It's not the worst novel I've ever listened to. Even as a fan of the Halo books (and military scifi in general like Starship Troopers) this book in the Halo series is arguably the worst and the most disappointing of the novels so far.
This is the book that covers the events of the first Halo game. Unfortunately it's also like reading the events of a first person shooter video game. Masterchief turns the corner, shoots aliens, repeat ad nauseam. There's none of the character development from Eric Nyland's Halo novels which are far, far better. If only Nyland could write all of the Halo novels and if only Jonathan Davis could narrate them...
I found this book very disappointing because this IS the story from the first game and Nyland's book the Fall of Reach really was a great set up for this book. He was able to endow the Masterchief with a personality and backstory successfully in my opinion which is no small task all things considered.
This book is really only worth checking out if you're into Halo and military scifi like I am AND you're planning to listen to the books that follow it - First Strike and Ghosts of Onyx.
If you're a casual fan, I'd say skip it. If you want to read all of the Halo novels, check it out but don't get your hopes up. Otherwise ANY of the other Halo novels are a better read.
I found this novel to be overall pretty enjoyable. The narrator is solid and it seems well written but it hasn't struck any chords with me personally. At the end of it, I'm left not really feeling it's whether I go on with the series or not. Actually, instead of getting the follow-up to this novel I decided to switch gears and listen to The Hunger Games...
I can't recommend the book as a "must read" but it's a solid military scifi novel. I actually really do like the concept of the battle-armored M.I. which is obviously an homage to Starship Troopers but it's unique enough to breathe new life into the concept and very well executed in that regard.
I'll likely wind up listening to the sequels at a later point.
I made the mistake of assuming the first book's narrator would continue through the series. The choice of Jim Bond for this book was absolutely horrible and what's worse to me is that the rest of the series uses several more narrators.
It's like recasting the entire cast of a tv show each season... To me they just aren't the same characters that I enjoyed in the first book.
I can't even comment on the book itself. I couldn't finish it. I'm sure Jim Bond is great for certain genres (self-help books maybe) but definitely not one that requires strong emotion and intensity.
I'm not continuing a series that can't have consistent narrators. I can't even finish this one. The strange intonations remind me of Yoda.
I think my opinion from the very first book in the Lost Fleet series still holds true. The military aspects of the series are very cool - tactics, protocol, military life in general. It's good enough for me to give it four stars. I'd actually rate it more like 3.5 but half-stars aren't really optional.
I don't mean it as a slam on the author or the narrator but in my opinion the characters are still rather two-dimensional and lack depth which is why I don't rate it higher. While I've gotten used to Christian Rummel's narration, I don't think his style really lends itself to the books.
Aside from those criticisms, the series is still enjoyable for me and this new book is on par with the rest of the series. I wouldn't recommend it to non-military SF fans though. Casual SF fans would probably find the space-naval battles overly technical and dull compared to other types of SF but I enjoy the change of pace myself.
I kept deciding to NOT check out this book because of all the negative reviews and gave it a shot based on the overall review rating which is pretty good.
To be honest, the writing is not fantastic but not as bad in my opinion as some of the reviews make it sound to be. It's a different style of writing and, yes, it is very linear. There's nothing wrong with that once you get accustomed to it. The narrator is great in my opinion and I rather enjoyed his work.
The book is mostly entertaining however it can be cliched at times and what is supposed to be surprising really isn't. The scenes I mostly had difficulty with were the ones featuring the torture of a young boy which is unnecessarily drawn out and overly detailed - I found that to be rather disturbing. Luckily that isn't a large part of the book.
Aside from that, overall it's alright. I like the characters and I don't mind the linear storytelling. I don't like it nearly as much as I do the Wheel of Time series but I don't feel like I've wasted a credit in checking it out.
As I continue through this series, it really reinforces my initial feelings from the first two books. From technical vantage points, the books are really fantastic and give you a birds eye view of military operations and space warfare which is explained in great detail. I, for one, really enjoy it but I think more casual sci-fi fans might find it somewhat boring.
The characters do tend to come across to me as somewhat two-dimensional and there's honestly not a lot of emotional impact in this series but the technical detail is keeping me very entertained despite the character shortcomings.
I do still wonder if another narrator might have improved the experience a bit.
I really like this series. I don't think it's the greatest thing I've ever read but it's very well written with great detail given to military viewpoints, procedures, strategy and tactics. Additionally, it seems to handle the scientific logic exceptionally well. I do feel it lacks really good, riveting characters unfortunately and the narrator doesn't do much to help with that.
I don't mind low-key narrators at all - most of my favorite narrators are low-key (Jonathan Davis, Robertson Dean and Lloyd James.) Christian Rummel doesn't do a bad job at all in my opinion but I just feel like his match with this book lacks something. Or maybe it's the story that lacks the character and Christian Rummel just can't quite breath life into the characters because of that. Either way, it hurts the performance.
All told, however, I highly recommend this series to fellow fan of military science fiction. It's well worth the credits I think.
I'll be the first to say this book is intelligently written and excellently narrated (Jonathan Davis is one of my favorite narrators) but none of that saves the book from being incredibly boring from start to finish. I really don't understand the glowing reviews it's received except just to say, it's not my cup of tea.
If I had to describe the book, I'd boil it down to a book about a bunch of unlikeable characters doing nothing remotely interesting in what appears to be Thailand as a future third world country struggling with famine, plague and politics.
I was really impressed with this book. I'm not sure I'd rate it in my top 10 (Dune, Starship Troopers, I Am Legend, etc.) but this was a very solid and enjoyable novel.
Unlike the last book I listened to, I really felt a connection with the characters. They felt three-dimensional to me and it didn't take long before I cared about the story because I cared about the characters.
The book mainly focuses on two primary characters (Holden and Miller) and the chapters alternate between their points of view which at times overlap as they interact. The story is part scifi adventure, part mystery and, to a lesser degree, part first contact with a dash of creepiness here and there thrown in.
There is profanity but it serves in fleshing out particular characters (Amos) without being gratuitous in my opinion. Thankfully, there are also no gratuitous sex scenes which the story really wouldn't have benefitted from anyway.
The narration is also well done and lends to the positive experience of this book.
I assume based on the "Book One of the Expanse" that this will be the first in a series of novels so I'm anxiously looking forward to more. I found the ending of the book satisfying but I'm also anxious to find out "what happens next" in this author's universe.
Since I haven't listened to the whole series yet, I can just judge this one book. I suspect I'll really enjoy the rest of the series however.
I won't say that this is as good as a classic like Heinlein's Starship Troopers (one of my all time favorites) but I really, really enjoy reading scifi written by someone with personal knowledge of military life.
If you like military scifi, definitely give it a listen.
I wanted to give this book a chance and I'm glad I did even though it's definitely not my cup of tea. It's not a bad book at all in my opinion and I can see how some would really like it. The writing is solid and the narration is excellent. Unfortunately, the alternate historical angle just isn't firing on all cylinders for me.
I think I'd have liked the story better if it were written from a more modern day perspective instead of from an alternate history point of view. Personally, I find the aliens somewhat unimaginative and it also doesn't make sense to me why aliens that can fly to and invade other worlds are not more advanced technologically from earth's world war 2 era technology.
More importantly, the focus is split up on so many characters that I just don't find myself caring about any of them enough after listening to an entire book to want to continue.
So, for me, that adds up to an okay story but not one I want to spend any further credits on. If you like more historical type scifi though, definitely give it a listen because it is well written and very well narrated.
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