I may be generous in my assessment of this book but I felt it was the best of the "JAG in Space" series to date (4 in the series). All of the novels follow the same formula - some action at the beginning with a tragedy of sorts, followed by a prolonged court room drama. Apart from the fact that the action occurs in space the novels really aren't science fiction. Don't bother with the book if you want hard sci fi.
The books roughly follow the experiences and tensions of a junior ship's officer with collateral 'legal officer' duty. In this book (more than the others) the tension seems more realistic because the protagonist is the instigator of the court martial procedings and so has a more vested interest in the outcome. That makes the tension and concern seem more plausible than in other books.While the consequences of going against more senior officers do not materialise in this book (but are implied to become manifest in book four), the real concern that they could and that the court room drama could become "career defining" make this a book worth listening to if that is your 'cup ot tea'.
The small things that are observed in court including the lawyer tricks add to the overall interest in the developing character of the protagonist but the arm wrestle between prosecution and defense should have been a bit meatier.
The book started off really well. I was looking forward to a good listen, but it didn't really live up to the expectation.
I think that the problem I discovered was the simplicity of the story line. The line is too thin and too straight. There's no real branching. Nothing much happens in parallel. There's not too many twists. The plot develops simply. The main character suddenly and inexplicitly rises to the next level after each challenge.
There are holes in the plot which just leaps ahead without much in between and there is a rush of events. For example the protagonist arrives at court and is suddenly the centre of attention. Everything seems to happen within a handful of days, with almost no intervening time for thoughts or emotions to develop. Just struck me as odd
The story had a lot more potential which could have been realised with just a bit more attention. I'm glad that it only cost me half a credit. Not sure that I would pay a full credit for others in the series.
The storyline is interesting. It is hampered because the mechanism used to convey information to the reader is discussions between the various protagonists. Unfortunately there are way too many of these and the entire discussion is portrayed sometimes in agonising detail causing the story to drag.
The performance makes this even worse because different people are identified by accents even though they all speak the same language natively (apparently). Unfortunately every person with an accent is spoken much slower than others and causes the conversations to be drawn out even more.
If you can overlook these major failings then the story is reasonably entertaining.
This is the fourth in the series about the crew of the odyssey though since that starship has been destroyed perhaps a different name is appropriate for the ongoing series.
If you don't know the series then you shouldn't listen to this book (until you listen to the earlier ones) because it won't make sense and is not intended as a stand alone book. What was really confusing in the third book [the battle of sol] was how the drasin who were formidable foes as single ships suddenly were destroyed en masse by the same ships that were lucky to take on or two - new weapons aside.
Anyhow the battlefield has moved to the earth and initially new york city. Strangely the drasin don't seem to be trying hard to win and the reason that is eventually given is not exactly convincing. Afterall if the goal of the drasin is to wipe out all non drasin life in the universe then it I for one don't get why they wouldn't just do that one star system at time starting with the one at hand. But then they're aliens and who knows how they think...
As you can guess fortunes wax and wane so that there are ever increasing difficulties for the terrans to counter and overcome - and that's the whole plot. At the end there is some more space battles and like previous books in this series those battles are lacking realism. In space travelling at relativistic speed (significant fractions of the speed of light) it seems reasonable over the huge distances involved that some of the shots would miss. In fact it seems likely that in general most shots fired at distances measured in light seconds or minutes would miss unless you could aim and track your laser with a precision that could be measured in fractions of a degree to fifty or a hundred decimal places. Other flaws in the science part of the fiction include the fact that you can use tachyon cannons within a gravity well but not the transition drive... not sure why not since its the same technology. And the fighters seem to be able to arc and get back to the ship extraordinarily quickly when they've been travelling away for significant periods.
From a plot point of view it didn't really make sense that the ships returning knew that there were of the order of 1500 drasin ships in the system when they left and only come prepared to deal with about a third that number on return.
