akinya even though they never turn up in this book (sort of). The Tantors are fabulous creations and the Risen maintain their air of intimidating creepiness throughout. The themes are very broad, Reynolds’ certainly doesn’t stint there. The thoughts on machine intelligence, the idea of the Terror (with a capital T) and the constant theme of hope for mankind and the other intelligences it shares the universe with maybe actually getting along. That is worth reading. Kanu is probably the character who espouses that the most, particularly through his relationship with Swift.

I found Goma to be an interesting character, although she sometimes felt like she was there to push the plot forward more than anything else. And even as an atheist myself, I found her hard-line attitude to Peter Graves somewhat bewildering.

The only bit of characterisation that I really didn’t quite felt worked was Dakota’s change of heart on Poseiden. She’d been so focused on getting there for so long, and suddenly she changes her mind and thinks it maybe isn’t a good idea? I don’t really get that.

This was great space opera (and pleasingly sticking with slower-than-light travel for all concerned). I’m definitely going to go back and read the other books in the series now.

Book details

ISBN: 9780575090507
Publisher: Gollancz
Year of publication: 2015

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