A Night Without Stars: Chronicle of the Fallers
by Peter F. Hamilton
Cover Artist: Igor Zh. / Shutterstock
Review by Wes Breazeale
Del Rey Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345547224
Date: 27 September 2016 List Price $32.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Reading a Peter F. Hamilton book is a bit like running a marathon. It's something you want to do, for sure, but it can be a challenge. It can take a while. It can have its ups and downs. But ultimately, when you're finished, it's an exhilarating achievement. A Night Without Stars is no exception to this rule - it is a thrilling labor of love to work through, and the ultimate conclusion is well worth it.
A Night Without Stars is a sequel to The Abyss Beyond Dreams, though it takes place centuries after the conclusion of The Abyss Beyond Dreams and doesn't really include the same characters. At first this can be a bit off-putting, as readers may long for those they knew and loved from the first book. But one of the hallmarks of a good writer is the ability to create a sequel that does not feature the same characters and yet makes the reader love them just as much. Hamilton achieves that in A Night Without Stars.
Having been expelled from the Void when Nigel Sheldon exploded a quantumbuster amongst the Faller trees, the planet Bienvenido is now millions of light years from the Commonwealth, orbiting a star with other planets that have been cast out of the Void. Humanity is still battling the Fallers, who seem to have an added advantage now that they are in normal space. The odds do not seem to be in humanity's favor, but they are certainly not going to go down without a fight.
A Night Without Stars follows several storylines which are clearly bound to intersect. Rather than jumping from storyline to storyline chapter by chapter, the book initially spends considerable time with each on its own, before slowly bringing them together in different ways. The oppressive government that was established at the end of The Abyss Beyond Dreams has survived the past few centuries and is kept in power largely through the necessity of fighting the Fallers, though a mysterious Warrior Angel with Commonwealth technology has played a rather crucial role in their survival as well.
We initially follow the stories of Captain Chaing, of the People's Security Regiment; Florian, an Eliter forest ranger who stumbles on an incredible discovery; and Major Ry Evine of the Astronaut Regiment, as well as a few secondary but somewhat prominent characters. As the book progresses some of these storylines drop by the wayside for a while as new characters and situations are introduced. Though incredibly immersive and descriptive, it is possible that some may find this approach to storytelling to be frustrating. The payoff seems far off at times, but is ultimately worth it.
Hamilton has a knack for both creating intricate plot-driven books but also being able to craft adrenaline pumping action. As the book moves towards its conclusion the pace picks up considerably - the runner's high kicks in, if you will, and brings you to the finish.
Fans of Hamilton's detailed, imaginative world building should be very satisfied with A Night Without Stars. It is a brilliantly written, thoroughly enjoyable conclusion to the Faller Duology and a wonderful addition to Hamilton's Commonwealth books.