Copy of 4 & 5 Star SciFi and Fantasy Reads of 2017

Here is my annual post to list the top rated (by me) books I read each year.  For 2017, these include both books I read and listened to, as well as, novellas, short story's and re-reads.  I pulled this info from my Goodreads profile.  Needless to say, all of these are highly recommended.

5 Star:

  • Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz #1) by Brandon Sanderson

  • Gateway (Heechee Saga #1) by Frederick Pohl - reread

  • City of Miracles (The Divine Cities #3) by Robert Jackson Bennett

  • The Sunset Warrior (The Sunset Warrior Cycle #1) by Eric Van Lustbader - reread

4 Star:

  • The Little Ships ( Alexis Carew #3) by J.A. Sutherland

  • We Are Legion (Bobiverse #1) by Dennis E. Taylor

  • For We Are Many (Bobiverse #2) by Dennis E. Taylor

  • All These Worlds (Bobiverse #3) by Dennis E. Taylor

  • Starship Mage: Ominbus (Starship Mage #1) by Glynn Stewart

  • The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1) by N.K. Jemisin

  • The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth #2) by N.K. Jemisin

  • The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library #1) by Genevieve Cogman

  • A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet (Wayfarer's #1) by Becky Chambers

  • Death's Mistress (Sister of Darkness: The Nicci Chronicles #1) by Terry Goodkind

  • Skullsworn by Brian Staveley

  • Pilot X by Tom Merritt

  • Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection by Brandon Sanderson

  • The Tale of the Wicked (short story) by John Scalzi

What am I looking forward to in 2018? Same questions as last year: where is the Song of Ice and Fire #6 Winds of Winter, The Kingkiller Chronicle #3,  and Gentleman Bastard #4?  Already reading Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3).  Next is Persepolis Rising (The Expanse #7), Shroud of Eternity (Sister of Darkness: The Nicci Chronicles #2).

4 & 5 Star SciFi and Fantasy Reads of 2016

Here is my annual post to list the top rated (by me) books I read each year.  For 2016, these include both books I read and listened to, as well as, novellas, short story's and re-reads.  I pulled this info from my Goodreads profile.  Needless to say, all of these are highly recommended.

5 Star:
The Last Mortal Bond (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne #3) by Brian Staveley
The Dispatcher by John Scalzi
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
The Rook The Checquy Files #1) by Daniel O’Malley
A New Hope: The Princess, The Scoundrel and the Farm Boy by Alexandra Bracken

4 Star:
Blood Song (Ravens Shadow #1) by Ryan Anthony
Tower Lord (Ravens Shadow #2) by Ryan Anthony
Queen of Fire (Ravens Shadow #3) by Ryan Anthony
Firstborn by Brandon Sanderson
Calamity (Reckoners #3) by Brandon Sanderson
Marauder (The Shoal Sequence #4) by Gary Gibson
Shattered Spear (The Lost Starts #4) by Jack Campbell
Bold (Kris Longknife #14) by Mike Shepherd
At the Sign of Triumph (Safehold #9) by David Weber
De Oppresso Liber (Hayden War #6) by Evan Currie
The Bands of Morning (Mistborn #6) by Brandon Sanderson
Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold
Son of the Black Sword (Saga of the Forgotten Warrior #1) by Larry Correia
Secret History (Mistborn #3.5) by Brandon Sanderson
Into the Dark (Alexis Carew #1) by J.A. Sutherland
Warrior King (Odyssey One, #5) by Evan Currie
City of Blades (The Divine Cities #2) by Robert Jackson Bennett

What am I looking forward to in 2017? Same questions as last year: where is the Song of Ice and Fire #6 Winds of Winter, The Kingkiller Chronicle #3, Gentleman Bastard #4, and The Stormlight Archive #3?  Already finished and loved Babylon Ashes (The Expanse #6) on January 1, 2017.  Looking forward to The Lost Metal (Mistborn #7), City of Miracles (Devine Cities #3), and anything by Joe Abercrombie.

