East Coast, Canada | Member Since 2007
Overall, the story is okay. Dexter has gone back to his non-supernatural storyline so that's a good thing but... the story is not as good as the others in the series. I think this is mostly because Dexter does dumb things that are out of character for Dexter, but if he didn't do them, the story could not progress as it did. So it looks like the author changed Dexter for the sake of the story - making him dumber - because otherwise there'd be no suspense at all.
Like... Dexter is constantly in situations where he has to justify why he's even at the location. Once it's at the school, at child pickup time, and he spends time sputtering on about why he's there... none of which makes sense 'cause all he has to say is that he's there to pick up the kids... who can argue with that? But, of course, there's no suspense if Dexter can justify his presence.
Anyway, there were scenes that made me chuckle and while the story was a bit unbelievable, it was still entertaining. Same narration as the other books - sounds like what you'd expect Dexter to sound like.
Grim and dark... just the way I like my vigilantes. Okay, so maybe Gerry's not really a vigilante... but... when a bad man does bad things for a good reason, how can you not side with him?
I was very concerned when I bought this book that it would have a supernatural thread. But it doesn't, not really - it's certainly not a supernatural story... it's a gritty, dark noir where a man tries to find absolution for things he's done.
Are there ghosts or is Gerry insane? I don't think it matters: the story isn't resolved via some supernatural interference so it never got into the "fantasy" realm. This keeps the story particularly dark and grim... but that's Gerry's life, isn't it.
There is quite a bit of Irish 'politics' which was very different from the usual setting of this type of noir... I liked it for the difference, but it was a very unfamiliar atmosphere. The history of the 'troubles' in Ireland set the stage for the whole story, but you don't really need to follow that history to follow the story.
All in all I thought the book was terrific and have bought the next in the series already. This story is wrapped up (no cliffhanger) but how can one say no to another book with Gerry in it?
The narration is done with Irish accents which might be hard to follow at the start if your ear isn't used to it (I find Irish accents some of the hardest to follow), but it gets easier as the story progresses. The characters are distinctly narrated though - you can tell who's talking at any given time. There is lots of violence - it's not too graphic - some swearing but no sex.
The story is told from three points: Darya Lang and party, Louis Nenda and party, and Hans Rebka and party. If you don't know who these characters are, you probably won't enjoy this book much. This is book 4 in a series that revolves around these characters, and you really do have to be familiar with them in order to appreciate this story since a lot of it has the characters performing actions that really only make sense if you know why they're acting the way they are.
That being said, if you have read the rest of the series, this story won't disappoint. It is as good as the second book in the series, and a bit better than the third. Sure, the story does jump from one area of space to the events in another, but you won't have trouble following who's doing what as long as you're familiar with the characters.
I enjoyed how the mystery of the Builders was (almost) wrapped up. I liked how the recurring characters were further developed. I liked the space/time concepts. There is not much "techy-talk" and you don't have to understand physics to follow the story. I also don't think you really have to know/remember much about the Builder Artifacts either - the story flows along and it won't matter if you've forgotten from book 2 what the Pandora Artifact does.
There is no graphic violence or sex or foul language. While there is another book in the series, this book didn't end with such a cliffhanger that you'll have an urgent need to start the next one immediately.
The names of the first two characters starts the story off confusingly - Katie and Jenny - and it went downhill from there. And I'm not convinced the author kept the characters straight either: it felt like sometimes Jenny was the hysterical useless twit, and at others it was Katie. Unless both women were supposed to be hysterical twits?? perhaps...
Jenny is an abused wife, but this felt like a feminism 101 version of spousal abuse. Jenny recollects how she was planning to leave her hubby, then a few pages later, she goes on about what a terrible wife and mother she was, and how much she needed a "strong" person (aka Katie) to follow. It's like the author read a book about how abused women behaved, and tried to incorporate this into the book. Including a moment where Jenny was going to "pay back" Katie by offering her sex. It didn't feel real - especially since I'm pretty sure women don't turn lesbian in a matter of a few hours.
And Katie says when offered the opportunity to join an armed group: "I think we're better off on our own"??? are you nuts? Yeah, sure... a couple of people against the world - it's even irrelevant that they are both women... nobody wants to face a zombie apocalypse with just one other person at their back. (Of course, the next day, they're all gung-ho to join a group...the reader is not told what stimulated this sudden change of mind.)
