As you probably guessed, the last post made on the blog was not written by yours truly; instead you were reading a review from my fiancé. He got a copy of Blue Remembered Earth as a part of the Gollancz Geeks project, and asked whether he could post a copy of his review on here. I decided that it would be interesting to have both of us review it, simply for the comparison. So, here is my companion review.
I’m not quite sure what to make of it. As mentioned in Longeye’s review, the story follows Geoffrey and Sunday Akinya, grandchildren of Africa’s most famous space explorer, as they investigate a mystery that arises in the wake of their grandmother Eunice’s death. Along the way, they have to make deals and compromises with the Panspermian Initiative, a movement that wants to expand and colonise as much of the universe as is humanly possible.
As a plot, it’s very good overall, with a consistent world and a well-constructed mystery. The characters feel real, in-depth and flawed. It wasn’t without its problems though. Firstly, as mentioned in Longeye’s review, there are certain elements that feel like they come out of nowhere towards the end: as such, I felt that they didn’t really get the attention that they deserve, as well as feeling like a rather major change of direction. Secondly, I felt that Geoffrey’s interaction with the elephants felt somewhat overworked: I appreciate that they are an important part of his life, but most of the interactions consisted of him watching them and occasionally spooking them. Really not that interesting. Lastly, and for me the biggest problem, I just did not connect with it. In my head, I know that it’s a well-written book, with zero major plot problems. But it fell flat because I just didn’t care about any of the characters. As such, when characters found themselves in danger or died, it didn’t really bother me that much. I finished Blue Remembered Earth because I wanted to see the puzzle solved: the characters were just pawns moved in order to make progress.
Overall, I would say that I’m not sorry that I read it, but neither am I glad that I took the time to read it. I wouldn’t pick up any other instalments in the Akinya series when they come out, but if Longeye were to force them on me, I don’t think I’d object either. Take that as you will. 3/5
Next review: Bite Me If You Can by Lynsay Sands