By Cixin Liu
Translated by Ken Liu
Book Jacket/Cover by Stephan Martiniere
623 pages printed paperback, 19 pages sneak peek at SUPERNOVA ERA
Published by Tor Books Publishing
“THE DARK FOREST” is the third and final book of the trilogy “Remembrance of Earth’s Past” by Cixin Liu.
It took me longer than expected, but finally; I have just completed reading “Death’s End” by Cixin Liu, the third book. The trilogy is complete.
A review of this book cannot be complete without also reviewing the first two. And have had a difficult time doing such a review without giving the story away. So, I’m just giving up and will instead strive to give the least amount away.
“Remembrance of Earth’s Past” is a very imaginative piece of work. Just like other great trilogies. But I would not say it is comparable to “The Lord of the Rings” or “A Song of Ice and Fire” (Which is not a trilogy). The genres are not the same and I find myself partial to science-fantasy stories.
The story spans a huge amount of time from the first book, “The Three-Body Problem” where the Trisolarans first revealed their existence and their plans for earth’s invasion revealed. The second book, “The Dark Forest”, covers a time frame wherein the two civilizations co-existed in a tense truce. One, or both civilizations, biding their time for when the other shows signs of weakness. An opportune time for a strike.
The third book of the trilogy, “Death’s End”, reveals a universe in a state of constant chaos. This chaos encompasses civilizations and powers that go beyond that of even the Trisolarans. How to survive is a question that haunted the main character. In the end, despite all the attempts, the Earth falls woefully short of what is needed to survive as any more than a bit player.
Putting aside the impressive imagination that went into creating the story, I have found the ending to be lacking. To put it plainly, I like a story that has a definite ending. I am not a fan of “Unresolved endings” because it can keep me guessing about what is possible. “Maybe this happens” or “How about this?” or “I bet this is what really happens”. I’d like to know that the ending I imagined was right, wrong, or near. The only conclusion I can draw from is that Earth lost. But so did the Trisolarans. But did they really?
Understandably, a storyline as long and complex as this is hard to come to a satisfactory conclusion. There are too many moving parts. The entire universe is the stage and time does not have meaning. The earth is but a speck, less than a speck and hardly deserved a second thought. I like to think that our specifies not only survive but also flourishes. But maybe this is really the best ending for the story. It allows for the possibilities for what might be, even if just in my mind.
Unfortunately, I found myself struggling to maintain interest by the time I got midway through the book. In the beginning, it was a fight for earth’s survival, then it was for mere existence, then the survival of humans as a viable species. In the end, is it for a redo of history, Earth’s, and the Universe? I feel that the first two books set up a rather big expectation for an epic third, but that is not what I got.
I am not a fan of the ending. But it is very imaginative and well thought of. If you are a fan of pure science fiction, then you will enjoy this trilogy. It gets you thinking of what might be possible.
© 2022, Norman Talon. All rights reserved.