Then when they finally find a place where they think they'll settle down to stay (the author - I mean Katie - tells us directly that they want to stay here)... all of a sudden Katie (a lesbian) realizes that she has felt a connection and "feeling that they have a future together" with a man she met 30 seconds ago. Err... I'm not clear if this is meant to show that lesbians turn straight when necessary, or...
It is one of the more poorly plotted (two women take a road trip through the zombie horde, then they take another one), stereotyped (lesbian and abused wife), and repetitive (enter building, fight zombie, run to truck, run over zombie, rinse and repeat) zombie books I've read. I decline to read any more in this series.
Try Mark Tufo's zombie books if you want this type of story with better plotting and characters who act more like normal people would. Or Grant's Deadline series if you like more conspiratorial zombies. Or the Day by Day Armageddon series for a journal style one, or the Undead Situation for a one-off zombie book... they're all better written.
Even though the reviews nearly scared me off from this book, it turned out I quite liked it. If one were to put the tons of urban fantasy books written by women into a pile organized by quality of writing and orginality, this would be in the top 3/4 of the pile. Probably not the first book I'd pick up (Harrison's Rachel Morgan series, or Moning's Fever series are more suspenseful) but certainly it is better written and more original than many.
The romance wasn't really much of a romance though - and there is no sex during the book (I think there is a flashback to it, but not much in the way of details). Actually, this is probably the weakest part of the book - I think Meding was going for "angst" (i.e. should Evy love the man she had forgotten she loved, or the man the body she was possessing loved, or neither of them?) but it felt like this whole thread was sorta dropped, and ended up with the easy solution.
I did find the concept of solving your own murder quite original and even suspenseful. There are the usual supernaturals in the book, and they aren't elaborated on much, but they aren't really that important to the story anyway. Well, the bad guy is important, but the fact that he was a supernatural was actually not important to the story since he could have been any "bad-boy character" and still been there to cause havoc. We just get a hint at Evy's new-found powers, but they were interesting and I suspect they'll grow in future books.
The story is wrapped up in the end (no cliff-hanger) but I ended up buying the other books in the series... I'm curious as to what Evy does with her new life. The narration was good - I never had any issues following who was talking.
This book had been on my wishlist for a very long time. But that was because I had thought it was a science fiction book about time travellers. It is not.
The back story (i.e. how the characters got to the 16th century) is science-fictiony, but the story itself is an attempt at a literary romance (with religious underpinnings) set in the 16th century. The only humor is in the anachronisms the author intentionally added to the story (i.e. the main character accidently shows a 16th century maid a magazine from the 23rd century... haha)
I read somewhere that it is similar to Connie Willis' books (To Say Nothing of the Dog, for example), and that is actually a very accurate comparison. I don't like historical fiction, and don't find this kind of humor funny, and don't really care about romance in the 16th century, or the religious underpinnings of that era... hence my great disappointment in this story.
If you like Willis' work, you will probably like this story. If you're looking for a science fiction take on time travel, you won't find it here.
Don't get me wrong - it's well written and somewhat engaging, it's just not a science fiction novel as I had expected. If you like historical fiction this is probably a pretty good one. (And I will re-iterate that I really don't enjoy historical fiction so the fact I even finished this book says something as to how well it was written.)
The narration is well-done. There is no gore or foul language and no descriptions of sex (people have it, it's just not described).
It is similar to Mark Greaney's the Gray Man (series) in tone, pacing and plot. I think I'd have to say that Greaney's is a bit better written. It feels like Bard "wanted" to be Jake in this book - to the point where it felt like the author was fantasizing about being a super hero. Of course, this book also has a "fantasy" component that isn't in Greaney's.
The romantic component is weak and I think the book would have been better without it. Jake's superpowers seemed to develop (i.e. appear out of nowhere) just as he needed that specific superpower. Then this superpower wasn't mentioned again... until it, or a similar one, popped up just in time to save him from the next pinch. This also happened with characters - when Jake needed X, a character with X appeared in the story, just long enough to provide his service then disappeared. (Yes, I meant "his" service - there are women characters but, at best, they are cutouts based on stereotypes, at worst, they are just cutouts).
As an action packed pseudo-military story (it doesn't start off like this but after the events in Italy, it becomes almost exclusively pseudo-military) it was not bad at all. Lots of gun descriptions, lots of fighting and lots of stuff getting blown up. Perhaps some of the fighting was a bit overdone, perhaps some of the characters were a bit too melodramatic (Carlos, for example), and perhaps the story was a bit too long for its content... but overall I kinda enjoyed it.
