Part mystery, part science fiction, part detective story, and part adventure story, the only word to describe Pandora's Star is epic. Perhaps not in quality as it is in scale, time, and characters. At over a 1,000 pages this is a long book, and one with a whole cast of characters, two pages in fact, at the beginning of the book.
The first 100 pages or so see you switch between different characters without ever revisiting one, and it is not like there aren't frequent changes in perspective.
Spanning hundreds of years of human history this first book in the Commonwealth Saga is merely the first half of a long and epic story of human existence.
Opening with the first human landing on Mars, the significance of the prologue was completely lost on me to such an extent that the last few paragraphs were something I don't remember reading. The weight of what happened, which carries on throughout the book, doesn't hit you upon first reading.
That being said there are numerous plot twists, developing storylines, and sub-plots that build and build towards the end, and it is often not until you reach nearer the end that you understand the relevance of them to the overall story.
None of the sub-plots is more important to the overall story than the development of the Guardians of Selfhood from fringe radicals to a cause that may have been right all along, and the reader takes the journey with the other characters.
Moving away from the story, and onto that character list, some of them are not important and probably do not need to be on there, and some of the character's importance is not realised until nearer the and, such as Mellanie Rescorai. The existence of Tara Jennifer Shaheef and Morton is purely to provide a way of introducing her to the storyline.
Whereas the importance or lack thereof of Mark Vernon and others is yet to be discovered.
One of the more fascinating facets of the book is how society has adapted to eternal life and faster than light travel, and how the culture and common threads of modern life adapted and changed as a result, such as many marriages, a more long-term view on life and the universe, and the treatment of crime and murder.
It is only really late in the book that the mystery surrounding the Dyson Stars is part revealed and we are introduced to the Primes, and the main antagonist of the series is revealed. The development and culture of this race was interesting and well developed by the author.
Pandora's Star is definitely an epic book, and definitely the first half of what is correctly called a Saga, and I am looking forward to reading the next, despite the size.
It was the size of the book that did let it down, at almost 1150 pages, the pacing and plot development was a little on the slow side and getting the book under a thousand or maybe to 900 would have made it a whole lot faster and more enjoyable.