Except the Sun Tzu’s Art of War, the Three-Body Problem first tome was my first Chinese book. The first book set the tone, starting in communist-era in the 70s.
When I introduce this trilogy to friends, I often say —no spoilers:
Several of world best theoretical physicists suicide. They all leave a note, saying in substance: “Physic doesn’t exist”.
You don’t need to know more to go buy this book. It’s hard-science-fiction at its best.
The first half of the first book (The Three-Body Problem) is very good. The initial problem, physic doesn’t exist, is both original and extremely exciting. I dislike the second half, especially the explanation about sophons and how they would communicate by quantic entanglement (which doesn’t work like this).
The second book was particularly surprising. I really like the Wallfacers concepts: four men whose objective is to find a way to defeat high-tech aliens in 300 years. And they have to keep their plans secret to avoid leaking info through the sophons. The jump in the future was similar to the movie the 5th element where everything just seems crazy. And finally come the key idea of this book, and trilogy: the dark forest hypothesis. It’s both terrifying and plausible.
The third book is at first nice, a lot of tech progress is done. However its very end seems a bit far fetched, closer to fantasy than hard-sf. But I guess when talking about eons in the future, anything is possible.