Driving over 100,000 mile a year since 1983, I got hooked on audible books on tape 30 years back. I now listen from my bicycle 2 hours a day
It is odd to read reviewers of this Weber opus to find those who decry the slow deliberate political intracacy. This is the entire point of the work. Draw whatever parallels you may with interaction of religion and politics in our current world - they exist as intended by the author. This series isn't some mindless actioner although there is enough action to keep it moving and interesting. The thought processes of the characters are explored in depth as they wrestle with the political and religious realities of their time and place.
This is a fascinating world that is much like our own and the questions involving religion and politics are what makes it great. This is wonderful for the thought it provoked and I expect the continuing saga to be as involved and detailed as the first two installments. I see no need to hurry while I enjoy every minute with these characters and their minds.
I love to read. With two kids and a full time job in management, audio books have emerged as my only chance to leverage this love.
Only David Weber story in my collection that doesn't have 5 stars (and I have them all). I love his writing and thoroughly enjoy the world that he has created in Safehold. Unfortunately, I agree with everyone else that this book didn't exactly progress very much (at least from an action stand point).
There is plenty of character development in this book but it is all political. I can see why some of the reviews were a little poor as a result. It lacks on the intense battles that are generally a staple of Weber. I still enjoyed the book and I can't wait for the next one. This felt a little like a set up book...
A good read/listen but a little bit of a letdown from the previous book in the series, tending towards more of a soap opera than a sweeping saga. Don't get me wrong, it was enjoyable, I just feel that the overall concept/idea was not really furthered. To achieve his/her aim, the main character may have to endeavor for thousands of years, and this book covers just a couple - I kept thinking where is this going!
I love David Weber. Let me say that again, I LOVE David Weber. I latched onto his Honor Harrington series and devoured it in record time. I even enjoyed his non-SF series, with only a few exceptions.
"By Schism..." is not his best book.
The first problem is that it's a middle book in a long series. That wouldn't normally be a problem, but Weber makes it one. The book doesn't have a well-defined story arc. In other words, you really don't have any idea where it's going. What's the climactic goal of THIS story? Where's the dramatic tension?
The more subtle problem is the book's didactic narrative. This is NOT an action thriller. It's more talky and long-winded than the first in the series.
The last problem is a byproduct of Weber's success, I think. "By Schism..." DESPERATELY needed a strong editor. It's a tedious listen, and I often found my thoughts wandering as I listened. Why? The narrative is full of fluff, and plenty of wordy baggage. A good editor would have cut and tightened, and pointed out the need for dramatic tension on the way to a climactic ending.
I compared it to other long series before I came to this conclusion. Take Rowling's Harry Potter series, where the series itself has an overarching story, but each book ALSO has a well-defined story arc. Or David Eddings's Belgariad, where each book has a beginning, middle, and end, which all fit into the overall story. "By Schism..." is missing this arc. It still fits in the overall story, but it's a muddled mess as a story by itself.
My last complaint is about Weber's villains. They're... flat. (For comparison, a near-perfect villain is Hans Gruber from the first "Die Hard" movie.) Weber's villains make absurd choices, without any realistic thought about the repercussions.
I really wish I could give this more than two stars. It isn't BAD, per se, but it's not good, either.
Final word: a lackluster book by a fantastic author.
I enjoyed Off "Armageddon Reef" and was looking forward to the follow up volume. But "By Schism Rent Asunder" had nothing new to offer. First, the plot barely moved forward. In fact, skipping this book can't possibly detract from enjoying the next volume. But a bigger problem is the preachy text. I enjoy philosophizing, this was too simplistic, and offers nothing new over the first volume. Save your credits and read David Weber's Prince Roger series or Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet series instead. If you are looking for something good in a different style, read Shantaram, almost anything by Lois McMaster Bujold, or Altered Carbon.
Off Armageddon Reef was an excellent first book, even though there were the usual Weber moments. But in this second book in the series, those Weber moments drag on to Weber hours, and the overall preachy-ness is much more pronounced. Of course, I did continue to listen to it, and I went right ahead and bought #3 in the series. Which I will, undoubtedly read and grumble about until I finish and buy #4, etc. Weber seems to have the knack of getting me to keep coming back for more, even as I complain about his interminable digressions. This book is read, and read competently, by Oliver Wyman. Nothing special, but perfectly acceptable. He seems to handle the annoying phonetic names well enough, which is good. Character development seems to be OK, though the villains are pretty one-dimensional and without redeeming virtue with one or two exceptions. I did like the turning of an apparent villain into one of the good guys - it was well done and believable.
I don't think I will continue the series as I see that Oliver Wyman isn't narrating the rest of the series and book five has a different narrator than 3 and 4. Wyman is the only reason I gave 4 stars.
This book is similar to The Matrix 2 in that it seems to just be a filler. Nothing changes that much, no real climax, just the usual casual progression in the usual over-explanatory manner. He just loves to explain how clever he is, doesn't he.
If book 3 is out and you're on a budget, you can skip this one.
This first book had a great setup with the philosophical, ethical, and theological questions of how the world began.
This book is tediously long winded about political maneuverings. By the way, NOTHING happens that couldn't have been summed up in 10 pages.
I was very disappointed with the first book of this series but this second book was much better. it moved along quite well without getting bogged down in character monologues about technical fluff. What technical descriptions about weapons is short, concise bits that give readers an idea without distracting. I loved the ending, very touching.