4 & 5 Star SciFi and Fantasy Reads of 2015

Here is my annual post to list the top rated (by me) books I read each year.  For 2015, these include both books I read and listened to, as well as, novellas, short story's and re-reads.  I pulled this info from my Goodreads profile.  Needless to say, all of these are highly recommended.

5 Star:

  • Nemesis Games (Expanse #5) by James S.A. Corey (Audible)
  • Half the World (Shattered Sea #2) by Joe Abercrobie (Audible)
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (Audible)

4 Star:

  • Half a War (Shattered Sea #3) by Joe Abercrombie (Audible)
  • The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson (Audible)
  • Stonefather (Mither Mages # 0.5) by Orson Scott Card (Audible)
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Audible)
  • Leviathan (The Lost Fleet:Beyond the Frontier #5) by Jack Campbell (Audible)
  • Ruins (Pathfinder #2) by Orson Scott Card (Audible)
  • Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5) by Brandon Sanderson
  • Originator (Cassandra Kresnov #6) by Joel Shepherd
  • Firefight (Reckoners #2) by Brandon Sanderson
  • Hell's Foundation Quiver (Safehold #8) by David Weber
  • City of Stars by Robert Jackson Bennett
  • Unrelenting (Kris Longknife #13) by Mike Shepherd
  • Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson

What am I looking forward to in 2016? Calamity (Reckoners #3), The Last Mortal Bond (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne #3), The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6), Sharp Ends (First Law #7), Death's Bright Day (RCN Daniel Leary #11).   And where is the Song of Ice and Fire #6, The Kingkiller Chronicle #3, Gentleman Bastard #4, and The Stormlight Archive #3?

4 & 5 Star SciFi and Fantasy Reads of 2014

I forgot to post this last year.  So here it is.

 

Here is my annual post to list the top rated (by me) books I read each year.  For 2015, these include both books I read and listened to, as well as, novellas, short story's and re-reads.  I pulled this info from my Goodreads profile.  Needless to say, all of these are highly recommended.

5 Star:

  • Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card (Audible)
  • Words of Radiance (Stormlight Archive #2) by Brandon Sanderson (Audible)
  • The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive #1) by Brandon Sanderson (Re-read) (Audible)
  • The Emperor's Blades (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne #1) by Brian Staveley (Audible) - My review here
  • Dorsai! (Dorsai Series #1) by Gordon R Dickson (re-read) (Audible)

4 Star:

  • Skin Deep (Legion #2) by Brandon Sanderson (Audible)
  • Coming Home (Alex Benedict #7) by Jack McDevitt (Audible)
  • Imperfect Sword (The Lost Stars #3) by Jack Campbell (Audible)
  • Half A King (Shattered Sea #1) by Joe Abercrombie (Audible)
  • The Magician's Land (The Magicians #3) by Lev Grossman (Audible)
  • What Distand Deeps (Lt. Leary #8) David Drake (Audible)
  • The Thousand Emperors by Gary Gibson (Audible)
  • In the Stormy Red Sky (Lt. Leary #7) by David Drake (Audible)
  • The High Druid's Blade (Defenders of Shannara #1) by Terry Brooks (Audible)
  • Final Days by Gary Gibson (Audible)
  • Operation Shield (Cassandra Kresnov #5) by Joel Shepherd (Kindle)
  • Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character by Richard P. Feynman (Audible)
  • To Honor You Call Us (Man of War #1) by Paul H. Honsinger (Audible)
  • 23 Years on Fire (Cassandra Kresnov #4) by Joel Shepherd (Kindle)

 

What am I looking forward to in 2015?  Follow up to The Emperor's Blades, Defenders of Shannara #2, Cassandra Kresonov #4.

4 & 5 Star SciFi and Fantasy Reads of 2013

I am making this an annual post to list the top rated (by me) books I read each year.  For 2013, these include both books I read and listened to, as well as, novellas, short story's and re-reads.  I pulled this info from my Goodreads profile.  Needless to say, all of these are highly recommended.

