I'm torn about my final thoughts on this book. Herbert is a sublime writer first of all. After a spate of rather thin books, I was really excited to get into Heretics after my first few chapters. However this book ended up being SLOW. Not much happens for the majority of this novel and you spend an inordinate amount of time with the inner thoughts of certain Bene Gesserit characters. Apparently all Bene Gesserit characters think about is how their mystical training has made them particularly awesome humans and how they're going to double and triple cross everyone they see.
The last 2 hours of this book finally reach the point where all these double crosses have been leading . Unfortunately there are several clashes/battles/incredible happenings that you are eager to experience and all of a sudden Herbert jumps to a new chapter which glosses over the whole event. SPOILER FREE: Character A is about to mount an incredible ground battle against Faction B while Characters B & C are desperately trying to get Item C into a starship so they can escape the planet and save Humanity..... and the next chapter suddenly starts with said characters several weeks in the future getting on with their lives. It was a little bit of a letdown - I've waded through hours of internalized political maneuvering, thoughts, fears, and trechery.... let's see some lazer beams for a just a couple pages :)
The narrator does a very good job and his voices aren't too over the top. But I think he could have picked up the pace 20% and it would have helped keep the book moving. There were literally moments during my commute where my attention had wandered for several minutes and I just turned it off and switched to FM (gasp!)
So in the end I cannot recommend this book as an audiobook. I think it would have read better.
Short, distilled review: Did you like the film Apollo 13? Do you like Mars? This book is exactly what you're looking for.
I am in full agreement with the other reviews. It's simple, fast paced, sci-fi. Very reminiscent of Starship Troopers in overall plot. The author does take some pains to keep the science plausible (gravity, lightspeed, propulsion, atmosphere.... issues that sometimes get glossed over.)
The narrator is mostly good except for the idiotic voices he comes up with. They're pretty awful.
There's several competing visions crammed into this novel and they don't particularly work well together. Other than some returning characters The Twelve feels much like a brand new universe that's still laying down the rules. Cronin doesn't seem to know exactly what the story he wants to tell is. Or rather he's trying to tackle a lot of concepts but nothing is getting his full attention.
A major annoyance is Cronin's shift from time-periods or main characters. You'll have a few short chapters in the 'present' and then spend the next 1/4 of the book in the 'past' with a completely different cast of characters (which you will not return to). Later you'll be spending a long period of time with a situation then he throws in a random chapter about an entirely unrelated character. Then off on another tangent. For the life of me I cannot figure out the flow. It feels like he got bored while writing and went off on random vectors to keep himself interested.
Normally I like Scott Brick... he's fairly awful here. Slow and ponderous narration. Way too much use of his "confused" voice which is sort of soft, whispery, and whiney. And unfortunately there are a lot of very confused characters in The Twelve. It seems everyone is coming out of a coma, or shock, or a blackout at the beginning of every chapter...
There were a few standout parts of the book, however. I really enjoyed a lengthy section detailing what happened in the weeks and months following the worldwide outbreak. It was a tasty novella hiding in a otherwise dull tome.
You'll enjoy this one. Same generic plot, same boilerplate characters, same breakneck space battles that are highly entertaining, etc.... However I'd say this book is roughly 50% space battle where the first book was 75%. There is a bit more downtime and an attempt to flesh out characters, aliens, and the conflict. A nice attempt, but nothing surprising.
Once again a very decent performance from Nick Sullivan.
Biggest gripe: like the first book, Ian Douglas explains everything over and over and over. How many time do we need explained that a VC-10 CRATE missile has a variable yield warhead and can accelerate at 5000G? Really?
Starts great, ends great. I found myself fast forwarding through chapters in the middle, yet was compelled enough to reach the end.
Outside the hard sci-fi the author tries to write some sort of grand novel of the human/alien condition. Alliances, double crosses, secrets, love and lust, etc..... While there's a great depth and examination of these ideas, it comes off dull and hard to follow.
It would have definitely been better as a hardcopy book: lots of tricky names that all sound similar. Narrator was ok, but the voice he gave to dialogue was too theatric: too melodic and sing-songish.
Where Coyote was a book about man's initial thrust to colonize another planet, Rising is more of a political history of the problems that arise in a new colony. Not quite as hard sci-fi filled with the unknown as the first, but still an engaging read.
My biggest gripe is that Steele writes in circles. It's as if your're on a boat trying to cross a river but often you get caught in a whirlpool and spin around and around. Eventually you paddle out and progress several feet but then get caught in another whirlpool. Steele constantly rehashes plot points so that "you remember why X=Y" and it's quite overbearing. Feels like filler more often than not. He also has a habit of introducing compelling characters that he seemingly forgets to get back to later in the book.
Our slow-reading-robotic narrator Peter Ganim seems to have picked up the pace a little this time around.... but he's still the most painful point of this audiobook.
This was to be my 4th Child-Preston audiobook. I really enjoy their books for my daily commute (Thunderhead! Awesome read!)
But Relic sounds HORRIBLE. It's feels like there's a sibilance reducer or compressor that's been set way too high. End result is half the time it sounds like he's talking through a pillow and half the time it sounds marginally ok - it comes in nauseating waves. I found myself turning all the bass down, the treble all the way up, the vocal booster on my ipod tuned on AND the volume 15% higher than I normally listen to books YET still fighting to comfortably listen and get into the book.
FWIW this is roughly my 20th book from Audible, and haven't run across this problem before. Just the same the "enchanced" audio format has the issue. It must be an older audiobook.... maybe they digitized it off cassette tapes (I'm only partially kidding!)
You know that soft, metered female voice that seems to be part of any automated phone service? That's precisely who's reading this book and it dulls down an otherwise humorous and interesting subject.
Listen to the sample first! This might be a better book to buy in black & white
I knew by reading the description of the book that the plot was entirely preposterous. There's nothing wrong with that. You can suspend a little disbelief to enjoy a story - it's the cornerstone of your favorite Pixar movies, right?
Subterranean is beyond. Way beyond. Wallowing deep in preposterousness. It's not just the core plot but it's the author's employment of the cheapest gags and devices to "keep up the suspense". By the second mp3 file I was rolling my eyes and groaning - out loud in my car - roughly every 5 minutes. You can quite literally guess everything that's about to happen if you ask yourself "what would a 13 year old attempting to write his/her first fantasy/romance novel do here?" In the same vein the dialogue and the characters were most likely carved in wood before printing in the book - it was so hard to carve complicated text in wood that Rollins settled for the bare minimum. It's AWFUL.
To cap it off, I still have 3 hours or so left. I don't think I'll be finishing the book....
Great fast-paced techno thriller that really made my commute fly by. It's a mix of Michael Crichton, Stephen King, and some Lincoln Child: somewhat plausible, a little over the top, but a fun little book that entertains.
It does get a little ridiculous with all the techno gadgets and action sequences towards the end. You'll kinda groan and roll your eyes but at the same time grin at the silliness.
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