Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Temporal Void

Peter F. Hamilton
MacMillan, 2008 (my copy is from Pan Books, 2009)
Size: Long (my copy has 746 pages)
Theme: Futuristic space opera
Narrative: third-person
Main character: (Edeard and others)
Recommended minimum age: Teenager
Would purchase as a gift to any sci-fi reader: YES

First, I should emphasize that you should read the Dreaming Void before the Temporal Void (which I have reviewed before). This book is #2 in a trilogy and was not intended to be read alone. The same applies to this review; it includes some details of the story which I would consider spoilers for someone who did not read book #1. That being said, the Dreaming Void continues to follow the expansion of the void at the center of the galaxy, and its potential effects on the entire universe.

The story starts off at the immediate end of the previous book. The void has just begun expanding, supposedly due to the second dreamer having refused the skylord’s invitation to lead humans into the void. While nobody yet knows the identity of the second dreamer, the Living Dream movement continues doubling its efforts to that end. As Troblum attempts to evade the factions, he is caught up by the Cat, even as Paula continues her pursuit, which ends up with them in a brief but ferocious clash of high-tech weaponry.

Meanwhile, inside the void universe, Edeard “the Waterwalker”, attempts to cope with the great destiny apparently hurled at him. But with great power comes great responsibility, and the burden of wanting to change the world around him. But he will have to excel at much more than raw psychic power, as his action bring in as many foes as it does friends, if not more. Having proven himself as a constable, and seemingly showing the gangs that things are about to become harder for them, he becomes the focus of desire of all the rich family daughters. As he succumbs completely to lust with those girls, he separates further from Saldana, even though she continues to hold a special place in his heart. The reader cannot help but wonder exactly what will he accomplish and who he will become in years to come. Obviously, we already know a bit of the very final outcome, from hints given in the core story (the outside universe), as people think - and talk - about Inigo’s dreams.

Just as the previous novel, I found the Temporal Void to be rich with details, a fast and well-paced storyline in a colossal scale universe. The characters, to which we were introduced in the first book, move along in their tasks and following their individual motivations. The different human factions continue their ancient disputes and different perspectives on how the species should evolve. Some of the characters are very endearing and you end up taking sides and creating biases. I greatly enjoyed this book, in fact as much as the previous one, and cannot wait to read the concluding third part of this great saga.

Related work:

This is book #2 of 3, and follows The Dreaming Void. The last book of the series is The Evolutionary Void. Although this story takes place in the same universe as the earlier Commonwealth stories by Hamilton, they are separate enough for those not to be considered prequels.

*** Spoiler Alert ***
(Warning: the following text contains information that may hamper/ruin how much you enjoy the book):

Edeard, devastated by Saldana’s betrayal and the death of those he loved, establishes a stronger link to the void and learns that both time and space are fluid in this universe. Focusing his powers on the eternal memory of the void, he finds himself in the recent past and able to change the terrible events of past days. Outside the void, the ExoProtectorate Council decides to launch the powerful deterrence fleet against the Ocisen empire armada, now found to include also Prime ships. Aramintha manages to commune with the Silfen Motherholm and teleport out of Ellezelin. Justine, now inside the void, ends up in a planet with a young Kazimir. She ends up trying the same time-space shift, focusing on a particular memory, and we are left to wonder exactly what the void is resetting itself to.

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