While I admit that there are a few dry spots (for me at least) in his writing as a whole. Dan Simmons has me totally hooked on this series! If you enjoy SciFi and a wonderful story line that doesn't focus too much on any one aspect, but keeps your mind tingling, then you will love this series. At first I didn't know what to make of it, but trust me, give it a little time and you'll be hooked. It is the first book in a long time that has had me actually swearing when I have to stop reading and set it down :D
Also, I'm not sure what major rigersa has, but I suspect he's reading books that I'd consider a total bore. Just because something is a "classic" doesn't mean it's _good_. Sorry rigersa, I'm not really trying to bash you dude, but man, you are focusing far too much on one aspect of the book and letting it ruin your view on the series. Oh, it isn't Dante's Inferno or the like, but it is still a great story! Please give it a second try and pick up the second book!
I'd rate this 5/5 but like I said, it does have a dry spot here and there with a bit too much focus on the names of people and places, but it's all good. Just means I have to skim over a few lines here and there, nothing bad at all!