I read the first book and the series and was looking forward to the second one. However, the author's constant political drumbeat was just too much. I wanted a science fiction story, not a politcal rant. I gave up about one quarter of the way through the book. There is enough quality science fiction out there that doesn't try to make a blatent political point every few pages.
I like Bear's books, and I am sure that I would enjoy this one, but the narrator is dismal. He singsongs through the whole thing, as if he is bored of the story. It doesn't matter what he is saying, the cadence never changes, and it certainly doesn't reflect (let alone enhance) the story. He sounds petulant, like a father reading a book to a child he desperately wants to put to sleep.
Is it just this book? No. I made the mistake of picking up another by this same narrator (Paul of Dune - don't do it!) I lasted about 5 minutes in that one. It took about 90 minutes in this one before I just couldn't take it any more. I think the book has a lot of promise, but not in this format.
This may be a good book (Greg Bear's books usually are) but the narrator gave so many wrong and obnoxious inflections to the words and sentences, that I couldn't stand to listen to the whole thing. Odd, because I've heard Scott Brick read other books where he doesn't do this. Sad that he did here, and that the director, or producer let it go through. It ruins the book.
The Book Conjurer
I've read other Bear (Blood Music, and Forge of God many years ago) and remember them fondly, so I was overjoyed when I found his newer material on Audible. However, despite the fact that the central idea is interesting, I was deeply disappointed by Darwin's Children.
First, the science is questionable. Bear gets some minor details about retrotransposons wrong, but what really bugged me was the SHEVA-infected women who become virus factories (a hypothesis that's sure to fail the parsimony test). Finally, Bear seems to believe the Victorian notion that evolution is a progression towards perfection.
Sometimes inconsistencies in Bear's characters are so irritating that they interrupt the flow of the story. For instance, Kaye does nothing by weep in the car outside the house where Stella has been abducted; most mothers would charge in to save their child. And Mitch, who used to be some kind of anthropologist, says that he respects Native Americans so much, he's dug up their sacred gravesites.
In all, this book was either a hurried or sloppy effort that could have been improved with the help of a good editor and fact checker.
The second part of Darwin's Radio, the book is very timely in the exploration of US Government Agency's response to new dangers real and imagined. With a hopeful message of hope that a people caught up in fear of the unknown regain their footing and return to the values of our founding fathers.
Avid book lover and listener. Nuff said for this purpose.
At the beginning I thought I knew where it 'might' be going---I was wrong. At first I wasn't sure I liked the path Bear took the novel and was disappointed. Having a strong science background I liked the science part and thought his departure from where I might have taken the book, if I could write that is...disappointing, but I finally came around to appreciate it was written by a different perspective than say hard core sci-fi, or hard core scientific influence.
Having segued into that mind set I enjoyed the last part. It was kind of like having two books, once separate then conjoined, sort of juxtaposed unity. Sorry don't mean to be glib but it's the only way I know to decribe my perception of Darwin's Children.
The first book had more scientific overlays which contributed to my conflicting views: I like it, I don't like it, maybe I will like it, not bad.
All told it is a different book then I normally listen to (although I didn't know that at the onset), being a Robert Hamilton, Sanderson, Stephen King kind of sci-fi reader/listener, but I have to say I came to enjoy the different path that Bear took, at least this once. Hmm I think I'm rambling so just get the book, put aside any self-perceived notions at the start and enjoy going somewhere you might not have bought a ticket for. The scenery will be enjoyable if not spectacular. Good doesn't mean mediocre.
This book has an interesting premise. It follows a long line of other titles that have a "Me against the World" theme. It is definitely a good listen since it is well read. I found the book a bit uneven in parts, but that is why they call them unabridged versions.
I got into this book with the synopsis sounding interesting. I, however, found this to be a thinly diguised effort to criticise the current government with the story line somewhere between responses to AIDS and the war against Islamic Terrorists. If you liked " An Inconvenient Truth", you will probaly fall for this one too.