If you like hard (okay, maybe just a little squishy) science fiction with a huge dose of drama and solid, if not overly deep, characters, Jack Campbell is an author to keep on your list. I've listened to the whole Lost Fleet and Beyond the Frontier series', and there wasn't a slow or disappointing book in the bunch.
It's all about politics and space combat, and a clash of cultures that could ultimately save humanity.
My only complaint (and it's really petty), is that by naming the books after random ships it's a little hard to keep track of what order they come in. I needed a cheat sheet that I kept on a memo in my Blackberry so I knew in what order to listen.
I said it was petty.
Great narration by Christian Rummel. For space opera and science fiction fans these are a great listen.
Most Zombie novels deal with the actual fall of civilization. This one picks up twenty years later, when a (sort of) equilibrium has been restored and society continues, just with wandering zombies. This is a unique story with a perfect balance of plot, detail, pacing and characterization. I won't spoil it by giving anything away, but this is one of the absolute best Zombie / Apocalypse novels I've read, and I've read a lot of zombie novels (who'd of thought?).
Kudos to both the author and performer. Great job.
I was hesitant to get this series based on the reviews of other listeners. But the reviews for the first two books were so good I felt I could risk the complaints about the third.
I understand the complaints now.
My first concern was: was there an obvious transition between authors? No, not really. The pace and tone and style don't change noticably.
The disappointment comes from some of the story choices made. There's a fairly large event about half-way through the book that completely defies all logic and sense. Even if the world was in such a state of decline, I can't imagine anyone following those orders without question. The really odd part is that this act was foreshadowed in Book 2, which leads me to believe the orignial author intended the story to go there. But even now I shake my head in bewilderment.
The second disappointment derives from similar events towards the climax of the story. I know "random" events can befall anyone, but an author knowledgable enough to know the color of a stipe around a particular type of munition should be smart enough to know that two crew members aboads a helicopter are not going to instantly know the exact source location of every round fired at them in the heat of battle.
At the end it felt a little like logic was taking a back seat to a plot element checklist.
Overall I think it the entire series was worth the listen. But there are some pretty significant holes in some of the character development, and some minor holes in the plot. That said, there are also some characters whose experiences are explored quite well.
The narrator was very good throughout. My only issue was his tendancy to give all the minor military characters the same "red neck" accent, which he also gave to one of the major characters, which occasionally caused some confusion.
This second installment carries forwarrd the story from Book 1 with a solid plot and performances. We see some foreshadowing of how it will all come to a climax. Overall a very good listen for Zombie / Post-Apocalypse fiction fans.
It's the third book where things start to unravel...
The story takes both a macro and micro view of the Zombie Apocalypse, with some very plausible consequences and actions (assuming you accept the Zombie Apocalypse premise). Some (not all) of the characters are too one-dimensional, and while people making mistakes is to be expected as they deal with the threat, some of them repeat the same mistakes a few too many times to be reasonable. But this is a minor criticism in an overall well-crafted story.
Oliver Wyman's narration is mostly very good. He does some great accents and specific voices for specific characters, a couple of whom are true standouts. My only issue is he gives a lot of the minor-character soldiers the same "Hudson from Aliens" whiny voice, and that gets a bit old, and occasionally is confusing.
But overall it's well worth the time if you're a Zombie fiction fan, which I apparently am. Who'd of guessed?
What would happen if you had the chance to actually stop the Zombie Apocalypse before it started? Joe Ledger finds himself in that situation, and Jonathan Maberry does a first-class job crafting that story. It reads like a Tom Clancy thriller (without all the superfluous pages) that just happens to involve Zombies. And that approach works. It's a taught, emotional piece that keeps the story front and center, but still gives us characters solid enough to care about, and enough twists to keep us guessing without going overboard into the ridiculous.
Ray Porter's narration was up to the challenge, and it was a great listen.
Overall a great addition to the catalog of Zombie fiction. Well done.
