This story is an interesting story purely from a developed fictional construct. The world and characters are well developed and very detailed, however, the writing in this story is somewhat dismal especially when read out loud. The most common example is "she said" and "he said" constantly with little variation. The author does not use tact to direct the reader an is instead blunt. This bluntness does not work with spoken word and so becomes annoying.
The narrator is decent enough, but suffers from lack of voice diversity. this is not too much of a problem except when dealing with deep voices which can sometimes sound broken.
I won't lie. I got this as part of an Audible sale... and I am awefully glad that I did. The Story gets off on the right foot and hits the ground running; with the hard-luck case main character being affable and endearing.
Elizabeth Moon loves Murphy's law. The Main character doesn't. Moon paint's an "Eve" (video game MMO) like galaxy with a lush cultural and economic backdrop. The story never becomes tedious or boring. I loved it and have recommended it to several people, and now I put fingers to keys and recommend this to you. A great intro to Science Fiction if you're new to the genre.
Narrator Cynthia was a strong, sympathetic, and persistant voice that was ideal for the lead character and her tribulations. Well chosen and performed.
Several reviewers here have made complaints of M. Holloway's delivery. I think they are making too much of a muchness out of it.
Are there some mis-emphasized words or phrases? Yes. But in general, this is a workmanlike narration of the text without a lot of interpretation, and the delivery does not detract from the story, which is great.
I have heard too many titles ruined by over ambitious narration, and I am glad that M. Holloway errs on the the side of caution.
1. Book: Grade: A. An excellent series. It's lots of fun to listen too. It's action-adventure sci fi with a bit of political intrigue mixed in. Readers will hardly be surprised to find (in Elizabeth Moon) a young hero, unfairly disgraced, who must now prove herself -- and in the process learn who she is and what she is capable of -- against overwhelming odds. As usual, Moon gives us plenty of female characters who are not one-dimensional cardboard cut-outs, as is all too common in fantasy and science fiction. If you enjoy strong female protagonists, Moon is for you.
Note: It's also true that this is no "Deed of Paksenarrion," but given that that was Elizabeth Moon's "home run" and one of the best fantasy novels of the past 50 years, the comparison isn't really fair. "Deed" is on the short list of top fantasy I recommend to people, along with things like Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, and Song of Ice and Fire.
2. Reader: Grade: A/A-. Audiobook listeners look for two things in a reader, skill and a "good fit" with the book. In my opinion Cynthia Holloway satisfies both very well. She does sound young, but the protagonist is young. I think her "fit" this series is very good, and I hope of Brilliance does any of Moon's other sci fi series (like the Esmay Suiza series), that Holloway does the reading for that too.
The complaint that she "can't do male voices," doesn't seem to me to amount to more than her not sounding male -- but so what? Think of a top reading like George Guidall trying to "do" female voices. Not going to happen.
For those who love the classic game "Monopoly," I can see where this book might appeal. Our heroine buys, sells, and delivers trade goods. We hear about each transaction, each contract negotiation, each piece of merchandise, in detail. Excruciating detail. The action scenes are few, fast, and furious. The protagonist, though potentially interesting, never quite coalesces into a unified personality, just as the plot never quite coalesces into a coherent arc. If this entire book were condensed into 3 or 4 chapters, it could work as an introduction to a larger story. As a stand-alone book--it's dull, dull, dull. Granted, this is the first in a series, and might work better in that context. For people like me who equate "Monopoly" with "Monotony," however, the first book was so dangerously dull that we'll probably never pick up the sequels.
This is a waste of time if you are an adult, OK for a kid who likes science fiction but we are talking about a YOUNG kid. Simple plot, dreary, monolog about boring daily chores on a ship etc.
I am enjoying reading this series. It was a bit slow starting but has picked up and I will get all the rest of the books. The narrator being female did not bother me in the least...it is Sci-Fi...using your imagination is supposed to be a given to start with, if you have one! :-)
Regardless of the author's intent the novel is clearly written at a juvenile level -- something I might have read in elementary school.
This is evident in the sophistication of the vocabulary and grammar (i.e. lack thereof), the naivete of the protagonist (my nieces and nephews are younger and yet more mature than Ky), and the immaturity of the dialog. Either the author has a poor command of vocabulary or the author intended to write for 4th graders, either way it was painful to complete.
If you are a pre-teenager then try this book, otherwise try another author.
I had high hopes for this book but to be honest I was a slow, borring read. This is the first Audio Book that I bought that I couldn't finish. I tried several times to pick this back up. It just didn't keep my interest and couldn't get past the first couple of hours. Sorry I'm sure it ended well but the beginning was TOO borring for me!