This novel was FAR better than I expected and the synopsis does not do it any sort of justice. The general premise is one that I've never encountered before and it had me hooked from the start. I don't want to spoil anything, as the surprising plot development was the most delightful part of this book for me. If you haven't already read a review that gave everything away I encourage you to get the book without ruining this aspect for yourself! Suffice it to say, Mr. Larson gives the tried old story of alien abduction a twist that might put it into a whole 'nother sub-genre where humans are made to fight for a good cause against their will and under baffling restrictions.
I REALLY want to talk specifics but the gist is that Riggs is put in a situation where he must work around the bizarre limitations of an artificial intelligence and technology beyond his comprehension to achieve a goal of epic proportions. This is complicated by the fact that he is a random person of no authority forced to take on huge responsibility in a very short time and with no instruction. As many other reviewers have already said, he also must do all this directly following the death of his son and daughter.
Some reviewers have expressed disbelief at the progression of Riggs' roles and of his response to the death of his children or the plausibility of the plot as a whole. I disagree with all of these. Don't get me wrong, the premise of the story is WILD but it is plausible (at least within scifi) and the rest is really a pretty reasonable progression of events.
Riggs goes from a nobody to a person of extreme import because he was one of few people given ultimate power by virtue of the premise. What he does with that power and how he responds is quite understandable and reasonable to me. He never makes any leaps in logic or presents with any knowledge or ability that I would consider to be beyond a normal man with a proper education. In fact, I think his character is quite well done. If anything he's just unnaturally calm in crazy situations. His response to his childrens' death is not ludicrous as some reviewers have said. It happens in a situation of high adrenaline and violence so it is completely realistic that he initially turns his despair into rage. In such situations, people usually do not give themselves over to grief until the situation has calmed down.
The plot is pretty well laid out and supported by teasing clues throughout the book and further into the series. The technology is pretty basic and unadorned. All of it has roots in modern day technology and none of it is really explained in enough detail to say that it doesn't make sense. The author seems to have acknowledged a lack of schooling in physics on his part and the characters admit their ignorance to understand the tech.
There are only one or two other characters besides Riggs that are developed in any significant capacity and, unfortunately, his girlfriend was not one of them. When she was presented at the start I had high expectations for her but nothing more was ever added. She is used as a human companion (and concubine) for Riggs and little else. Crowe is an entertaining personality and the author sets up an age-old relationship between them that serves the political drama.
The narrator has a pleasing voice. His character discriminations are mostly very good but the main female is basically just Riggs with a slightly different accent. Nevertheless, I was never distracted by the narrator and the main voices were very satisfactory.
Overall, I was blown away by the fantastic premise of the book and I very much enjoyed Riggs as a character and his puzzle-solving with the computer (think trying to get a murderous Genie to do your will). It is a unique and gripping adventure with bouts of frequent action broken up by intriguing ideas and thought exercises. Highly recommend it for scifi fans!
I've seen this series and reviews of it floating around for while now. I have been tempted to listen before but always decided against it.
I finally took the plunge and was pleasantly surprised. The story was solid even though the characters were predictable and pretty shallow. The action was excellent and I was well entertained the whole time.
This is a lot like watching a SciFi war movie, and was worth the time. I think I'll pick up the other books to listen to when I want something fun to listen to.
It's basically one more "epic battle to save earth" If you like stories of war, death, strategy, all with a new setup, then this could be for you. It's just not something I enjoy.
Not from this series. I'll check out his other series with an ear for a truly creative story.
The performance was clear and made the point when needed. There are only 2 voice artist I really enjoy regardless of the story being told.
I probably wouldn't listen to this story again. To be blunt, the writing isn't spectacular. The story is original, however, and the protagonist is likable. I'm quite interested to get the next installment and listen to that.
I haven't had any previous exposure to BV Larson's work in any form.
Mr. Boyett's voice and overall performance made this story work for me. He projected just the right balance of conviction and reserve to Kyle's voice.
Star Force: the Beginning.
I listened to this story while working out on the treadmill. I generally listened in 30-45 minute interval and It seemed like a perfect match for that activity.
The book was below average compared to most books I listen to. That said, it kept my attention and interest enough not to stop listening. I have no interest in investing resources in future books in this series.
I believe there are other books in the series. I will not read them....
