This is a combined story of a coming of age and a military(marine to be exact) scifi. Because I started to reread Honorverse, I wanted to try the other stories Weber wrote. I'm glad I picked this book up. It's a non-stop action packed adventure story of a wild planet by a group of elite marines protecting a spoiled prince. By the end of the book the prince becomes less annoying and shows surprising( a bit too easy) amount of depth and strength as well as a promise as a future leader. Only thing that bothered me was the amount of blood and carnage that seem to be necessary with these kind of military novels. If one can get through those scenes, it's a very entertaining book.
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
The narrator is very good. His female voices are distinct but not annoying and the characters are distinguishable by tone alone.
The story is also quite good: a young prince comes into his own (though not so much of this as I expected), a lot of blowing up stuff and killing people/aliens, a lot of military planning/battling, and an interesting alien planet.
The problems with the novel are a) it gets a little too detailed: there is often a long description of bullet types and weapons' effective distances, or how many body parts someone would be blown up into, etc. b) There are a handful of "tangents" - for example, near the end there is a 10 minute discussion of the process of making steel. In a military sci-fi book there's a discussion of steel-making? What?? It's out of place and unnecessary and irrelevant to the plot.
All in all though, the characters and setting are interesting enough to carry you through these rough patches - and if all else fails, you can just fast-forward through the slow bits.
In pursuit of truth, justice, and an end to spoilers!
I tried this because I’d heard it compared to Bujold’s Vorkosigan series. Nope, they both take place in the space-faring future but that’s it. I knew this was going to be hard sci-fi and I tend more towards character-driven work, but yikes!
If you really like sitting around bantering about engines and false physics for long stretches of time, and wouldn’t mind being a nonparticipant in the conversation, then this book may be for you. Don’t worry, the storyline won’t interfere with all the talk of nuts and bolts – you’ll mostly just get quickie updates on what happened after the fact.
That’s what drove me nuts (without the bolts). Every time it looked like we were going to get see an exciting bit of the plot as it happened, the main character would leave the area and take us away with him. We’d hear a few sentences on the outcome later. Really! It was like getting constant teasers about how much fun the book could have been but wasn’t. The authors were trying to drive home what a useless bit of fluff Prince Roger started out to be, so every time he skipped out on the action, so did we.
So the book started out like a spaceship parts registry with a lot about Roger’s primping and fussing, and then later moved on to something like a detailed map and customs guidebook with a lot about Roger’s primping and fussing. But hey, those authors really knew their maps!
And here is where I confess that this is one of the only audios out of hundreds I never finished. I made it about three-quarters of the way through and then realized I’d been turning to the radio instead of my mp3 player for over a week. I liberated my player and moved on. No complaint about the narrator – the sample is a good representation of his reading style. His voice is a little low to give him much range for voice work, but he does a good job.
Overall, hardcore hard sci-fi junkies only! Others need not apply. I take it that’s why this book is so highly rated here at audible – most people caught the memo and knew before downloading whether or not they’d like the book.
You never have to wait for anything if you bring a good book.
1) What a great value when a good story only costs five bucks!
2) I enjoyed it, but I'm not sure I enjoyed it enough to get the next in the series unless it's also at a huge discount
3) The narrator did a great job considering that his deep gravelly baritone makes it challenging to differentiate various characters. For example, I often couldn't distinguish between the prince and his "chief of staff" (a woman), and sometimes this made it a little tricky to follow who was saying what, but really this is a small issue.
4) On a philosophical level, I have several issues with the subtexts of the story:
a) This is a "good" versus "evil" plot which always strikes me as gratingly simplistic (except that the "good" prince starts off as a sniveling whiner who is forged into a leader during the hardships of their trek "upcountry" on a hostile planet).
b) The evil empire is founded on a totalitarian form of puritanical Eco-fanaticism that seeks to erase all "non-native species" that were introduced by humans throughout the galaxy. As someone who is ecologically minded, it makes me wonder if the book was financed by oil company executives when they start making the bad guys out of ecologists.
c) In the course of the story futuristic soldiers from the "good empire" with their Cortez-like power to reshape a primitive world, seem to destroy evil leaders and establish good and generous leaders in their place. This plot flies in the face of real world politics where powerful interests form alliances with any evil regime that happens to further their interests.
Audiobook Junkie... Love all types of Science Fiction
I am not a big fan of space science fiction stories. I tend to like more fantasy driven science fiction novels that include magic. However, this novel is an exception. The book seems like a cross between star wars and starship troopers. The reader is excellent, the characters are likable and the story plot is engaging. The march upcountry is about an arrogant prince who is forced into a situation where he must cross an alien planet full of hostile creatures. His character develops along the way and soon you'll find yourself rooting for his success. Give it a try, it's only a credit!
I had never heard of the authors, but the description of the story and the reviews hooked me. This is worth the read/listen.
I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath
These are two prolific writers, so I am guessing that there are people out there who want to know how to take a futuristic gun apart and put it back together, who want to know every detail about every weapon, ship, tool, even how to make a rope bridge or temper steel. I prefer the writing of Orson Scott Card who tells a story and builds great characters. For me, if you take out all the stuff that sounds like it is coming out of an instruction manual, then you have a pretty good story here. I am not a fan of abridged books, but I bet this would make a great abridged book. Yea the characters are all predictable, but sometimes that is what you want in a story. The creatures on the planet where cool and the people of the planet where cool.
This is a great listen for fans of military science fiction novels. The narrator (who I beleive also does the voice for most of the Ender's Game series of novels) makes listening to the story even more enjoyable.
I really like john ringo, and teamed up with david weber who i have never read but cant wait to listen to some of his books now. the story was really good real good survival tactics and creative idea that is well formed makes for a great listen. this narrator needs to be ranked among some of the best out there. his voices are great you can tell what character by the voice all the time. he really nailed female voices. i have listened to all 4 in the series now. there are all very good.
Poet, Writer, Novice Planetary Scientist, Musician, Hooligan, Former Audience Guy, Protector of Stupid Princesses.
This book is rough, inconsistent, and occasionally amateurish. The story, world building, and characters were interesting enough that I was able to get past the problems.
I wish that the audio book had notes about the authors. I am familiar with David Weber, but not John Ringo.
One very serious criticism. The references to John Norman's "Gor" novels, and to Star Trek and Star Wars are unnecessary, and the John Norman bits come close to making this book "Fan Fiction," and in my opinion skirt the fuzzy borders of plagiarism. Clearly both authors have vivid imaginations, so why use anything from another author's work, even in homage? Mentioning an author or a work in the story (or in the dedication) is a much better way to pay tribute.