Well, I managed to avoid the DNF on this one, and indeed managed to get back to a point where I rather enjoyed the ride.
I had a couple of possible outcomes for the novel. One in which all the villains and minor characters die, and all the major protagonists survive. The other in which some of the villains get their comeuppance, but by no means all, and in which at least one major character dies, probably saving humanity as far as that is possible. And that's properly dies - none of this reincarnation as an AI nonsense. If I'd been reading Iain M Banks, I wouldn't have bet on either outcome over the other.
I'll avoid the spoiler. Suffice to say I wasn't entirely pleased with Alastair Reynolds' rabbits and hats.
Faults first, and those specific to the audiobook - the narrator (John Lee) is poor.
- The emphasis is practically identical for every sentence - he starts forte then fades to a mezzo piano, almost piano by the end.
- His range of accents is frustratingly small. He has one French accent, which he uses for every inhabitant of one world, regardless of age or gender. The starship crew get a hybrid Russian/Japanese accent, which is somewhat erratic.
- His pauses as he switches between the starship and one or other of the two planets are too short to be worthy of the name. Too many times I find myself a paragraph or two into a new scene before I realise there's been a change, and I have to work out where I am and who is now on stage. Mental rewind - no, missed it. Bah!
- "Quadrant 5" - really? Is it no longer a requirement for authors to understand the etymology of the words they use?
- Too much repetition, too many infodumps (sometimes the same infodump repeated for the benefit of a new character who didn't hear the first one).
- The alpha copy of Dan Sylveste - a plot point that wasn't, at least not in this book. A red herring?
- The computer security was inconsistent - lax or strong as the plot needed it.
- Sunstealer's potency or impotency was likewise variable, according to the needs of the plot.
- A surprising level of empathy built up with Volyova over time. Likewise Khouri.
- The descriptions of the light-hugger ship - like the Nostromo, but with intelligent rats, a rotting infrastructure and sludge/slime. However it is not explained how the rats survive the acceleration that kills a rogue crewmember. Nor what happens to all that liquid under the same acceleration.
Still, it is a good adventure, though the ending is just too pat. The audiobook is harder work than it needs to be.