Ringworld by Larry Niven
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Considered one of the classics of science fiction, Ringworld follows the journey of Louis Wu, an aged explorer bored with life on Earth. On his 200th birthday, an alien named Nessus (whose race has supposedly been extinct for centuries) invites Louis to join an expedition to a new world. After recruiting two other crewmates, Speaker To Animals (a huge, carnivorous cat) and Teela Brown (a young human), the motley group sets out towards a strange, ring-shaped world. Ringworld is science fiction at its best, with an enticing and unusual concept and a richly detailed world. Its three-dimensional characters and constant surprises make Ringworld more than just another exploration story. A twist ending forces readers to reconsider the entire book. Niven is fastidious about tying up loose ends; seemingly inconsequential details often end up being instrumental to the plot. Ringworld’s pace can be slow at times, but for stylist reasons rather than bad writing. All in all, Ringworld is a fantastic read, and well worth the time it takes to track down in a used bookstore (or your local library).