Chasm City starts as a space operatic story of the central character pursuing a grudge against an old enemy in the eponymous city, while also suffering flashbacks to the memory of a notorious early colonist. But it develops into a gritty examination of memory, identity and shared pain in a future society. (Fortuitously I was also reading Justin Richards' Doctor Who novel Demontage, which features a differently disturbed and disturbing future urban environment, at the same time.) It kept me reading, and has converted me to Reynolds, whose style is reminiscent of Banks but calmer.
I may even give Revelation Space another try.