I was very disappointed in this book. There were far too many meaningless characters, which made it hard to follow. It seems like the author was constantly trying to build in some suspense or depth, but it never went anywhere. There was no imagination or creativity in terms of the plot or characters. The writing was extremely lacking in color and flow. If I hear someone say "on the other hand", "unfortunately", "honestly" or several other words or phrases that were used over and over and over I am might have to punch them. This is the first time I have ever skipped or fast forwarded through portions of a book and the interesting thing is that I didn't miss anything. What was really annoying was the fact that in a couple of places where the author could have added some excitement the situation was just skipped over.
Perfect... for the 12 year old girl with fantasies of becoming a diplomatic fashion correspondent. Some interesting theories on relativistic space warfare buried under mounds of mind numbing political intrigue and mono dimensional character analysis.
I must admit I am only 5 hours into it and am cheap enough to carry on so far but I wouldn't recommend it to an adult.
How the hell do you mispronounce "Manticore" 3/4 of the time? Wasn't anyone involved in the production besides the reader? The "shadows" series has been the most consistently likable subseries in the Honorverse for a while, but Snyder manages such an over-punchy delivery half the time that the book becomes a mockery of itself. When he relaxes a little and forgets about over-enunciating everything it's not so bad, and a good production team would have been able to guide him to a much better overall result.
Still - when your main character (and Henke is the focus of this book, though it is something more of an ensemble) is female, you should take a long, hard look at any decision to use a male reader. The modern trend seems to be that all readers are expected to "do voices", and Snyder's read of Henke is truly awful. Much better if he just read it in a normal voice.
Unabashed book junkie
This is one of the books I re-read and sync to Kindle. I wish the narrator could do women's voices and pronounce Manticoran right.
Talbot, Henke, Mesa
Nicely developed the story of the Tablot Cluster, including a brief recap of what happened in the prior Saganami book, but from Queen Elizabeth's perspective instead of just from Terekhov's. Expect some repeat (verbatim) from some other Honor books, but at this point it's still fairly minimal.
Allyson Johnson, who recorded all the main-line Honor audiobooks.
This book takes place concurrently with mainline Honor 11 (At All Costs) and Saganami 1 (Shadow of Saganami) [and parts of Torch 2: Torch of Freedom, although the things that happen here are generally just referenced, and done in such a way that you can understand what you need to]. It should not be read as a standalone, and moreover, it cannot even be read as just a continuation of the previous Saganami series book, since it makes too much reference to things going on in the Honorverse at large. Finally, it ends on a dramatic cliffhanger that is resolved in Honor 12 (Mission of Honor). Readers should be familiar with the previous works as indicated and be prepared to read Mission of Honor immediately after this for resolution of the cliffhanger.
The narrator should be banned from ever reading any works with female characters again, as his "female" voice is just awful. He does a fine job with the non-dialogue reading, although he does not follow the established (by Allyson Johnson, who reads all the main series for Honor Harrington) pronunciations for certain words. Because the main character of this book is Michelle Henke, and further, has a number of important supporting female characters, this makes for a miserable listening experience. I strongly recommend that you purchase or borrow the print or Kindle (etc.) version of this book, and pass on the audiobook.
This book, such as it is and what there is of it, will cause you to close your mouth with an audible click and give yourself a mental shake well before the other shoe drops.
Sorry I couldn't resist.
OK, being serious now, although the usual clichés riddle this book, over all it was a very well written and entertaining read. While some of the previous books are re-visited in the story line it does fill in some missing history and moves the main plot along nicely.
Jay Snyder did an awesome job with all the male voices, and all the characters were unique, understandable, and consistent. The only issue (for me) was that I listened to the whole main series read by Allyson Johnson, and the female characters here seemed to be a done in a falsetto that made it difficult for me to focus on the story instead of the voice. This got better as the book went on, and I stopped noticing as much and was able to immerse in the story.
I love the focus of the new series', digging into stories that were more glossed over in the main series. This whole universe is very immersive, and I've been very happy with every book so far. I usually walk to work (about 30 minutes each way), and I found myself not only getting upset when I had to drive (not as much time to listen) but also found myself walking more slowly at times so I had more time to listen. :)Excellent story, I was sad when I got to the end. Not because of anything in the story, but because it was over. That to me is often a mark of a good story/series.
If I had picked this up as a book, I might have enjoyed it, but with this narrator, it was just so much babble. There was little or no difference between the voices used by the different female characters, so who was saying what to whom, became an issue many times.
If you love the series and can handle the bad narrator, then by all means get it, if you don't -- pass it up.