East Coast, Canada | Member Since 2012
I think I must be the only reviewer here on Audible who was not paid or given a free book to review this novel. There is no way this story is even a 3 star, let alone anything higher than that. Period. Oh, and it doesn't fit in the science fiction genre - it is a horror story.
The book seems okay as it starts, but just got worse as it went on. It spent way too much time discussing/detailing torture, and the longer it went on, the more times the same (or similar) torture scenes were explored. It isn't really that graphic, just... repetitive and detailed and every torture scene was described in detail - being *just that little bit worse* than the scene before. There are only so many times we need to hear about the pain being so bad that he blacked out, or nearly blacked out, or greyed out or defecated, etc. And, seriously, all these people torturing him doesn't make any sense - there can't be an entire organization of sadists who have the sole goal of creating as much pain as is possible... as a job...
For 3/4 of the book, the torture seems pointless but it does turn out that there is some (albeit foolish) rationale behind it. Why they went through the hassle of obtaining and using Will (as opposed to any other existing convict) was not explained, however. (There was some attempt to explain this by there being a shortage of convicts available, but... realistically, in the U.S. penal system there would have been hundreds of thousands of eligible convicts who didn't need to be framed in order to be used as a guinea pig.)
Some specific annoyances: people scratch an itch... they don't itch it. The "spiritual/philosophical"component (as a result of torture) was lame. It seems it is there to give the author a chance to talk about post-death or souls, or the nature of existence. But coming from an author that doesn't know when to use "itch" and when to use "scratch", it was very hard to take seriously.
All in all... it was an annoying book to finish: there was a lot of jumping back and forth between (mostly) irrelevant characters who all sound the same, a plot that is ultimately fantastical/supernatural but is presented as if it is realistic, and a setting that is conveniently contrived just so the setting will be correct for the author's "spiritual" exploration.
The narration is not very good. He emphasizes the wrong part of the sentence sometimes -making statements sound like questions - and pronounces some words incorrectly (femur as fe-mure and epitome as epi-TOME). He also laughs or coughs when the characters in the book do (but thank goodness he didn't scream when the characters screamed). I won't be looking for more books by this author, and would think twice before buying books read by this narrator.
Ender's game anyone?
Of course, not nearly as well written.
Bad boy (who is chronologically mature, but written like a teenager) who turns out to be just enough of a rebel that he makes an outstanding leader (i.e. can save the world by thinking outside the box while everyone else (mostly females) are still arguing over what they should do).
If women weren't needed for the males in this story to oogle and have sex (or think about having sex) with, there'd be no women at all in this story.
Or... maybe a more accurate analogy would be a Star Trek episode where Wesley Crusher becomes captain at age 14 but has Kirk's libido. Yes, that sums up the "child-prodigy with chip on his shoulder + let's drool over how hot all the women are in their tight uniforms" tone.
And, other than that... it's a standard, unoriginal sci-fi story that feels like it stole its storyline from a hodgepodge of nearly all the classic sci-fi books written by good authors... minus the part that includes good writing. (i.e. space battles won by dint of boy (err, I mean man) being super talented and lucky, space ships with new tech being sent off on maiden voyage, transluminal spaceship flight to uncharted areas of space, first contact with another planet's inhabitants, etc).
And the farther I get into it, the worse it becomes. I think I read somewhere that this is a first novel... and I hope that is true, because it certainly sounds like a newbie wrote this, fresh after watching a 4 day Star Trek marathon on the Space channel.
The narration is actually quite good. It's the unoriginal storyline and tell-not-show approach that makes this story un-enjoyable. (Oh, and the author jumps from inside one character's thoughts to inside another characters thoughts without any pauses- so we get to see this unoriginal story from everyone's point of view.). Unfortunately, I have the next book in the series already, but I won't be reading it.
There is some adolescent sexual innuendo/sex, but no graphic sex, violence or language.
I read the first book in this series first - and I think this is required. The story itself is separate from the first one, but this book will make much more sense if you do read book one first since it sets the stage, give the background for Duffy's world, and starts Duffy down the path he is taking in this book.
If you did not like the Irish politics of book one, it is as thick here as it was there. In fact, if this story were to be pulled out of that setting, it would be a much weaker story. A lot of the obstacles that Duffy has to deal with are direct results of the political turmoil during the "Troubles".
I'm not familiar with that era, but accepted it as the backdrop of Duffy's detecting (it is a detective novel, underneath all the politics), and think it made the novel dark (noir) and heavy (in a good way). It is a violent (but non-gory) novel and there are no sex scenes.
The narration is very good, but it is a heavy Irish accent that you might have to get used to. I got the next one in the series on Audible as soon as I finished this one. Ghosts of Belfast is a read-alike book here on Audible, read by the same narrator (and it has the same setting and same noir tone).
Okay. First things first. This book has nothing to do with zombies. Absolutely nothing...
