This first book of the trilogy was by far my favorite - it is tightly written and very consistent, focusing on the three teenage protagonists as they cleverly stumble their way through a story that is far larger than the three of them. We laugh and smile and hold our breath with them as they discover the extent to which the world around them is changing. We applaud their bravery as they take on the forces that promise harm. The book succeeds wonderfully at weaving the science and the fiction into the story of these three kids without letting it take over - no matter how well equipped the three might be for the fight that lies ahead, they remain as intrinsically vulnerable and as rightfully scared of the forces they are up against as any three high school juniors. Science fiction is an important part of their quest - but their superhuman courage is what stands out.
THE TRILOGY AND THE NARRATION
The Rho Agenda is a thoroughly enjoyable sci-fi trilogy - Richard Phillips succeeds in painting a sci-fi universe that is firmly anchored on earth and in its human protagonists and accordingly doesn't require an all-round suspension of disbelief from the reader. He sets the sci-fi parameters for his story early on and diligently sticks to them, resisting the temptation to constantly introduce new sci-fi "miracles" to toss around his characters. The human story and the political thriller may be instigated by input from another world, but they remain exactly that: a human story and a political thriller. With some cool sci-fi stuff going on.
The author switches between points of view more than a hundred times per book, but MacLeod Andrews narrates his way through these transitions seamlessly, taking the listener along with ease. We always know exactly where we are and who, out of the large ensemble of characters, we are currently with. The books give him a wonderful opportunity to show off his range, in terms of both voices and accents, and he brings its countless twists and turns to life masterfully, instilling the main characters with his characteristic humor and warmth. His voice grips us as tightly through the densely packed action and political intrigue as it charms us during the spells of the teenage life of our heros.
One additional point: I greatly appreciated that Phillips keeps the story at a very agreeable level of "clean" - he abstains from being gratuitously graphic in his characters' language or actions, but doesn't shy away from strong language, violence and even a little carnage when they are necessary. I enjoyed not feeling myself be dragged through gore and bodily fluids at every turn as is so easily the case in contemporary otherworldly fiction.
No, I would not risk money something that might be as bad as this. I had to stop after chapter 4. The writing is terrible. Phillips should really stay away from writing teenagers.
Sadness, because I cannot get my money back.
The performance was fine.
I like scifi and urban fantasy. I don't like romance novels. If you are the same my reviews should help.
This is an excellent book but as the title says at least read the first book in the Rho Inception series first before starting this novel. The Jack Gregory character is an enigma in this story and if you read the first rho inception book you will understand a lot more about who he is and why he is so abnormally skilled. I reviewed those books (in short they are good albeit very light on sci-fi aspects) and you can look them up easily. Be warned the Rho inception books are alot more adult oriented than this series. The items he glossess over in this one get full detail in that series.
This is a nice YA science fiction series. The great thing is it has enough adult elements that adults can enjoy it just as much. In fact calling it a YA book is not quite fair. It is more like an adult book with teen characters that writes very adult situations with just a deft enough hand to make it easily accessible to young adults as well. This book has some pretty dark stuff in it like rape and torture. It is inferred but usually not spelled out in enough detail to warrant warning mature young adults away.
All in all a good book. If you read at least the first book of the previous series prior to this one a lot of the mystery of Jack will be solved for you. This book stands alone just fine if you choose not to do so. Let's just say there are some really good reasons why he is so good. This one is definitely worth a listen.
It's an OK story of the 'meddling kids' genre. It has the usual gaping plotholes. The kids are smart when that suits the plot, really radically dumb when that suits. Adults are 2-dimensional. Plot elements are taken from Teenwolf, ET, The Navigator, Berzerkers, and tossed in a workmanlike salad.
I won't read any more in the series, however, because of the dialogue. It's tough to write 'teen' dialogue, and this author fails. They sound flatter than any sitcom.
There's also a goodly dose of coincedences that will bug you. Finally, I had to sort of marvel at the idea of super-genius teenagers who can calculate the answers to mankind's energy problems, but who pee in the their pants to avoid being sent to the principal's office.
Weird, and not in a good way.
I like mystery writers like kate Wilhelm, Authur Upfield and Ellis Peters, where even the bad guys are not blood thirsty, crazy, manics. I like science fiction that has a sociological bent like Ursula Le Guin, Robert Sawyer and the early works of Orson Scott Card. But I don't much like the science fiction that is just space ships and interstellar fighting.
I thought this was science fiction. But by he 3rd chapter we have a serial killer who captures and tortures young women. I don't want to read stories of mutilation and torture
It would be helpful to warn readers in the description that it is another torture story.
Skip this unless you want a book with all the depth and characterization of a Saturday Morning sci-fi animated cartoon. I suppose young listener could like it.
I don't pick books that are targeted to kids or teens and this is not one of those. I actually didn't know that three of the main characters were high school students and that's good because by the time I realized it, I was so engrossed in the book that I hardly noticed. Not only is this an adult series, filled with incredible science, espionage, international events and amazing story lines, it is a masterpiece of character development. I don't think I ever felt the kind of anxiety for the safety and success of the characters this series brought up for me. I don't know why...just really cared about every one of them. I think a lot of it was because this is more of a character-centric author, vs. situation-centric. He just didn't spend as much time describing the minutia if detail in the environment that so many other authors like to do. Instead, even his environment descriptions were really more of a description of the characters' experience, insights and realizations.
You will not be disappointed in this series. Just be forewarned, if you start with "The Second Ship" I can pretty much guarantee you'll buy the other two in the series and then you'll be left longing for more.
I was looking for something new to read and purchased this book solely on the reviews. Fun story, great narrator, I plan to purchase the next book in the series.
Yes, awesome science and spy novel.
Jack the Ripper!
The way he could build tension.
I'm not one to read or Listen to many Sci-Fi stories, but the "Second Ship" story interested me. It's full of the mysteries that I love. The action that keeps me interested,and the Clift hanging that wanted me to buy "Immune" the second book in the series.
This story is about Alien technology, teenage kids, evil Government scientest and everything in between. I'm in the middle of "Immune" and find that book a little long on detail but just as good. The story surrounds the finding of one Alien ship by the U.S. Government and the Evil Dr. Stephenson, and another Alien ship found by three teenagers who were just out having some fun. Dr. Stephenson has many hidden agendas and the three teenagers are working in secret to try to stop him, but the harder they try the more difficult that task becomes. Makes me want to buy the third book "Worm-hole" and see how everything turns out.