I debated between giving this 3 or 4 stars on Amazon, and decided to be generous because the writing is captivating and the science is impressive. I might have given it 5 stars if not for the frequent and sudden shifts in timelines to stories with all new characters and plots with no connection made between them. The shift to a fantasy like environment with a dragon-slaying princess threw me at first and I see from other reviews here, I wasn’t alone. If you pick up this book, I encourage you not to throw it across the room when you get to this chapter and trust that the author hasn’t lost his mind. He soon pulls you back into a science-based story.
Eventually (and I do mean eventually), I started to see how the earlier timeline must have given birth to the later ones, but it was a struggle to see how they were all connected until the very end, which resulted in another issue for me … the ending felt very abrupt and unsatisfying due to so many unresolved questions–an obvious ploy to get the reader to purchase the next book. I prefer stand-alone novels, and this isn’t one of them.
What I enjoyed most in this book were the deeply philosophical discussions about God, religion and man. I definitely recommend this book for those who question authority and religious dogma. However, readers who are firmly ensconced in their faith may find this book offensive because the main character is an atheist and the religious characters are portrayed as scheming duplicitous murderers.
I also recommend this book to lovers of hard science fiction. The author bases his extrapolations on sound knowledge and at times goes in deep. Those who find the science challenging may find themselves skimming over those parts to get back to the plot.
Having said all that, I found Book 1 intriguing enough to get Book 2. So, I must give kudos to Anlee for pulling me into his world.