"Black Order" is a wonderful combination of suspense, history, intrigue, terror, and science. I hate using terms like "on the edge of my seat", but that pretty well describes the experience for me.
Fortunately, a scientific background is not necessary to appreciate fully it, as it provides just enough of a sprinkling of scientific fact to make the story plausible. Some of the precepts really make you think, and, if you want to learn more, Rollins provides a short bibliography at the end.
I found the plot twists unexpected (although, in truth, I don't spend much time trying to figure out "what's going to happen" -- I prefer to be surprised). I also found the characters realistic and believable, especially the "bad guys".
Grover Gardner's performance was exceptional, helping to bring the many and varied characters to life, making them seem 3-dimensional. The pace was perfect, as he slowed his rhythm during some of the scientific explanations, giving me that little extra time to absorb them. He also nicely sped up some of the action scenes, adding to the suspense and excitement of the story.
I rated it five stars, and I think James Rollins' story and Grover Gardner's reading earn every one of them.
Not in this lifetime.
Seriously, "eXscape"? Really? This narrator sounds like he never finished grade school. Doesn't anyone EDIT or DIRECT or even LISTEN? Or, do they ALL think that it really is "eXscape"? Plus, random ... pauses that ... drive me absolutely ... crazy.
I own several hundred audio books, and I would have to say that this narrator is the worst (and there are some bad ones) I've heard, IMHO.
I've made it about halfway through and I just can't finish it. The story drags, but it's the "reading" that makes it unbearable for me. I can't call it a "performance", since it just sounds like someone with a raspy voice "reading". There are no inflections, no accents, no "voices" for the different characters. If there is no "he said" or "she said", I cannot tell who is "talking" -- or even if someone IS talking. All in all, I'm very disappointed. I tried giving the "performance" NO stars, but it won't let me. I bought it after reading the positive reviews, so perhaps my expectations were too high. Oh well, I'll check out the new Star Force book.
I'm a little dismayed by all the five-star reviews. For me, the "Russian" accent was almost unintelligible at times. I normally listen a 1.5 times normal speed, but realized I wouldn't understand ANYTHING at that speed.
Plus, those annoying pauses -- right in the middle -- pause -- of a sentence. Then, there is the meeting between the Prof, Mike, and Wyoming. When there wasn't a "he said/she said" I had trouble figuring out WHO was talking -- all three sound the SAME. I made it about halfway through and I've given up.
The story so far has been so-so. Maybe it picks up, but I just can't get through the narration.If you're a Heinlein fan, I highly recommend READING it.
I agree with Matthew's review. This is an AMAZING story, performed with such perfect timing that it came ALIVE! Mr. Garcia, gracias. Fantastic job!
And Mr. Crouch, you set the hook and reeled me in. Just when I thought I had it figured out -- BAM! Wrong again.
Seriously, why are there only 85 "ratings" after six months? People -- you need to read this. If you enjoy mystery, sci-fi, or just a great story, you'll love this.
Let me explain that I LOVE fantasies. When I saw this book had ratings of 4+, and it was on sale, I got it. Perhaps it was because I had just finished the latest Wheel of Time book, but I cannot tell you how disappointed it was. I should have done what several other listeners did and quit part way through.
Personally, I am turned off by graphic details of the torture and murder of anyone, but ESPECIALLY CHILDREN!!!!! Now, if you like that kind of thing, then this is the book for you.
Setting aside my personal dislikes, I didn't care for was the sheer stupidity of the book. It insults the reader's (or listener's) intelligence. I don't want to go into details, since I dislike spoilers. But, suffice it to say that there are NUMEROUS times when one of the characters
ANYTHING by Brandon Sanderson. Although, I've already read or listened to everything he's written. Maybe I'll listen to The Way of Kings again -- just to remember what good fantasy is all about.
For this book? No one! I'd toss the script into a fireplace.
I listened to the first hour, but I just couldn't force myself to keep going. I kept falling asleep as I listened (and that's not a good thing while you're driving). I have been a Dean Koontz fan since Watchers, and I'm sorry to say that I was very disappointed.
I enjoyed the story quite a bit, but two things were rather disappointing. First, the same stupid music that comes along sort of randomly and WAY TOO OFTEN. The second was the narrator, Ron Perlman. Although I enjoy him as an actor, his narration was one of the worst I have ever listened to.
I see that a lot of reviews talk about how good he was. I disagree. Naratives were monotonous. But more annoying were the dialogs -- I could not keep track of who was talking -- even when a man was talking with a woman.
As far as the story, it was well done. I thought the internal conflicts of the lead characters was very realistic -- imagine having your entire belief system -- what you have always believed to be true or false -- wiped out in an instant. I also liked the "explanation" of the vampires.
For the story, 4 stars, for the narration only 2 (I'd have given it only 1 if it had been anyone but Ron Perlman). So, overall I gave it 3.
I have just two words to describe this book: bore-ring! I kept listening, hoping it would get better -- but how many ways can you describe the same thing? Over and over and over....
If you're not a real amazon history buff (and I'm not), don't waste your credit.
I am a long time fan of Dean Koontz. I have read most of his works, and I'd have to say this one was a little disappointing -- especially the ending. I agree with the first reviewer that he did his homework concerning animal rescue, but I thought the tearjerk parts were deliberately overdone and unnecessary to the plot. I don't want to be a "spoiler", so I won't say anymore on the subject.
I will say, however, it was nothing like "Watchers", "Dark Rivers of the Heart", or even "Dragon Tears". I gave it 3 stars because anything Mr. Koontz writes is worth 2 automatically.
Save your credit! I am a Michael Crichton fan, so I bought it in spite of the overwhelming number of negative reviews. I should have paid heed.
This is the single most disappointing book by Crichton that I have read or listened to. It seemed very random, like he wrote without ever turning back to see what had already been written. Not much plot, just a lot of personal opinion.
Hmmmm, how long would it take for an infinite number of transgenic monkeys to come up with something better?
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