David Weber is a prolific writer of a good number of series, but this one stands apart from his work because of the scope, excellent character/plot interaction, and a grand sense of an epic tale just getting underway. Future technologies, vast space armadas, aliens, medieval settings, fantastic intrigue, and wait...a warrior/priest/wizard robot using disguised technology to guide an entire planet into their destined future...AND I HAVEN'T EVEN GIVEN MAJOR PLOT POINTS AWAY!
Why not pick a great narrator to match the work, someone who could carry this exciting centuries-spanning tale with the energy and depth it deserves? Say, a "Roy Dotrice" style narrator, who brings accents, timely verbal emphasis, and a stronger sense of placement to the narration? No offense, Wyman, but this is a work that is still a bit beyond you. Work on it. Practice makes perfect, but not on this audiobook just yet.
Still, this is no reason not to get this audiobook. It's an WONDERFUL listen, despite the narrator, and it's only the first in the series - Please do yourself a favor, and buy this audiobook. I've gone back twice to listen to it all over again, and enjoyed it. I'm confident you'll do the same.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
This is book one of a new series called Safehold. Safehold is a planet that humans have hid on to seek survival of the human race from destruction. The goal was to stay a low tech world so it would not be seen by the enemy. They set up a religion to control people and a simple society. The story starts from here and was slow to get going but by the end of the book I was hooked and looking forward to the next book. I think I prefer the Honor Harrington series better but they are much different stories.
The premise is quite original; placing an historical novel in the future is a nice twist. The problems I have with the book are twofold: first, the characters are terribly one-dimensional. The first reviewer references George R.R. Martin's "A Game of Thrones", but Martin knows how to build characters of startling complexity. They begin as villians and become, gradually, heroic - or vice versa. Weber's characters are nearly comedically bad or disgustingly good. They have no crises that alter their personalities and I nearly found myself cheering for the wrong side at the end. The second problem is that despite Weber's attempt to make the odds seem overwhelmingly against the protaginists, it is painfully clear that there is no way in the (new) world that they will so much as work up a sweat utterly defeating their enemies. There is virtually no suspense; nothing hangs in the balance. Still, the anti-technical society, the theocratic rulers and the detail in which the world (as opposed to the characters) is rendered give me at least some hope for the next installment.
A good book if it willbe the first in a series. That being said if it's meant to stand on it's own it's mildly muddled. I assume, given the description that the main chracter is Nimue. that being said "she" doesn't appear that often and when "she" does it's either for some rather unbelievable action sequence or to suffer a historical dissertation.
Don't get me wrong, history is important but the relevance of the speches given (or thought) is something that weighs the story down. Unlike where there's a fairly clear dominant main character in the say the Prince Rogers series, this book suffers from too many characters with little or no background to understand thier motivations.
The book is described as a "sci-fi epic" it's not, it's more a historical military novel with a few sci-fi bits as plot props.
I really can decide how I feel about it. I'm going to reread it again but at least for the first read-thru I didn't care about any of the characters and the bits of SF that were included are very good concepts but either allow deus ex machina style plotting or add littleif antyhing to move the story forward.
I suppose it could be arged that SF is a relative term given the planet's tech levels but for my midn that's stretching things a bit.
While I am drawn in by the insightful descriptions of the military technology and its ramifications, I am equally put off by the near complete lack of personalities. Almost everyone is completely rational in every circumstance, and they all reason in the same way, even expressing themselves idenrically. The only thing lending diversity to the fast is the excellent narrator.
Classic case of an author tells you about the world he is creating instead of showing you as the book progress. The first 3 or 4 hours are terrible. I almost stopped listening. I trudged on and made it to some conversation and action. I ultimately I liked how this book progressed but man the author dives in to these periods of just describing things outside the plot that just seem to go on forever. It really takes away from the story. I am probably going to listen to the next in the series but I hope the author matures is writing. Show the world a bit at a time through the course of the story. Don't ram the whole world context down my throat for 3 straight hours without character conversation.
The author's character development was rather amazing, and I really enjoyed the completely believable thought processes as they were so clearly laid out. Yes, it was easy to like the "good" guys and dislike the bad guys; but none of the characters' personalities were unrealistic (note that I am not referring to the lead character here). To the contrary, the theme has many "historical" similarities to the moral and religious fictions and "truths" of our own planet.
I was simply AMAZED at the narration. Oliver Wyman had a different voice for each of the 20 - 30 (more?) speaking characters, and pulled off each of them perfectly. I may not choose to listen to further books by this author; but I DO intend to make a list of books narrated by Oliver Wyman.
Oliver Wyman is the best narrator I've ever listened to, bar none.
Perhaps because I did not listen to the book in just a day or two (took me about 2 weeks on and off), it was quite difficult for me to keep track of the entire cast of characters; same problem with the geography and all of the different "countries" and oceans on this planet of Safehold. Candidly, many of the players' names sounded similar to me . . . and I often had to keep listening until they said or did something -- good or bad -- for me to be reminded of who they were. Then again, I don't remember things as clearly as I once did. :-)