The Dark Forest

So much better than the first book in the trilogy.

It took me at least three times to make it past the opening scene of this book, perhaps in part due to my tepid feelings about the first book. After a few years I finally made it past that opening, and I’m pretty glad I did.

It’s been so long since I read the first in the series that it’s hard to compare the two. One challenge I had with the first that still stands out was that it felt hard to understand the character’s motivations for doing what they were doing—it all felt like an act. I didn’t have that concern with this book. Motivations and character progression generally made sense.

The stakes and action in this book were also much larger, which helped buoy this book as well.

The writing style was less-than-ideal from my perspective, feeling flat for lack of a better way to describe it. Like I thought for the first, I tend to wonder if this is more of a translation concern.

One final criticism of this book I have is also shared with the first. The name-dropping of various scientific ideas and historical figures is not something I enjoy. It just feels cheap to have this breadth of concepts that are not fully explored or deeply relevant.

Book cover for The Dark Forest
The Dark Forest
Liu, Cixin