East Coast, Canada | Member Since 2007
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).
Wow. I don't recall how this author came across my radar, but now that he has, I don't know how I had missed his writing for so many years!
It fits with my favorite reading "topics" perfectly:
a) a main character who has a moral compass, but where the morals aren't stogged down our throats
b) vigilante-style justice where the bad guys get what they deserve
c) a dark world where the norms of behavior might be altered, but where justice still wins
d) an author who provides a reasonable "mystery" and an interesting world without having to lecture us on its origins.
The narration is great, the story is suspenseful and well-plotted, the pacing is nice; there is no graphic violence or sex, and not much, if any, foul language. I have already bought the next book in the series.
The title indicates that it is Episode One - which I took to mean that it was the first part of a series... i.e. book one of, say, a 3 book series. This was not the case: this is more like an Episode 1 in terms of a storyline arc in a TV series... i.e. as if you were watching part one of a 3 part TV show where episode one sets up the problem, episode two explores how it can be resolved, and episode three resolves it.
In the latter example, you do expect a cliff-hanger at the end of each show, and you will tune in next time to find out what happens. This novella is exactly like that... the characters get to a certain point, in the middle of the plot, and the story just stops. It does not resolve any single component first, it just ends at the end of a scene.
This is why I have only given the novella 3 stars (yes, the word novella is accurate - it is too short for a novel, and if it were a short story, it would have had a resolution). The story is decent and suspenseful but... a written story ending in the middle of a plot point is just jarring. You are absolutely required to get the next book in the series if you want to know anything about how this story is resolved (and my guess is that you will need to buy the 3rd one as well).
If novella 2 of a series is MANDATORY in order to have any sense of resolution to a story, and each part is too short to be a proper novel in the first place, it should be packaged and sold along with novella one.
Oh, and the price of it does not reflect the fact that it isn't even a complete story. You will buy it thinking you got a proper book on the cheaper end of the scale, not 1/3 of a complete story which will end up costing more than many other 20 hour audiobooks
I did buy the next one because the story was engaging; I am just a bit annoyed at the marketing ploy. There is no graphic violence or sex, and not much in the way of foul language either. The narration is quite good.
I liked it better than the first Jack Lennon book - this is partly because by reading the earlier book I was more familiar with Jack and could relate to his tribulations a bit better, and it was partly because this story is more realistic. (And, it was partly because I had actually read Collusion because I thought it was about Gerry Fagan and was disappointed that it was not; in Stolen Souls I knew it was about Jack from the outset.)
Okay... maybe this story isn't really more realistic, it is just that there is no character with 'super human' abilities in this one. The bad guys are a bit far-fetched, but the basic premise is believable. It seems as though the author wanted us to like Jack more and tried to make him seem more human here (i.e. he contemplates the moral repercussions of his prostitute visits)... but I think Neville should just stick to writing engaging violent thrillers and give up trying to write 'sappy'. We like these novels because they are dark and to the point, not because we want to know if the main character has an emotional epiphany.
Like the earlier novels, it is set in Ireland, but this time there is no reference to the political turmoil that country has undergone. I think this improves the thriller component of the novel since we North Americans don't have to figure out if the tension is based on religion or politics that are foreign.
It is violent, but not gory, and the underlying theme is dark and unpleasant. There is no sex, and there is some foul language, but it was not excessive. I will read more by this author, and more books about Jack Lennon. The narration is excellent, though it is read with a pretty thick Irish accent throughout which might take some getting used to.
I enjoyed the first half of the book quite a bit: a story about how a well-prepared man faces the development/existence of a zombie horde. Sure, the main character was a bit too prepared for a guy with his background and job, but still, it was believable. And the way information on the initial sickness was shared (or not) felt very realistic. (Oh, I am pretty sure the technical aspects of, say, diving, guns, or solar panels, etc, were creatively interpreted, but I didn't mind, since I don't really care what size bullet goes into what type of gun anyway.)
About halfway through, the story took a little turn from a survivalist story to a "spy-thriller" wannabe. Which might have been okay - if this aspect had been more than a "let's have the main character get caught up in some spy-ops in order to show him facing zombies". This entire thread is sorta wrapped up, but the reader is never given any information as to the point behind these events. Perhaps it is a thread intended to be brought up in the next book in the series, but, as it is here, it is just a huge red herring put into the story for no purpose other than to have an excuse for the main character to meet a sidekick and venture into zombieland.
