Hamilton's two volumes provide a painful example of the traditional space opera. Together, this 1,162-page work features undead souls "possessing" the bodies of the living, an escaped scientist with a superweapon (the neutronium alchemist) bent on revenge for her planet's genocide, and mechanically augmented pragmatists allying with genetically engineered philosophers to save the Confederation--and the universe. If better written, the entire work would call to mind the star-smashing world-building of another Hamilton (Edmund, who delighted readers in SF's golden age). Instead, readers encounter cardboard characters--including an arrogant sentient habitant in conflict with his possessed, revengeful grandson; two naive young noblewomen rescued by the spirit of Fletcher Christian possessing another's body; a sensation-seeking rock star who allies with the spirit of Al Capone (possessing another body) to conquer the universe; and many others--all of whose dialogue could be lifted from a 1930s pulp magazine or a Harlequin novel. The breakneck pace and frequent scene changes could appeal to young military SF fans, but since the writing and plot are on the level of a 1930s Flash Gordon serial, there are many other authors whose purchase would be preferable in these days of limited budgets--for example, Lois M. Bujold, Gordon Dickson, David Drake, or S. M. Stirling. Note: This review was written and published to address two titles: The Neotronium Alchemist Part 1: Consolidation and Part 2: Conflict. VOYA Codes: 2Q 2P S (Better editing or work by the author might have warranted a 3Q, For the YA with a special interest in the subject, Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).