The story takes an interesting approach to alien contact. An advanced race, the Glatun places a space gate close to Earth, which makes possible to travel huge distances. Doing so, they connect the Earth to the other species. But instead of a big hype, they simply give a "phone notification" to the presidents of the most important countries, and then they leave.
Another unusual turn is that another race, the Horvath oppresses the Earth, taking our valuable metals.
Usually, in other books what comes next is a heroic fight for the freedom of the planet, but not in this one. Vernon takes small steps, first trading with the Glatun to get finance for other projects, and then he buys space ships to mine asteroids. Finally he builds a super asteroid-fortress to defend the Earth from the Horvath. This makes the story more "real", more believable.
Another point, which distinguishes this story from the tiresome hollywood plots is that people die in the fight. Whole cities are destroyed.
The one thing I found disturbing is that the author gave too much scientific details. While it could be compelling to someone working in the research or science field, sometimes it was boring for me.
I think the title really fits the story, because the main character, Tyler Vernon rather dies than let the aliens occupy the Earth. Vernon is not a hero like Superman. He is an ordinary man, but still he has strong values.
I enjoyed this audio book, and recommend for listening.
While the basic plot is interesting and there's no doubt Ringo is a capable writer, Live Free or Die is bogged down by constant political commentary. I'm slightly right of center politically and not normally bothered by this sort of thing (especially as I live in a very conservative area) but it was really extreme and detracted from the otherwise good story.
The theme of "Liberal city idiots" exploiting the hard working country patriots is repeated on nearly every page of this book. Global warming is a joke, Democrats are lazy moochers off the government while Republicans are working multiple jobs, CNN is a bunch of foolish idiots and Fox News is the only station worth talking to and Washington DC should be nuked. Even the aliens society is failing because they are liberal. Even if you agree with all this, the non-stop nature of the barbs is amateurish and very distracting.
I'm sure I will get down votes on this review by people who will vote purely for political reasons but if you stop and analyze the book from the perspective of a Sci-fi fan, not a political rant, you will see the political aspect of the book was so overdone it ruined the intent. There is much to be said of subtlety.
Great book. Great narrator. The story was detailed and engaging with out going overboard with endless sci-fi technicalities that can give you a headache. The author does a good job of creating just enough levity to make the main character serious but amusing. Looking forward to the sequels.
I am so glad I decided to start this series! I almost past on this book due to the reviews warning about it's political nature. I guess I'm just ignorant because I did not notice the politics. Maybe any Horatio Agler 'rags to riches' type story has a political bend? I don't know, but I loved this book.
The scifi foundation was very good, but I was suprised how often I found myself laughing out loud while listening. I almost wet my pants laughing when one of the main characters, in response to seeing an enormous fleet of hostile aliens about to attack, say's "ooh that's bad...that's bad on toast". The description of aliens getting stoned on maple syrup was quite funny as well.
The narration was excellent also. Mr. Boyett did a very good job with the alien voices, not cheezy, but enough to make you visualize something other than human talking.
Since listening to this book, I have listened to book two, Citadel, also excellent, and can not wait til book three, Hot Gate, is available.
John Ringo is a great Sci Fi writer. All his books have humor, and historical insight applied to future imagined. To top it off Mark Boyett is the best narrator I've heard yet. This is a great book and hopefully part one of a series. The aliens are funny as hell without trying. The novel ideas for using crude brute force engineering to achieve sophisticated goals makes this a must read.
I'm about 2/3 of the way through, but thus far there are no real likable or relatable characters, as far as I'm concerned. The plot is great, but I'd like to see some more well rounded characters. Not everything is as cut and dried as this book portrays.
I generally love Mark Boyett narrations, and this book is also great for the most part, but his New England (New Hampshire) accent is AWFUL. Not such a big deal though.
People, particularly underprivileged and minority children, are dying from a never before seen parasite, that exhibits minimal signs of infection but is easily treatable if you know how. One character's response is "Their parents don't care about them..." and that comment is accepted and taken as fact.
I think that the plot is great, and there is good attention to detail, so it's probably worth a shot. The book is written from the perspective that only hardcore conservatives have any modicum of intelligence, and all liberals are idiots. All liberal characters in the book have the intelligence of a below average 15 year old. Everything that the conservatives do is correct, and all liberal thoughts and actions are erroneous. If that doesn't bother you, then you'll probably love the book.
This book consists of the following 2 character types:
1) Intelligent, hardworking extreme conservatives.
2) Really dumb liberals that can't understand basic economic or tactical concepts.
I'd categorize myself as a fairly liberal person. I'm also minority and I grew up in an underprivileged area. I also have a M. S. in Mechanical Engineering, and I'm working on a Ph. D. As you can guess, that makes it difficult to relate to either of the 2 character types that are in this book. Considering my background, I feel that there are many instances where the author is just insulting. See my response for "What was one of the most memorable moments..." for an example.
Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).
I have now listened to two John Ringo novels (A Hymn Before Battle was my first) and found them both to be well written. This novel manages to walk a tight rope between idea-based gadget Hard Science Fiction and character-based Soft Science Fiction. It contains the requisite alien invasions and significantly advanced technology to qualify as Hard SF. It also has great people. The character Tyler Vernon is a geek fantasy come true: Computer game designer, uniquely skilled to deal with alien business relations because of his computer modeling of a financial Sci-Fi game, builds an empire that allows him to save mankind from extinction. The personality of Tyler Vernon dominates the story and he is a likable persona, well-suited for advancing a Space Opera storyline. Perhaps the most endearing thing about the book is that it manages to avoid pretension while clearly promoting a free-market capitalist agenda. While the alien and technology are standard Science Fiction tropes, Ringo infuses these well-used elements with a fresh and fun-filled storyline that is entertaining, and even engaging, making me want to continue listening to hear what happens next.
I have now listened to several military Science Fiction books, trying to get a sampling of the field. This is one of the best. Along with Marko Kloos’ Frontlines series and B.V. Larson’s Undying Mercenaries, this is a series I will continue with.
Mark Boyett is a good fit for this John Ringo book. His character voicings are appropriate, handling even female inflections very well. A great narrator is essential for me to enjoy an audiobook, and I enjoyed this one very much.
This book lives up to its title and provides readers of military SciFi with a country boy/American centric approach to the genre. Having said that the story is well crafted and will keep you on the edge of your seat.
This book and the two that follow it are some of the fastest reads I've ever owned, I read a lot and just couldn't put these down. I bought my first set in paperback and reluctantly gave them to my nephew, bought my second set (also in paperback) for one of my sons. I just recently bought a Kindle Fire and discovered that I can plug it into my work van and listen while I drive (I'm a Courier.) Now I'm buying the audio set.
The science (as far as I could follow) is accurate and not overwhelming. The story just flows so well, I didn't want to shut it off to go to bed. It's just that good.
My hat's off to Mark Boyett as well. The Narration never got in the way of the story.