Review: Great North Road

Great North Road
Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: Uncorrected Proof courtesy of Random House via NetGalley – get your own copy from The Book Depository

To be honest, I don’t know what drove me to request this galley on NetGalley or at least, I can’t remember anymore. I think it was probably along the line of ‘oh, I’ve heard of this author before and I should probably give him & sci-fi a go…’, Click! Hum… then I opened the galley and noted it was almost 1,000 pages long! Arrggh… it’s definitely the way to go when one wanted to go out of one’s comfort zone – indeed, the sheer size of it really daunted me but I ploughed through it and actually enjoyed the read, overall.

Let’s keep in mind the fact that I’m really a plebeian in terms of the sci-fi genre, ok? So if you’re a Hamilton fan or a sci-fi guru, this review probably isn’t what you’re looking for…

To begin with, this novel has the feel of a mystery novel set in the far future. Immediately, what came to mind was J.D. Robb’s In Death series (I’ve only read a handful so not all) sans romance. This boosted my confidence, yes, I definitely can read something like this and possibly enjoy it too. I had some doubts about the characters, whilst not totally crims, they also do the dodge but all in the name of survival. It’s a very sad world that you’d have to do the dodge if you’d want to ensure your future comforts so it was something I learnt to accept of the characters and even, finally, respect of them.

The fancy toys they had to investigate made me wishful, of course. I love my toys. However, I noted that unlike today’s police, they don’t really get down and dirty (ie. most investigations were conducted as analysis via toys). Funnily enough, this was brought up too in the book…

“We rely too much on data analysis,” Sid said, brave enough to ignore the chief constable. “We don’t get our hands dirty anymore. It allowed the gang to take advantage of us.”

There were a lot of characters in this book and then, there were the clones. I got really confused with the clones at first but at the end, I managed to sort them out as per their classifications. It was hard to keep track of the characters though as we follow a lot of perspectives back and forth. It really was something that you’d have to watch. This is a book where you’d need your brain in its full capacity. Indeed, the many changes in perspective means that the pace of the book also changes especially in the beginning when we got used to one or two, it suddenly slowed right down again as we are introduced to yet another character in yet another setting.

This was a book totally epic in proportions and content. Firstly, it was the mystery, dystopian feel. Then, there was science fiction part with all the cool gadgets and *Good God!* Aliens(!) which led to some ‘horror’ (not as scary as the movies, Aliens, but pretty scary). And let’s not forget the Actions! Am I missing anything here? Oh right, romance… weeeelll… there is love in the air but don’t read this looking for some gooey romantic ideas.

So, it’s pretty obvious that I wasn’t a fan of Hamilton seeing that this is his first work I’ve ever read. It’s probably not the best book to start with noting its dread-inspiring size! However, it does whet my appetite to include more sci-fi in my consumption. If you’re a Hamilton fan or a sci-fi buff, do leave me your rec! I’m keen for some more exploring!

Thank you, NetGalley & Random House, for the privilege of viewing the galley.

View all my reviews

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