I got this book right after stumbling across Black Cross which I very much enjoyed. This story actually is very solid and has a lot of good characters throughout. The reason I am writing this is to issue a warning.
The main protagonist is just so melodramatic. Its weird to say because I get that he is being placed under extreme stress, but somehow I just don't buy into it. Maybe I don't get the drama so his reaction seems very excessive and unusual and that is the problem. Maybe he really is acting like a whiny little brat for most of the book. Either way, I really was put off by the seeming over reaction and lack of any kind of human thought he demonstrated. He just keeps shouting, screaming and crying while everyone else tells him to "get a hold of himself". I believe this is his entire role in the story, it creates fluff not drama.
Other then that the other characters are solid, the performance is wonderful and the plot is interesting. I'm only giving such a poor review because he is presented as the main protagonist. If he was just a secondary character I would be fine with it as a sideshow.
If you find hysterical main characters annoying you may want to skip this one.
(That is hysterical as in the definition prone to having hysterics. He is not in any way funny.)
This is the story of inbreed survivors of a long lost space expedition. Either it is far too cleaver and everything feels a bit on the special spectrum because all the characters are 5th generation inbreeds, or its actually as dumb as it sounds. I still can't tell.
The main protagonist is static as can be. Arrogant, selfish and self-rightist, heart of stone and dispassionate. He fails to connect in any way as very human in my opinion. There is no interesting change or challenge to him because he enters the book as a hard ass, and continues through the whole book the same way. It could have been interesting if he was really weak at any point in the story.
The style is just down right bothersome. Want to make a word sound important? Say it again. And again. This is down right over used. There is lots of use of noises not described as normally expected, but actually spelled out (I am assuming because the narrators feel the need to try and reproduce them). Expletives are weird, and mostly about genitals. Speaking of, dirty, passionless sex fills this book which is even weirder because every character is related.
The narration is again, either too cleaver, or just dumb. A large cast doesn't bring any real depth to the experience. The accents are thick and sometimes downright laughable. Also, if you hail from the colonies you'll likely be wondering about the following words: Lantern, Family, and Valley. Is that really how it is pronounced? Why does it sound so weird? The sounds are all there, but good lord, why does this grate on my ears?
The worst part of these particular 3 words is that they make up maybe 5% of the book. I wish I was kidding, but it could actually be true.
In the end, its a concept play more then a story. It makes me think of a twist on Lord of the Flies by William Golding. If you liked that book I think you will really like this one. But if that one bothered the heck out of you like it did me, then maybe this one isn't worth the credit.
Let me start off by saying, I like long books. If a book isn't as heavy as a brick, I struggle to get behind a story. And yet 1Q84 may be one of the slowest long books I've ever imagined.
Details I love, but this book took it to a level that was almost unbearable. I really feel it lost a lot in translation because so many passages (entire chapters sometimes) are just mindless fluff. I kept thinking over and over again, "I just don't care, this just doesn't matter".
Every time I thought the story would advance it would either be a really clinical and awkward sex scene for no reason. I don't mind smut one bit, but this book is just downright gratuitous with it. It somehow lacks completely in passion. Sex is a mechanical distraction between strangers in every case. 100% physical and downright boring by the descriptions. Its like sitting through a sexual education class.
I did enjoy this book, but I struggle to say good things about it. The characters aren't exactly flat, but their not exactly very dynamic. The story isn't predictable, but it doesn't feel like it gives you anything unexpected. The ending is a bit of a let down I thought. Given that this is part one of a trilogy I guess that is expected.
What I am trying to say I was left with mixed feelings and I'm really not sure if I will go on to the next book or not. This series is worth a try, but it wouldn't be my first choice.
As a side note, somehow the strongest thing that sticks out in my mind about this book was the gratuitous use of the word "Slowly" and "Noooooooo!". If such things bother you I'd pass on this one. I guess that being my biggest impression proves about 3 stars is appropriate.
The narration was a plus, I thought that it was handled very well. So there is always that.
This book had so much potential, but I found it falling flat on its face again and again. The problem is, it feels more like a PSA then a story. In the forward they even come right out and say that was one of the main reasons this book was written. If you imagine everything your weirdest friend said about the Y2K bug, that is exactly what this book is. Doom and gloom. The main protagonist is just there to provide historical context to what is going on. The story doesn't so much arch as it does slowly descend into madness.