Some people have commented on the shift to "aliens" near the end of the story. I didn't find this any less believable than Jake's sudden onset superheroism. In fact, I think it actually fit the storyline.
The narration is good - dramatic but not overly so. The characters are distinctly voiced. There is no sex and I don't think there was much foul language. There is lots of violence, but mostly non-gory. I will probably buy the next in the series when it comes out.
The denouement is a chapter(+) too long. And there aren't any excerpts from the alien reference guide in this book, only excerpts from a space explorer's biography which I didn't like as much as the detailing of alien species; but, of course, no new species are introduced in this book, so I guess we didn't miss anything.
This installment has less "mystery" and less exploration of aliens/Builders... it's more an action-adventure book than a sci-fi exploration book (though the action all occurs on an alien planet). There are some hard sci-fi explanations of various techy things, but you don't really have to follow the science to follow the story.
All in all, it was my least favorite of the 3 so far (a 3.5 instead of a 4), but I will be reading the next (final) book in the series because the characters are interesting and fun to follow - and I'm curious what Louis and Ant will get up to... (though it is not a cliff-hanger ending).
The narration is very good. There is no sex or foul language and not much in the way of violence either. I'd suggest you don't start with this book though - start with the first book because the story would probably not make much sense on its own - in particular, the humor and some of the suspense requires you be familiar with the characters.
I liked this book even better than the first in the series. The same characters are involved, and have been further developed, and the mystery as to who/what the Builders are was tantalizingly developed. I think there is a little more character development and a little less space-tech in this installment. Well, maybe not... the first of the book is quite techy, but the story does become more about social/species interactions as the story progresses. There is even a little - well-done - hint of humor in this installment.
There are several alien species in this series, and they are distinct and believable. They are also interesting and creatively written. I like the "excerpts" from the alien directory which matter-of-factly describes each alien type, without interrupting the story itself.
The plot in this book is concluded at the end, but it's clear there's a future book in the series since we still haven't met the Builders, or found out what happened with the "bad" aliens. Or how the "Question" the Builders have will be answered.
The narrator is good; I think he does a better job in this book than the first in the series. There is no graphic violence/sex/language. I am starting the next in the series now.
I found this to be a very engaging story. Everyone says it's "hard sci-fi" and I'll go along with that. It has the same sort of tone as Peter F. Hamilton's writings, so if you like his, you'll probably like this series as well - though Summertide is MUCH less long-winded and about half as descriptive as Hamilton's works (and, of course, half the length).
There are a lot of technical descriptions of space-faring ideas/inventions/activities, but none of it gets boring or overly complicated (and if you miss some technical detail, it won't harm your understanding of the story at all). I found that the characters were diverse and interesting. Are they as well-developed as they would be in a soap/space-opera book, no, of course not, but you can tell the difference between the main characters; and the motivations behind their behaviors are adequately differentiated.
There is a big chunk of mystery/suspense in here... like who are the Builders, what is going on at Summertide, who are the bad/good guys, what will happen to the "slaves", etc. I thought this added a nice dimension to the story.
I guess you could say the story in this book is wrapped up at the end, but you will likely have to continue reading the series as there are several "loose ends" left dangling. It's not a cliff-hanger ending, but isn't fully resolved either.
I didn't mind the narrator at all. There is no graphic violence and no sex or swearing. I have bought the rest of the series on Audible.
I had been looking for this book for ages because the premise sounded interesting. When I finally found it here on Audible, I got it right away.
Now I kinda wish I had kept it on my wish list so I could imagine how good this book could be... the bubble has definitely burst...
Was it terrible? No, not exactly, but it was very... hmmm... self-congratulatory and egotistic. The author has a footnote at the end of the book which I think was intended to explain the rationale behind a component of the story, but really just drove it home that the main character *was* the author which means the author thinks he's so wonderful he wants to have sex with himself.
He wasn't that wonderful. And the sex scenes were beyond lame: "oh baby, oh wow, oh baby" (yes, I'm serious). And every character (literally) was the same - even when they were supposed to be different incarnations, they ended up being the same. Even the female version.
Oh, alright, I'll admit it... it is pretty bad... do I want my money back? Not quite, but very close.
The time travel component was actually quite intriguing (and nicely complicated sometimes), I just couldn't get over the "I'm so wonderful I'm just going to fold myself" (go ahead - replace the 'old' with 3 other letters).
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