I pre-ordered this book thinking that it was a sequel to "Kill Shot" - another book about Mitch Rapp's past. Instead, I was surprised to find that this book actually follows "Pursuit of Honor" chronologically, so make sure you are caught up there first. This book takes place in the Present Day and Vince Flynn brings the story into the forefront of today's issues as the US continues to work on its withdrawal from Afghanistan.
"The Last Man" has a lot of new and welcome twists and turns - some old faces return, and some unexpected things happen to Rapp. I won't spoil it for you though; you'll just have to listen and find out!
I'm done. This novel was so bad, I couldn't make it past the halfway mark. I almost quit several times already, and should have listened to my inner voice and wasted less time. It is so BORING I cannot stand it anymore.
Wow, I actually kind of enjoyed Karpyshyn's Darth Bane novels, and was hoping for a fast-paced and action-packed book filled with cool concepts and magic. Instead we get an extremely amateur and unoriginal book that seems to be as dark as possible simply for the sake of being dark. This is exactly what is wrong with modern epic fantasy, and Karpyshyn is just falling right into the well-trod wagon ruts hewn by Martin, Abercrombie, Weeks, and others, albeit with seemingly none of the skill in writing that the other authors have.
I mean, seriously. Don't authors have EDITORS anymore? The whole first part of the book at four bloody and gruesome birth sequences (by the fourth you have compeltely forgotten who was born to whom), ALL of which should have been cut and filled in later on in the story. Then we apparently get snippets of the different kids growing up. I'm not sure because by that point I was so lost and couldn't remember who was who, so stopped caring and listened on max speed. I dare you to try and make sense of this mess.
The novel just gets worse from there. Not to mention the rampant misogyny (another supposed "dark fantasy" trait) - women should be offended at not only how Karpyshyn treats the females in his book, but also in how he writes them. Maybe he should stick with male characters. Right from the start, his descriptions of pregnant women just felt totally misrepresented and sexist to me. Birthing does not have to be the horrible experience that you think it is, Drew. Some women actually are happy when their kids are born! Just about every character that shows up in this book is so stereotyped, I think you could skip a large portion of it and still not feel like you missed anything at the end.
Sheesh, this book is just so bad that it's... No, it's still bad.
Hoping to finish this series before the end of the year, I decided to go with the abridged audiobook. I made the choice also because I didn't enjoy any of the other books in the series and wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible. And, strangely enough, despite the very short running time, I still don't feel like much happened. The whole story is still confusing and not very interesting to me, and I can't really understand why it is popular amongst certain circles. There is nothing really new here, and the personalities and thought processes of the characters are still just as strange and alien as in the other books. I'm glad to be done with this series.
The audio quality is pretty low, since it seems to have been recorded a long time ago. I think Audible realized though that it's not worth the expense to have this re-recorded. This series is probably only going to appeal to avid fans of Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Moon.
This is fantasy at the most absolutely epic end of the genre.
This book brings together so many threads that have been building over the course of the first 4 books, and once you see how intricately structured the tale is that Erikson is telling, the scope is astounding. It is hard to imagine the work that went into planning this story. This was the first book where I really felt like I knew what was going on throughout the vast majority of the book, and so I think I enjoyed it a lot more, even more than Memories of Ice, perhaps.
The first 270 pages or so are a masterpiece of epic fantasy writing, showing that in fact Erikson CAN write one single storyline without diverging into dozens of sub-characters and plots. The writing is tight, and it's hard to imagine anything being cut. When it is over it's actually a bit disappointing that we have to get on with the main storyline, which is of course, the war that's been brewing between the rebellion of Seven Cities and the Malazan Empire. As the tale progresses, I really felt that I had a grasp on most of the key players, and I think this is in part to Erikson finally revealing tons and tons of backstory and explanations of the various plots that are going on. Although unexpected things are constantly occurring, it seems that an overall picture of the storyline is now becoming clearer. After this we reach a kind of pause for breath, as the fifth book starts a new tale on a new continent that will eventually tie into the whole storyline.
