The narrator disappointed me. He is a down talker. Every last word of every sentence is down. He's a down talker! It's ridiculous. You can't put expression into a story by down talking every sentence! WTF? Who hired this guy? 40 hours of down talking with the exception of maybe a few dozen sentences. I cannot follow the story with absolutely no expression of what is happening. I just can't no matter how hard I try. This guy is awful. His accent is garbage, with this fake over annunciation of every word and that slight roll of every single R.
Boredom with the downtalking narrator.
I should have payed attention to the negative reviews here.
This book is DULL with a capitol D. The book cover art is the most exciting thing you are going to get out of this. There were reviews comparing this to Dune, Dan Simmons, and Jack Chalker, all who I love. This story has NOTHING remotely resembling these other stories/authors. Save your money.
Didn't really have one
The reader was rather monotonous, It was difficult to determine when story lines switched.
The story is a good one, and you will definitely get your moneys worth out of this one. Just don't go into this expecting an amazing listen. You will be disappointed for most of it.
But if your looking for something to listen to while you drive to work, or do some yard work, then you've come to the right place.
I'm a Hard SF & Space Opera-loving, alien android from the future. I bring gifts of SciFi eBooks & accessories for your leader's Kindle. Take me to him/her/it.
This first half of Hamilton’s Commonwealth masterpiece (because it really can’t be considered in isolation from ‘Judas Unchained’), is about as perfect an example of world-building in modern Space Opera as you can find. With only a brief introductory prologue to bridge the present to his imaginative future, the reader is quite suddenly thrust into a society and setting that turns everything upside-down. Modern science's prolongation of life combined with easy and efficient FTL transportation have broken all the fundamental rules of the game, and delivered a post-scarcity standard of living across the board for humankind. With nearly limitless real estate to spread out into among the stars, there seems to be a place for every lifestyle, doctrine, and sub-culture. But after stumbling into their first hostile alien encounter, all of that progress is threatened overnight. Hamilton delivers a handful of protagonist POV characters for the narrative to alternate between, most of which are fascinatingly expert or elite in some field or another. Each is chosen for the distinct corner of the Commonwealth society they can illuminate for the reader, although some are more interesting to follow that others. Unlike the later ‘Void trilogy' set in the same story universe, the stakes feel higher here where humanity is an underpowered underdog still new to the galactic community. The simpler, faction-light society also keep the plot relatively unclouded. Despite the unusual length of the novel, it never really felt overweight or extraneous, something the later Hamilton novel 'Great North Road’ suffered from.
This story takes a hard left about how humans will live in the future. Forget an enlightened society and grand starships, they're not here. And you won't miss them! It's our current mix of strengths and weaknesses set against a well written backdrop of technology that is taken for granted.
The moment when mankind is making it's one "giant leap" onto Mars gets wrecked by laughter is the game changer. And that takes place in the first few minutes.
I could have gone with five stars, but I felt like a little too much time was spent with Ozzie's journey on the Sylfan world.
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.