Elysium Fire

Elysium Fire

A brilliant new space opera from "leading light" (LA Review of Books) Alastair Reynolds.Ten thousand city-state habitats orbit the planet Yellowstone, forming a near-perfect democratic human paradise. But even utopia needs a police force. For the citizens of the Glitter Band that organization is Panoply, and the prefects are its operatives.Prefect Tom Dreyfus has a new eme...

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Title:Elysium Fire
Author:Alastair Reynolds
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Elysium Fire Reviews

  • Claudia

    Eagerly awaited this one, because I run out of Al Reynolds’ novels. As I expected, it was a blast. If you loved

    (or

    , its new name), you’ll love this one too.

    Although it can be read as a standalone, as it's a new twisted case involving Prefect Dreyfus & his team, you’ll miss some key details regarding the characters from previous part. Therefore, my advice is to read them in order, for a full understanding of the big picture.

    The plot is masterfully woven, bits and pi

    Eagerly awaited this one, because I run out of Al Reynolds’ novels. As I expected, it was a blast. If you loved

    (or

    , its new name), you’ll love this one too.

    Although it can be read as a standalone, as it's a new twisted case involving Prefect Dreyfus & his team, you’ll miss some key details regarding the characters from previous part. Therefore, my advice is to read them in order, for a full understanding of the big picture.

    The plot is masterfully woven, bits and pieces coming together in a perfect ending. Not everything is black and white, some threads are being left unanswered (AR’ unmistakable signature), feature which I love, because days after, those parts are still lingering in my head, making me think further. I easily see a third volume in the future, as Aurora has a lot of unfinished business. And if I’m not mistaken, some other characters too.

    I wasn’t sure until the end that I would go for five stars, despite the enjoyment it brought - because only one event took me by surprise

    - after that the rest I could foresee. But having read all his novels, maybe now I get to see more easily the pattern, I guess. However, after I finished it and ruminated upon, I concluded that the novel undoubtedly deserves all five stars: it is perfectly constructed, has a flawless plot, all of it one great and tough puzzle coming toward full completion. Not to mention that is a really page turner - as always, AR knows how to glue his readers' eyes to the book.

    So, there you have it, full recommendation from my part. Now I’m back to waiting for the next one…

  • Bradley

    Alastair Reynolds returns to the Revelation Space universe with the strongest novel *IMHO* since The Prefect. Of course, this is a direct follow-up to The Prefect.

    Look, I know that's kinda a toss out statement, but it's still true. I loved The Prefect because it went wild with tech and even wilder political imagination, glorifying the Glitter Band before it became the Rust Belt. And of course, it was a really awesome mystery that went all out to become a nightmare destroying so much of the beaut

    Alastair Reynolds returns to the Revelation Space universe with the strongest novel *IMHO* since The Prefect. Of course, this is a direct follow-up to The Prefect.

    Look, I know that's kinda a toss out statement, but it's still true. I loved The Prefect because it went wild with tech and even wilder political imagination, glorifying the Glitter Band before it became the Rust Belt. And of course, it was a really awesome mystery that went all out to become a nightmare destroying so much of the beautiful orbiting habitats around Yellowstone. That last book was a near-utopia under siege by a dead girl who had gotten really good with neural architecture and cloud-based systems. It was damn delicious and imaginative and detailed as hell. And the characters were pretty hardcore awesome, too.

    Fast forward to an even more accomplished Reynolds with even better characterization, more fluid prose, and dialogue. Add the lingering effects of failed confidence in the Prefects from the previous events, talk of secession by demagogs, and a pretty awesome string of high-tech murders that can be directly linked to the events of other RS novels, and we've got an increasingly harrowing mystery on a shoestring budget even if the high tech gadgets are way beyond anything we've got.

    I mean, just look at this tiny list: Beta-level intelligence simulations allowing the dead to keep on living, quick-matter constructs that can become anything just so long as the right price is paid, personal weapons that act like Swiss Army Knives of AI snakes, and a subset of humans who just don't give a crap about what they want to upgrade themselves with.

    The mystery is almost the only thing that's normal, and we're dealing with cooked brains and a list of the dead reaching the thousands and it's all being used as political gain.

    Really fun novel. Really Hard-SF.

