The third novel set in Alastair Reynolds’ Revelation Space Universe (and sequel to the original Revelation Space, with Chasm City more of a “side-quel,”) is my least favorite of the three. For about 250 of this 700 page brick, not a whole hell of a lot happens. I honestly think you could tear those pages out and nobody would have minded.
And, unlike the other two books (particularly the brilliant Chasm City, which I truly think is a masterpiece) there are not mindscrambling sci-fi/fantasy concept bombs being dropped every other page. By Reynolds’ standards, Redemption Ark is relatively straightforward.
Which is not to say it is not enjoyable. I love the world of the Conjoiners, the Demarchists, the Ultras, the Inhibitors and Pattern Jugglers. I love the lighthugger Nostalgia For Infinity and I love Alpha Level Sims, “Medichines” and unionized worker simians.
One of Reynolds’ greatest strengths is actually knowing a thing or two about science, so his interstellar travel is full of Relativistic puzzles that, for a layman like me, take a little bit of thought and/or Google research to follow. It is worth it. I still don’t really understand redshift, but I understand it slightly better now.