East Coast, Canada | Member Since 2007
I also listened to Altered Carbon (first book in the series). This one is slightly better in some way - it seems more smooth or something, less time spent explaining the backdrop perhaps. The story is independent of the first book so you don't have to read them in order (but Altered Carbon is good enough that you should anyway)
Same narrator as the first book and he is terrific! Probably one of the best readers I've heard: his women's voices don't sound absurd, and you can tell who's talking from his intonation.
It is graphic, with detailed (and very long) sex scenes which are gratuitous in nature - i.e. they don't advance the plot in any significant way. I'm not a prude and I don't mind listening to sex, but be forewarned that it is adult in nature, a.k.a pornographic, no two ways about it. I would have taken off a star for this but it's such a good story otherwise and there's always a fast forward button.
And, of course, it is violent and gory and has a dim view of the value of human life...
But, other than that, it's terrific!
This book is not nearly as good as the reviews lead you to believe. It is a collection of short stories that are, apparently, connected. Story one is about a woman who wishes her reality away... probably a better concept if we cared about the character, or could accept her being stupid enough to do what she does in the story. She is supposed to be a professional, and yet... her choices are ones an 8 year old would know better than to make.
Story 2... was just dumb. Sexist and flat characters who don't do anything other than discuss how unhappy one of them is. I think this is supposed to contain a moral, but I don't know what it is. Unless it is that having children won't save a relationship.
Book 3 was okay in that it was kind of interesting at the start, but, by the end of it (and remember it is short so I shouldn't have had enough time to be annoyed), you have heard about 20 different possibilities which are just more variations on a theme. The story is too short to add extra scenes just to show how "smart" the author is in thinking up another possible time line.
Story 4 is by far the worst. Very lecturey on the nature of virtual reality and the main character is just a stereotypical 20-something entitled boy. Who is described using drugs in a manner that someone who has never used drugs might describe.
All in all: waste of time and money. The concept could have been interesting, but the presentation by this selection of 4 stories certainly didn't express the concept very well. There is a very strong sense that the author is fairly new at the craft: maybe with more seasoning he could write characters we care about, or scenes that express new technology without lecturing, or events that sound realistic, even within the high/new tech field.
The narration is acceptable. There are different narrators for the story and it seems that none of them are professional narrators, though they are understandable and clear. They just don't add much to the story. There is no sex or gore, and if there was swearing it was minimal.
This book occurs before book 1 of the series (chronologically). I did not know this when I picked it up so was bit confused as to the goings-on - particularly when some stuff that happened in this story had already been referred to in book one.
There is a bit less of urban fantasy vigilante novel feel and a bit more of a detective novel feel. And a bit more investigating and a bit less action. Not sure if this was a good thing, or a bad one though... I like having the action to move it forward and feel like justice is being served, but the detective part helped flesh out the world and characters. I guess, all in all, it was just different in tone from book one, but not worse because of that, just less of a vigilante novel than I had been expecting.
All in all, it was pretty good, and I have bought the rest in the series. Though I do hope it goes back to the tone/feel of book one. The narration is very good. I think there was a tiny bit of swearing, but no graphic sex or violence.
I chuckled out loud a couple times in the first few pages. That is an excellent omen.
Have to say though, I really dislike dream-sequence scenes. Dreams don't mean anything in real life, why would they mean anything in fiction? Fortunately there were only a couple of these.
The plot is a bit convoluted, but ultimately Johnson does explain it all out, so you are not left trying to figure out how A led to B. Since I don't try to figure out plots before they unfold, I am glad that it was all summarized for me.
I did read the earlier books in the series, but that was awhile ago so I forget the age difference between Walt and Vic...I think it is significant, and, as such, there is a thread of un-believability in this book. But anyway.
My only real complaint is actually the number of characters. I am okay with the regulars (we already met them in earlier books) but there are a couple different bad guys, and some other characters that play a role, and it was actually a little difficult to keep them all straight.
The narration is excellent. There is no gore or graphic sex or violence and I think there is only occasional swearing. I bought the rest in the series on Audible.
I have been reading this book FOREVER!!! It is super long so I kept putting it down and reading other novels before finishing this one. All in all I enjoyed it, but I kinda wish it hadn't been all in one novel - perhaps the first part of the novel, say to 1960 - could be book one, and the post 1960 part be book two. That way I wouldn't have felt like the book went on forever. (Note that I prefer audio books that are 8-12 hours long.)
