I generally like John Lee quite a lot but just as there are few things more annoying than Americans trying on fake British accents, there are very few Brits who can do a tolerable American and he is not among them (even the superlative Patrick Tull falls short in this, if very little else). Peter Hamilton is British, so perhaps that dictated this choice, but given that 90% of the characters are being portrayed as having some form (some completely unidentifiable form) of American accent it was an unfortunate one.
Lee's efforts in this regard are at best grating and at worst absurd to the point of parody. To single out just one example of many, the character of American astronaut Wilson Kime sounds like a parodic William Shatner on a particularly hammy day--think of Zapp Brannigan from Futurama but with twanging vowels that go sproinging off in startling directions and resemble the inflections of no actual American anywhere ever in history. I suppose this stuff sounds "American" to Lee, but to a native speaker it's just weird. (And a newsflash to Brit narrators in general: Not ALL Americans pronounce the letter "R" so hard it bruises your eardrums.)
Some listeners may find this less annoying than I, and in small quantities I can tolerate it, but it when it's this pervasive it really mars the experience of what is quite a decent SF novel.
Hugh Laurie is the exception that proves the rule: Brits shouldn't do "American" (and vice versa).
I did not Like John Lee as a narrator! His tone, accent and dialect cause the volume to fluctuate continually throughout the story. He clips words and almost mumbles, which makes it difficult to listen to while driving (when I listen to most audiobooks).
Uh, NO. It and its must "read" successor, Judas Unchained, are in total almost 80 hours. Sorry, but I like to sleep and eat. The story is great but this just ends at a very climatic point. You cannot "read" this book without listening to the Judas Unchained.
Its a good time pass but needs a better edit job
YES, the story goes on and on in that amount of time you'd think it would wrap up but instead it ends abruptly in an cliff hanger (LITERALLY)
Worth the money and a good distraction that is well read and easy to escape into for a while. However the same story could have been told in a book 1/4 as long. The other 75% goes to character development and in depth descriptions of technology and futuristic scenes and interactions that don't really forward the storyline.Some Character development is OK but this felt like a whole bunch of short stories that were written separately and afterward someone came along and wove them together in an attempt to make some overriding storyline out of it.
There are clear antagonists but no clear protagonist. Its an attempt at a War Drama, a P.I. story, a courtroom drama, a fantastic journey and a who-dun-it all wrapped up into one with all of the stories left hanging at the end. I'd have to put it on the shelf with the other new "mature fiction" stuff that seems to be so common today like Game of throne and Malazan Book of the Fallen (if you like these two you'll probably like this). But like these this left me trying to figure out who\ what the story is about and who\ what I'm supposed to be wanting to see happen and how the heck I'm going to know when the story is over.
Haven't decided if I'll listen to the next one yet. Likely will eventually but only if there is nothing else on audible at the time that looks better.
Star Opera Western
Not so much a book, but the feel is very much like the Firefly series in that most of the worlds are developing with a few at the very center being the major industrial warehouses.
I love John Lee. I hate this publisher, Tantor Audio. The previous publication audible made available was excellent, but Tantor has ruined this book. It sounds as if they recorded it on a laptop microphone and the free audio editing software that came with the laptop. John Lee, you should demand Tantor pay to have you redo this book. It is an insult to your talent.
On a side note, the version audible will not sell in the US for some reason, by Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd, is also excellent. Log out and search for Pandora's Star. The three-minute section of the Tantor production is as good as that production ever gets and the difference between it and Macmillan's production is night and day.
Audible! What the heck are you doing!?! I loved this book before it became unlistenable.
Was a good story
The poor sound quality really made it difficult to listen to at times. Volume would go low and I couldn't make out what was being said. Other times the volume would go really loud and then low. Made a really good book difficult
Don't know...the narration was one of my complaints, however it may not have been specifically the reader. I like his voice, just not the cadence.
Not really...because I fell like I didn't get out of it the time I invested.
Not my first audiobook. I think this story was a great concept...that's one reason why I got it. One problem I had was it was so stagnate in places that my mind would wander, then I'd end up in a place in the story and not know how I got there. It wasn't the length as much as the pace. I generally like long stories; another reason why I purchased it. The other issue I had was the narration made it difficult to follow. It was the variation in volume and projection of the voice. He's easy to understand and has a nice voice, but even with headphones on, there were too many times I'd adjust to hear him speaking, then the intensity would go up and my ears would get blasted, or he'd speak so low I'd have to go back because I missed what was read. It was a struggle to get through it...I also downloaded the next book (Judas Unchained), and I may give it a try, but I'm a little disappointed as this author was recommended by several people including a few public figures that I admire. Maybe it's a better "read" than a "listen".
I really liked the story but I had to quit listening. Maybe I will go buy the Kindle book and read it.
The narrator was just awful! It was not really his skills, it was his way of reading wherein he tapers his volume after almost every sentence or paragraph. I found myself constantly straining to understand the last few words to the point where it actually gave me a headache and I just had to stop.
I will not be listening to any more books narrated by John Lee.
The reader begins his sentences loudly , then fades and speeds up half way through. It gets maddening after a few chapters.
I can't believe how much is going on in this book. Besides humans, there are at least 4 other types of developed sentient species and all are very different. There is genocide. There are hundreds of developed planets, and they are quite different. Earth still exists and it appears to be less crowded and under strict environmental regulation. There is genetic manipulation. There is resurrection and reliving. There are individuals with 1000 years of memories, as well as "first-lifers." There is murder. There are terrorists/resistence fighters. And you really have to pay attention, as there are a lot of characters and, at first, seemingly unrelated characters and events. But, you quickly learn that no one appears and nothing happens that is not going to be important later!
The technology is quite impressive and used for transportation, education, reproduction, and just about anything you can think of. I was quite envious of the e-butler - the PDA of the future!
I did not realize this was a series so was quite shocked at the ending and ready to give the book a 3 for leaving me hanging. But having discovered there is more to come, I am relenting and going back to the 5 stars it had just before the last sentence and buying the the next installment! For a more detailed review, see my review on Goodreads.
Great details, compelling story, lots of interesting characters. Ridiculously long, but entirely worth the listen. Can't wait till the second book in the series.