I downloaded this book thinking it was Deep Space Sci-Fi along the lines of the Hyperion series. The first chapters are just then. And then the remaining endless hours are long drawn out politico drama set in a pre-industrial human world. Seemingly every chapter introduces another three political figures and deepens the plot--or so I suppose. Frankly I lost interest in the dramas of 17th & 18th century type people.
What it does do nicely is give a concise history of 17th & 18th century warfare tactics and developments. But I didn't download this for history, I downloaded it for thought-provoking sci-fi.
Lastly, as if the history lesson were not enough to put me to sleep, the unstoppable main character whose super powers are unmatched in this luddite world does not even bring the slightest bit of tension or excitement to the story.
This is by far my least favorite culture series book yet. The heavy medieval storyline did nothing for me. I made it all the way through, but the payoff wasn't worth the cost of the lost time listening to it. Certainly interesting parts, but for the most part I found it boring.
I'm a Boulder transplant (moved here from NYC in late 2011) and got to experience the culture this community has cultivated. Now that I am part of this "give before you get" community, and doing my part to contribute to its awesomness, I'm also out help other cities build their startup communities. This book is the blueprint and reference guide to that growth.
The key is not to be the next Boulder--just as Boulder doesn't try to be the next Silicon Valley--but instead to learn from the things that have worked here, experiment in your own city, and take the long view.
Perhaps the most important piece of advice in this book is this: take the 20-year view in everything you do to build your community. And in a year from now, it shouldn't be a 19-year view, it should be a new 20-year view. Continually look far into your city's future and build for the next generation.
Our venerable hero, Kyle Riggs, continues to single-handedly save the world, while the ever-grey Jack Crow does his best to behave like a spoiled brat. At this point in the series, I'm sick of listening to Kyle give orders and make requests of people without explaining his full plan, only to have those people argue or disobey when, if he had just explained the full plan to them, they would have got the idea and cooperated.
I understand the author wants to keep the reader in suspense, but when in every major battle Kyle doing something crazy (again) and the story tension hinges on everyone following strictly and blindly to his orders (again), well that tension is so overplayed by Book 4, that I can't bear to listen to another word of it.
Similarly, the interaction between Riggs & Crow is exactly the same since their first meeting in Book 1. OK. I GET IT. Crow is a self-serving bastard who will only attempt to save earth if there is no risk to his own hide. I'm over it. Can he grow as a character? Can their relationship grow? Can at least Riggs acknowledge that their relationship is not in the best interests of their species, and try to figure out something new? Is that possible? Nope. Same ol' subplot.
I'm on Chapter 38 of 49 right now. Once again, the "Crazy Riggs Plan(tm)" is in play with no one else knowing his intentions, and subsequently everyone doing their best to screw it up because he can't be bothered to take one damn minute to explain it. After I finish this book, I'm putting the series aside for a while and diving into some new up-and-coming authors.
I consider this book to be the third part of an unofficial trilogy of related books: The Tipping Point, Made to Stick, and The Power of Habit. All three look into trends or habits, but each from a different angle. Tipping Point examines the WHY behind trends. Made to Stick, the WHAT behind trends & habits. But this book is the HOW to shape habits.
There is a significant research overlap between Made to Stick & The Power of Habit, so if you've read the former, you'll recognize a couple of stories in the latter. But get it anyway, because this is the best of the bunch.
Daniel Suarez does an amazing job of thinking about the possibilities and the consequences of merging MMO elements into real life. He creates a plausible sub-culture in a near future world to explore what would happen if we were able to layer the virtual onto the real, and then use the combination to alter the course of humanity.
As an experienced gamer, an avid MMO player, and a sci-fi lover, I felt like this book was written just for me and my guildies. You will not regret the purchase.
Vast in scope, far reaching in thought-process, and absolutely amazing characters.
If you like deep space/space opera then this book is an absolute MUST READ. I've listened to it half a dozen times now, and even on this last read I was still picking up on subtleties in the plot. Alastair Reynolds does write some amazing books, and House of Suns is my favorite of his, and my all-time favorite Space Opera. My only disappointment with the book was that it is only one. If it continued I would be on my sixth read of the entire series, instead of just this book. Use that credit for this novel and you will not regret it.
Give the characters the opportunity to grow up--and the story with it.
I feel compelled to put this review out here to spare you the indignity of having suffer through this book. That is of course, unless you're suffering from insomnia, extreme boredom, or are trapped on a desert island with only this book to read. And maybe, MAYBE, if I was under all three conditions simultaneous, I might actually finish this book. Maybe.
Unlike the Harry Potter novels where the storyline grows up as the characters grow up, this series actually gets dumber, more juvenile and more predictable the longer it goes on. So if you feel compelled to read this book because 1) the first book was somewhat interesting, 2) the rest of the world is reading this book, 3) you suffer simultaneous from the three aforementioned conditions, then I will save you the credit: DON'T DO IT.
Move along, nothing to hear here.
I think learned the most from Alex White's multiple stories. No wonder he features so prominently in the book--he's a really smart businessman.
Everyone in the startup world and every entrepreneur regardless of whether you're in tech, bio, green, industry, or lemonade stands, should read this book. Each chapter is a lesson learned the hard way by a TechStars company founder. Plus, after each chapter David Cohen & Brad Feld (founders of TechStars) give their thoughts.
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