Review: The Architect of Aeons
It’s been a while since I sat down here and wrote a review, so you can expect a small deluge from me in the near future. I’m a huge fan of space opera in all genres and forms. I don’t know a lot about John C. Wright, but receiving THE ARCHITECT OF AEONS excited me, and made me want to read this. I’ve never read any Wright, so I was ready to experience a new to me author.
The book is ambitious, perhaps too much, and it starts following two of the most brilliant minds of mankind, Menelaus and Ximen as they outline their war plans against the invading aliens (known as Hyades). The book then puts them into suspended animation to await the outcome of the plans. Our two key players are awoken, and promptly proceed to spend several dozens upon dozens of pages arguing over everything, from the love interest, to the merits of their plans, to the impact of the upcoming *new* war.
Yes. New and better aliens are coming! And we need a new plan! And Ximen and Menelaus need to fight a duel! And there’s a lot of spoilers I could throw here, but in the interest of our readers.
To be fair to Wright, his writing is stellar. The man is a magnificent wordsmith, and no one can diminish his talent there. But this book lacks in propulsion, unlike the science of the time, and you feel adrift in a sea of beautiful words, watching the stars whirl past you, as you wonder where you’re going.
There were lines, and scenes, and chapters that were an absolute pleasure to read, but between them…I felt trapped in a excessively inferior book. The tone was there. The feel of the genre was right. The plot was classic space opera in all the right ways. But it failed to strike the chord with me that other science fiction and specifically space opera have. There was something missing as I read, and until I finished I couldn’t put my finger on what was keeping me from enjoying what appeared to be a great novel.
Wright is the Rothfuss of science fiction. Full of talent, style, and poise, but lacking in substance under the surface. Wright’s title here, could be about himself, designing, and erecting a magnificant edifice to fiction, that takes aeons to complete, and longer to understand and appreciate.
Now that I’m done, if I had to pick one word to describe this book, it would be ponderous. The book is a behemoth, attempting to slowly adjust course, majestic in its manufacture and intent, but lumbering, ungainly, and blocky in its performance.
ADDENDUM: After finishing the book, I discovered it was the fourth in the series. I must disclaim that I have not read the first three. I fully intend to get those 3 and read them to see if it improves my opinion of this book. Perhaps that character investment will have driven me to reconsider.
Recommended Age: 13+
Language: Yes, some.
Violence: It’s set in a war, and duels are fought. Yup.
Sex: Lots of talk. However, I don’t remember anything specific happening.
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