The story wasn't worth 28 hours of listening, and the narration didn’t make it better. I really did enjoy hearing more about the Tines, the fascinating alien hive mind race introduced in A Fire Upon the Deep. However, in the end I was frustrated by the lack of progression and closure. I was not aware that this was an open-ended book (none of the blurbs had hinted at this) and was annoyed to find this out only late in the book.
Although the narrator did a good job with different voices, making even the female voices sound convincing, the narration lacked emotional variation. His voice was gloomy/ominous a lot of the time even if the scene did not call for it, which made me feel down even if something happy had just occurred.
Combined with a plot that was mostly backstory and considering the book could be 25% shorter, this didn’t make for an interesting experience. Of course, there were a few exciting moments, but all-in-all I was not impressed. Still, if you’re a fan of the previous two books in the Zones of Thought series, it’s kind of required listening.
I very much enjoyed this series, but this book was slightly marred by some odd audio skips. In two places I was able to tell that more than one word had been dropped. In one, the character speaking changed. It was not my device, two attempts at relating the section speed in the exact same manner, the time line indicating that it had been digitized with those errors present (no skipped seconds).
This story's sub-themes are perhaps the most interesting elements of the book. They are not so much openly discussed as they are illuminated through story. Questions of good and evil, belief systems, self-determination, market forces, bioengineering, loyalty, friendship ,and romance are all swirling about behind-the-scenes. I found it very thought-provoking despite no overt discussion of the topics. This tells me it is the work of a master storyteller. Another satisfying read from this talented author.
This was my first audiobook and I absolutely loved it. I've tried another couple since, but this one is by far the best.
Flenser and Ritl... Flenser's up to something but it's hard to tell exactly what. Ritl is just a magical singleton.
His characterisation of the character's voices, especially the female characters and the Tines, brings an extra level to the drama that you may miss when reading the words on the page. Especially in the case of Tycoon, who (ominously) uses a little kidnapped girl's voice during the story.
The chapter with Belle putting Timor to bed, then falling foul of kidnappers, left me feeling sad for both characters. Pilgrim's always good for a laugh too :D
Recommended, especially if you've already read the book and can spend the time enjoying Wyman's performance.
This is a slightly more slowly paced follow-up to the earlier Zones of Thought books focusing as it does on the characters that were stranded on the world of the Tines at the end of the previous book. The plot is somewhat meandering more filled with the twist and turns political intrigue and character conflicts that action. It covers some years and jumps forward in time in uneven intervals sometimes leaving you wondering how things resolved themselves between chapters.
Filled with some interesting characters and lovely ideas throughout such as the The Tines themselves; dog like aliens who are intelligent only when thinking collectively as a pack. The aliens are well thought out and their characters are woven with skill throughout the narrative. The civilisation is in the process of being bootstrapped from the dark ages to the industrial revolution and this lends a slight steampunk flavour to the imagery at times.
I wasn't overly taken with the narration of this book, it was a little slow for my tastes and the characterisation of Ravna meant she sounded a bit like a depressed teenager at times which I found could be grating.
Overall I would recommend this book despite its faults, but only if you haven't already read the earlier Zones of Thoughts go check those out first. The ending of this novel does suggest further sequels will be forth coming so it would be great time to catch up.
I enjoyed this book, though it had more of a fantasy feel than I would have preferred. Additionally, there are so many unresolved conflicts that I feel little was answered in this book. I look forward to a sequel.
Satisfied Audible listener since 2002. I mostly listen to Sci-fi and anything by Stephen King.
As much as I enjoyed this book (and I did a lot) it left me a little dissatisfied as almost any book that is the middle of a trilogy does - I assume it is the middle anyway. I would recommend it and hope I dont have to wait long for the sequel where everything will be sorted out. The Tines are a wonderfully original alien race, I love the idea of them.
Also, Audible can we please have more V. Vinge to listen to,such as a sequel to a Darkness in the Sky. Thanks.
I have really fond memory of reading all of Vinge's previous books - they are full of mind-blowing concepts and interesting characters. A Fire Upon the Deep remains one of my favorite scifi books. I've been waiting for this one since the summer, and bought it as soon as it came out. What a disappointment! The characters are not believable and the events drag on. After part 1 of 4 I have decided to stop listening - I can't stand the thought of spending another 20 hours on it. Perhaps the editor could have "encouraged" the author to trim the story down to half the size.
The narrator did a great job - without his talent I might have stopped the book even earlier.