It covers a lot of ground though: basically it follows the CIA from its inception to the modern day 'activities' it gets up to. Lots of spy vs counter-spy stuff, and lots of details regarding specific 'coups' or attempted coups, by the CIA (i.e the Bay of Pigs).
Was the historical background accurate? I have no idea, but it *sounded* like it was. I am not a big follower of U.S. politics, and I don't know if I believe in the Cold War hype, so many of the BIG ISSUES in this book didn't shock or awe me because I either didn't care, or never believed it was a real threat in the first place. But the characters in the book did care, and we cared about what would happened to them, so the story worked on this level.
It might be hard to tell as you wade through the book, but there is a consistent thread, and a bit of a storyline outside of detailing the various CIA activities. Essentially, the book follows the entire careers (and sometimes lives) of a handful of characters. It is well written, and, for a book so long, and on such dry material, it is actually very interesting. Once you become familiar with the characters (there are a lot of central ones), you will want to know how each of them fits in with the overarching plot.
I think there was the odd swear word, but nothing excessive. There is nothing graphic (sex or violence) and the narrator was quite good, enthusiastic without being overly dramatic.
I didn't know what to expect when I started this book. It seemed from the write up that it would have a very heavy supernatural bend to it. It does, but it doesn't at the same time. Hard to explain, but the world, the characters, and their motivations and behaviours do not feel supernatural, even if their existence is (this is a good thing, by the way). The "bad guys" are varied and supernatural in nature, but their actions are realistic, and how they are dealt with is believable.
The background/history of the characters and the world and how they got to where they are was really well-doled out/paced. We aren't subjected to lectures or long histories, but little snapshots of the past just in time to stretch out some suspense or fill a gap. There is a fairly consistent sense of humour throughout which actually comes across quite well as it fleshes out the main character, and certainly makes him more likeable.
There is an oddly placed fairly detailed erotic scene as we get close to the end of the novel. Not sure why this scene was so far into the story, nor why it was so detailed when other similar scenes were more cursory in nature. It was a well-done scene, just so much more detailed than other scenes that it felt more like it was fulfilling a specific requirement for X pages of erotica, instead of progressing the story.
I think the story ended at a logical point, but it isn't really resolved... and it doesn't feel like justice was properly served (but, then again, there wasn't a huge 'wrong' to be righted here, just a general sense that immortals are bad and should be removed). It seems clear that there are more books planned for this series; I would certainly read them.
When I first started the book, I thought the choice of a female narrator was a bit odd since the main character is male. That being said, however, she does an excellent job, and you can tell each of the characters apart easily; no exaggeration... she really does a terrific job, but it was still a bit odd when the narrator made a reference to being male (particularly in reference to sexual activities).
There are some sex scenes, but they are not particularly graphic. There is some non-graphic violence and I don't recall any foul language.
This warning is probably too late but... if you haven't yet started this series (it was released in 3 parts), DON'T!!! Save your time and money.
Episode one was the only installment even worth the paper it was printed on - and its plot just stopped mid-scene. Book two was full of abnormally (and inconsistently) behaving characters and had a distinct Jurassic Park feel to it. This book - Episode 3 - is bad. Plain and simple.
The biggest issue with Episode 3 is that the characters do not behave normally, at all. For example: they are told, specifically and directly, that if they do X, then people will die... so, what happens?? they go ahead and DO X. Then (yes, seriously) in the NEXT scene, after two people died from their first stupid ignoring of instructions, they DO IT AGAIN.... and guess what... more people die!!! wow... what a surprise... If you have the only potential cure for humankind, are you going to go wading through hordes of infected, 30 minutes after you just lost two of your party to the infected? No... I didn't think so...
That, and the 'bad guy' (added to the story at the last minute) was ridiculous and gave the book the same feel as some very trashy low-brow zombie novels out there.
Anything redeeming in this book??? hmmm... the epilogue... was probably the only part worth reading after the first half of the first episode. And no, I am not exaggerating. The underlying story might have been half decent, if only the characters didn't behave like imbeciles.
It is not graphic or gory and there is no sex. The narration is good.
This is a strong sci-fi/alternative future/fantasy novel. If you have read any of Hamilton's works before, you will find this one has exactly the same style, tone and pacing as his other works... if you didn't like his style, tone or pacing in other books he has written, you won't like this one either.
For those of you who haven't read Hamilton before - his books are THICK. The science is relatively detailed (but not hard-core), the plot is divided into 'threads' that start off completely unconnected but tie together at the end, and there are a LOT of characters to keep track of. Sometimes this disconnected thread approach might cause you to get lost... and sometimes there is just a bit too much time spent on side-stories (in this case: the alternative sexual/relationship possibilities of the future). But these side stories do fill out the space-opera requirements, and give the reader a fuller sense of the world/reality being built.
