Review: The Dark Forest (Remembrance of Earth's Past Book 2 of 3)

The Dark Forest - Cixin Liu

This is the second book in the trilogy Remembrance of Earth’s Past, following The Three-Body Problem.  I enjoyed it quite a bit, I guess about equally as well as the first book or possibly a little bit more.  It had a few stretches where I had trouble maintaining my interest, but it also had some really great and interesting concepts that inevitably pulled my attention back to the book.  I also loved the ending, which caught me by surprise and left me very eager to read the next book. 


I can’t even hint at the plot without spoiling the entire first book, so I’ll just say that it picks up with the type of events you’d expect.  However, the story is fairly twisty and there are several surprises throughout.  There were some things I had more-or-less figured out on my own, but there were other things that completely surprised me.  It’s often a rather bleak story, but that just made the hopeful parts of the story seem that much brighter.


This book features mostly (but not completely) different characters.  As with the first book, the characters were interesting and believable, but the plot is the bigger draw here.  I did get slightly more invested in the characters than I had in the first book, but not extremely so.  I had a few quibbles with some aspects of the plot, particularly with Hines’ part of the story, but not as many as I did with the first book. 


One thing I did have more trouble with in this book was the names.  Surprisingly, I never had any trouble with them in the first book, but this book had a few too many names that seemed similar to my uneducated American eyes.  Zhang Beihai, Zhuang Yan, and Chang Weisi particularly gave me trouble.  There were also some characters who were related and so had the same surname, which is written first.  All in all, I was able to keep it straight thanks to the reference at the beginning of the book and my Kindle’s search feature, and it got easier as I got further into the book, but I expended more effort on name tracking than I normally do.


My last comment is about the ending, so it will have to go behind spoiler tags:

I was surprised when an apparent resolution to the conflict was reached by the end.  I had seen in the chapter headings that the book only covered about half of the expected time until the fleet from Trisolaris arrived, and everything seemed so bleak up through almost the end, that I didn’t expect anything to get resolved in this book.  Although I enjoyed this story, I wasn’t feeling very enthusiastic about having it dragged out for two books, so the end was a pleasant surprise and I thought it was done very well.

(show spoiler)


I look forward to seeing where the story goes in the third book.