lunes, 17 de agosto de 2015

The Dark Forest - Liu Cixin (english review)

Disclaimer: English is my third language,  so I want to apologize in advance for there may be mistakes in the text below. If you find any, please let me know so that I can correct it. I'd really appreciate it. Thanks. You can read this review also in spanish here.

I just finished the novel that I most expected this year, The Dark Forest, by Liu Cixin, and I have mixed feelings. I'm really happy to see that this great chinese author maintains the style, the grip and the ability to surprise of his previous novel, The three-body problem, and I'm sad because my dose of science fiction in capital letters, for now, it's over . There are few science fiction writers that make my brain spin after reading his stories as Liu Cixin.

I must say that the start of the novel has not convinced me and I was even a little disappointed. It has a very strong oriental touch, too poetic, sometimes disoriented me a bit, I think it's a cultural thing (not to mention names, which as I have already used to, the book is almost finished). The first novel already had these features, but not as pronounced.

But  when the action begins presents incredible scenes, with a great sense of wonder, surprising twists and a very addictive storytelling. The plot focuses more on the part of intrigue and conspiracy that in the scientific part, much more affordable than in the previous novel, but always present and essential in the work of this author. As the usual prodigality of interesting and surprising ideas through storytelling, also typical in the style of Cixin. I especially liked that very few characters repeat from the previous novel, and the main ones are much better defined and characterized that in the first book.

Beware that from this moment there will be spoilers of the first book, so if you have not read it yet (that almost should be considered a sin) I advise not continue reading.

Once humanity knows the threat of Trisolarian fleet, which will arrive in 400 years, and facing the constant monitoring of the Sophons that block scientific progress, there's only one alternative to survival, and is trying to deceive these implacable aliens. To this end four Wallfacers are named: people who have the resources they deem necessary, whose mission will be to imagine a plan to beat the Trisolarians, but the details of their plans can only be known by them, to prevent the sophons to find out. To counteract them, human allies of the Trisolarians create the figure of the Wallbreakers, responsible for finding out and publish each one of the plans. The story is centered on the creation of the four strategies of the Wallfacers through several centuries ( thanks to hibernation some of the protagonists of the XXI Century will have relevance in the XXIII century).

Little more I can say without revealing more of the plot.
It is an absolute must for any lover of science-fiction novels: High level speculation on scientific and social level, scenarios and situations with breathtaking action, political conspiracies, surprising plot twists and an unexpected and totally satisfactory ending , which has left me wanting more. 

In April 2016 the third and final part of the trilogy will be published, Death's End, translated by Ken Liu. The wait will be long...

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