Neal Stephenson has creating a unique and fascinating future, and the book is worth the time just for that experience. I was just a little disappointed with the construct of the story, however. It's "realistic" enough to make the story work, but in the end it took just one step too far for me to maintain my suspension of disbelief.
But despite that I have to say I don't often come across a story this creative, with this much obvious time and effort put into building the world and the society, and an extremely complex plot. So I have to give the author huge props for the effort, and for the result.
I know it's a lot easier to criticize than to create, and just because I wasn't personally bowled-over doesn't mean other readers won't be. I don't regret getting this, and if you're a sci-fi fan there is definitely something unique and special here, and it's worth a listen.
I don't understand how the mythology of the jet-flying gorilla hasn't been more widely circulated. I guess it's not as spectacular as a crashed alien flying saucer. Oh, well.
There are a lot of secrets uncovered in this book. Some amusing, some long-suspected, some bizarre, and some just plain sad. But all are fascinating and well worth the time and the listen. I'm often reluctant to listen to a book narrated by the author, but when Annie Jacobsen is not busy researching or writing she could do well with a second career as a narrator.
I only gave the "Story" attribute 4 stars because, well, it isn't a story. It's history. I don't think it could have been structured any better than it was, but by being reality instead of fiction, there was necessarily a certain lack of flow to the narrative, especially as changing subjects required jumping back in time.
Overall it’s a compelling look at what people do when they have unlimited budgets and no oversight. Sometimes the results are amazing, and sometimes they're just criminal. But what they should never be is secret.
Thanks, Annie, you’ve done us all a favor bringing these things to light. Maybe it will make some people think in the future before deciding to walk down some of these paths again.
I liked that this story remained narrow-focussed and intimate. And it kept to that track almost throughout, and only got a little broader towards the end. Allison's survival depended upon making lucky choices a lot of the time, but after a while you start having to wonder when that luck was going to run out.
There was good character development here, and the tragedy and its impact on the characters is explored convincingly.
I've read several zombie novels now that rely upon a "diary" structure, and personally I don't know what the motivation is for that construction. It's not necessary to the story, and in many places punctures the tension due to the obvious "I lived to write about it" necessity of the form. Yes, it's used to bookend the story, but for me it could have been scrapped in lieu of a straightforward narrative and been the better for it.
Overall a very good listen, though, and I will look out for more from this author.
There were parts of this book I think worked very well: the danger, tension, some clever escapes, and some sad stories. There was also some good science here. I appreciated the author took the time to give us a plausible background for the outbreak.
But overall the book felt like an elongated opening chapter (which, I suppose, it is). It felt like we got to watch the first 20 minutes of a movie, and then the film broke. Yes, I will probably watch the rest of the film when the projecter is fixed, but as a stand-alone work this felt like a 2-act script (FYI: scripts have 3 acts). I liked the civilian characters, but they could have been fleshed out more before they got "fleshed out" (I apologize for that, truly). The military people all seemed to be pretty much the same character. I had issues with some of the other supporting players (I won't spoil anything by being specific) in that they acted like they weren't living in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. Maybe there would be people that self-absorbed during such an event, but here is just didn't feel right.
Maybe some more time could have been applied to getting to know these people better. Some inter-character sub-plots would have helped, I think. A lot of potential was present. Mixing those in instead of having zombies be the driver of every story beat would have added depth.
Overall it was a good listen. I hope the next outing will be better.
I purchased this based on other readers' reviews. At first glance, the concept seemed just bit off the rails for me. Zombies and Superheroes occupying the same pages? How could that possibly work?
Well, not only does it work, it works beautifully. The characters are well-drawn and believable, and both the heroes and zombies are treated "realistically" (if I can use that word to describe fictional constructs). The story is tight, with appropriate tension and tragedy.
Overall I was very impressed.
The only possible quibble I could come up with is, it was over too soon. I was really getting to like these people, and there were a lot of personal subplots that didn't get fully resolved, which you would expect in "real life".
A very satisfying book, and I would definitely recommend to Sci-Fi, superhero, or Zombie/Horror fans.
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