I loved the first book in this series, but this one does not compare. It's just boring. In the first one, there were so many interesting characters to meet and mysteries to explore. This book has none of that. There's not enough plot to fill one book, yet it ends in the middle of the story to make you get the next one. Just sad.
This book reads just like good Firefly fanfiction. It's about a group of people on a derelict spaceship with mysterious backstories. The main character is fabulous, a space mercenary who loves her guns and armor. And there's a sexy bartender.
The reader is also great. She does the main character with a mild southern accent that emphasizes her origin from a backwater planet.
With the conceit of retelling Jane Austen's diaries, the author walks a line between telling an interesting mystery and being historically accurate. The book seems overly concerned with historical accuracy to the determent of the story. I haven't listened to earlier books in the series, but this installment spends very little time on the character of Jane or her family. Jane is there to follow the plot, which is told to the listener in large infodumps and results in very flat characters. Sections detailing the historical background of minor side characters and footnotes on changes to architecture over time do nothing to add excitement. I found this book boring and do not recommend it. I do recommend the 12th book in the series, Jane and the 12 Days of Christmas. Many of the issues in this book have been corrected by that title.
Although you can read this book on Sanderson's website, why do that when there's a great audio version?
Some listeners may prefer Michael Kramer's reading of Sanderson's works, but James Yaegashi does a great job with this one. I found his voice and intonation similar to Wil Wheaton's reading of Ready Player One. A few errors weren't edited out, but they were not frequent enough to ruin my enjoyment. In fact, Yaegashi really got into the reading, and his characters were nice and varied.
This book was similar in feeling to Elantris, with a pretty straight forward (for Sanderson) plot and a young-adult feeling to the story. Its 24 hour length is enough to get to know the world, characters, and new magic system really well. The worst thing about the book is the title.
I am also a Michael Kramer fan and thoroughly enjoyed his readings of the first 3 Felix Castor books, but I have to say, I prefer Damian Lynch's performance. His involvement with books 4 and 5 make them the best so far.
The Felix Castor books take place in London primarily, and Damian Lynch can do all of the various nuanced English accents. While I love Michael Kramer's readings (especially Way of Kings), I always felt he gave Felix a too upper-crust accent. While Felix did go to Oxford, he's from Liverpool and is slumming it in his current position.
Damian Lynch's reading of Felix is just right, and he adds authenticity to all of the minor characters by giving each of them their own appropriate accent.
Change is hard, but the change of narrators here is a good thing.
I really enjoyed the first Bobby Dollar book, but this one took me a long time to get through. I enjoyed Bobby on Earth, but for this book he goes to Hell, and it's not nearly as much fun. It's the middle in the series, so pretty much a treadmill book. Lots of running around and going nowhere.
The reader did a great job. There aren't a lot of different accents, but each of the characters is distinct.
I really liked the first two books in this series. The heroine was strong and made up her own mind. In this book she falls apart. When the alpha male tried to control her previously, she came up with intelligent ways to deal with him. Here they have the same boring argument over and over. The heroine seems to devolve into an insecure toddler who is constantly saying "no" for no reason. She has to do everything herself and cannot take help from anyone. This book has more minutes taken over by sex scenes than the first two, but that is instead of interesting plot or character development. If you liked the first two books, you'll probably listen to this one, Justine Eyre does an excellent reading. Just have low expectations. I was very excited but this book doesn't meet the series' standards.
This book started out well with an interesting premise and characters, but then takes a turn into cartoon land and never recovers.
I liked the first 4 or so chapters of this book (you can read them on the website. Amnesia, special powers, boarding school, I love that stuff, but then the limitations of the book start showing, and soon they've taken over.
The book is divided into present narrative and flashback diary entries. The flashbacks are large infodumps that have little to no bearing on the present events. It's obvious the author put a lot of thought into the backstory of each minor character, but by the time I'd heard the life history of the 4th office colleague, I couldn't remember or care who any of these people were. In spite of the numerous details, the vast majority of characters have negligible roles in the present-day action, so it was hard for them to hold my attention or for me to care any about their childhoods.
With the frequent flashbacks, the novel is series of strung-together vignettes. This works well in some books, but in this one, the main character is mostly watching other people do things, so we don't learn what is interesting about her, and she can't hold the divergent stories together. There is a lot of time spent in worldsetting, but the characters and events in the world are not enough to hold the story.
This all would be ok if the writing style held my interest. While the beginning is intelligently written and very polished, the further into the book, the more cartoon situations and juvenile bathroom humor appear. The increasing inappropriateness turned me off completely.I can see why this book would be classed as young adult. The juvenile humor and inappropriate and cartoonish ways the characters act, along with gratuitous violence and gore, seems very young.
I really wanted to like this book and gave it chance after chance to impress me, but it failed on all accounts.
Note on narration: The narrator has a strange speaking style where her intonation rises at the end of every phrase making it sound like a question. This was very strange and took a while to get used to, but by the end she either gets better or I got used to it.
I liked the first book in the series. It was a PI-noir set in ancient Rome. But the next few books are not in audio and instead are abridged radio dramas. I tried one, but it was difficult to listen to, so I went on to try this book because its back to the audio form. Big mistake!
The book tries to cover the events of the earlier books, but doesn't do a good job of it. I know all the characters, but they are still impossible to keep straight. Like the first book, this is primarily a mystery with some Roman infodumps here and there. While this worked when the main character was a penniless PI, it doesn't work now that his fortunes have risen and he's supposed to be respectable. The noir elements, which were the best part of book one, have been removed and replaced with nothing. The Roman gloss is particularly glaring in this book that takes place in Briton but without any of the knowledge or sympathy found in the Ruth Downie books.
Skip this series. The Roman Medicus series and medieval Mistress of the Art of Death series are much better.
The first third of this book is a fun parody of Star Trek, but when it comes to the point when a plot is needed to continue, it falls apart. The "plot" is boring, the characters intentionally flat, and the many inconsistencies in the world building brushed off with "it's not supposed to make sense." What would have made a good short story is needlessly stretched, and the codas are strangely tacked-on moralizing platitudes. This book is the only thing I've read from John Scalzi, and I don't plan to read any more. As always, Wil Wheaton does a good job with the material even though most of his voices sound the same, but it doesn't compensate for the drudge of this book. Two stars for the fun parts in the beginning. If you do get it, stop listening there.
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