Impasse is great. Really great.
This book drives the listener forward. It's a ride where you get in, commit, and just hold on. As the story developed, I could not wait to get back to it, I was so excited to see what happened next.
The character development is good. I believed the relationships between Stu (main character) and the other characters and I cared about what happened to the good guys and the bad guys. I really bought into the whole story.
This book also felt well researched. The details in scenes including everything from real estate law to how to skin a rabbit seemed legitimate to me. Just another reason why it was easy to invest and really enjoy the story.
There were a couple of flaws. Royce's character development of the "bad guy" was a little shallow, a little cartoonish. I see that his past book was for teens and I think that showed here. He could have made the bad guy more evil and sinister without being so obvious. Also, in a couple of scenes towards the end, as the action climaxes, I rolled my eyes at what the characters did--just a couple times, their actions were not in their character. The flaws should not stop you from listening to this book though, as they were anomalies in an otherwise well written story.
The ending was great and satisfying--a little surprising and sneaky and fun.
The narration was good, not great. The narrator forgot which character he was supposed to be a couple of times, mixing up the female voice with the male ones. Also, the story would say "and he said breathlessly..." and the narrator wasn't breathless. Overall though, Robertson brought the story to life and wasn't a distraction.
I recommend this book.
I don't love Stephen King. The last I listened of his was 11/22/63 because the reviews were so good and I loved it. Before that, I felt burned by a couple of his books because they just weren't very good. I love creepy and twisted, I just don't think that King is very consistent.
I took a chance on Mr Mercedes because I think Patton can do no wrong, I have an admitted voice-crush on him.
I lucked out, we all got lucky in this combo coming together because this is a GREAT audiobook.
The bad guy is perfectly sinister. He's young, and egotistical. His character is developed so well that I truly hated him. I didn't just fear what he would do next, I felt myself really hating him as a person, I'm tense just writing this about him.
The reluctant hero is always my favorite character in any book like this, and Hodges is perfect. Again, King was masterful in developing a depth of character that made me really feel like I knew him well. I cheered for him, and found myself talking outloud to him, offering unsolicited advice.
The action built in a perfect way. I wish I could describe it better, but the pace was just as it should be. To me, this was character driven, I cared because I cared about them and had that emotional connection, then the action and story were the perfect foil for them.
The ending was great. It wrapped in a way that did the characters justice, nothing was over-done, or unbelievable, it was genuine.
I loved and recommend this book.
I wanted to savor, cherish, and adore this book as it is the last we will receive by Tom Clancy. But I also want to be true in reviewing it.
Here are the great Clancy characteristics that Command Authority has:
Complexity with a great ending:
Clancy is the master in writing extremely complex political tales that come spinning into an ending that leaves you breathless.Command Authority has that.
Wild and totally believable tales:
Not a detail was left out. At one point, Ryan senior uses an umbrella in a scene, and in the scene before that, Clancy specifically writes about Ryan borrowing the umbrella from the door man. Too many "action" authors miss that kind of detail. But it's that genius writing that makes all the wild scenes purely enjoyable.
Facts and details:
I always finish a Clancy novel feeling like I learned a bunch. This story delivers on that.
An obvious love for the subject matter:
Once again, Clancy's knowledge of military life and international travel and characters come through, which makes him so credible and this story great.
The Clancy characteristics that are missing from Command Authority:
Total clarity and super smooth flow. This book gets confusing. With going back and forth in time between Sr. and Jr. and the way the chapters are labeled, I got lost more than once, especially right in the middle of the book. I was just starting to tire of the feeling of not knowing what was going on, and then in the last 25% it got back on track and was easy to follow.
A love for the original characters:
Some of the characteristics that made the world LOVE Jack Ryan, weren't played up and weren't revisited. I don't grow tired of hearing how suave he is, and how super human and yet perfectly down to earth he is. I wanted to fall in love all over again, and a little bit of that was missing.
I don't know how much of the book was written by Mark Greaney. I searched for some information on that, but none could be found. We can only guess why exactly this book felt a little different.
Phillips as the narrator only gets four stars because he has a lilt to the way he finishes each sentence that works in interpersonal/conversational scenes, but is weird and a little distracting during the action scenes. Most of the time though, he's great.
Clancy fans will read/listen to this book no matter what, I know I was going to. With that said, I really do recommend this book.