Interesting, well written and some nice ideas, but for me, wow, a long read that seemingly never ended.
What if, instead of monekys evolving, another creature evolved to reach our levels of self awareness? What if that creature were spiders? Well, this book will give you a good run for your money.
Split, mostly, between a new civilization of sentient spiders and a space ark containing (what we presume) the last cargo of earthlings, the story tells itself over centuries, if not millennia (it's not really clear - just enough time for spiders to become astronauts!).
On one side the story looks at an evolving species and dips in and out of time to see how they're getting on, how science evolves, how society evolves and most interestingly, struggles to break free of their DNA wiring.
On the other side, floating away in space a space ark ship, run by "key crew" and carrying a cargo of the last dollop of humanity. Space sleep, stasis, what have you, is used to let the characters jump over centuries of time, and start to slip out of sync of eachother's ages.
The responsibility of carry the last of humanity and even the sheer amount of time on a ship that was perhaps designed for shipping and not generations of the living are examined, and this is certainly interesting.
The book, at 600 odd pages though, for me, took me a long, long time to get through. 2 months in fact. I found it really hard to feel any kind of connection with the spider society and evolution which probably dragged my reading along.
I loved Dogs of War by the same author, and I legally remember it being quite epic. But with this book, it was beyond epic and around the 60% mark I was just wanting it to end.
The end of the book does close off with some really nice and aspirational ideas, but for me, this just too long to get to and fell short of what felt like work to finish the book.
Recommended if you like your space operas. Possibly pass if you're unsure. I'm not sure I'll be quick to pick up another book that spans an epic time period for a while!
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