Review of 'Matter'

Matter by Iain M. Banks
A 'Culture' book

matter.jpg Ferbin otz Aelsh-Hausk is the eldest son of King Hausk on the eighth level of the Shellworld Sursamen. A “Shellworld” is an artificial planet built long, long ago consisting of a series of concentric levels leading out from the core where it is said the “WorldGod” lives. When Ferbin witnesses the death of his father at the hand of his most trusted advisor, tyl Loesp Mertis, he flees to find help to avenge his father's death. His journey takes him up through the levels of the Shellworld through the towers that connect him then into space to seek out his sister, Djan Seriy Anaplain, who left home to join the Culture's “Special Circumstances” division with their high-tech gadgetry and highly covert operations. Ferbin can only hope that his sister can help…

Of course, that is just the main story line. There are lots of other things happening here, such as the story of Ferbin's brother only slowly coming to realize that his life is in danger from Loesp's need for power and the story of the fantastic, massive, city that is slowly being revealed by water erosion at the base of a waterfall…Layers upon layers of details that all come together into a wonderful whole.

Another amazing Culture novel from Banks. The detail is exquisite and the characters are wonderfully believable. It is a bit hard going through some of the large amounts of details (the book is close to 600 pages) but through it all it is surprising how much you can keep track of - A lot of stories going on but not enough to overwhelm. Though it is a Culture novel, as is common with Banks, you do not need to have read previous Culture books before this as it is a standalone story. Banks is able to draw pictures in your minds of such fascinating and amazing people and places…it is a shame he is no longer with us.

An interesting story of coming of age and another fascinating glimpse into the Culture universe.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2014-05-16

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Orbit

Publication Date: 2008

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Other reviewed books by Iain M. Banks:

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