Despite these limitations I did enjoy the book. I didn't see the point of the gaia gestalt who played little or no part in the story of any significance. In fact the story would have been no different if she wasn't there at all. But I suppose the best commendation I can give the book is that I would buy the next one in the series so if you listened to the previous books in this series and liked them then this is more of the same with a focus on planet based skirmishes.
The ideas behind the stormlight archive are really interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series. I was very excited to read this one as well and am eagerly looking forward to others. Each book is written from the point of view of several characters with one of those characters being the pre-eminent one in the book. In the first book that was Kaladin and in this one it is Shallan.
I found Shallan to be an unimpressive character - overly self absorbed and tiresome coming across somewhat pathetic. I was continually waiting for the sections from her point of view to conclude so I could become enthralled again in what Kaladin was up to. Perhaps the female narrator didn't help to make her seem worthwhile.
The story is awesome and well worth reading for anyone who enjoys fantasy. The world is rich and complex and well thought out. So much so that even though the sections of Shallan leave a lot to be desired, the rest of the book more than makes up for it.
The main ingredient (it seems) for an adventure story is a bit of missing information. That might be something misunderstood (or rather poorly explained by the author) or confusing and protagonists and antagonists rush around trying to figure out what that missing piece of information actually means. This story is no different. The hidden information is not particularly well hidden (or surprising) giving the story a bit of blandness - it would help if there was some significant meaning behind the actions of the elves. There is little complexity in the characters - they are all true to (a very simple) form. There is a grand adventure (to find out the truth) wherein most of the characters that we have come to know are regarded as expendable. Every one of the long line of bad guys meet their demise during the story. And since their characters are not well developed its a bit hard to shed any tears. This is not a book for those who want a well developed story and characters. But not a bad listen if your expectations are not too high.
This audio book is two books in one. I have read reviews of the novels being too boiler plate and predictable. To some extent that is true, but I think those critics are too harsh. Make no mistake, the people in the stories are very one-dimensional and they struggle to escape from a predictable outcome. However the story is easy to listen to and while not rollicking, a pleasant adventure. Certainly this is not a book for people who want complexity and intrigue but less fussy listeners can enjoy this book without too much trouble.
Two more books in one. The characters in these novels develop a bit more complexity than the previous pair of novels but still there is not a lot of development. It surprises me how the author assumes so much naivety on the part of the people to allow massive conspiracies to take place in complete ignorance. Of course there are only two people that can be turned to fight the conspirators. The plot doesn't twist too much and the outcomes are fairly predictable. Completely new people groups and lore are invented on the fly as necessary to add coherence to the story. There is still a lacking depth and those who want complexity and intrigue will want to pass over this novel. For others its still a good read and the exploits of our favourite heroes is interesting as they plod through a "not too challenging" adventure.
The story follows from the previous books. Sometimes the flipping back between the present and the past seems excessive. Most of the loose ends are tied together. The ending was broadcast well in advance. It didn't quite happen as I would have expected (which was that Jorg's convictions were manipulating reality to produce the dead king, especially since the guilt of hanging in the thorn bush and not saving his brother/mother is an underlying issue throughout the series). In the end the actual ending was a bit deficient. and the equality of dream and reality doesn't quite explain how the link between conviction and reality is 'fixed' at the end.
In any case the book is worth listening to, especially after the other books.
The problem with the narration is that everything is emphatic. There's barely a conversation (seemingly) that is less than 'full on'. Also there are curious pauses (like the narrator loses track of the text) and some odd emphases which distract from the content. But it isn't as hard as other reviews to suggest to ignore those deficiencies.
The story itself is good and immersive. The characters and world that the story is set in is also fairly well developed. There are a number of situations that could be developed further even warrant novels of their own (such as the flying circus). I personally don't like the way the time line jumps back and forward at times. Several times a past event is referred to and later on the narrative jumps back to that event instead of leaving it mysterious. Some ideas could be fleshed out a little better.
Otherwise the story is compelling. Highly recommended.
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