    But you know what I love most about this? Reynolds is connecting ALL the Revelation Space novels together even tighter in this one. I'm picking up future events in Chasm City, regular and awesome characters from Reynold's short fiction and the events after everything goes to hell following the Melding Plague and the alien menace, and of course, there's Aurora. I love, love, love Aurora. She's been a mainstay of godlike intelligence in the series and what a personality. :)

    A word to the wise: I probably should have re-read The Prefect before picking this up, but it really wasn't that bad. This book was pretty brilliant without needing to revisit the other. BUT I was reminded just how brilliant the other was, too. :)

    Another thing: Most of his standalone novels are just that... even if the connections and the timelines are there. The stories are readable in any order you wish. Even this one.

    And that being said, Bravo! This really was a fantastic new Reynolds! Easily one of my favorites.

    Thanks to Netgalley for this ARC!

  • Paromjit

    This is my first read of an Alastair Reynold novel, and this is the second in the Prefect Tom Dreyfus series. I adored the detailed and imaginative world building of The Glitter Band, with the Panoply running the policing element, the prefects, and overseen primarily by 'Lady' Jane Aumonier. It appears to be the perfect democracy, where decision-making is achieved through everyone voting in polls via their neural implants. However, there is trouble in paradise, with several parts of The Glitter

    This is my first read of an Alastair Reynold novel, and this is the second in the Prefect Tom Dreyfus series. I adored the detailed and imaginative world building of The Glitter Band, with the Panoply running the policing element, the prefects, and overseen primarily by 'Lady' Jane Aumonier. It appears to be the perfect democracy, where decision-making is achieved through everyone voting in polls via their neural implants. However, there is trouble in paradise, with several parts of The Glitter Band opting for independence by leaving, an insurrection led by the demagogue, Devon Garlin, a man with an uncanny sense of knowing what will happen and is targeting Dreyfus with the intent of goading him to overeact. Thalia Ng is promoted to Field Prefect after Sparver informs her of the rising number of disturbing deaths, where neural implants malfunction with a thermal overload and destruction of brain tissue. So far this has been kept secret to ensure people do not panic, but the threat risks instability in the entire region.

    The Prefects try to find connections amidst the victims, but struggle to find any significant leads other than the possibility that they appear to be risk takers. At Shell House, Aliya and Marlon Voi bring up their non identical twin sons, Julius and Cabel. The boys are taught to use extraordinary powers that give them the ability to challenge democracy. However, the boys have dreams that question who they are and hint at horrors from the past. In the meantime, Garlin's machinations raise the stakes as his popularity soars, meaning others are on the brink of choosing to become independent. Garlin's true identity is revealed, and it seems the multiple and disparate threads are all connected, as the looming danger to the Glitter Band and the Prefects becomes transparent. Will they manage to survive and save the lives of thousands?

    Reynolds spins a rattling sci-fi yarn that is compelling, fast paced, full of tension and suspense. This is a story of illicit syndicates, reprehensible wagers, and revenge. I was particularly impressed with the technologies in the tale such as the painflower, the whiphounds, and the community of the dead at the beta-level. The characters are complex and well developed, sustaining my interest throughout.I probably would have benefited from reading the first book, nevertheless I enjoyed reading this enormously. Many thanks to Orion for an ARC.

  • William

    If it's been more than a year since you've read

    (2007), you might enjoy reading it again before starting this one. It's not an absolute requirement, but it would make Elysium Fire more enjoyable.

    I very much enjoyed this return to the Glitter Band, before the melding plague turns it into The Rust Belt. Tom Dreyfus is much as he was before, a bit more worn, a bit more careful. Sparver and Ng and Aumonier and others reappear, and have grown as well.

    The plot starts out at a great pace, w

    If it's been more than a year since you've read

    (2007), you might enjoy reading it again before starting this one. It's not an absolute requirement, but it would make Elysium Fire more enjoyable.

    I very much enjoyed this return to the Glitter Band, before the melding plague turns it into The Rust Belt. Tom Dreyfus is much as he was before, a bit more worn, a bit more careful. Sparver and Ng and Aumonier and others reappear, and have grown as well.

    The plot starts out at a great pace, with two interwoven story threads: The current emergency, and a tale of two teens from 30 years or so before the current action. Perhaps you might think you have solved the central mystery at some point in the book (but you haven't), and the pieces of the puzzle are presented well in succession, gradually building a picture of the crime and it's origins.

    By 3/4 of the way through the book, you realise that the ending is going to be more complex in it's origins than you might have first thought. The ending itself is a bit flat, a bit rushed, with an info-dump a la Agatha Christie summations - not my favourite way to come to a solution in a mystery.

    As always, Reynolds' prose and plotting are good, his technology is wonderful, and the characters are interesting and sympathetic.

