If the author had given some sort of closure. The book simply ends. Especially given a reader's/listener's commitment of following along on something this massive in scale, it would have been nice to have some sort of payoff. Any book that leaves me angry and feeling cheated at the end, I can't give a good rating and that's how this left me feeling.
Very debatable. This was my first Hamilton book and he's made a very poor impression with that ending. He has epic level scope, don't get me wrong. This was a big story with a lot of moving parts, dozens of protagonists. Think Game of Thrones in space level scope. I didn't expect EVERYTHING to get resolved either. I did expect at least some things though to "close." It makes me curious about what will happen in the next book but also leery of giving the man any more of my time. I think it's a writers job to satisfy their audience. It's why we pay them and this book left me feeling very unsatisfied.
I actually rated the performance as highly as I did because I found the narrator did an excellent job. His characterizations of the different characters had style and while not over the top were quite varied and pleasing to listen to. A poor narrator would have made this text insufferable.
Better to ask which plotline you would cut. The whole SI / Melonie Rescaria plot line could go. Her character exists pretty much to put a human face on the super intelligence and give it an actor in the story. That could have been done with one of the more main protagonists like Paula Myo.
This book has an incredibly broad and ambitious scope. The main character is really the Human Commonwealth that we see through the eyes of the protagonist characters. It's an interesting portrait and required a lot of talent to pull off. Where it suffers is narrative structure. It's very very slow moving, taking almost 2/3 of the text to start building an crescendo of dramatic tension and it's clumsy in how it releases (or doesn't) release said tension. It's something a good editor might have been able to address, but the scope of the work would have made it difficult just the same.
Unfortunately the weakest part of the experience was the narrator. It felt as if every american-accent was a bad impersonation of Captain Kirk - he'd quickly switch from melodramatic highs to near-whisper lows, almost dropping to the point where understanding was difficult. And whenever the characters hit an emotional or shouting moment, he did a sort of whisper shout which just sounded strange. His narration was great, but anytime he did dialogue I was in pain - although I got used to it by the end of this 37 hour marathon.
The book was really slow to get going - I feel its a bit of a fiction sin to have this many characters on this many worlds and then just dump the reader in the middle of it. Establishing all of his characters and the scope of the world took far too long. Honestly if I hadn't paid for the book, I'd never have finished it, I was so bored during the first 20 hours. He had moments of interesting things happening, but then you'd have to slog through another five hours of listening to characters you didn't care about doing things that weren't remotely interesting. However, once I made it past all of this, the book started to really pick up. He had some amazing moments in the later third of the volume that make some of the tedium worthwhile, especially when you realize the scope of the disaster that Humanity finds itself in - and the enemy he's created for humanity was incredibly fascinating and terrifying. I definitely don't regret listening to this book, even though I think the first portion could have been more carefully edited for pacing. I really look forward to the sequel, knowing that it won't have to bother with nearly so much establishment.
While the story is probably terrific (it should be with all the high ratings), I am struggling with the narration. I am only an hour in, but I don't know if I can listen to the rest of this. From the very start the narration has been hampered by wildly varying volume. It seems that the narrator starts each phrase at high volume, and then drops off to very low volume at the end of the phrase. If I turn up the volume to hear the end of each phrase, the start of the next hurts my ears. After an hour of listening I have a headache, and I've missed 25% of the narration on the quite end. I haven't run across anything quite like that on other audible books.
I've listened to dozens and dozens of audiobooks and there are only one or two flops. One is the fifth book of the Game of Thrones series where they changed narrators and the pronunciation of the names of key places and characters. The other is this one. The sound level of the narrators voice drops at the end of nearly every sentence, making it almost impossible to listen to unless you're in complete silence. Then, it's merely annoying. I gave up on the book half a dozen times or more and only finished it by listening during times when I had nothing else. Fortunately the story, when you can hear it, is compelling and unique enough to bother. I'd recommend reading the book rather than listening to it.
Better vocals would have bumped this to at least a 3. It is difficult to appreciate the story when the reading is so horrible.
I was excited about the premise of this book, but so much of the book is spent describing completely irrelevant things. It was like the author got a listen of descriptive words and used a computer program with the function of using as many adjectives as possible to describe everything.
I would never listen to John Lee again - he reads like William Shatner with a British Accent.
I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.
I've listened to over 100 audible books, and this is the first with terrible production quality. Unless you have a "loudness" button on your device, or some other way to shrink the dynamic range of the audio.
Fortunately for me, I have a really good external sound card on my computer, and I was able to tweak the audio to a reasonable range. However, my preferred listening to device is my phone, and there is no way I can listen to this book on that device.
ALMOST EVery phrase STARTS OUT REally loud and then get so quiet ... you ... can .. hardly ... hear.
My only option on my phone was to turn the volume to max to hear the quiet part, but then every 30 seconds or so, a loud word would blast my eardrums painfully.
...Oh, and the book is narrated by John Lee doing his very best to over-enunciate every word, and stop JUST shy of rolling every "R". He also dramatizes EVERY LINE so that mundane descriptions get the same emphasis as tense action sequences. What a hack.
Anyway, I'll come back and re-rate the story once I've finished listening to it on my computer.
I wont go in to the plots too much mainly if it 3 - 5 stars you may want to try it.
It's slow moving a lot of back stories spaced out through the story so it jumps around. I like the story, but its slower then Stephen King novels.The plot is ok. use a credit or sale but most sci-fi buffs may get into it.
The Narrator has a British accent and is a little dry to boring to listen to.
The least helpful reviewer on audible.
There are some characters I just don't care about, but the ones I do care about I really love. There are some amazing moments in this story. If you're a fan of space operas this will be right up your alley. Maybe it's just not for me. I got the sequel because I really want to know how this ends.
Not especially. There are too many stories happening all at once (for my taste). Found it difficult to hear when one story line ended and the next began. LOTS of characters to remember. I listen while driving 30to 90 minutes at a time.
If the cast is as limited as his voices.
the book doesn't so much end as it just stops. kind of like the last episode of the season in a TV show. It's a cliff hanger to bring you back. I hanen't looked but I suspect there are 2 or more additional books after this one.
Excellent story and thoroughly enjoyable read/listen - Peter Hamilton's well developed characters all fall within the full spectrum of the human condition, beautiful flaws and all ... and the varied aliens are truly alien in their essence - especially the main alien antagonist, in the sense that "it" doesn't think or isn't motivated in the same context as a human (as it should be - which many writers fail to establish). The multiple characters, from all walks of life, really develop over the two books and all culminate and contribute towards the story's climax.
John Lee's narration is brilliant, and brings each of the many characters to life with unique voices and style. I didn't hear many of the production issues others have mentioned - I thought it sounded excellent throughout. I was sorry to finish this two book series and will be looking for another audio-book to fill the void.