This prequel to A Fire Upon The Deep is excellent. It takes place far before the events of AFUTD, but in the same universe and with a shared character. Story seems a bit slow at times, but the rest of it makes up for this, and it is all great.
Starts great, ends great. I found myself fast forwarding through chapters in the middle, yet was compelled enough to reach the end.
Outside the hard sci-fi the author tries to write some sort of grand novel of the human/alien condition. Alliances, double crosses, secrets, love and lust, etc..... While there's a great depth and examination of these ideas, it comes off dull and hard to follow.
It would have definitely been better as a hardcopy book: lots of tricky names that all sound similar. Narrator was ok, but the voice he gave to dialogue was too theatric: too melodic and sing-songish.
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so I was wondering if this was going to be worth it, its one of the few 2 credit books (at least it was at the time I got it) and so is the other one "A Fire Upon the Deep" which although it came out before this one it actually takes place 20,000 years after this one - there is sosposta be a sequel to this one called "Children of the Sky" which should be out in late 2011, so lets hope that Audible gets it in audio format as well
this is about a star that is named the "on-off star" because for 215 of every 250 years it is essentially a dead star outputting almost nothing and really dim - there are these "spiders" on the planet that orbits it and they are going into hibernation within really deep parts of the planet that they can survive in - the surface is covered with air snow and ice when the sun is dark and it freezes melts and refreezes into the atmosphere every time the sun goes on and off
a group of interstellar trading folks called the Qeng Ho (pronounced Cheng Ho and named after the explorer Zheng He) and the Emergents, an authoritarian civilization that literally enslaves selected human minds and has only recently re-emerged from a "dark age" - they both arrive at the on-off star and get into a battle and both sides are messed up really bad, but the Emergents are better off and take over with a stale mate because both sides cant afford anymore fighting - they cant go anywhere so they just wait for the star to re-light and the spiders to wake up and create a civilization that they can exploit to build new ships to return to the stars
the book is great, there is even some sorta nano-tech or whatever that has to be mined out of the rocks on the planet, no one knows what it is it just floats (anti-gravity) when enough of a refined form is put together
the end is great and really didnt need a follow up, except for it would be nice to revisit the characters in the up coming book "Children of the Sky" which is sosposta take place 10 years latter
Satisfied Audible listener since 2002. I mostly listen to Sci-fi and anything by Stephen King.
This book is long but sooooo worth it. The narrator kept me entertained and the author left me wanting more. Two big thumbs up.
With each chapter, the tension and interest build. Great plot twists, intriguing ideas about societies, relationships and the 'realities' of long space flights. A great story
About half-way through, I downgraded the rating of many of the books in my library.
I hope I get to hear book two soon.
The aliens in this book are basically just like us. Too many alliances, too many characters, very hard to figure out whats going on. I've read a lot of sci-fi, but this is by far the worst. I regret using two credits on this book. And the narrator .. it is very hard to figure out who is speaking cause he basically just have one voice/pitch.
Ridiculous plot, incredibly expensive, terrible narration and just so bad, I could not listen to more than an hour. Save your money - listen to Alastair Reynolds or Neal Stephenson instead.