As always, Scalzi is very good at wry, cynical dialogue and his space-battle scenes are both exciting and horrific, but he seems to have concentrated more on the novelty of the episodic format here than on a coherent story. I get the feeling (or at least hope) that this book is mostly a transportation step towards an even better story to come.
To my taste, the book has too much politics and conspiracy and too little technobabble. I like my space opera technobabble-heavy.
Still, as usual, a great gallery of well-defined and convincing characters are given extra depth and plausibility by William Dufris great narration.
Worth the listen if you don't expect much from it.
So I had mixed feelings. I loved the story it was so engaging. I didn't mind the serial format. You just have to keep it in mind when listening to the stories. I felt the pace was great and I really wanted to know what happened next but that was just it. I kept expecting to find out the big answers to all the questions and ... cliff hanger. I felt cheated.
Also the dialogue tags. Could the narrator have just skipped them? Is that allowed?
Average story for this series. Diplomatic drama in a sci-fi series that ultimately doesn't seem relevant to any potential sequels. Skip it unless you're a big fan.
Mr. Scalzi set the bar high in his previous books.
Saying that it is not as good as they are does not mean that it is not a good book. I found it to be entertaining.
This book seems to open the door to a myriad of possibilities, and I am waiting with excitement to continue the saga.
The books consists of short chapters, each one it's own story, then tied together to form the whole. This is a series that I have loved from the beginning, but for some reason this book just missed the mark. For one thing, the reader didn't seem quite as effective as in the past and all the characters sounded the same. This is a reader I've previously given high praise. Have I just listened too much or is there really a difference in this particular book? Was the reader perhaps as bored as I the listener?
I could tell that some of the stores were supposed to grab me emotionally. Unfortunately most of them missed the mark.
If you love the series so far, I recommend just staying with those wonderful memories and pass by this addition.
I guess I should have paid more attention to the review that complained "he said, she said". It just about drove me nuts. The performance is what killed it for me in this book. Mr. Scalzi is one of my favorite new gen of SF writers. But when I read his books(and most books) I have a tendency to automatically skip "he said, she said" and stuff like that. If you can't tell who's talking, I feel like it's bad writing. And I could always tell who was talking when reading his books.
But in this performance Mr. Dufris couldn't really seem to get into "character" so he had to say the dreaded "he said, she said"......all the time! There are a bunch of one liners in almost all of the Scalzi books I've ever read. This just kills the flow of the storytelling, and because it's audio, there's just no way around it.
So I guess I'll read the next book instead of listening, as I like the story. But then maybe someone who's got more character to their voice(and a tad less sarcasm) could pull it off. This is the first time I've ever been turned off by the performance. Sorry Mr. Dufris.
Removing the "...said" at the end of nearly every piece of dialogue.
I've listened to two others (Android's Dream and Fuzzy Nation), both great books.
Complacent, unmotivated, telling
I nearly stopped listening due to the redundancy of the dialogue. The sarcastic wit and tongue and cheek humor were missing.
Editing would have really helped. I realize this was a combined serial story, but the writing was so amateur it was laughable. I'm hoping for better luck with Old Man's War.
BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front) - This book is the equivilent to "Speaker for the Dead" to the Ender's Game series. It's about diplomacy NOT war.
Story: I highly recommend the first four books of the Old Man's War (OMW) series as they were amazing. This book has nothing to with those books only that it occurs in a time period after the OMW series. The OMW series had action, war, fighting, etc, this book has NONE of that. It has entirely new characters and is about the Colonial Union (The humans that operate in space) trying to get the human's on earth to side with them and not the Conclave (The alien equivilent of the United Nations). It's not a bad story it's just not that exciting. The only exciting parts are when the 1 Colonial Union soldier (Lt Wilson) is involved and actually doing something. Follow-on books hold potential to be better, but this storyline was lacking.
Narrator: Kudo's for keeping the same reader as the previous four books and William Dufris does a great job. My only complaint is that (and I don't fully understand what the narrators script looks like) even thought the narrator used different voice inflections for different characters, they didn't remove any of the "John said" then "Sally said" for conversations. It became very distracting and it's not something that I've noticed in any of the other 200 audiobooks I've read. So I don't know if the producers usually remove that verbiage or if the author just did a poor job of writting, but it's the reason I only gave 4 stars.
I did not like the episode format - at all. This book lacks a smooth narrative flow on account of this gimmick.
After reading Old Man's War (one of the very best recent science fiction novels) and a couple of the sequels, I was expecting something similar. However, this is not in the same league. The characters are boring and their motivations, dialogue and interactions are not believable. It simply does not reflect how people actually behave.
Have a renewed interest in books after falling in love with audio books. I am listening to all different genres and exploring different authors.
This is actually probably more like a 3.5 star read. I read "The B team" which is the first episode of the full book - "The Human Division." Since I started the book, I wanted to finish it. I never considered myself as a sci-fi reader, but I did like it. When there is no Star Trek, Firefly, or Battlestar Galactica on tv to fill my sci-fi fix -- this book filled the void. I liked the characters and the relationship between them. The only criticism is that "he said, she said, he said" that is constant through the audible version.
One note for audible listeners --- this book is sold in episodes. I purchased several episodes before I realized that they were available in the full book.