Books.PNG

5 Star Reads of 2013

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (Reread) - Audible
Ringworld by Larry Niven (Reread) - Audible
A Memory of Light (Wheel of Time, #14) by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson - Audible (MY BOOK OF THE YEAR)
Towers of Midnight (Wheel of Time, #13) by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson (Reread) - Audible
The Sword of Shannara Trilogy by Terry Brooks (Reread) - Audible
Old Man's War by John Scalzi (Reread) - Audible

AMoL.jpg

4 Star Reads of 2013

The War God's Own (War God #2) by David Weber - Audible
Nova War (Shoal: Book 2) by Gary Gibson - Audible
The High Lord (The Black Magician Trilogy, #3) by Trudi Canavan - Audible
Stealing Light (Shoal: Book 1) by Gary Gibson - Audible
The Gate Thief (Mithermages, #2) by Orson Scott Card - Audible
Unfettered (Short Story Collection) by Shawn Speakman - Kindle
Straken (High Druid of Shannara, #3) by Terry Brooks- Audible
Empire of Light (Shoal: Book 3) by Gary Gibson - Audible
Oath of Swords (War God, #1) by David Weber - Audible
Shadow of Freedom (Honor Harrington, #14) by David Weber - Audible
The Six Directions of Space by Alastair Reynolds (Novella) - Kindle
War Maid's Choice (War God, #4) by David Weber - Audible
Empire (In Her Name: Redemption, #1) by Michael R. Hicks - Kindle
Steelheart (Reckoners, #1) by Brandon Sanderson - Audible
Red Country by Joe Abercrombie - Audible
The Human Division by John Scalzi  - Audible
The Last Dark (The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, #4) by Stephen R. Donaldson - Audible
Skirmishes (Diving Universe, #4) by Kristine Katheryn Rush - Audible
Indomitable (Shannara, #3.25) by Terry Brooks (Short Story) - Kindle
Thousandth Night by Alastair Reynolds (Novella) - Kindle
The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card (Reread) - Audible

Books2.PNG

So what am I looking forward to in 2015?  Well I did not get The Doors of Stone as promised in 2013, Words of Radiance, Like a Mighty Army, The High Druid's Blade, and many more!

4 & 5 Star SciFi and Fantasy Reads of 2012

I thought it would be good to list the top rated (by me) books I read in 2012.  These include both books I read and listened to, as well as, novellas, short story's and re-reads.  I pulled this info from my Goodreads profile.  Needless to say, all of these are highly recommended.

 

5 Star Reads of 2012

Legion by Brandon Sanderson (novella) - Audible
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (reread) - Audio CD
The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson (novella) - Audible
Foundation by Isaac Asmimov (reread) - Audible
Firebird by Jack McDevitt - Audible
The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson - Audible (MY BOOK OF THE YEAR)
The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordon (reread) - Audible
Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordon (reread) - Audible
 

4 Star Reads of 2012

City of Ruins by Kristine Katheryn Rusch - Audible
Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey - Kindle
The Magician King by Lev Grossman - Audible
Star Wars: Darth Plagueis by James Luceno - Audible
Becalmed by Kristine Katheryn Rusch (short story) - Kindle
Polaris by Jack McDevitt - Kindle
Seeker by Jack McDevitt - Dead Tree
Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch - Audible
Echo by Jack McDevitt - Audible
Invincible by Jack Campbell - Kindle
Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay - Audible
Redshirts by John Scalzi - Audible
Gabriel: Zero Point by Steve Umstead - Kindle
The Blade Itself by Joe Ambercrombie - Audible
Before they are Hanged by Joe Ambercrombie - Audible
Last Argument of Kings by Joe Ambercrombie - Audible
Caliban's War by James S.A. Corey - Kindle
Gabriel's Return by Steve Umstead - Kindle
An Officer's Duty by Jean Johnson - Kindle
Komarr by Lois McMaster Bujold - Audible
A Civial Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold - Audible
Diplomatic Immunity by Lois McMaster Bujold - Audible
First King of Shannara by Terry Brooks - Dead Tree
Spin the Sky by Katy Stauber - Audible
Swarm by B.V. Larson - Audible
The First Confessor by Terry Goodkind - Kindle
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold - Audible
 

 Overall, my 2012 reading was fantastic.  Started and caught up on a lot of series, both those I started in the past and new ones.  I am really looking forward to 2013 with so many must reads coming out (A Memory of Light, The Republic of Thieves, The Human Division, Abaddon's Gate, The Doors of Stone, and many more!).

