East Coast, Canada | Member Since 2012
I bought this audiobook because it was in the sci/fi fantasy category. The write up claims it has "a dash of time travel" - and that's all it has in the way of fantasy/time travel - a dash.
Time travel is used as a way to launch a HISTORICAL ROMANCE. And, ultimately, this is exactly what it is: a very detailed romance novel set in 18th century Scotland.
Keeping that in mind: it is VERY well done. The narration is terrific and the story engaging (though I did use the fast forward several times to get through the long descriptions of clan family lines, or details of the clothing/housing/etc of the time).
I don't like romances and I don't like historical fiction so I thought the two together would mean I had wasted my credit. Not so. Even though it's as far from my usual listening choices (sci/fi or cop/detective stuff) as it could be, the story flew by: I caught myself smiling at events in the story pretty regularly.
Assuming a starting point of 3 stars for an average story, I added one star for the narration (which brings the story to life) and a second star for making me smile in public. I took off a half star for requiring me to fast forward some of the descriptions = 4.5 star story. So I give it 5 stars because 4.5 is not possible. (I did buy the next book in the series too.)
Remember though, this is a romantic novel with some/lots of sex (though having made it through the sex scenes in Altered Carbon, this is pretty "romantic" sex) - so if you're looking for sci/fi or fantasy, you will be disappointed in this.
Otherwise... if you're not the romantic type but, like me, stumble onto this story by accident only to find that you like it - don't worry, we won't tell anyone...
Excellent action packed and violent pseudo-military novel. Lots of violence, lots of guns, lots of bad guys getting their just desserts. Actually, it is one of the best, non-moralizing, trashy action books I've read in a long while. There is no deep dark plot, not much nuance, and not much cheesy romance...
The story is told from 2 different points of view (Lorenzo and Valentine) and, surprisingly, they are different enough that they really do feel like different characters (perhaps each author wrote one of the main characters?) ... neither are quite bad enough that you dislike them, but they are not the typical "good guys" either.
The romantic components are relatively well done (i.e. not cheesy or over done). The bad guys (one set of them anyway) are pretty extreme, but hey, it isn't meant to be true-to-life. For its genre, it is not as sexist or gun-porny as some, and there is not much "judgement" regarding who is a bad guy and who is not, though there is a steady theme of anti-terrorist and American military "black ops" secrecy throughout the novel.
The narrator is okay, but it seems that at some points - in particular when he is describing gun and body/armour interactions - he slows right down to emphasize... almost like the action is occurring in slow-mo. The segments are all subtitled (i.e "Valentine, Morocco, April 14th") so you always know which point of view we are seeing, even though I don't think you would know the difference between the two main characters by the narration.
There is lots of non-gory violence, lots of swearing and no detailed sex. As soon as I finished this book, I bought the next one on Audible at full price...
It is the weakest of the three books so far in the series. The romantic angst is weak, and, well, forced at the best of times. Actually, the whole book felt a bit forced. It starts with Rose's brothers tagging along on an adult mission - and while the characters constantly repeat how young they are, and how dangerous it is for them, they ultimately are treated like, and act like, full adults. Either make them adults, or don't... don't talk-talk how young they are, then have them behave like minature adults.
And the angst between Kaldar and Audrey was non-existant. There were some words spent trying to build up tension and excitement in the romance boat, but it just sank. And the consumation of their romance was sudden, fast, and inappropriately played out. It felt like the romance was just there because it was expected, but it wasn't believable, and, frankly, we don't care. And when and how it happens is a let down.
If this had been the first in the series, I would not have continued reading them. It isn't bad enough that I would skip Andrews' books in the future, but it is bad enough that I wouldn't pay full price for them.
The narration is fine. It is not gory or graphic. There is a relatively tame/short sex scene and minimal swearing.
Ummmm... I couldn't finish it.
I suppose it is meant to be funny, or maybe there is some hidden 'message' in it... but I didn't see the humor, or get the message.
It was a series of incrementally dumber 'monster' contacts where people get squished or burnt, or whatever, in comical ways, and then recover from whatever the mutilation was. It is very childish... and some scenes are just plain dumb. Like the winged horse scene that eventually develops into the main character being sucked into a giant worm - it has absolutely no purpose but to allow the author to let his imagination flow, and add some potentially icky scenes (I say "potentially icky" because in my world, it is really only children who are amused by slime in the way this author seems to be).
Nearer the end there seems to be some over-arching storyline that, maybe, is meant to explain all the foolishness. But, sorry, the lame stereotype old witch and a 'universe in a stone' was just too much for me.
And, no, it is not urban fantasy; urban fantasy is supposed to be mature, and possibly a bit on the dark side. This book is a comic fantasy... in the manner that you would expect a story in a children's/comic book to be.
The narration is okay. There is nothing graphic in the book, and I don't think there is much swearing.
It's a moderately hard sci-fi... not much time is spent developing relationships or on character development. In fact, so little time is spent on characterization that it is very difficult to tell most of the main male characters apart. (There is only one female character so nobody to get her mixed up with, but she isn't even very different from the males...)
There are some alien life-forms, but they aren't really explored very much, other than brief interjections when they are the stimulant to cause the humans to do something... when their interventions are needed to motivate a character, they appear, then they conveniently drop out of the story until next time they are needed.
I didn't like the story very much, nor the characters, and even the sci-fi part of it wasn't very engaging or original. And some parts seemed choppy, almost like the book was abridged - occasionally the transitions were sudden and unexpected. I won't be reading any more in this series, and it is unlikely I'd read more by this author... his writing just isn't distinct enough to choose over all the other books out there.
The narration is okay. It is non-graphic and I don't think there is any swearing.
