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    Review of Pandora's Star by Peter F. Hamilton

    Del Rey, March 2004

    Review by Jennifer Vilches

    The Commonwealth has expanded through the galaxy via a network of planet-anchored wormholes. It's a golden age of man where rejuvenation treatments allow near-immortality, the next planet is just a train ride away, and alien contacts have been friendly. When an astronomer makes a startling discovery about two distant stars, a wormhole driven spacecraft is designed and built in order to investigate the mystery. The intrepid explorers unlock a terrible menace that could tear apart the Commonwealth. As the outside threat looms, a cult called the Guardians of Selfhood fights within the Commonwealth because they believe a sinister, hidden alien has taken over the government.

    Pandora's Star definitely contains interesting ideas and careful, complex world building. Hamilton doesn't just trot out cool technologies, but also explores how they might affect society. He takes us on a sprawling journey to dozens of worlds using a large cast of characters. At first, the book feels more like a leisurely travelogue through author Peter Hamilton's new universe instead of a novel. Rambling around these planets, ideas, and technologies is a lot of fun, but it can also get a bit tiresome if you can't feel the plot going anywhere. However, Pandora's Star grows more compelling as the multiple plot threads start to merge and the action picks up. Hopefully the pace won't slow down again in the sequel.

    I really enjoyed exploring Hamilton's new universe -- he has some fascinating concepts and he excels at building up an intricate society and then smashing it apart. I'm looking forward to the next installment of this space opera, but the first book would have benefited from better pacing.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 6/30/04

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