The interesting thing is that while there are definitely some good characters and some evil characters, and thankfully the good guys (generally) make it out all right in the end and the evil guys get their comeuppance, there are a host of characters that fall between categories, as it seems in real life, who are "gray" and you do eventually come to understand their motivations and positions, even if you may have hated them at first. I think this tempers the fact that we cannot get quite as much character development at an individual scale when dealing with such a large dramatis personae. The main characters feel like they have some deep backstories that are simply not yet revealed, driven by excellent dialogue and POV moments, plus insights from other characters watching from the sidelines.
I was disappointed at first that the series switched narrators, but within the first hour I was hooked by Michael Page's amazing performance, and now I don't regret it. He especially brought Karsa Orlong to life for me, a character that (as a perfect example of what I mentioned before) I disliked at first, labeling as a villain, and now find one of the most interesting characters in the entire series, whom I find myself cheering on more and more. His growth and development in particular, changing from evil to (mostly) good, is quite a masterful piece of storytelling.
This is a Hunger Games clone without the games - no, scratch that. It's an angsty teen romance novel set in a dystopic world that has no explanation at all. The main character is the weakest, sissiest and clueless girl ever, with the author using all the common tropes of information withholding etc. to try and build tension. I'm not sure if there is a single idea or event here you haven't already encountered before.
Do yourself a favor and avoid this one like the plague. Even the Divergent series looks good next to this one.
This is a military fantasy that tries to be a mix between the grittiness of Glen Cook/Steven Erikson and the modern trend of moving into flintlock fantasy. Unfortunately little new ground is tread here, however.
For starters, the book starts out on the wrong foot - with a meeting. Wow, how exciting is that? Followed by conversation and exposition, which immediately have you sighing with boredom. Oh, there's the obligatory mysterious foreshadowing magic scene at the beginning, which is of course meaningless because you have no context for it at all.
What follows is mostly a military campaign of battles involving characters you don't know, who don't get much development. There is eventually some, but unfortunately by then your opinion of the book is already pretty low. It's a shame, because the author could have made this a lot more exciting, but he relies far too much on familiar tropes, most of which have already been done in novels of the last couple of years. Seriously, another fantasy series where nobody believes in gods/magic anymore, only to suddenly find out that it's all in fact true? This is old, old, well-trod ground, folks.
Probably most shocking of all: this book has some of the filthiest, ugliest language I have ever seen in a fantasy book. Seriously, I feel like I need a brain cleansing after this listen, and Wexler needs some scrubbing bubbles for his potty mouth, or maybe some sanitary wipes for the diarrhea all over his keyboard. This is fantasy, folks! You don't use the dirtiest modern-day slang you heard of in the latest R-rated movies. This author has a serious vocabulary deficiency.
Needless to say, I don't intend to read the rest of this series, and you probably won't, either.
Much like "The Death of Sleep", this book has a very interesting premise that is absolutely terrible in its execution. I chalk this up to two things. First is the writing style, which is just not good. Secondly, I think McCaffrey and Moon are science fiction fans, not scientists. This is space opera, not hard SF. Don't expect things to make much sense if you're thinking analytically about this world.
Note about the writing style: There is scant detail given about what is going on, virtually no internal character thoughts or development, and really almost no narrative. The story reads like a series of news reports with much of the emotion and details left out. The narrator only made things worse, with little emotion and no real voices for the characters.
Ultimately a disappointment, written by two science fictions fans who are also very liberal women pushing a totally unrealistic view of the future. In the 21st century, we look back at such ideas and we snicker at how childish it seems now.
This book started with an interesting premise, but it all went downhill from there. The woman gets stranded in time several times due to cold sleep malfunction, which is so extremely unlikely that is sticks out as the mere plot point that it is. Secondly, the story fails to deliver audience expectation - that is, does she get reunited with her daughter? At first we see she'll do whatever it takes to find her, then halfway through the book she inexplicably gives up. After that the novel makes no sense, as the plot tries to go in a new direction, which was a totally bad idea, and fails anyway. I got very lost and bored and listened to most if the book on double speed just to get through it.