Firstly... I didn't realize this book, while book 2 in the series, has nothing to do with book one. It is set in the same world, and there are a couple references to the characters in book one, but the story follows a new couple, who have a new set of concerns and problems. There is no Rose or Declan here.
Otherwise, it is pretty much the same quality storyline, plot and pacing. I'm not sure the romance is quite as good and the sex scene (only one) is not as graphic as in the first book. There are some interesting characters here though, and the world is more fully explained - mostly the Edge and the Weird, not much time is spent in the Broken.
I think the "bad guys" are a bit too extreme though, and almost feel cartoonish. I don't mind fantasy components, but would prefer it remain mature and not devolve into the "monster under the bed" type horror. Overall, however, I liked it, and ended up buying the next book in the series as soon as I finished this one.
The narration is the same as book one. She is fine, but not the best reader I've heard. There is minimal swearing, and nothing very graphic. I did buy the next book from Audible, but there is no cliff hanger, so you don't have to.
I never... well... almost never, now... read a book after seeing the movie. In this case, I bought this book and then forgot about it. Then went to see the movie one day, on a lark. Several weeks later I saw this book again and realized I had just watched the movie (yeah, slow on the uptake sometimes).
I actually quite enjoyed it, even after having seen the movie. I would say it was close to the story line of the movie, but since it was the novelization of the movie, I guess this is a no-brainer. The part I did like about the book was the insight to what was going on in the characters' minds - in the movie we don't get to hear their thoughts, so have to determine from posture and words what is going on in their heads. There are a couple significant scenes where what was in their heads according to the novel was not the same as what I had seen on the screen... a sign of the actor's abilities no doubt.
It is a fast and not overly deep read... if you like the series, you`ll probably like this book. The narration is very good. There is nothing graphic or gory in it.
I got this book a couple years ago and just got around to reading it last week. I read the reviews before I started it and didn't really have high expectations, based on those reviews.
Hmmm... I don't know what those others are reading that made them think this book is less than a 4 for its genre. It is an urban fantasy with a female protagonist who is not weak and whiny - that in itself makes this book exceptional. The fact that there was also a story, some character development and some believable romantic angst just bumps it upward.
There isn't much sex, but what there is was well-done and believable. The story was reasonable, and, while maybe the bad guy scenes were a bit over-long, they were okay too. The only thing I would note as a drawback to the story was how William felt very much like an 'add-on' - and his role in the story as it relates to Rose was way more 'weighty' than it should have been, given how little time passes.
But, ultimately, as soon as I finished this book (yesterday), I bought the next in the series from Audible and am starting it today. The narration is good - she does seem to over emphasize sometimes, but overall she does a good job. There is no graphic violence, a little bit of somewhat detailed (but short) sex and minimal swearing.
Considering that, for the most part, I don't like short stories, this was an exceptionally well-written, interesting and original collection. I have read some of Bacigalupi's works before (Wind Up Girl comes to mind), and I like the dark, depressing future bio-tech world the author has created. All these stories are set in the same world - or, if not the exact same, the same type of world - and they almost feel related, even though they all have separate plots and characters... it is the tone, pacing, and bio-tech I guess, that makes it feel like a single story.
I enjoyed some stories more than others, but as the ones I enjoyed the most are not the same ones that other reviewers enjoyed, I guess that is personal taste. Essentially, though, they are all clearly written by the same author and if you like the first story in the book, you should like all of them well enough. The stage is the same, just the actual characters change.
The stories have different narrators, and, while all of them are at least good, some of them are better narrators than others. I don't think you'll find any of them off-putting though. The stories are dark but not graphic or gory.
I started this book once and put it down because the first few pages simply didn't engage me. I thought the first character/scene was a bad choice to start a book with, and it seemed that it was setting a tone (almost humorous) that I didn't think fit the concept (zombies)...
Then I picked it up again and forced myself through the first chapter and, suddenly, found that it was actually a pretty decent zombie novel. It retained a strange sense of humour throughout which I didn't quite "get", but that might be because I have no idea what rural Wisconsin is like. And I have never met in real life anyone who was anything like the majority of characters in the novel.
But, all that aside... it was well-written, with a nice bit of suspense, and a home-grown bad guy to boot. So the story wasn't actually about zombies taking over the world (what zombie books are usually about), but more of how a small town comes together in the face of crisis (which is, incidentally, zombies in this case, but could have been any wide scale crisis). Ultimately I enjoyed it, and suspect I would have liked it even more, if the humour/characters had resonated with me a bit more.
The narration is good. There is some swearing but it is not excessive and there is no real gore or graphic violence.
In a way it is too bad the author aligned the book so closely to Jim Crow and brought the argument forward only in terms of racism. The argument really should have less to do with racism than with poverty and a lack of hope.
Yes, more blacks are in jail than other races, especially considering the racial makeup in America. Yes, the prison and policing systems are money making engines. Yes, the war on drugs is a lost cause. And, yes, probably, it was all sculpted to be the way it is.
But that doesn't change the fact that it is the abject poverty and lack of hope or opportunities that is the source of the problem. Born poor and inner city, raised on the streets, attending sub-standard schools, not having any realistic hope of ever pulling yourself or your family out of it... that is the problem. If people had hope and opportunity, they would not turn to drugs or crime, and they would not get a criminal record which further condemns them to a life of poverty.
Changing post-prison reception or perception is not the solution. Crushing the process that impoverishes entire segments of the popluation is the solution. End the abject poverty, show some light at the end of the tunnel, and millions of boys turning to men will not be committing crimes simply to survive.
The narration is fine. There is a specific phrase that is repeated pretty much every chapter which was a bit annoying and redundant, but... I suppose that was the writer's thesis. It was educational enough, but probably too narrowly focused to see the real problem.
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