David Weber's first book in the Safehold series is, despite the author's trademark wordiness, a lively and well-paced novel. Later novels in the series are less well-paced, but fans of Weber (of which I am one) will keep slogging through the endless exposition to see just where the story might go.
Difficult to define by genre, "Off Armageddon Reef" blends Science Fiction, Space Opera, Alternate History (thematically, if not exactly in fact), and Age of Sail naval action. Oh, and swashbuckling. There is swashbuckling. Buckles are swashed. While that may be a confusing melange of stuff to cram into a story, it works pretty well. Be forewarned; what is effectively a prologue spans the first few hours of the audiobook.
Oliver Wyman's narration is excellent. I wish he had been the narrator for the entire series. The others are a mixed bag, although none are bad. Wyman, though, does a superb job of bringing the disparate characters to life through accent, tone, and pitch.
I definitely recommend this to fans of Weber, fans of military sci-fi, or those who have the time and patience for a long, but entertaining, novel. If your tolerance for lengthy exposition about technical minutiae is low, this probably isn't the novel for you.
This book was very well written and researched. If you enjoy reading long detailed narratives of 17th and 18th century weaponry and naval warfare, then this is the book for you! You can also look forward to lots and lots of political scheming, in (what was for me) excruciating detail.
Admittedly, I'm not a fan of this type of "medieval" sci-fi. It is however well written, and if you like stories that heavily involve the aforementioned subjects, then you will find this book, and I imagine the series, interesting.
I wouldn't have printed it. Or I would have called it 'Deus Ex Machina'.
I might. The guy has some good ideas for sure. He's still on my list.
The performance was not bad given the material. I'm not knocking the narrator who did a nice job.
I wanted to like this. I really did. I love really long books. After listening to half a dozen mainstream [and heavy] novels, I was looking for some space opera: a long, involved space yarn. This ain't it. Oh no.
This is a story about medieval navel tactics, period, and it drones on, and on, and on, and, well, on. Do you care about sail patterns and rigging? This is your novel.
The only SF in the novel? It's used to explain some odd plot points. And, yea, the overall idea is fairly intriguing. It is and I won't give it away here: in a far future an implacable foe is killing off human colonies, so the humans setup a colony with no tech whatsoever thinking that the aliens won't be able to find a planet that depends on horses. Great idea, right?
So they get a bunch of human volunteers and they somehow 'wipe' their memories, implanting new ones that accept an agrarian world of serfs, castles, and duplicitous church officials. Are you bored yet?
But it's just boring boring boring: King this, Earl that, Church officials, all kinds of chicanery in detail that fails to move the plot or add depth/interest to any of the characters. The protagonist is a robot plunged into a world of humans made to think they are living in a world where the church rules- like Europe in the middle ages.
He convinces the King that he has 'visions', which are actually intelligence gathered by very hi-tech bugs; there visions provide intel on enemy movements. Boring. Boring.
I'm within 9 hours of completion. And I'm calling it quits. I can't take it.
Did I mention it's not SF? And it is boring?
Corruption ... greed ... lies ... the rich and powerful manipulating others for more money and power.... I can't even finish this. This is what we see in everyday news. It is tedious listening at best.
Maybe the plot evolves past the men pretending to be Gods and manipulating the brain washed people in the beginning of the book but its a show stopper for me. I also tried David Weber's "A Beautiful Friendship" and shelved it before chapter 3.
I think David Weber is joining Veronica Roth and Diana Gabaldon on the don't bother list.
I've been a big fan of David Weber's writing for years, and this book fulfills my every expectation. The story was excellent and engaging. The vocal performance was outstanding, giving each if at least a score of majir characters easily identifiable voices and accents.
I can't wait to dive into the next volume.
Great story ideal!
Get to the point!! I know some readers love a sec by second detail of everything that is going on, but I like a fast pace.