    This is a grand addition to the Revelation Space we all love from Reynolds. 4.5-stars, minus 0.5 for the somewhat flat ending.

    Notes and quotes:

    A tale of hereditary power, of arrogance in the face of the inevitability of human flaws, of the hubris of kings, of the futile denial of entropy itself.

    Thank you, NetGalley, for this ARC.

    .

  • Faith

    Ten thousand orbiting artificial worlds comprise the Glitter Band with its one hundred million inhabitants. They are democracies and their citizens are constantly voting and responding to polls via neural implants. There is a very low crime rate so a small independent body of prefects was created to police the Glitter Band. The prefects, who reside on Panoply, are currently facing several problems. Confidence in the prefects is waning, a few habitats are seceding from the Glitter Band (encourage

    Ten thousand orbiting artificial worlds comprise the Glitter Band with its one hundred million inhabitants. They are democracies and their citizens are constantly voting and responding to polls via neural implants. There is a very low crime rate so a small independent body of prefects was created to police the Glitter Band. The prefects, who reside on Panoply, are currently facing several problems. Confidence in the prefects is waning, a few habitats are seceding from the Glitter Band (encouraged by the rabble rouser Julius Devin Garlin Voi) and some citizens are dying due to neural implant failure. Prefect Tom Dreyfus is trying to solve the problem of the mysterious deaths while keeping the population from finding out about what may be an epidemic.

    I haven't read either the first book in this science fiction detective series featuring Dreyfus or anything else by this author, so I'm sure I missed some details of the world and history of Yellowstone and its orbiting Glitter Band, but I still managed to follow the story in this book (until the ending which I found very confusing and had to read twice). I really liked the worldbuilding in this book, although I didn't get much of an idea of what life is like in the Glitter Band for most of the citizens. Some people can conjure objects, animals and even elaborate locales from quickmatter. One of the prefects is a hyperpig. The prefects are armed with whiphounds, autonomous robot whips that can be used to enforce, detain and gather evidence. People are dressed by clotheswalls : "...she stepped through a clotheswall , the wall forming her uniform around her...". One of the characters is a godlike artificial intelligence named Aurora who keeps out-maneuvering Dreyfus.

    I enjoyed this book for its worIdbuilding and complex plot and some of the characters were interesting, although Dreyfus was probably the least interesting one. I did find the book was too long. There is a vote tampering side story that didn't really go anywhere. The author also has a habit of explaining things three or four times. However, I will probably read more by this author.

    I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

  • Scott

    is

    . Damned good.

    Reynolds at his best is so much fun that reading him

    like it should be a guilty pleasure, something to greedily gorge on in the shadowy recesses of one's home or from behind the camouflage of some worthy literary magazine on the train.

    His work is no pulpy-SF deep-fried chocolate bar though, no Aliens-Lasers-and-Boobs tub of home-brand icecream in front of the TV.

    is the SF equivalent of a hearty three course meal with a dessert of home made ap

    is

    . Damned good.

    Reynolds at his best is so much fun that reading him

    like it should be a guilty pleasure, something to greedily gorge on in the shadowy recesses of one's home or from behind the camouflage of some worthy literary magazine on the train.

    His work is no pulpy-SF deep-fried chocolate bar though, no Aliens-Lasers-and-Boobs tub of home-brand icecream in front of the TV.

    is the SF equivalent of a hearty three course meal with a dessert of home made apple pie topped with fresh whipped cream - satisfying, well rounded, but with enough of a sugar hit to fire you up. It's pure pleasure, but pleasure with solid writing, sharp narrative and a powerful imagination.

    Like

    before it

    is a police story set in an awe inspiring future - Reynold's

    universe.

    The

    universe a sometimes dark one, but it's powerfully alluring, and I can't help but wistfully imagine living there, with nano-tech films you can step through that coat you in a custom made space-suit in a society founded on universal, direct democracy where every citizen votes on every issue in real time via their brain implants.

    In

    We return to the Glitter Band- the sparkling necklace of habitats and satellites that orbits the planet Yellowstone, in the Epsilon Eridani system, home to Chasm City, the most advanced and successful human city in the galaxy. If you've read Chasm City - Reynold's best novel, and one of the best SF novels this century - you've been to Chasm City, and seen it in ruins after a nano-plague has swept through and devastated the place. This time, we see it as it once was- a technological utopia in the middle of a golden age.

