Excession: A Review  

Thursday, March 29, 2007

I finally finished reading Excession last night. I liked the book overall, but it took me 300 pages before it was interesting enough for me to read it for long periods of time. I've had been struggling reading through it a few pages at a time before that, which probably only exacerbated my disinterest.

The ideas in the book were interesting and there was a lot of new information about the Minds and the way the Culture works in general. Events weren't as rosy (from a Culture society perspective) in the book as there were in previous books. The most notable philosophical conflict was with the Affront, a new race introduced in the book.

I've thought about why it wasn't as good to me over the past couple of days and I think the main reason I was disappointed is because the characters fell kind of flat. I didn't really like anyone in the book. Genar-Hofoen came the closest, but he still wasn't well-developed to me. Dajeil Gelian was completely unlikeable, caught in a 40 year sulk and Ulver Seich was hardly better.

The ships were mildly entertaining, but compared to Mawhrin-Skel from Player of Games, they were dull. I think there were just too many characters spread out over the book and in the end, it didn't come together for me. I'd have to put this about even with State of the Art on my list of Banks books, but I think overall it was a good book, for the history of the Culture, more than for the story (as I felt with State of the Art). Ah well.

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