“Consider Phlebas” by Iain M. Banks
Publication Date: March 2008
Number of Pages: 554
“The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction, cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender.”
Source: Iain M. Banks’ Site.
It took me a while to finish this book because it dragged on for a bit longer than it needed to. It felt as though extra events were thrown in just to make the story go on longer. On the other hand a lot of what happened made sense given the situation the characters were in. They were basically working against a universe that was out to get them so naturally it took a while to get where they were headed.
More comments with spoilers (including the ending) below:
I should have known when several characters started dying that it was going to be that kind of story. By the end of it everyone was dead except one character who you don’t really expect. Of course since she was a Culture operative and everyone else was on the other side of the war it wasn’t all that surprising.
That said it’s not actually a bad book at all if you like that kind of an ending. I just prefer that most of the good guys be alive in the end of the book. Of course the characters in the book weren’t exactly “the good guys” so that’s half the problem.
I’m also not sure what to make of The Culture – it sounds like they’re supposed to be a utopia but from the descriptions and the sound of it, it doesn’t actually sound like they ARE the good guys either.