This series is tremendously awesome. There's certainly a few flaws with it. For instance, by the end of the first book, you will be ready to claw your eyes out if you hear the phrase "Neural nanonics" again, and some may view the gratuitous sex in the first book to be a valid reason to with-hold it from their younger sibilings. However, on the whole, it's one of those good science fiction books that you will want force your friends to read.
Sadly, I can't discuss the plot of the series, as beautiful as it is. I can tell you that it takes an old cliche, and breathes some new life into it. And the ending was a bit deus ex machina. Trust me on this. You do not want anyone to spoil the plot for you -- at all!
The plot itself isn't actually revealed until late in the first book. It will drift from place to place, showcasing different places, species, and technologies, all the while leaving you thinking "okay, this is cool, but what does it have to do with anything?" It will go on like this for hundreds of pages. You may get bored with some sections -- you may get ticked off that it stops talking about something you were interested in so it can go talk about a bunch of stupid luddites or annoying wanna-be homesteaders.
And, in one dramatic paragraph, it all (well, most of it) connects in a beautiful event that had me muttering aloud, "Oh, shit."
This story has a habit of introducing things to you, just to prove a point or put things into perspective. It likes to twist and contort things to make you doubt anything you thought you knew about the plot. It likes to build up your spirits and hope -- and then it breaks your heart into a million billion little pieces and crushes that little ray of sunshine.
These books explore morality, life after death, good, evil, origin, destination, spirituality, and lots and lots of kinky futuristic sex.
You will buy these books. You will read these books. You will enjoy these books. You will recommend these books to your friends. You will ensure that they do all of the above steps themselves.
It may be worth noting that the series comes in three seperate volumes:
All of these are by Peter F. Hamilton.
Should you wish purchase these in paperback form, you should know that each volume is divided into two halves. It certainly would suck if you unwittingly skipped out on half of the first volume...
Spiregrain has just graciously informed me that he knows of -- owns, in fact -- two paperbacks which cover the entirity of the first two books. This is good lesson to me to think I know more than my older brother, who told me when I first started reading the books that he was pretty sure that the books were a single volume in the UK, but divided in the US -- I was evidently wrong.
So, to those of you in the UK: You lucky, lucky dogs.