There were some other weak points that became more noticeable as the story progressed: especially in regards to the main character's cat. Even if you assume that the main character would risk his own life to save that of his cat... why would he take it out of its cage and tie it to a string with the plan that it would walk beside him during a thunderstorm/zombie attack... hey, I can suspend disbelief and accept zombies, and even that silly spy-ops thread, but a) what cat would walk beside you as if it were on a leash and b) what cat would walk beside you in a thunderstorm, leash or not c) and why would anyone think a cat would come to them when they called it (regardless that it is during a thunderstorm/abandoned building/zombie attack)?
The ending left even more to be desired. I think it is intended to set up the next installment of the series, but the way the main character "found" other survivors was just a smidge beyond believable (another installment of wonder-cat adventures here). And I really hope that the "love interest" hinted at in the next book is not the same one hinted at in this one because I am really tired of male authors assuming that 17 year old girls would be as interested in 30 year old men as these men are in teenage girls.
It isn't overly gory, there is no sex, and I don't recall any excessive swearing. The narration is good and I think the translation to English was accurate enough. Overall it is a reasonable/average entry in the zombie genre. I won't, however, be reading the next in the series since the best part of this book was how the virus/information spread, and how the world initially dealt with this spread.
This book was in my library for a very long time... I think I thought it was a different kind of book than it actually was. It is billed as a noir-detective type novel, but I would have to say that it is equally an alternative future/sci-fi type novel.
It does have the Chandler-esque tone to it: making it on the dark side, and the action is short and succinct. It is not particularly violent or graphic, but has an over-arching depression about it. (i.e. you won't find a feel-good sensation at the end).
There is significant drug use - in fact, this is the component that sets the novel out as alternative future-ish... drug use has been legalized, and, even more disturbingly, made customizable for users. In fact, it changes society completely at the end - and it adds a layer of bleakness to the story, while still remaining believable. If you look at it quickly, you might think the drug use was just this detectives' booze (after all, don't all noir detectives have addictions?), but I think it was actually the component that carved out this world: the very world became the way it is in the novel because of this drug 'reality'. And the ending of the novel wouldn't have worked without it.
I have read elsewhere that the novel was a commentary on the state of individual detachment from/in the world, and I suppose that could be an accurate description. Except that I didn't read it for social insights or moral issues; I read it for simple enjoyment. Fortunately it delivered. Sure, you can read all sorts of stuff into it, but you don't have to, and I think the book stands well as a futuristic noir.
The narration is good. There is violence, but it is not graphic. There is no sex. I will be looking for more books by this author.
Firstly, the world is completely foreign. Not only because it is an alien world (actually, we are never told if the inhabitants are even human - or originally from earth), but because the world is based on some interpretation/manipulation of Islam.
The war, the 'sides' in the war, the response to off-worlders, the gender roles, the power of rule... actually, everything... came from a distinctly non-Western perspective. And I don't mean that it was just the 'bad' guys, or the 'other' guys who were non-Western - everything was. That, and it is a world where biology/ecology - and bio/eco-warfare - has been taken to an almost incomprehensible level. Yes, this warfare was still believable, just very extreme.
I did not try to learn the 'rules' of this world at the start of the book, but just accepted them as they came, and by the end of the novel it all made sense. Sure, the first time I heard the description of their 'cars' I was completely baffled, but as time passed, it made more sense. And by about halfway through, I was comfortable with how the world is so different, and why. There are genetic deviations that are very sci-fi in nature, but it is a sci-fi book, so it was easy enough to suspend disbelief and go along with them.
Was there a plot? Yes, but it got hidden under the novelty of the world-building just a bit too much. And sometimes the characters were difficult to keep straight (there are a lot of them )... I am not sure if it was because of their names, or because there were just too many factions in play.
Anyway, it was interesting, depressing and dark. The narration is fine (don't know why others complained, the narration is clear and distinct). It is violent, but not gory, there is foul language but no sex. I will be reading more in the series.
