As a writer Reynolds owes a lot to Banks and Simmons. However, he lacks both the literary style and psychological insight of those two writers. The book is perfectly good Space Opera, but is nothing more than that really. It is also far too leisurely told. As a writer, he could have hacked hundreds of pages out of this. There are far too many conversations, where a character tells us something we already know, or where the mystery is infinitesimally advanced. Because there is nothing else really going on but the Opera part, that slowness, while indicative of contemporary science fiction and fantasy, is unforgivable. This book would have made a rollicking good yarn, at half the word count.
I might read more Reynolds, but right now I don't see a point when I have Banks and Simmons novels that I have not read.