East Coast, Canada | Member Since 2007
The book, obviously, is fiction but it is read and presented as if it was non-fiction, and this is done very well. If one didn't know better (i.e. one was from off-planet), it would seem as though these events really did happen, which makes it pretty interesting.
The reading is very well done - engaging and lively. I didn't realize the story was abridged (never heard of it before seeing it here on Audible) but I can see how whole sections might have been cut out as each "interview" stands alone so there's no way to know what was left out. I don't think the abridgment is bad though because I don't feel like I missed something, and as it was, parts of the story were a bit slow (some of the individual's stories were much more interesting than others). If someone hadn't told me it was abridged, I don't think I'd have known.
It is definitely worth a credit. I'd have given it 5 stars except, as I said, there a a couple parts (mainly the politicians I guess) where the "interviews" weren't as interesting as some others. The concept (fiction presented as reality) is different and enjoyable.
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.
Ahh... some butt-kicking mind candy.
No deep morals here, no lectures, just lots of guns and deception.
It is probably the best of the Grey Man series... the author has matured, and his characters' actions have become more realistic.
It is not truly a vigilante justice story because the good guys are not really good guys, and the bad guys are not really bad guys, and there isn't really anyone you'll want 'punished' for their bad behaviour. But it does have lots of action, a bit of suspense, decent characters, and a solid wrap up.
You won't need to have read the others in the series to read this one. The author doesn't really repeat parts from the other books either, so if you did read them, you won't see much of them repeated here - it is a new story. And while it is not Lee Child's Jack Reacher, it is a decent fill in.
The narration is very good, there is some swearing, some non graphic, mostly gun-related violence, and no sex.
I will start by mentioning the thing that bothered me the most about this book: it just stops. Reading along and... suddenly it is over. There was no real indication that there was an end coming up. Doesn't mean that it was not a logical place to stop, just that there was no real build up and denoument that lead me to think the end of the book was coming.
Other than that, it was a reasonably well-written zombie novel. Yes, it works with the standard clichés and the characters are pretty run-of-the-mill. But there is some satisfying vigilante action, some zombie action, and some militant faction action.
What more do you want from a short and quick read? It ain't literature folks, it's a zombie book. And a relatively well written one for that. I will read more in the series.
The narration is good, there is some swearing, no sex and the violence isn't graphic.
It was not very well written, and I think this poor writing (specifically dealing with character development/behaviour) took too much away from what, otherwise, might have been an okay story. Maybe.
It is a lot like Daemon except, of course, much more lecturey and person-does-A and then person-does-B formulaic. The writing simply didn't flow, and there was little suspense.
This might be because the characters were not very distinct or "real" feeling, so... basically, we don't care what happens to whom or why... they all sound the same, so it is hard to tell if it was person one or person two who had something happen to them.
Was the techy component good?... well... it was better than the character development, but... again, it was written so stiltedly that it felt like I was reading a how-to manual. And I don't know that the tech was as "cutting edge" as it thinks it is. Sure, it's not "real" at the moment, but this author certainly isn't the first to use a self-actualizing AI as the premise of a story.
And the sub-title makes no sense at all. Oh well, live and learn. I won't be looking for any more books by this author.
The narration was okay. There is no sex or gore and the language is too dull to even have much in the way of swearing.
I had been disappointed in the book just before this one in the series. I thought in that book Danny was getting tiresome, and Ceepak was not featured very much. This book has gotten back on track.
The mystery is a bit more detailed than usual, and there is a huge personal component to the story that had been missing in the last book. Some things were resolved in a very unexpected (but much welcome) way... I am not sure what this will mean for the next book in the series (assuming there is one), but I think the resolution here was fitting, and necessary.
Otherwise... the tone and pacing, and mystery level of this novel are pretty much the same quality as they were in the other books in the series: A+.
The narration is excellent. There is some minor swearing, no gore and no sex.
Okay... I hate to admit it, but... I looked up the author on the internet because I was convinced it was a female writer (it is not). Why, you might ask, did I wonder this? Well, because the female characters are fully realized, and not just objects to be rescued, and the main (male) character is sensitive and responsive - like a woman might want a man to be - rather than crass and manly like many 'action' heroes are.
Of course, Ring is not really an action hero, and this novel falls into the urban fantasy genre, not the action genre. But it is only urban fantasy in that some of the characters are immortal... the story itself, and the main characters, all have a feeling of realism. In fact, the biggest reason why this novel doesn't really feel like an urban fantasy is because of the quality of the writing, and the lack of 'cheese'.
Maggert has fantastic vocabulary. The book almost feels like literature, but it is not dense or heavy - it just has a lovely use of language. There is some non-graphic sex, which was well-placed and... I don't recall any swearing.
Overall, this book is actually better than book one was - and that's saying something since book one was pretty good. This one has a more concrete resolution, and characters which are consistent internally and over time as well. It was not a cliff-hanger ending, but I will read any more in the series. I think that if you were going to pick up this book, though, you might enjoy it more if you read the first book first since the characters will make more sense if you do - and this is definitely a character driven novel.
The narration is terrific. It's a female narrator for a male main character, but don't worry, she doesn't narrate the men in "falsetto", and each of her characters are distinctly voiced.
It is actually a bit better than book one. It is a mature, non-hack-n-slash zombie book - well, there is some hack-n-slash, but it is not so much against the zombies as it is against the other survivors.
In fact... it is almost like the zombies are just a side concern of the book. There is only interaction with them when necessary, and all the 'bad guys' here are other humans. Zombies are sorta treated like mosquitoes: very annoying, you try to avoid them, and kill them when they're close enough, but you won't be digging out the fogger to spray the forest around you.
Cyrus does spend a little too much time thinking about how sociopathic he is (or is not as the case may be), but I suppose that is also part of his narcissistic nature.
Is the, err, religous extremism realistic... no, not really, but it is as well written as such a theme could be. And these fanatics are as believable as anything else is in a zombie apocalypse. It is well-paced overall, and the characters are actually pretty well-fleshed.
The narration is very good, there is some swearing but overall, it is not particularly graphic or gory. I will keep my eyes open for more books by Knapp.
I got this book on sale and had no idea that it was part of a series, but after some investigation, it turns out that it is: this makes more sense... Sharko did not feel like a 'new' character here, and I kinda wish I had read the back stories before this one.
That being said, I really enjoyed the tone (dark), the vigilante-feel, and the flawed characters in this book. The first part of the book is better than the latter (and final) parts of the book. The pacing changed from an un-folding story to a 'lecture-style' exposé. And the vigilante component just goes away. In fact, the resolution of the story is based on the description of events by several 3rd parties (some of whom are added in at the last minute) rather than by the detectives discovering clues that lead to the resolution. And I think there are a few too many characters... some just popping in long enough to set the stage for the next scene, and then they disappear (or are killed) .
Originally, I hadn't realized that it was a translated book, but even that makes more sense now - some of the wording is, ahh... heavier ... than it would be in a North American written novel. And the settings and travel methods are definitely European.
I am actually going to go read the previous books in the series now... I really like Sharko as a main character - he is so different from the usual detective.
The narration is very good and there is no graphic violence or sex in the novel.
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