Unlike a lot of apocalyptic style novels, the story here starts at the same point as - or perhaps just before - the virus that causes the apocalyptic situation. This gives the reader a chance to see how the main character lived prior to having to change his lifestyle to accommodate disaster.
Alex comes across as quite dry and serious, and there is an occasional hint of possible PTSD, but this doesn't actually come into play in the story (which I think makes it a stronger story - we didn't need Alex to be a sob-case in order to like him).
There are points where the descriptions of what people were wearing, or how they walked down stairs, etc, were excessively detailed, but most of the time, this over-description didn't occur. In fact, it was so uncommon that when it happened, it was particularly jarring...
The story has a very realistic feel to it - unlike most apocalyptic novels, you don't really have to suspend disbelief to see how a virus could spread and affect the entire economy in a matter of weeks. The 'dealing' with the apocalypse was also particularly real... while Alex was reasonably well-prepared (more so than most people would be), he was forced to cope with an entire community which started out in denial of the seriousness of the situation, and ended up devolving into anarchy when the going got too tough.
The narrator is okay. There is no sex, no gore and I don't think there was much swearing. Overall, it was an engaging, realistic (and mildly terrifying) story.
I was pleasantly surprised. The zombies are a fresh take, the world is one we recognize, and the situation the survivors are in is logical. There is a mild `romantic` component, but it is used more so to create a 'view' into the world outside the walls - and how the zombies have affected all aspects of life - than as a traditional romance.
The build up to the revelation of the 'truth' was gradual, but not particularly surprising. One would have to have been naive to have expected anything different.
The climax of the novel, however, took a long time to crest... about 3/5 of the book is spent describing the world, situation, main characters, their activities, etc, but then it feels like the 'final battle' took nearly as much time as the entire set up. It was like the first half was written from a distance - with a high level description of events - and the final part got into the nitty-gritty of the battles - complete with weapon descriptions etc.
This didn't detract from the story, it just felt like a change in perspective from the world view of a zombie apocalyse to a military smash-bang zombie killing book.
All in all I liked it quite a bit, and will be reading more by this author. The narration is good, the violence is not too gory, there is no detailed sex, and the swearing is not excessive.
It is better written than the Monster Hunter books - or perhaps just better edited. For the most part, the story is all forward motion and the fights have the right pacing (in Monster Hunter, the battling was over-proportionate to the story). Well, if I think about it, maybe some of the battles were a bit too long, but for the most part they didn't feel excessive.
It does take a bit of time to settle into the world Correia created since it is very different from our own. It is an alternate history where 'real' places, names and events are used, but which had different results. The world here is one that we *could* envision as being possible, if things happened differently.
Well, and if aliens arrived.
There is a bit of jumping from one character/location to another, which takes awhile to get used to since we aren't familiar with the characters and their abilities - or the point of them in the story - until a ways into the book.
There is no cliff-hanger, but I am going to read the rest in the series - I think the future books should be even better now that the world and characters are clearer. The narration is good. There is non-gory violence, no sex and no swearing.
There is not nearly as much action in the first half of this novel as there was in either of the other two. The action does pick up a bit around the half way point when Joe actually gets involved in the story, but until that point, the entire story is flashbacks to the development of the 7 Kings, and Joe going from site to site after all the action is over to investigate. He doesn't even pick up a gun until half way through.
Since I expected this to be an action book, this lack of Joe doing anything was a bit disappointing. There is quite a bit of lecturing here, but not as bad as in book two where entire chapters were dedicated to lectures. And Joe is a lot more - we'll call it 'thoughtful' in this book - he does less shooting and more introspecting.
The story itself is okay. There was a lot of time spent talking about the 7 Kings, but I can only assume this was to set up other books in the series, because in this book, we only see 2 Kings (and one of them was a red herring anyway), plus a female bad-guy. The other kings were always being mentioned, but they served no point in the story.
There are a couple plot points that ended up being 'twists' which were, for the most part, pretty well done. It isn't like you won't be able to figure any of it out, or follow a line of bread crumbs to the resolution, but the resolution does ultimately make sense.
Overall it was an okay story but I don't think I enjoyed it enough to read more in the series. Just a bit too much lecturing/introspecting and a bit too little kicking butt. There is swearing, non gory violence and no sex. The narration is very good.
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