In no particular order, we have my top 14 books of 2014!  Links to Goodreads are below, in alphabetical order.

The Abyss Beyond Dreams | Boomerang | Cress | The Evolutionary Void | Glitter & Glue | The Help | In the Blood | Landline | My Life Next Door | Necessary Lies | Red Rising | Then and Always | The Truth About Alice | The Tyrant’s Daughter

Which books did you enjoy most this year?  Do any stand out above the rest?

Goodreads | Amazon

Let me preface this review by saying that you should not believe anybody who tries to tell you that The Abyss Beyond Dreams is a standalone novel. While yes, I suppose that you could read it without any prior knowledge of the Commonwealth or Void, I can’t imagine that you would enjoy it very much. Once I received the notification that I’d won a free advance copy of the novel (thanks, Netgalley!), I went back and borrowed the Void trilogy from my boyfriend for a little background information. (Just a little, at nearly 2000 pages.) As I said in my reviews of those three books, I probably should have gone further back and read the Commonwealth books for an even stronger foundation. Hamilton really does weave together a lot of elements from his previous works.

In The Abyss Beyond Dreams, Nigel Sheldon, the infamous founder of the Commonwealth, is asked by the Raiel to enter the Void and search for lost ships. Upon his entry, he finds himself on Bienvenido, which is both similar to and different from Querencia, the part of the Void that we came to know in Hamilton’s previous books. In Bienvenido, telekenesis is still possible. Animals can be modified to assist with everyday tasks. But while Querencia’s citizens lead relatively safe lives, concerned mainly with political rivals, Bienvenido’s residents must deal with Fallers crashing down from the sky.

Fallers are enormous eggs that can absorb and morph into both humans and large animals. The Fallers then lure in unsuspecting humans, creating well-hidden nests within cities. Oh, and they’re also cannibals. So far, Bienvenido has been fairly lucky in resisting the Fallers, but there have been a few nests discovered, and a few close calls. Lieutenant Slvasta is one of the new humans lucky enough to escape a Fall – a team of Marines found him in time, and he only lost an arm, though he did have to watch his best friend be consumed by an egg. Now Slvasta is consumed by a desire to end Fallers, and his dedication helps him quickly move up the ranks… until his supervisors no longer approve of his actions and he’s put into an administrative position in the capital.

Meanwhile, Nigel takes a young woman named Kysandra under his wing as he researches the Void. Nigel and his ANAdroids rebuild Kysandra’s family farm (and her life) as he attempts to find a way to make Commonwealth machinery work inside the Void, which notoriously messes with any and all technology. In the process of studying the Void, Nigel is mistaken for a Faller by Slvasta, and their paths intertwine on many occasions.

I did really enjoy this book, and I think I devoured it faster than any of Hamilton’s other novels. Nigel’s sections were my favorite, as I found Slvasta’s to sometimes drag and be repetitive. (This is my only qualm with the book.) I liked that the Void was so similar to what Hamilton had written in his previous books, but also so different, in both the language and the society. What residents of Querencia call a “third hand,” Bienvenido refers to as “teekay.” Those sculptable eggs are known in Querencia as “default genistars,” but in Bienvenido, they’re “neuts.” “Longtalk” becomes “‘path.” Even that dark red nebula that everyone’s so afraid of ending up in has a different name – Querencia’s “Honious” is Bienvenido’s “Uracus.” And while Querencia lives in a fairly simple society (albeit with complex politics), Bienvenido seems much more advanced. Even with all the changes, the Void is still recognizable.

The Abyss Beyond Dreams includes many twists and turns, including one pretty big one at the end. I was satisfied with the ending of the novel, but I’ll be happy once the second installment comes out!

Final rating: 

My review for Peter F. Hamilton’s The Abyss Beyond Dreams will go up on its release date, this coming Tuesday.

If you’re looking to score your own copy, Goodreads has five audio copies available through 10/21!

I received a free copy of The Abyss Beyond Dreams from Netgalley, so I’m catching up on the books that come before it before delving in.  The Void series begins with The Dreaming Void:

The year is 3589, fifteen hundred years after Commonwealth forces barely staved off human extinction in a war against the alien Prime. Now an even greater danger has surfaced: a threat to the existence of the universe itself.

At the very heart of the galaxy is the Void, a self-contained microuniverse that cannot be breached, cannot be destroyed, and cannot be stopped as it steadily expands in all directions, consuming everything in its path: planets, stars, civilizations. The Void has existed for untold millions of years. Even the oldest and most technologically advanced of the galaxy’s sentient races, the Raiel, do not know its origin, its makers, or its purpose.

But then Inigo, an astrophysicist studying the Void, begins dreaming of human beings who live within it. Inigo’s dreams reveal a world in which thoughts become actions and dreams become reality. Inside the Void, Inigo sees paradise. Thanks to the gaiafield, a neural entanglement wired into most humans, Inigo’s dreams are shared by hundreds of millions–and a religion, the Living Dream, is born, with Inigo as its prophet. But then he vanishes.

Suddenly there is a new wave of dreams. Dreams broadcast by an unknown Second Dreamer serve as the inspiration for a massive Pilgrimage into the Void. But there is a chance that by attempting to enter the Void, the pilgrims will trigger a catastrophic expansion, an accelerated devourment phase that will swallow up thousands of worlds. 

And thus begins a desperate race to find Inigo and the mysterious Second Dreamer. Some seek to prevent the Pilgrimage; others to speed its progress–while within the Void, a supreme entity has turned its gaze, for the first time, outward…

Since there’s a good 2000 pages or so of the Void series, it will probably be awhile before I post my review of The Abyss Beyond Dreams, but I’m looking forward to getting there.

Does this series sound interesting to you?  The Abyss Beyond Dreams is currently available on Netgalley and Goodreads First Reads!