This is basically two books published as one, which is better, I guess, than arbitrarily splitting a long book in the middle. I’m not sure whether listening to the audio version was a mistake on this one. And although I didn’t dislike Will Damron’s narration, I’m not entirely sure why it was decided that Mary Robinette Kowal wouldn’t read the whole thing. It reinforced the whole two books thing. Admittedly, neither of the “books” could really stand on its own, but that hasn’t stopped publishers in the past. The first book covers everything up to the Hard Rain and its aftermath, then the second book jumps ahead five thousand years.
Don’t get me wrong; I did find large portions of it interesting. It’s just that explanations tended to go on too long and everything seemed to be discussed at a remove. Ok, not everything, but there were long digressions. I remember that I one point delta vee was defined in a way I found patronizing (it didn’t just explain delta vee as a change in velocity; it called “delta” a common mathematical shorthand*). Some of the political stuff I found frustrating while at the same time being able to admit that it was perfectly reasonable for people to do stupid things out of a sense of disenfranchisement.
I was glad when it was over, but there also didn’t seem to be much of an ending.
*Yes, it is a common mathematical shorthand. It’s so common that I don’t see why it was defined. It’s called knowing your audience, not patronizing them.