    Just like in

    we are again following the operatives of Panoply - the police force who ensure that the democracy of the Glitter Band is uncorrupted, enforcers in a society with few rules and little fondness for government oversight. Tom Dreyfuss, Thalia Ng, Jane Aumonier and Sparver Bancal (a Hyperpig- a pig raised to human intelligence and bipedalism) return from the first novel, along with Aurora, the homicidal AI from

    that now exists in the distributed networks of the Glitter Band, fighting a long, slow war against the psychotic and equally distributed Clockmaker.

    People all over the Glitter Band are dying, their cerebral implants overloading and cooking their brains from the inside. Simultaneously a demagogue arises - Devon Garlin -whipping up sentiment against panoply and encouraging habitats to secede from under police jurisdiction.

    Desperate to discover what is causing the deaths, and terrified of the panic that could ensue if the Glitter Band discovers a potential plague within itself, Dreyfus and his colleagues race to find the source of the deaths, finding themselves allying with old enemies and questioning the foundations of their democratic utopia.

    Of course, this results in a journey through the strange and wonderful realms of the Glitter Band and Yellowstone - a journey that is tightly plotted and scintillatingly told, with plenty of tension, drama and wow moments.

    Reynolds is on form with this one, and it's a pacey, fun read. The ending doesn't quite match the quality of the rest of the book, but it sets things up nicely for another story in the series and comes to a fairly satisfying resolution.

    It's a rare book where I start feeling sad when I draw near the tale's end, so unwilling am I to leave the world the writer has created.

    is one of those books, and Reynolds is at the top of his storytelling game here. I can't wait to see what he cooks up next.

    4.5 glittering stars.

  • Gary

    Reynolds’ sequel to The Prefect (now called Aurora Rising) picks up not long after the events of that novel. Panoply has taken a big hit to its reputation after the cataclysmic events of the Aurora emergency, and an emerging populist movement has led a few of the habitats of the Glitter Band to abandon their ties with the protective service, with more threatening to follow. It’s no surprise when Dreyfus’ investigation of a new and deadly threat leads him straight to the leader of the anti-Panopl

    Reynolds’ sequel to The Prefect (now called Aurora Rising) picks up not long after the events of that novel. Panoply has taken a big hit to its reputation after the cataclysmic events of the Aurora emergency, and an emerging populist movement has led a few of the habitats of the Glitter Band to abandon their ties with the protective service, with more threatening to follow. It’s no surprise when Dreyfus’ investigation of a new and deadly threat leads him straight to the leader of the anti-Panoply movement, a man who knows more about the inner workings of Panoply (and of Dreyfus himself) than any outsider rightly should. Reynolds’ mash-up of police procedural and space opera sputters a bit in this second go round. Some of the character arcs (especially Thalia’s) are nearly identical to those in the previous novel, and many of the plot turns are easy to see coming long before the novel reveals them, and the final “twist” is not so much predictable as it is irrelevant to how the story shakes out. Additionally, the problematic aspects of Dreyfus as a protagonist are more evident in this sequel; his hunches are always right, and even when he makes questionable decisions there are few lasting consequences and at most he is criticized with qualified praise. The Glitter Band is still a fascinating depiction of a futuristic democratic utopia, and there is plenty of techno-wizardry and intense action in the pages of Elysium Fire. The plotting and characterization are, however, stuck in neutral.

  • Roy

    Ahh a return to this crazy world. I enjoyed his previous novel on Prefect Dreyfus. Reynolds has great imagination and world buidling, especially when it comes to tech. I unfortunately didn't like this as much as the first. What amazes me is the time difference between writing both novels. During that time, Reynolds has become a much more assured writer, and his prose is better than ever. His world buidling continues to impress in this, and his characters are pleasant but not loveable like the gr

    Ahh a return to this crazy world. I enjoyed his previous novel on Prefect Dreyfus. Reynolds has great imagination and world buidling, especially when it comes to tech. I unfortunately didn't like this as much as the first. What amazes me is the time difference between writing both novels. During that time, Reynolds has become a much more assured writer, and his prose is better than ever. His world buidling continues to impress in this, and his characters are pleasant but not loveable like the great writers of pure character driven novels. I think my two issues with this novel involved plotting. The first is the psychotic kids, I just didnt understand psyche of the adoption, it just confused me. The biggest issue is the conclusion. It was like a massive info dump, and he made sure every character was in the room to conclude the 3rd act, which I hate in novels. Its just a cliched way of closing a novel. This wasnt a bad novel by any means, it just had flaws in the plotting, which is usually where he is best. Will definitely appeal to fans of his work, I just wouldnt start here if youre brand new to Reynolds writing.

  • Karl

    This hardcover is the first British edition.

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