As I recall, I bought the book on sale. It was worth a few bucks but would not have been worth a full credit.
The story is original in the sense of the gravitas it conveys and realistic reactions to situations. I enjoyed Mr. Boyett's narration as always. His inflections are crucial to the pace of the storyline. The situations that occur don't have the necessary "happy results" and are not expected. Predictability in a story can make one put the book down prematurely...not this book.
The seriousness of the storyline and the moments of actions and levity are nicely balanced.
Yes, I truly enjoy his narration. His narration in the Troy Rising series was great and has kept me
yes, unfortunately I had to go to sleep sometime and had to rewind to the parts I went into REM on.
If you were looking for just a simple time passer with sci-fi flair, then this may fit the bill. Not much depth, 2-d characters, but lots of action. The book kind of loses the plot and wanders too much mid way through. I'd like to learn more about the aliens in the story, but not sure I'd want to sit through another one to find out. Unfortunately, there are far better SCI FI stories out there competing for my time and attention.
I'm ambivalent to the narrator but I'm finding it hard to imagine a circumstance in which I'd read another Larson book.
The characters, the plot, the dialogue.
It was okay
None of the characters had any redeeming or memorable qualities so pretty much any of them, although I suppose Sandra was particularly pointless.
This was a book that I couldn't wait to finish, much in the way that one can't wait to finish any particularly unpleasant chore. I like military sci-fi, but this book was absolutely horrendous on pretty much every level. I gave it two-stars instead of one simply because I was able to muddle through and finish it.
The book was told from the first-person perspective of the main character. I had no idea that I'd find a first-person POV so annoying, but apparently I do. Likely this was probably because his inner monologue was as simplistic and cliche as the rest of the dialogue in the story.
To say the characters and their actions are unbelievable is putting it mildly. For example, the main character just has the most unbelievably horrific experiences happen to him and is in mortal danger yet somehow is ogling an attractive nude woman while sizing up her suitability as a sex partner. In other words, "My life is completely shattered, but I'd still hit that."
For a "military" SF book, the military portrayals are utterly cartoonish and devoid of all logic and realism. We are supposed to accept that the main character, a computer science professor and farmer, is somehow able to effectively command a large force of military professionals. He's a completely inept commander but apparently everyone is okay with that. The strategies (and to some extent the story itself) are what one would expect from playing a real-time strategy computer game such as StarCraft.
No disrespect intended to the author, but if I didn't know better I would have thought this book was written by a fourteen year old penning his personal fantasies. The other negative reviews here are completely spot on in my opinion. You may enjoy it but I certainly didn't.
I will to give them a second chance. This book was horrible, but they might have wrote something good. I shouldn't hold a single book against them. But I will inspect that book more thoroughly before starting it.
The lack of character development. The main character starts flat and devoid of all emotion, and continues pretty much the same way. And no, losing loved ones is not an excuse to not having emotions.
The disregard of the ways physical changes to the characters would affect their behaviour. After the main character undergoes a radical physical change, he acts the same. I would believe such a change would impact a person's character somewhat. But if that was the only thing wrong with it, I would have been more than willing to suspend my disbelief for it.
Complete disregard to the ways warfare is conducted. For some reason the author thinks that if a certain faction is comprised only of computer equivalent devices they will operate the same way as his buggy computers at home. This is Independence Day virus scheme stupid.
Sandra. As much as the story needed a female character, it could definitely do without this stereotypical buffoon. Her presence just strengthens the misogynism of the story because she is such a degrading stereotype, and she does nothing to advance the plot.
The premise sounded very promising at first, and the fast pacing makes it easy and interesting to read, but this story doesn't stand on its on.
I enjoyed a bit of the verbal hackery in dealing with the alien machines. I thought it was the most interesting aspect of this book.
I didn't find the main characters to be particularly believable. If I end up picking up the second book in the series and something happens and everyone dies in it, my emotional investment will be pretty minimal.
The narrator was trying to do accents that he hasn't sufficiently practiced. His "Australian" is not very "Australian". His Spanish accent sounds French. His French sounds comical French. And he mispronounced some common homographs that should have been caught and fixed in editing.
I listen to audio books during my commute to give me something to focus on other than how irritating it is to be in traffic. This book is fine for that. If you're dedicating time to listening to it without anything else going on--probably not worth it.