It took me a couple of chapters to get into this story but I soon realized that this is among the best epic sci-fi books that I have read. Each chapter is almost a short story in itself with its own cast of characters and locations, very similar to George R Martin's Song of Fire and Ice. The universe is vast and complete with its own technology and alien races. The Aliens are particulary well written, there are no throw-away generic aliens like in many books but instead a hand full of fully detailed non humanoids that feel very alien. I havn't enjoyed scifi this much since the Hyperion.
The story is great! I couldn't wait to get back to it once I put it down. The people, places, and aliens are well thought-out and highly detailed. You can easily get engrossed in this great book - and picture yourself right there in the middle of the action. I CAN'T WAIT for the next one!!
Unfortunately, the worst part about this book was the narrator. His constant change in volume required me to get out my sound-cancelling head phones just to listen to it in my vehicle during my commute because of the constant need to turn the volume knob up and down! He would go from a normal speaking tone down to a whisper for no apparent reason - making you crank the volume - then he would speak normally again causing the speakers to pop and crack because they were maxed out! I also had a hard time following the change in speakers. From man-to-woman - or man-to-boy, I would have to do some quick calculations of what was said to assume who said it.
If you have a quiet room or some nice noise-cancelling headphones this is good audio-book of a great book!
I don't normally put sci-fi on my list but I found this intriguing and I have enjoyed listening to John Lee read other audio books. This seems to be another John Lee sounding totally bored with what he is reading and the monotonous timbre of his voice is driving me nuts. Also, as others have mentioned, the sound volume seems to be up and down and up and down and up and down. I can see how the story could be a fascinating read but listening to it is kind of like water torture. Sorry Mr. Lee but it's a no go for me. I could easily see picking up a copy of the book and reading it. In fact I probably will. I'm finding this was a waste of a credit. I wish Audible would have am exchange program so I could trade it in for something else.
I have been waiting for Audible to have something from Peter Hamilton for some time. I was completely sucked into "Reality Dysfuntion" after only eighty pages. I woke up five or six books later.
"Pandora's Star" has to be looked at as only a small portion of the whole picture. At the end of the book we still do not have a full grasp of the universe nor do we have an idea how the story will unfold. So I would not be too critical of the ending of the first book. It is difficult to end a book when the story is just beginning. I would blame the editor for the ending of this the first book because I am sure that the author just continued on with the story until the end. The editor was left with the job of determining the break points for each book in the series.
I really enjoyed the discription and evolution of the alien life form MorningLightMountain. I would agree that some of the haute couture was over the top.
Narration was good for the most part. I have 183 books in my audible library and this one definitely worth the credit. Enjoy.
Hamilton creates yet another great futuristic world and gives his trademark "epic" sci-fi stories wih great writing. The narration is good, not great, but the audiobook gets a 5 anyway. The story is just too awesome :)
I am brutally honest. Popular, love everything they read, reviewers are scared to go neg. and risk their ranking. It's your money!!!
The great thing about audible, especially the sales, is that it gives you the chance to try out new authors. If a writer writes a big book, does that make it a great book?
This author has been compared to Frank Herbet and I believe that to be fairly accurate. Other then Dune, what are your favorite FH books?
I really liked the prologue and thought the book would be very exciting. There was an exciting science discovery and the question was what would that lead to. Then we are taken on many side stories. Each chapter starts with the description of a different planet. This includes the fauna, how it was planted, how it grew , what happened to it over the centuries and what is like today. With a James Michener novel, when you know it is a real world this can be interesting, but on a made up planet, not so much.
I wanted to find out what was going to happen with this discovery, but my mind kept wondering. I would tell myself to concentrate and then PH would start describing some non-essential plant or building or waterway and the next thing I knew my mind was thinking about something else. The book is 37 hours long and I kept saying to myself, Stupid you could listen to three Robert J. Sawyer books in that amount of time. You would get the exciting science, maybe some characters you care about without the Hawthorne part. So after Eleven hours I quit and started a Koontz book.