If you have ever read any other end of the world type books you will find this one lacking. I kept being reminded of The Stand by Steven King, and I think its a good book to contrast this one with. In The Stand, the characters drive the book, they are varied, interesting, sometimes crazy, sometimes logical, emotional, likable. That is what makes that book good. In One Second After there is really only one character in one location who is okay, but not very dynamic. It is such a missed opportunity to show what was really going on. The main character thinks (guesses) what is happening around the country, but we never get a glimpse outside of the little world the protagonist finds himself trying to create and protect. It quickly gets boring. People die every few minutes that we have no emotional connection to so it looses all impact. Every big plot point is telegraphed so far in advanced you are never surprised when something happens.
Joe Barrett does do a good job at narration and its not all together a waste of a credit. There are parts that are enjoyable and it is fun to play the "what if" game along with the book trying to think of what you would do, how you would survive. Just don't expect the kind of magic you would normally get from a character driven novel.
Also, if you really want to have fun with this book, I thought of a great drinking game for this book. Every time someone says "I can't believe its come to this", take a drink. Drink twice if you get the added bonus of "and is just X days/weeks." The bottle will be empty before chapter 4.
I thought my headphones were trying to kill me. The is something so very wrong about parts of the narration in this book. Its high pitched, computer enhanced, pure annoyance. They actually went out of their way to make the voice of Daisy painful, actually painful, physically painful. Its far, far too loud, far to squeaky and I just couldn't take it anymore.
He/she/it doesnt appear until a ways into the book, and honestly I really enjoyed the over the top style of the rest of the narration/effects leading up to it. But after two thirds of the way in, I just couldn't keep going. It made me hate every second of it.
Do I blame the narrator? No. The author? Of course not. I blame the production engineer. What ever effects he put on here just crossed a line when it came to Daisy. I really think the problem is he may be deaf. I don't blame the man, just he really needs a new line of work.
Here is my question to you, then I will review this book for each answer:
What is most important for you in a book? Is character king? Or is the world, the ideas what hold sway in your heart?
For Character driven people:
Clearly I believe in characters being paramount, so maybe this is a little bias. But I can only rate by what I feel is true.
This book falls flat on its face. Just 100% misses. Each character falls into cliche pitfalls, tends towards predictable extremes. The narrative just fails to connect with you. There are a lot of back and forth in time, telling the story from different places in time via journals and the active tense, which makes the characters more confusing. They are like different people "then" and "now" so it makes for odd moments. Put simply, this book is an amazing idea with a book and some people written around it. Don't be fooled by all the critical accolades this book has. As far as I can tell, professional critics are mainly idea driven people and never seem to notice the lackluster characters. So all that said...
For Idea driven people:
This book is fantastic. The ideas put forth here are really mind shaking. The span of this book is huge, and has a scope that rocks the world down to its core. All hard science, all very realistically imagined. Its an interesting read start to finish.
I really enjoyed the glimpse into the world of modern technology with out eyes. Some fun and new ideas are played around in this book. But... I think I could best say it comes off a bit preachy. Maybe the ending is overdone. I don't know how else to describe it.
Honestly, some of the best story, characters and places I've ran across. Its just great. The worst part about The Way of Kings: Book 2 wont be out for a few years.
I was expecting the Well of Ascension to be more like more like the first book. It was very disappointing. The trouble is, I can't tell you why if you haven't read the first in the series. Its a big spoiler, but just imagine for a moment if you have finished book one, what would be missing. Yes, what every your thinking, yes.
Also, you have to work through about 3 quarters of the book before you get to something that doesn't remind you of a bad tweenager throwing a pity tantrum. Long sections of the story are just about characters who need to "find them selves" then "decide if I'm good enough" and "look for a reason to go on". By the end you just want to shake every last character and tell them to stop moping and grow a pair.
The last 6 hours start to feel more like book one, things finally start moving. Does move the narrative to and through interesting places, but the characters complain every step of the way. The new insights into the world is very intriguing, and some of the scenes are very intense. I just couldn't get over the annoying, annoying characters.
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