"Is it fair to read a novel as a stand-alone work, or must it necessarily be judged in the context of how it compares to what has gone before?," asks Greg L. Johnson in his SFSite.com review of Adam Robert's Gradisil. "A fine story, all by itself, and Gradisil can easily be read strictly as the story of one family's involvement in the great events of their time. But ... Gradisil's reference points are the classic science fiction stories of rugged individuals engineering their way into space. There are echoes here of Arthur C. Clarke's Islands in the Sky, Poul Anderson's Tales of the Flying Mountains and, of course, Robert A. Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress."
This wealth of influences, coupled with several literary allusions, causes Johnson to conclude, "Gradisil could easily have been-top heavy, its literary allusions and political commentary deadening the story with pretensions. That it doesn't is evidence both of Robert's skill as a novelist and the enduring power of an ages-old tragedy. Gradisil works well as a story in and of itself, its characters not necessarily admirable but very human in their flaws and prejudices."