I actually quite liked the 'fantasy' component of the novel. I thought it was, in many ways, more interesting than the 'sci-fi' part since it was a single storyline, not the multi thread line of the 'real' world story. Again, though, all these threads do come together in the end, but you have to get through probably more than half of the book before you can see the potential connections. There is just a smidge of moralizing but it is short and dispersed throughout the story so it doesn't become too annoying.
I will read the rest of the series, and probably any other books Hamilton comes out with as well. His stories are strong, his characters distinct, and the science/potential is very believable. The only thing that would make his books a bit more enjoyable would be the cutting back of about 100 pages of side-story filler - this would increase the pacing a bit, and I don't think we would miss out on much if we didn't get to hear about what people wear in Hamilton's worlds.
The narration is very good. There is occasional swearing, but there is no gore or graphic sex (though there is an exploration of mature alternative sexual activities). Oh, and keep in mind it is a trilogy so the story isn't wrapped up here; the cliffhanger is somewhat mild, but you will probably have to get the next book in the series if you like full resolutions.
I don't know why so many people say this book is funny - I didn't find it to be particularly funny (and yes I do have a sense of humour). I will admit, however, that it is light and fluffy, so maybe that is what makes it funny? dunno... but there certainly weren't any moments that made me giggle, nor did I notice any moments where I thought the author was aiming for funny and missed...
It is a fast read, and it's not very deep, but you wouldn't be reading Harper for a deep novel anyway, would you. The mystery is just entertaining enough that you kinda wonder who the bad guy is, but mostly the story is about the main character's personal life/growth so the bad guy - and the entire 'suspense' thread - is mostly irrelevant.
I almost felt there was a problem with the time-component of the story. The vampire is staying for one week, then two, but we're told 'several' days pass a couple times, so I am not sure if they fell in love in 3 days, or in 9. Either way, it is a rapid about face for an ancient vampire. But, to be fair, these books assume 'true love' will happen nearly immediately - that is one of the reasons people buy them, for the romance (or soft-porn as the case may be).
In this case, there are no graphic details (but they do have a bit of semi-detailed sex), and it is not gory. Really, it is a lighthearted vampire romance novel with a tiny bit of non-romantic suspense to it. I would read more by Harper, but only if I wanted some brain-fluff. The narration is very good.
I liked the first one enough that I bought this one, even though I was a bit annoyed at the way the first one ended (it was stopped mid-scene, with no form of resolution for the story, as if book one and book two were one book chopped in half).
This one does manage to resolve its own story (i.e. the story that this book is about is ended), but the overarching storyline started in book one is carried on to book three. I am okay with this because I expect there to be some loose ends in the middle book of a series and the resolution of this book's story was satisfactory (I don't mean, in any sense, that this is a good story, it is just a resolved one).
And that brings me to the story itself. This is Jurassic Park. Almost exactly - 'cept without the excitement or good writing.
The characters are not fully rational (sometimes they act in ways that no normal person would in the same circumstances), and they are not consistent in how they behave (they behave one way at the start of the story but at the end they act in ways completely contrary to how they began).
As an action adventure it was barely okay... too reminscent of other jungle adventure gone awry stories, wishy-washy characterization, and no suspense or significant development of the main story line of the trilogy.
I had already bought the 3rd book in the series (and you kinda have to if you want to know what happened with the parasite), but if I had known how the story was going to progress (or not as in this case), I would not have started this series in the first place. The narration is good, but... the story is so lame that even good narration couldn't infuse any excitement.
Pretty straight forward non-gory, non-noir fantasy novel. It isn't necessarily written for young adults, but it could be read by them as it is pretty tame (no foul language, no graphic anything).
There is definitely a moral to the story (being an outsider, definition of family), but it is relatively subtle and didn't make me roll my eyes.
The race(s) are pretty interesting, and very well created. It seemed believable that such a world of creatures could exist and the dynamics between the species also made sense. Even the "bad guys" were a logical extension of the world's species, and their behavior was believable.
I quite enjoyed the story, even though it was a bit slower-paced - and lot less dark - than my usual fare. There is a lot of world and character building and the only part of this that was a bit on the weak side was the 'romantic' component(s). This romance was required by the story, but the angst between the love interests was told, not shown, and had little tension or "oh no" sense to it.
The narration was good and I did buy the next in the series from Audible.
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