Number of pages: 249
The final book in the Space Odyssey series, which I also reviewed here:
I think I got more out of this than on previous readings; again, my favourite bits were in part 1, which describes how humanity is now living in giant towers hovering over the Earth because the atmosphere has made it uninhabitable. I'd forgotten a lot of the rest of the book, so enjoyed reading it again. I did wonder if Arthur C. Clarke had planned for what would happen in this story when he wrote the first book in the series, or if he just made it up as he went along; it felt like it worked out well either way.
The only real problem I have with the ending is that it is very similar to another book...
[Spoiler (click to open)]
I don't think I'd properly understood how the monoliths got killed at the end, but Arthur C. Clarke chose to have them killed by germs. It is very similar to H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds, although the book did come up with a decent concept of all germs being stored in some kind of space vault (kind of like Pandora's box).
I remember when I first read this book, a friend of mine at school was very negative about all three of the 2001 sequels (he described them as getting worse with each book); I still enjoy all four of the novels in this series, and I think that's why I've wanted to keep returning to them.
Next book: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (J.K. Rowling)