What it is: a murder/detective story set in a city that was quarantined because of a viral outbreak that kills nearly 20% of the people it infects.
It was pretty realistic... well, the setting and goings-on (riots, looters, fear) that occur within the quarantined city was realistic. The belief that a government would be able to successfully seal off a city with flown in barricades before someone "escaped" to spread the virus to the rest of the country was a bit on the naive side. When the virus that ends up jumping species to wipe out 20-30% of us finally does arrive, it will be spread much much too fast for any government to lock it down as quickly as they do in this story.
It wasn't very original, or stunningly written, but it was a decent story, with engaging enough characters that they don't really drive you crazy. The main character was female, and the author does need a bit more experience living as/with a woman because the woman here is written as a stereotype... (i.e. an entire scene is written around her having a bath and shaving her legs... like that would be a priority in a virally infected world where she has a murder to solve). I won't mention the lame sex scene (it should have been left out it was that pathetic). And there are periodic (and fortunately short) tirades about women's self-esteem as affected by magazines, Republican suppression, and evil organizations who would rather let millions of people die than lose out on potential profits. You won't be left wondering how the author feels about any of these topics.
Anyway... it's a quick read, with some insights on what "real life" might be like in a quarantined city... and what challenges a detective might face while trying to solve a murder under these circumstances. I'd read more by this author, as long as I was prepared for uninspiring characterizations and a heavy reliance on stereotypical physical descriptions and behaviours.
I didn't mind the narration - it wasn't intrusive, and I didn't notice any mispronunciations (other than a couple HWO instead of WHO), but, then again, I'm not from Texas. It is not gory or graphic and I don't think there was any swearing.
It is a hard-boiled detective story, in an urban fantasy setting. Oh yeah, and includes ghosts/demons/undead as "citizens". The lines of good and evil don't follow the traditional paths: here some humans are bad, some undead are good, and some of each are the opposite.
The story is a bit slow to pick up... I actually got a bit frustrated with the delay in the story gearing up because I had selected this book for a trip and didn't have any alternatives handy, and I wanted an immediate escape from flight delays. I think the delay was to set the backdrop and introduce the main characters of Felix's world.
Fortunately, the story does pick up not too far in, and once it did, it became a very engaging mystery/detective novel. The mystery Felix is trying to solve might be non-traditional (ghosts), but the detective-procedural was actual pretty "normal". It was traditional hard work and a few hard knocks that allowed Felix to solve the mystery, not a deus-ex-machina.
I think if you read the first book in the series and liked it, you'd like this one at least as much, maybe more since there isn't as much time fleshing out the world. If you hadn't read the first book, though, I still think you can start with this one and not be lost for long - the slow part at the beginning sets up the world sufficiently for newcomers, and the detective story is completely stand-alone.
The narration is very good. It is not gory or graphic and I don't think there was much (if any) swearing. If you liked the first couple Joe Pitt (vampire) books by Charlie Huston - (only the first couple, they got lecture-y by the series end) - this has a very similar tone/humor.
Okay... I'll be honest by saying that I delayed writing my review and, at first, I got this series mixed up with Stuart Neville's... I thought it might have been only because they are both set in Ireland but... I think the main characters are similar as well, and the books have a noir tone to them, and, of course, Doyle narrates both of them. Excellently, btw.
That being said, this is an interesting and engaging series, even though it is a bit thick with Irish politics and the "Troubles" which are foreign to someone of my age and nationality. I am vaguely aware of the circumstances of Ireland in the 80s, but never lived them, so the stage set for this story was not at all familiar to me.
So, if you were to look at the reviews of the paper version of the book, you might find that some reviewers had a little rant about the veracity of some of the author's settings, I didn't read this book for historical accuracy and am okay not knowing any better. And I have no idea why some readers found the author's writing style or language choices to be pretentious... maybe they were reading it as a literary exploration of Ireland during the 80s and saw things in it that weren't really there? Or maybe it's as simple as Doyle making the story come alive in his narration and those who read the book in paper form missed all this.
Fortunately, I read this book hoping it was a noir detective story... and that's exactly what it is. It is dark and violent and a bit confusing as to what motivated people to behave the way they did, but that's what makes it worth reading - to figure it out. I bought the rest of the series on Audible for full price as soon as I finished this one.
It is a military sci-fi that doesn't include weapon-porn (so we are not subjected to what size rounds fit in which type of gun, nor how many revolutions ammunition might make in a gun barrel, or the armour penetration per inch by weapon type, etc). I like military-ish fiction that doesn't include gun/military enthusiasts' fantasies, so this book fit the bill for me.
Sure, some of the military stuff was glossed over, and some of the sci-fi was glossed over... and really, it wasn't all that sci-fi-y. It's almost like a straight up "look, I survived an atrocious war even though I came out scarred" novel. There was nothing in it that is outside the current realm of possibility: although some of the tech might not actually exist yet, the theories behind the tech does.
