This time it’s my fault. You should never buy a science fiction book, because it has got a good title, because on the cover it says that the author has won several Hugo and Nebula awards and that he is a master of the genre, because it is cheap. You must get informed first.
Besides, the smoky description on the back cover should have warned me, but it is also true that I have read other stories in which the protagonists dreamed of other places in space and time and it was really science fiction (such as the beautiful Void trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton).
In this case however it is not so.
Yes, it is true, a part of the story takes place in the future, but the sci-fi aspect is reduced to something insignificant if compared to paranormal. This is not science fiction or speculative fiction, but it is a sort of futuristic fantasy.
But the problem is not only the genre. Of course I’m not crazy for fantasy, but I’m able to like a well-written novel.
To this, however, I must add that the story overflows with characters. In about 500 pages written in microscopic characters, often, especially in the first part, too much time passes between two chapters where the same character appears, so it is easy to get lost. In addition you are unable to identify a protagonist, because there are at least five main characters that are fully equivalent. There is not one that emerges above the others. Given their number, the presence in scene of each one is low enough.
Not to forget about the very long scenes written in an evocative and poetic form, but in which nothing happens. Ditto for certain dialogues that do not move the plot forward. Also crucial scenes are agonizingly slow.
So in one word: boring.
I struggled a lot to read it at the beginning, I continued to struggle even when I started to better distinguish the characters and give a kind of sense to the plot (although the question “why?” remained until the last word, and has never been answered) and finishing to read this book was a liberation to me.
In all honesty I think from now on I’ll stay away from this author.
City at the End of Time on Amazon.com.