 

Plea to Audible Regarding iPhone App

I have been an Audible member since 2004 (prior to Amazon owning), I have listened to approximately 125 books.  I wish it was easy to pull that data (as well as the total time), but your library is listed by part, by book.  For example, Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordon & Brandon Sanderson is 5 parts.

 

I have been listening on my iPods since the iPod Mini in 2004.  Overtime the listening experience has improved from running software and connecting to iTunes, playing through music App, to the Audible App.

The Audible App allows you to download directly from your iPhone (wi-fi only), full access to your library, listening stats, badges, and most recently they have added Whispersync so you can listen and read on a Kindle the same book.

There are other features such as a “More Books” link in the toolbar that just takes you to a page that says you can buy books at Audible.com (really?) and a News link which I have found not to be useful.- WORTHLESS FEATURES.

The listening stats provides the number of titles in your library (mine says 170), total time listening in total, monthly, daily or today, a Badge collection (I have earned 7 of 15 badges), and your iPhone listening level from Newbie to Master (5 levels).  As good as all of this sounds, it is fundamentally flowed in how it is designed.  It stores this information on your phone, not the cloud.  Thus if you ever have an issue with the App (which you will as you will see later), one of the ways to correct is to uninstall and reinstall.  This process wipes all data (I am currently only at Novice listening level due to this).  Which means all the Stats are meaningless.  Especially to those that use it a lot since you are more likely to have an App bug/error that means reinstalling. – WORTHLESS FEATURE as is.

 

My first request to Audible is to sync the data to your profile online.  Provide the true ability to track your Library (problem in first paragraph) and listening.

As I noted earlier, books are broken up in parts to “make the download easier”  (Audible’s reasoning).  But what this does is makes the listening experience difficult.  Listening without issues should be Audible’s primary focus, not downloading easier (what does that even mean?).  How is it difficult?  When you come to the end of a part, it “sometimes” will automatically start the next.  That “has” been a feature, but one that seems to rarely work.  For a long time it was NOT a feature.  Now when I get to the end of a part it does not go on to the next, instead I get a screen that pops up that says …..


Of course I AM logged in.  I have even logged out and logged in and still the same message at the end of the next part.  It is SO FRUSTRATING.  If I was not logged in, I could not get another book and download.  And I have no problem with that.  From pas experience,  I am sure if I contact Audible regarding, I will get one of two responses:

  1. We are aware of the bug and are working on the fix as soon as possible.
  2. Please uninstall the application and reinstall.

As to number 1, I get this response to often.  My second request to Audible is to fix the bugs quickly, not quarterly as has been what I have seen.  But better testing = < bugs!

As to number 2, sure that sounds simple, except it breaks all of your STATs features!!!  Really?  Break another feature to fix a feature?  Really?

I have yet to use the most recent feature addition (whispersync between Audible book and Kindle book).  I typically do not spend the money to have a book both on Audible and Kindle (how many people actually do this?).  If the Kindle version came free with the Audible version, then maybe I would.  But to buy a book twice for this “convenience” seems useless. – WORTHLESS FEATURE

My third request is that Audible either fix these worthless features or pull them and focus on keeping a stable, user friendly experience.  It is about the Books, not the App.

I use this App because I WANT it to work!  The potential for me is great.  Much better than having to sync with iTunes and play with the Music app.  
Please Audible, your my only hope.

Return to Shannara Universe

I read the original Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks in the early eighties and immediately was captivated by the story and land.  I kept up with the series through the 90’s (read the original trilogy multiple times) and trailed off around The Voyage of Jerle Shannara books in the early 2000’s

Sword_of_shannara_hardcover.jpg

Now the series covers almost 2600 years of history beginning in 1997 in Illinois (see timeline at end of post), I decided it was time to read the series once again, chronologically.  Although the Shannara series actually begins with The Word & Void Novels,  I decided not to read those as they are contemporary fantasy and that is not a genre I really like (I reserve the right to change my mind).  I did read a detailed synopsis of these novels before embarking on The Genesis of Shannara post apocalyptic beginning of Shannara which takes place around the year 2070 in/around Washington state.

