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ARC Review: Infinity Gate (Pandominion #1) by M.R. Carey

Updated: Mar 27, 2023


Release date: 28 March 2023

Rating: 3.5/5

Book Boxes: Inkstone Books Quarter 1

Synopsis: From the author of the bestselling The Girl With All the Gifts comes a brilliant new genre-defying story of humanity's expansion across millions of dimensions, and the AI technology that might see it all come to an end. Perfect for readers of The Space Between Worlds and Adrian Tchaikovsky.


The Pandominion is a political and trading alliance consisting of roughly a million worlds.


But they’re really all the same world – Earth – in many different dimensions. And when an AI threat arises that could destroy everything the Pandominion has built, they’ll eradicate it by whatever means necessary—no matter the cost to human life.

 

Review


If you’re willing to slog through the first half of this doorstop to get to the proper story of it, you’re in for a sci-fi treat. Infinity Gate is rich with characters and packs a punch. One of the main issues it raises is the personhood of AI, which many SciFi stories have endeavored to depict but few have done so well as Carey’s latest (the best I’ve seen is Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation). Carey uses much of the first half of the book to introduce readers to a massive swath of characters and the impressively large universe of the Pandominion, complete with all of its alternate versions of Earth. Once the uphill info dump and build up completes, the story rapidly accelerates and everything literally goes downhill from there.


I’ve never read any Carey before. Not The Girl with All the Gifts, not The Book of Koli, nothing. For my first foray into an author’s work, which I’ve heard nothing but great things about, I’ll have to say this one was hard for me to get through. I absolutely had the hardest time picking this book up and reading it for longer than a few pages without falling asleep. It wasn’t until roughly 50% of the way through the book before all the foundation was laid and the story interconnecting the myriad of characters together started moving forward. On the other hand, once the story did start moving along, it was compelling.


Each “earth” in the countless versions of itself across the multi-dimensional conglomeration holds a wild card for how things may have progressed in a Darwinian-based evolution of life. Some earths have rabbits, some bears, some apes, some cats, and so on that have evolved into different versions of bipedal, sentient beings. One of these evolved humans is forced to discover the ability to “step” between dimensions in a too-late effort to save the humans on a dying earth. Eventually, she sets up on another earth and meets another of the characters, and the plot slowly starts to interconnect and sets us in the midst of the military force that polices the Pandominion, the Cielo. From there, a domino effect brings us to the real threat—and it’s not the Cielo.

By the time I reached the end of this one, I felt well and truly mentally exhausted. It was a punishingly boring first half, and at over 500 pages long, the pace should not have lagged for that much of the book. Granted, after the setup finished, the book was amazing and I couldn’t put it down. I just feel readers should not have to suffer through a bunch of mental tranquilization to get to the action. For this alone I have given it 3.5 stars. If the pace had picked up much sooner, say at an appropriate 20% or thereabouts, I would have rated it higher.


Nevertheless, if you’re looking for something SciFi to read with a bit of meat to it that will make you think, I recommend you pick Carey’s latest up. It’s brimming with every emotion in the gamut and offers quite a bit more stimulation than the average, run of the mill SciFi. While the blurb recommends it for those who liked The Space Between Worlds, I think the reader will find more complexity here. I’ve read both, and I like certain aspects of both. Depending on how quickly paced your preference for a book is at any given moment, this one will definitely not be a one-sitting read.


My thanks to NetGalley for the eARC, for which I willingly give my own, honest opinion.




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