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...
It is absolutely nothing like what I expected. I thought it was a military sci-fi where they battle space aliens. Oh... well... technically, it is a military sci-fi where they battle space aliens. But it feels more like a college boy's fantasy than anything that might come close to what would really happen in such a situation.
I'm all for new and novel ideas. I like the concept of the aliens, and how the ships arrived, and what the humans had to do, and how they fought the aliens at the end of the novel but... and it's a big but... the characterizations were absolutely ridiculous. A college professor ends up saving the world because he is smarter than everyone else... sure, okay, I can deal with that. But... a guy watches his kids die, tries to save them and is all agitated about if they will survive and then, voila! problem solved by the entrance of a nude woman. Yep... naked woman solves all problems just by appearing in the story - and then no more whining and hair-tearing over the little issue of his dead children.
Sure, a couple times while his is stealing furniture and complaining about his lack of decorating options, and fantasizing about having a cold beer, he thinks of his dead children, but only in passing... after all, nearly 2 whole days have passed.
And I won't even get into the other space ship captain and the earth responses to the situation - after all we know that a college professor knows more and is smarter than the entire forces of every country on earth - it's not like any nation would have experienced trained military leaders and/or technical geniuses that these brand new captains could rely on.
But... to be honest... the single biggest issue - which has probably tainted my entire review - is that women in this book have about the same value and intelligence as a beer. And if there was a blow up doll on board, I'm pretty sure the cold beer would be worth more.
So... you're thinking, yet another zombie book. Well, yes and no. It is another zombie book and zombies are bad, and people are bad when the world falls apart - at least many of them are... but... this one is actually better written than a lot of the more recent zombie schlock out there - particularly in how well the people are written. Of course, there is the standard zombie gore and hack-n-slash, and this part is not very different or unique, but... the characters are distinct and real, and they behave in mostly normal ways. They don't suddenly become super heroes, and the women are not just there to be raped then rescued (or rescued then raped)...
Sure, the women are rescued then raped - it is still a genre novel and the author relies heavily on the stereotype behaviour of humankind (dare I say "men"?) post-apocalypse - but the women are not ONLY there for that. The main character is a strong woman (non-lesbian too, nice change to see a female lead that isn't portrayed as a pseudo-man). Sure, she is flawed and damaged, but most male protagonists are as well...
The author actually made me care what happened to the people in the story - this doesn't happen very often in zombie books; normally I just read them for the action and zombie bashing and don't really care which of the "survivors" survive until the end of the book because we aren't usually able to tell them apart. In this case, however, we want at least the main character and her original entourage to survive... because... well, we like them.
The narration is seamless (you will forget it is being narrated). There is zombie gore but it isn't particularly graphic. There is some swearing and no sex. There is a bit of a twist at the end, but it isn't truly a cliff-hanger: I bought the next book in the series at full price on Audible as soon as I finished this one.
I'm not sure what I was expecting with this book... I guess I thought it was an urban fantasy where the main character solved crimes, or sought revenge, etc...
What it really is is a story about a guy we don't like very much being as annoying after death as he must have been in life. I'm actually not sure why this book was as unenjoyable to me as it was... I think it must be that the main character is so unlikeable and annoying that, really, I didn't care that he was dead, or if his murder got solved. In fact, I think I spent about half the book hoping Martin would figure out how to exorcise the main character so he'd leave the story.
Not that exorcising the main character would have made the story much better, just less annoying - it was a plodding, bumbling investigation that was "solved" mostly by luck (well, actually, it was solved because the author wrote it that way, not due to any investigative skill of any of the characters). There was no way for readers to figure it out on their own, since there are no clues or investigative nuggets in the story for us to follow... just a lot of whining and complaining by characters we don't like... until... voila! solved!
Maybe the good parts got lost in translation? I dunno. But I won't be reading any more in this series. The narration is fine. There is nothing graphic, and only a minor amount of swearing.
I read this book before even being aware that it was also a TV show. I have since watched the show on Netflix. The two are completely and absolutely unrelated. The book is a serious look at the experiences Piper had while in prison, and is billed as a memoire, which it is. The TV show is a dramatization loosely based on the premise of the memoire - a woman going to prison unexpectedly - but that is where the similarity ends. The TV show is billed as a comedy. A dark comedy, probably, but still a comedy.
It was an interesting look at prison from the point of view of a non-traditional inmate. Did Piper `learn her lesson` ? Maybe, maybe not, but the story had nothing to do with lessons-learned. It was a glimpse into a world that most wealthy, educated and non-drug addicted women don't experience. I quite enjoyed it, and found that I was surprised at some things (how helpful other inmates were, and how race within prison didn't seem to be a big deal in Piper's experience), and not so surprised at others (funding issues for programs in prison).
Overall it was an interesting "peep behind the curtains" of what goes on behind prison walls - from the point of view of a very non-traditional (and privileged) inmate.
The narration is good. There isn't any detailed sex or violence and only minimal swearing.
Well, it was my least favorite of the three so far. By quite a bit, actually. I`m not exactly sure where it went wrong, but... it might be that Rowland tried to create a suspenseful atmosphere of conspiracy and 'THE MAN' trying to control people when, really, this is a zombie book. Don't be trying to mix politics and political change movements with the animated dead... we can't take it seriously. Because... it isn't serious. It is about zombies for heaven's sake.
And I think Rowland was trying to show Angel's emotional growth, but I am not sure this was believable. When there needed to be angst, it was created by Angel suddenly becoming weak. She spent a lot of time paying lip-service to female independence all while she accepted bad behaviour from her father and her boyfriend. Please be consistent... if the main character is going to be a strong woman, let her be a strong woman, don't have her talk about it, but then go ahead and act like a victim. It belittles all women when this happens.
So, was the story okay? Yeah, sure... if you can accept that it was a bit farther-fetched than even zombies are. Book one was great, book two was good, this one was average.
The narration is good.
Ahhh... I left the review too long after finishing the book. I don't recall the details of the story, but I do recall that I enjoyed it well enough that I bought the next book in the series for full price on Audible.
Angel, however, is unique enough a character that I can recall the premise of the book... this is unlike most zombie and urban fantasy books where the protagonists all seem to have the same voice and the same problems. And, yes, this book is an urban fantasy more than it is a zombie book, even though it contains zombies.
It is a different take on the zombie story, and, while maybe not so much a different take on the female protagonist out to solve the "issue", it will not immediately fall into the "yes, just another urban fantasy pile of books mishmash" in your head.
The narration is good. It is not gory, and not really about zombies.
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.
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