For a full list of the series (28 total: novel, novella, short story, graphic novel), I have created a spreadsheet:

https://1drv.ms/x/s!ApBbYfaBop8phGSJQoUDG5rOowMv

Probably the most interesting question of the series is how the Northwest US/Southwest Canada becomes the world of Shannara.  Speculation abounds on forums with people using Google Earth to try and find the hidden valley from Genesis of Shannara.  Regardless, I am looking forward seeing the transition happen even if I do not know specifically where it is on a map today.  Will I find out where Paranor (or the Four Lands) ends up related to the valley that Hawk led the people after the apocalypse?  I don’t know as yet.  Is the start of the Shannara line actually the union of the Knight of the Word Logan Tom and the elf Simralin?  What happens to Hawk when he returns to the valley?  I have so many questions after reading the Genesis of Shannara & the Legends of Shannara

legends.png

Will there be more coming after The Dark Legacy of Shannara?  The biggest gap in the history is between Legends of Shannara and First King of Shannara (about 1000 yrs).  That would seem a likely spot if Terry Brooks continues.  Graphing a timeline shows the pre-original series timeline is wide open for more.

shannara timeline.png

I can’t wait to finish and hope for more!

Update

on 2012-09-12 00:10 by Will Bostwick

After reading The Legends of Shannara, there is no return of the Hawk even though his return is discussed quite a bit.  What is missing between these novels and The First King of Shannara is the founding of the four lands, the first war of the races, the founding of The Druids and the building of Paranor.  This era is begging for a series of books or two.  Not sure why Terry Brooks has focused recently on the time at the end of the series in the future.

Deathstalker Space Opera

Back in the 1990's I read the Deathstalker series by Simon R Green.  There is also a prequel series and a sequel series as well. 

It is a classic Space Opera that takes place in a vast Empire led by a evil Empress with lots of different aliens. It is one of the most entertaining scifi series I have ever read.  It is not a serious Science Fiction series, but taking the best of space opera to the extreme.  It starts fast and never slows down.  Each character is larger than life with unbelievable battle skills. 

What makes it perfect sword and laser is that the the "laser" guns are powered by energy cells that need 2 mins to recharge (why is discussed in first book).  So one shot then you must fight with swords.  But this is only the beginning.

deathstalkerseries  

There are 3 types of enhanced soldiers (Wolflings (part man/part wolf), Haden Men (Cyborgs) and Dead humans with artificial blood (not zombies), large starships & space battles, Clones, ELF's (ESP'er Liberation Front), battle drugs, deadly aliens, deadly plants, deadly planets, a deadly Arena, and it goes on and on and on and on.  I can not express enough the insanity of this series.  It is so much fun!

I suggest starting with the Deathstalker series first, and then if you want some more background on a few characters, read the prequels.  And if you still love it and can't get enough (like me), then read the sequel series.

Prequel Series Twilight of the Empire:
    Mistworld (1992)
    Ghostworld (1993)
    Hellworld (1993)


Deathstalker Series:
    Deathstalker (1995)
    Deathstalker Rebellion (1996)
    Deathstalker War (1997)
    Deathstalker Honour (1998)
    Deathstalker Destiny (1999)


Sequel Series:
    Deathstalker Legacy (2002)
    Deathstalker Return (2004)
    Deathstalker Coda (2005)

Once you have read the series, yes, the name of my website is taken from these books.  Have fun!

Pushing Ice

Every once in a while I come across a Science Fiction or Fantasy book with a tale that sticks with me far beyond the norm.  Usually I am not even aware of it until some time has passed.  It was this way with Alastair Reynolds book "Pushing Ice".  It has been over 3 years since I have read it and it still resonates with me.  I am typically a series reader for the depth and breath of epics novels versus a stand alone book reader, and Pushing Ice happens to be a stand alone book.

