What They Say:
Exposed as the Second Dreamer, Araminta has become the target of a galaxywide search by government agent Paula Myo and the psychopath known as the Cat, along with others equally determined to prevent—or facilitate—the pilgrimage of the Living Dream cult into the heart of the Void. An indestructible microuniverse, the Void may contain paradise, as the cultists believe, but it is also a deadly threat. For the miraculous reality that exists inside its boundaries demands energy—energy drawn from everything outside those boundaries: from planets, stars, galaxies . . . from everything that lives.
The journey in this trilogy has certainly been a long one as it comes to its conclusion here, largely because so many of the characters carry over from the previous trilogy series that introduced the Confederation universe. After the original story showcasing the Prime enemy and its detailed and disturbing way of spreading itself across the universe. Hamilton upped the ante with the Void trilogy by setting it about a thousand years in the future and making sure we know quite a few of the characters are still around. With the mysterious Void expanding slowly but surely outward, acquiring mass to power it from whatever it comes into contact with, it’s certainly a threat. With the first two volumes, we were introduced to the newer characters populating this future and the fact that one of them had dreams from someone called the Waterwalker who lived in the Void in the distant past. The dreams he got from there that were shared with the galaxy spawned a new religion that caused a substantial following that wanted to enter the Void in order to achieve the fulfillment that the inhabitants there gained.
Of course, to do so, would cause the Void to expand voraciously and consume the galaxy that humanity and quite a few other species inhabit. Because of the way mankind operates, even though the followers present a very real threat, politics has kept them from being fully dealt with for so long that the pilgrimage is inevitable at this point, if only they can find the Second Dreamer who can guide them. With the First Dreamer, Inigo, missing and the Third Dreamer adamantly against the pilgrimage, it’s a difficult time for those of the Living Dream following. Much of the first two books focused on exploring the way of the galaxy in this time frame and the heavy pursuit of the mysterious Second Dreamer. Araminta didn’t believe she could be that person, but once everyone began hunting her, she had no choice but to believe and has managed to elude an impressive array of forces that are seeking her, either to elevate her properly or to hide her or even kill her in order to ensure survival of the galaxy.
The third volume in the series shows Araminta really coming to terms with all of this and making her decision on how to handle everything since she has so few options. While she decides, the other forces are doing what they can to achieve their ends. The Accelerators have been manipulated by a strange creature named Ilanthe who wants the Void and its powers for her own purposes. A mind-wiped and reprogrammed man named Aaron is spiriting the First Dreamer to one of the biggest minds in the human galaxy in order to find a way to stop the Void, though he hasn’t a clue what it’s all about since his programming only kicks in when certain objectives are achieved. And with other police forces involved in trying to get to Araminta, there’s a lot going on. And that’s without involving some of the alien races.
Like any finale to a series, it focuses a lot on bring all the various pieces together with a growing amount of speed in order to reach something epic. This is especially true with Hamilton’s work and The Evolutionary Void is no exception. Particularly interesting is the Third Dreamer, Gore Burnelli, who has spent his incredibly long life with plans within plans. His way of combating the Void is to find a way for him to go postphysical, which has him taking advantage of a situation and a person known as The Delivery Man to explore a world where the dominant race there has gone postphysical. The exploration of the part of the culture that did not go has a lot to offer from a philosophical side as we see how they turned out by turning inward and how stagnant they’ve become. Gore’ story and his discoveries offer a lot of fertile ground and a really long chance roll of the dice to stop the Void.
What the Void series has done beyond playing out the traditional story is to include the story of the Dreams themselves and this final volume contains more of what Inigo shared as the First Dreamer with the followers of Living Dream. What he’s held to his own though is the final dream which shows where the key people from ther ended up in the long run, which also explained why he ran from Living Dream himself. The Dream chapters were difficult in the earlier books since they shifted the story considerably, even as they influenced events outside the Void, and these are no less problematic. The story itself is decent once it got rolling and learning about the Waterwalker and how he changed the lives of many in the city he resided in, but his ability to rewind time and start again from a certain point to correct mistakes makes for some awkward story moments since you begin to lose track of what has happened and what was cast off as a mistake.
Hamilton’s work here does bring everything to a satisfying conclusion as he explores what really makes up the Void and plays a bit fast and loose with the space opera elements. The truth about what powers the Void is actually quite engaging, but the final portion of the book suffers like Hamilton’s other books in that it builds up to such a high level that it can’t carry through. Things end with more of a whimper than a bang and we get some mild epilogue to show what’s happened afterward to some of the key players. The Evolutionary Void and the prior two novels offer up a lot of things not only for Hamilton to tackle but any other writer if he actually opened up this universe. There are so many places to go, so many intriguing stories to follow with the well done supporting cast and worlds that it’s thoroughly engaging and definitely makes up easily for the weak but expected ending. With the conclusion to this series, Hamilton has upped the ante on creating a sprawling galaxy of power players and regular people just trying to live along with fascinating worlds and alien species. Hopefully this won’t be the last we see of the Commonwealth and all those who inhabit it.
Novel Written By: Peter F. Hamilton