But the book isn't really even about war, it's about the people impacted by war...
The main character isn't a soldier. And that means we get to see a very long war from an alternative point of view. I also think it allowed Oscar to be better written, and more humanized than he would have been if he was a proper soldier. i.e. there was no real harm in him being high as a kite in the midst of battle since he wasn't really supposed to be there anyway.
The story is actually one of growth and maturity: it's the maturation of one man - because of, or in spite of, a horrendous war background. There is some (not overly moralistic) message about how war scars people psychologically, and how our veterans may not receive the respect and help they require after returning... particularly in circumstances where the "war" has slipped from the front page.
The narration is fine. Surprisingly, there is not much gore or swearing, and there is no detailed sex. The story is wrapped up completely at the end.
Hmmm... after reading the first book in this series, I immediately bought the remainder of the books because I figured they would all be similar in quality and tone. Now I am worried that I was mistaken.
The first book was a noir vigilante book set in a foreign (fantasy) world. The second was more along the lines of an almost-noir detective novel, and although there was not much vigilantism, the dark theme remained. This one was... well... a soap opera-y philosophical fiction. It had no detective work going on; it had no noir; it had no vigilantism. It was more than a bit on the lecture-y side (oh, look how bad "THE MAN" is and how the "system" controls us) and involved the main character essentially pacing back and forth (literally, from one side of town to another, and figuratively in trying to figure out his wife) and bemoaning the apparent breakdown of his marriage (in the face of her struggle against governmental control of "the people").
See my disappointment? It is missing all the features I enjoy (vigilantes, noir, detectives) and includes some of my main pet peeves (morals and lectures). And what was left - man pulling his hair out over relationship breakdown - really didn't tickle my emotional armpits. I simply didn't care. Maybe I'm callous, or maybe Brust simply is better at writing noir than emotional pieces.
I really hope the next one is back to the good stuff because this one was just not worth reading. If this had been the first book I'd read by Brust, it would have been the last. In fact, I'm half tempted to ask for my money back because I feel like I was ripped off - I thought I was buying a noir fantasy with vigilante overtones and I got a philosophical political treatise instead.
The narration is fine. There is nothing gory or graphic and I don't think there is any swearing.
Well... I gave 5 stars to book one, and started to give only 4 stars to this one. Then I re-thought my assessment and have to say that this book is nearly as good as book one (caveats follow, and key word is "nearly").
Of course, if you have read book one, you pretty much have to read this one too because, otherwise, you will never know what happened to Danny. (If you did not read book one, don't read this one first, it won't make nearly as much sense.) If you liked book one for its realistic characters and zombie action, you should probably find this one stands on equal ground; it is as good in that sense as the first book was.
So, why is this book not quite as good? Only because there was a bit too much mid-story filler about Danny on a bender which didn't add anything to the story line, and the zombies just brushed on the edge of being too extreme. Yes, I know, they are zombies... but... we expect zombies to fit within certain parameters, and the survivors' responses to them to also fit within these parameters; in this book, however, it just "got a little weird". (hah... got a little weird... in a zombie book... hmmm...)
But, the more I think about it, the more I realize that the shift in the zombie - we'll call them "attributes" - was sort of a logical progression, given how they started. Though I don't think I can accept the late-story acceptance/attitude of "zombies are people too". (I sort of wonder if this theme was meant to have some moral behind it... but since I ignore morals in stories, I'm not sure if that was the intent, or just my interpretation of certain events.)
Anyway, the story is wrapped up in the end - though maybe not the way we would have preferred it to be. The narration is very good. There is a bit of swearing, a bit of zombie "messiness" (aka gore), and no detailed sex. If there was another book in the series, I'd buy it.
I got this book immediately after finishing the first book in the series, and, as soon as I finished it, I looked to see if there was a third book I could buy.
It is a very good, action-packed and mostly realistic pseudo-military novel. If you've read the first book, this is nearly as good, though it does have some scenes that just brush on the supernatural (well, there is nothing supernatural in it, but some of the events are just a bit beyond believable, and, while we aren't given any concrete examples of supernatural actions, we are led to believe such actions did occur "off-screen").
It still focuses on the same two main characters and there are a few more side-kicks than in book one. The point of view also switched between them a bit more frequently than in book one. There were a couple occasions where it was difficult to tell which of the characters (Lorenzo or Valentine) we were following. There is also a bit more political - anti-terrorist - rhetoric in this book. It didn't quite go over the top, but... there were probably a few too many comments regarding the evilness of terrorists (yes, of course, terrorism is bad, but in an action novel I don't really want to feel like I'm being lectured on the subject).
All in all, I quite enjoyed it. Even the ending seemed fitting, and I hope they do a third book in the series - I'd buy it if they did. The narration was as good as in book one. There is some violence, mostly non graphic, and some swearing; no sex.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.