nd this is the third book in the series that started with The Three-Body Problem and ramped up in The Dark Forest. It’s a look at humans, our planet and our place in the sprawling galaxy. Older characters have pretty much faded away and the story focus on Cheng Xin, a thoughtful young rocket engineer who ends up getting caught up in events she is forced (and sometimes unqualified) to face. She is the one, upon finding out that a passing college acquaintance gifted her an actual star (not the name of the star, no, but the entire thing, planets included), the actual deed. And now that same man is dying of cancer. Since she is engaged in an effort to send a probe to the onrushing Trisolarian fleet that is rushing towards earth, she suggests he “volunteer” to go, a possible spy in the enemy camp. But weight restrictions being what they are, they can only send a tiny bit of him, his brain. And this is the first action she makes that brings her the pain of recrimination in her life.
But yes, some of those pains are deserved.
Where The Dark Forest looked at the idea of the galaxy as a dangerous place, where planets who announce their locations are casually and totally extinguished by races that don’t feel the urge to take a chance with them, Death’s End takes it a step forward. If advanced races are worried about competition, then a simple detonation of their sun is not good enough. No, with advance tech, there are other things you can do, amazing yet unholy dangerous things, things that pervert time and space (literally). And these fearsome weapons are being used – a lot – across the galaxy. And with all this going on, payback is a bitch…
I have to say that I really enjoyed Cixin Liu’s latest and last book of the trilogy (there’s nothing more he can say after this one). The stories were interesting, the places and predicaments unique and thoughtful, and the characters fully fleshed out. If you are someone who thinks that StarWars is end-all scifi, you really need to get out and flip more book covers. And I can tell you, go get The Three-Body Problem and find out about a fascinating view of a possible future for our species.