About the sound quality. I don't know who is at fault, but I found listening very hard on my ears. For a couple of hours when ever John lee would start a new sentence the bass would vibrate in my ears, causing pain, as he would continue the sentence he would get quieter and just when it got comfortable, Wham, he would start a new sentence. That stopped for a while and then the volume would change with new chapters. Like watching a tv show and then a commercial comes on louder then the show. I have listened to hundreds of books and I have listened to John Lee before and this has not been a problem in the past.
This proves once again that just because a book is overlong, that doesn't make it epic.
This story is just a tedious 37 hour grind, mostly filled with subplots that don't really go anywhere, way too many characters that are hard to care about, and uninteresting political jockeying (since the characters are wooden, so are their politics). The story could have been half as long to make it twice as compelling, but the plot doesn't really resolve, and the author just kind of stops writing. So in the end, what's the point?
As one subplot winds up, one of the characters yells in frustration, "You've got to be F*ing kidding me!". That's how I felt. Very disappointed. It's like the author is playing a joke. Then I searched audible to see if I had missed downloading the last chapters. But nope. This is all there is. Oh well.
I did like the alien aggressor point of view sub story, but that isn't introduced until about 2/3rds of the way in. It would have made a nice short story by itself. Toss the rest. That's about it.
The Narrator isn't as bad as everyone says and I didn't hear the volume changes everyone is complaining about. Sometimes you can tell when he is picking up a new take with different mic placement. Whatever. The producers could have paced his pauses between subplots better, sometimes it was hard to tell when the subject or setting had changed. Honestly, though, these are niggling details compared to how bad the actual story is.
If there is a sequel (there has to be since nothing is resolved at the end of this monstrosity), I don't even care. I'd rather just forget the 37 hours I spent with this tedious drivel.
This is by far the longest series of 2 books I have ever listened to. I normally prefer non-fiction, but I love science fiction in film so I thought I would give it a shot... WOW! Never in my life have I enjoyed listening to any books more... The author is AMAZING!... IF YOU LIKE SCI-FI... YOU MUST LISTEN!... ENJOY THE RIDE!...
I'd have cast anyone with an American accent. If the intended market for this is the USA, casting a Scott as the narrator is risky. Casting a Scott with a truly cringe-worthy 'American' accent is worse. That Scott only using his 'American' accent when a cop is shouting at a suspect is even more cringe-worthy.
You can also tell when a recording session was starting, because he has a bad habit of letting each sentence trail off in volume, so that it's easy to miss the last word of every sentence until he gets warmed up.
There are so many readers without these issues. The performance reminds me a lot of various performances of "Hitchhiker's Guide" in which the Brit actors put on their 'American' accent for any character written to be an ass.
Please, please stop. I'll sign a petition demanding American actors quit faking British accents, if the Brits will please quit reading like this.
The hyperglider scene. I want that half hour of my life back.
It starts glacially slow. Really, really slow. New, unconnected characters are introduced for hours while you wait for any threads to connect.
I will NEVER get another book narrated by John Lee.
Picked a different Presenter.
John Lee has narrated a lot of books, so he can't be a terrible narrator. That being said, this book is impossible to listen to in a car (I have not attempted to listen to this book anywhere else). The loud words are very loud compared to the whispers or low level words. Unfortunately it seems that every single sentence contains both very loud words and whispers.
It's possible this is the sound engineer's fault; as there clearly was no pop-filter used, and definitely no auto-leveling audio compression. The level disparity between words in the same sentence is astonishing. If you set your volume at a level that is tolerable for the loud words you will miss half of every sentence. I could understand if this only happened once every 10 or 20 minutes; but this happens every sentence. I had to give up. I really want to read this book, but it will have to be on my kindle or in a very very quiet room. Do not attempt to listen to this book in your car.