Wow that was an exceptional book.
Set in the far future and spanning several thousand years, this is one epic science fiction story. After earth is left pretty much useless, a ship sets out with one of the last remnants of humanity to find a new home to live. They find a new planet that seems perfect, already terraformed but also has native life that has been bioengineered to make it more intelligent. As you might imagine there are consequences as each species learns of the other.
It is going to be hard to talk about this book without giving too much away but man I was blown away about the concepts on offer here. The author basically extrapolated how civilisation and technology might develop with a known species but one that is very different than our own. The book is split into several parts so we see how the planet is developing during many different periods of its evolution. You would think it would be hard to empathise with what is basically an alien species, one the author tries really hard to keep ‘other’, but you do and they are probably my favourite parts of it.
Not to say that the human part of the story is bad, it is still brilliant and really amazing and due to cryogenics we do mostly keep with the same characters. Obviously they change too and the time covered is vast and they struggle to come to terms with it as well. It does not shine a great light on our species, no matter our brilliance and scientific knowledge we don’t seem to really evolve as much as I think we should. I sometimes think this is why I’m not always such a fan of SF compared to fantasy, our future is nearly always displayed as quite bleak and the worst part is that I mostly agree with it.
The worldbuilding on offer here is up there with the best I’ve read. The science parts seem believable (to a certain degree) but don’t take away from the pace of the book. In addition the characters are great and sympathetic, both human and alien. The author has really managed to put it all together in this one and it was a joy to read. Thoroughly recommend it.