In all fairness, I love everything by Alastair Reynolds, and feel the Revelation Space universe is once of the best ever written.  However, Pushing Ice is an independent book outside of his normal writings, and yet, is written in such a way that is is as grand, vast and epic in scope as all of the Revelation Space series.  And that feat in one book is why this tale still stays with me.

The book starts out far in the future, and to explain the genesis of this future, it goes back to early in human space exploration when we are still within our own solar system.  It is here on Rockhopper, which is a spaceship that mines ice, that the real story begins.  While the Rockhopper is mining ice, one of Saturn's moons leaves orbit and heads out of the system.   Rockhopper is the closest ship to investigate and begins to pursue the moon towards the edge of our system....

I will not go further as I do not want to spoil the book for any who have not read.

The book has great character development and really explores human interactions and psychological issues under many types of situations.  And the vastness of the story in regards to time and space is very unexpected and how it deals with things that are sometimes difficult it imagine or grasp is excellent.  It left me wanting more from this universe, but well satisfied.

The Saga of the Seven Suns

One of the funnest Science Fiction series I have read in a long time is The Saga of Seven Suns by Kevin J Anderson.  I has all of the vastness and energy of a true Space Opera.  It has lovable hero's and easy to hate villains.  I highly recommend it if you want to dive into a seven book series with lots of twists and turns.  It is a great ride (read)!

Favorite SciFi and Fantasy Books

Recently,  the SF Signal posted a blog post on which Sci Fi books make up a perfect library.  While that is a tall order and up to much discussion, I thought I would give my "must reads" based upon what I have read and liked.  It is my opinion alone.

Since most of what I read are "series" or multiple volume books, I am keeping it to this vs. stand alone books.

Here are my Science Fiction Series: (In no particular order)

  • Revelation Space - Alastair Reynolds
  • Saga of Pliocene Exile - Julian May
  • Honor Harrington Series - David Weber
  • Deathstalker Series - Simon R Green
  • The Demon Princes -Jack Vance
  • Dorsai/Childe Cycle - Gordon R Dickson
  • Old Man's War series - John Scalzi
  • Foundation/Galactic Empire/Robot Series - Issac Asimov
  • Dune Series - Frank Herbert
  • Dragonriders of Pern Series - Anne McCaffrey
  • Vorkosigan Saga/Adventures - Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Saga of the Skolian Empire - Catherine Asaro
  • Heechee Saga - Frederik Pohl
  • Ringworld Saga - Larry Niven
  • Rama Series - Arthur C Clarke
  • Book of the New Sun - Gene Wolfe
  • Sunset Warrior Series - Eric Van Lustabader
  • Lensman Series - EE Doc Smith
  • Faded Sun Trilogy - CH Cherryh

Here are my Fantasy Series: (In no particular order)

  • Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
  • Earthsea Trilogy/Cycle - Ursula K LeGuin
  • The Wheel of Time - Robert Jordon
  • Sword of Truth - Terry Goodkind
  • A Song of Ice and Fire - George RR Martin
  • Elric Saga - Michael Moorcock
  • Xanth Series - Anthony Piers
  • Shannara Series - Terry Brooks
  • Lynoneese Series - Jack Vance
  • Deryni Series - Katherine Kurtz
  • Memory, Sorrow and Thorn - Tad Williams
  • Belgariad & Mallorean Series - David Eddings
  • Thomas Covenant Chronicals - Stephen R Donaldson
  • Chronicals of Narnia - CS Lewis
  • Horseclans - Robert Adams

I have to mention one more author with loosely connected books, Robert Heinlein. You can not miss with Heinlein.

There are many many more I love, but I tried to limit to under 20 for both.  I would provide this list to any who are interested in starting down a SciFi or Fantasy path.  As you can see from my list, there is one author on both lists - Jack Vance.

What are the series you love?



Currently Reading

Completed Stephen R. Donaldson's Fatal Revenant last night.  It ended similar to the prior book with the introduction of Thomas Covenant.  Not sure how many times he can do that.... but overall, it was a very satisfying book.

Now on to Alastair Reynolds Galactic North, which is a compilation of short stories, all of which take place in the Revelation Space universe.  Alastair happens to be my favorite current author, and Revelation Space is my favorite series.