The Blade Itself is part of the more recent wave of darker, more gritty, military-style fantasy, and one the whole I'd say it holds up better than average. Its strengths are in the dark sense of humor that permeates the whole novel, and in the realistic and well-written action sequences. A few characters stand out, especially Inquisitor Glokta, who is by far the best developed and most memorable. Strangely, it seems that the character development doesn't really kick in until the latter half of the novel, at which point it really takes off at breakneck speed. This brings us to the novel's downsides.
Inexplicably, after a great opening sequence and first few chapters, the story really starts to drag. The scale remains very small and narrow until much later in the novel. At this point to me, the novel was already not going to make more than three stars, even though the story really picks up and becomes interesting later on. Also, the novel suffers from a plethora of filthy language.
Is "The Blade Itself" interesting enough to read the whole trilogy? For me, it's on the back burner; I have a lot more books on my reading list to get to first.
I don't think this story really classifies as Epic Fantasy, at least not the first book. It certainly has a good cast of characters, but not the scope that we've come to expect from other epics such as the Wheel of Time or ASoIaF. And you could drop this entire novel into any of the books in the massive Malazan series and lose it. Still, this book has definitely cemented Abercrombie's place amongst the new wave of modern fantasy writers.
I stumbled upon this author through someone's Goodreads review, and recently have been reading a lot of "first published independently" authors. When I discovered the author was a fellow North Carolinian and that the story takes place here in NC, I was fairly excited to try him out!
The zombie genre is, in a word, overdone these days, but I was hoping for a new twist on the theme. This one is well written, and kept me interested all the way. There were a few minor snags for me, though.
The prologue started out great. Once we get into chapter 1, however, the story jumps back to the main character's life before the outbreak. Then we get to see the outbreak itself. I don't know about you, but I've seen the zombie "origin story" enough times by now. This one is fairly straightforward, and I could have done without it.
I kept hoping we would quickly make it back to the timeline in the prologue, featuring the main characters of Eric and Gabriel. Unfortunately, the story gets sidetracked again, and I realized that I wasn't going to like the direction the story was taking. Again, don't get me wrong: the story is pretty good. I just didn't find anything particularly unique about it, nor about the rest of the plot as it unfolds. The book also suffered from a lot of cursing and bad language that I wasn't expecting and frankly could have done without.
In fact, the entire book itself is backstory, which is a shame, because it is well written and interesting. The problem is, we KNOW that Eric is going to end up with Gabriel, just two of them, holed up in a cabin inside a fence looking out on the world. I wanted to find out what happens AFTER that, and I didn't want to wait until book 2 or 3 to find out.
This book should be a study in what not to do when writing epic science fiction. Hamilton is billed as "Britain's Best-Selling Science Fiction Writer". Well, maybe I'm just too widely read, because I cannot fathom why this would be the case.
There is really nothing in this novel that hasn't been seen before. That wouldn't be a problem if it was pulled off right, but there are so many problems that I don't know where to begin. First, the book BADLY needs an editor. Large portions could be cut out (and should be!). There are too many characters, too many uninteresting side plots, etc etc. The novel finally picks up right at the end and them BAM! It's over, and you're asked to buy the second book. Well, no thanks!
Then the whole societal structure shows what a weak writer Hamilton is. If people are rejuvinated ever 50-60 years and are virtually immortal, then why are they all the time thinking about how novel and interesting this technology is? Shouldn't it be taken for granted? But because this is a very different concept to us as readers, Hamilton hits us over the head with it again and again. Not only this, but most of the characters seem like the same person just with a few tweaks here and there. Most of the same traits apply, including their speech (why does everyone curse like a sailor, using the SAME words?) and their attitudes toward their lives (divorce an inevitability, interested only in their own gain). Then, there is the huge amount of sex in the book. Literally every character seems like a hormone-crazed teenager dumped into a mid-1960's free sex environment where everyone is screwing everyone. This is just flabbergasting. It makes NO sense. We're given the excuse that rejuvenation invigorates the sex drive, but that doesn't explain why every character is obsessed with having sex, ALL the time! This is utter drivel.
If you want great new space opera, I would much recommend Alastair Reynolds over this massive tome of lackluster storytelling.
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