Federico Orsi Orsi từ Thurgarton, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire NG14 7GS, Vương Quốc Anh
Truthfully I wanted to like this book a lot more than I wound up actually liking it. The trouble with this book, I think, is twofold. The first problem is that much of the book takes place in wildly alien landscapes, with the human protagonist spending the bulk of the story inside a small extreme-environment craft, interacting with the world with a level of absctraction that makes the action hard to follow. The main alien race, the Dwellers, are likewise difficult to visualize, and I feel like Banks could've made their physicality a little clearer. Secondly, the novel's universe and plotting is on the intricate side; normally this isn't a problem, but with the plurality of difficult-to-distinguish aliens and the inventive-if-unfamiliar faction nomenclature, I had a very hard time keeping track of who was doing what, and why. A glossary and more indulgent narration w/r/t character physicality would've bumped this book up to four stars. A less muddled climax would have taken it to five. That said, Bank's senses of both scale and humor are in full force here; there are many genuinely funny moments, and I wish I would've given the cartoonish villain a little more screen time, simply because his defeat is so satisfyingly funny. Worth reading in paperback.