Saturday, July 18, 2020

Book review: DEATH'S END by Cixin Liu

DEATH'S END (2010) by Cixin Liu

This novel is the third and final part of a trilogy that began with THE THREE-BODY PROBLEM and continued with THE DARK FOREST.

I really enjoyed the first book in the series! The second book didn't reach the same heights as the first... but the third part really succeeds. This is seriously epic stuff, spanning the far future and painting a vision of the ultimate fate of humanity.

The plot involves spectacular super-science, scale and size being used repeatedly to evoke gigantic change, vast passages of time... and destruction on a cosmic scale.

You might think that the human characters would be utterly dwarfed by the sheer scale of the story. But the author still manages to make the characters and their actions matter.

I noted that in all three books, Cixin Liu has a great knack for building a crisis and raising the stakes. Disaster is heaped upon disaster, until the odds against the protagonist seem hopeless – and then, at the last minute, comes an almost miraculous rescue, solution or escape from certain doom.

Speaking of doom – the THREE-BODY PROBLEM trilogy is based on an extremely bleak premise. I had to finish the trilogy to see just how far the author would go with his ”Dark Forest” hypothesis. I won't spoil the plot, but I was impressed that he took his idea and ran with it.

You may appreciate THE THREE-BODY PROBLEM as a standalone novel, but the two sequels do not stand on their own. I recommend the whole trilogy for readers of ”hard SF” with a grand, epic sweep and a unique, somber vision of the universe.

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