I was not expecting an action filled, contemporary SciFi adventure but that is what I got. The book will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout. You cannot aford to veg out on even one part of one chapter. It is all relevant and all provative. I found the audio sample a little misleading. If I recall correctly, the sample comes from a section about an individual sentenced to prison and subjected to torture. What happens as the story unfolds is something totally different. The prisoner becomes the protaganist and his jailor plays a very unusual but exciting role in his escapade.
When your protagonist is captured three times in a book, you have a problem. When more than half a book is summed up by "supposedly elite espionage agent and shapeshifter can't find a ride", you've got a problem. When the reader concludes that the protagonists allies will probably all die of friendly fire, and they do, albeit over many many pages going no where, it's a problem. When your multi-species crew of star-faring mercenaries can't figure out how to kill an unconscious member of a common belligerent species (one that's perfectly killable), it's a problem.
This book has vast amounts of writing that fails to move the plot or characters. The characters are too dumb to live. There was little to no consequence to their actions. I won't be picking up any of the other books in the series.
I'm halfway through this audio book and I just wanted to say Peter Kenny is doing a great job! I'm not much into sci fi/ fantasy, but he makes it more engaging with his range of voice acting.
The book was really good. The author (Iain Banks) unveils an interesting and well thought-out futuristic world in this first book of his Culture series. The only bit of criticism I have is I think the author could have done better at connecting the reader to the book's interesting characters. I feel like the characters in the story are often overshadowed by the author’s passion and skill in describing the galaxy, species, science, and technology of the Culture series.
The narrator (Peter Kenny) did an excellent job, and used a multi-accented delivery that brought the story to life well.
Union Electrician IBEW 317 Huntington, WV
Please audible, do whatever it takes to close the deal to get the rest of the books in this series. They are out there on competing sites.
I generally only write reviews of books I don't like so as to remind myself if I see them again, and hopefully warn others...
I really did not like the ending, I would say more but don't want to spoil anything for others.