This is the fourth book in the Long Earth Series and I’ve reviewed the previous three here, it also happens to be the first one published since Terry Pratchett’s death (though he was involved with this one). I have found the series main idea (that there are parallel universes containing Earth’s untouched by humanity) so fascinating, it such a good idea. But, I haven’t been overly impressed, especially with the last two. Indeed, when trying to read this one, I kept forgetting what even happened in the last two. There was something about the Next and Mars, but that’s almost about it. So obviously they weren’t quite so memorable. I’m pleased to say that I found this book to be much better, I don’t know what exactly it was, but there was something which made me enjoy the book more, and find it not a chore to read.
I think one reason why I liked this one more was perhaps there was a more definite plot. Instead of traipsing across the Long Earth (or Mars), which while obviously cool, was a little tedious, we instead had a more fixed locale for the action to revolve around. And it was a good twist, which further expanded the universe (I was wondering about ‘north and south’ whilst reading through previously).
Another important difference is the amount of closure we get. Plot lines begin to be neatly concluded, and we get some answers. I really liked reading about Joshua’s ancestry, and the revisiting of First Person Singular and the Lobsang unit. The ending as well, was quite good (hence no need for a sequel!), and there was a real sense of drama.
Just overall I felt that the story was smoother and better paced. So I’m glad that I continued on to read this one. I think that the series as a whole was not as well done as it could have been. It was good, but not quite what I hoped with such a good premise.
Sigh, I really don’t think this needs a sequel, it ends quite well. And did Terry Pratchett actually do any of it I wonder? Having a look around, it seems probably not. Seriously, Baxter, don’t.