Book Review 2009 #35: Judas Unchained

Judas Unchained is the second of the Pandora’s Star duology, by Peter F Hamilton.


In this second volume of the Pandora’s Star duology, Hamilton really comes of age as a writer.
Don’t get me wrong. Judas Unchained is in many respects the typical future space opera that Hamilton is known for. JU is set as a sequel to Pandora’s Star, in a universe where wormhole technology and rejuvenation have led to a world where a commonwealth of planets are connected by trains and wormholes. And where an accidental release of an xenophobic alien species threatens to bring down the Commonwealth for good.
Beyond that, though, Hamilton shows an improvement and maturity on his writing from his previous efforts. Some of Hamilton’s previous series and novels have suffered from a bit of a deux ex machina ending, as if he was unable to come up with answers within context to the major tsunami of tsuris sent his characters and worlds.
In JU, without giving too much away, the explicit chance that the readers might expect for that Deux ex machine ending actually turns out to be a red herring. The problems are resolved by humans and in a satisfactory manner.
The characters continue to develop and grow from the first novel, and finding out the ultimate fates of Paula Myo, Mellanie Rescorai, Ozzie, Captain Kime, and the galaxy of characters is a major driver. The novel crackles of energy.
I wouldn’t start here, starting with Pandora’s Star is a much better option. And once you devour that volume and come to this one, I promise you will be most satisfied, as I was.