Review; House of Suns, by Alastair Reynolds

I had heard about this book in more than a few places so decided to check it out. The novel is split into two narratives set in the distant future. One is of a girl, living in an ever changing house, the other is a group of clones, called the House of Flowers, coming together for one of their rare gatherings.

Essentially this is epic sci fi space opera, but at it’s heart it’s a whodunnit set in space. More than that though, reading it is rather like pealing an onion in reverse; every layer you pull back reveals something larger and larger and larger.

In the end, you can’t help but be left with a sense of wonder at it all.

The writing style is pretty straight forward stuff, nothing too flowery and pretty. It’s first person, and is from the POV of two clones, Purslane and Campion. I didn’t catch onto this until about chapter five, as it’s hard to work out the differences in their personalities all that quickly (well, they are clones of the same person).

Once the murder in question happens, it’s a never ending ride right up to the end of the novel. For the most part, more and more unanswered questions come up. It’s not until the big reveal that things start to sort themselves out. At which point I did find myself thinking ‘oh really? No way I woulda guessed that’. With the amount of build up that it gave itself, it would have been very, very hard to live up to the answer.

Still, to it’s credit, I did get attached to the characters (even without knowing it) so I was more worried about their outcome than the actual answer to who the murderer was.

It’s a little of a long book, but then what do you expect for epic? Having said that, it was shorter than a lot of other epic books I’ve read. Definitely worth checking out.

RATING: oooo out of five.


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