I enjoyed this book, which reminded me of “classic” Greg Bear–a good thing. But, there were parts that I felt were nonsensical and did not contribute at all to the plot or any character development.
The biggest plot hole of all is: Why build a massive seedship with the ability to destroy an alien civilization in favor for humans to colonize? Is that some fascist nightmare human civilization?
If humans have the tech to create life adaptable to any environment and embed memories with skills, knowledge, then why is only Earth mentioned? Why not terraform the solar system and adapt life for worlds like Mars, Venus, Ganymede, Io, Europa, Callisto, just to name the best candidates? Bear doesn’t begin to speculate, that is completely ignored.
Early on there was mention of 100 or more such nightmare seed ships with a chance of “1 in 100” succeeding. That’s a silly statement. Either the ships are sent out with an intelligent intention of arriving at a pre-determined planet, or they are sent randomly into the galaxy. No one would waste that much effort without a large probability of success.
The ending was disappointing but at least there was some closure. I would have rather read another 50 pages describing the new world.