This was the "big debut" fantasy novel a year or two ago. Ultimately, it's just alright--just interesting enough that you might want to listen to the sequel, when it comes out, because none of the mysteries or questions or plot threads are even close to being wrapped up here.
It is a very uneven novel, at points boring or too obvious or silly. Sometimes you can hear the author working too hard to make this a book about storytelling. At other times it is engaging and gripping. There are some good ideas here--but it is also very derivitive of Harry Potter and of A Wizard of Earthsea--the main action taking place at university for magic. It hooks you in enough that you then are frustrated with the parts of the book that seem amaeturish.
The narration is excellent, and makes the novel hang together much better than it might have.
This reads as unadulterated Steven Tyler, his language, his world view, coming through clear. What really makes the book worthwhile is Tyler's love of music and his focus on that. The narrator is fine, though sounds like more of a tough guy than Tyler himself.
Yes the endless litany of drugs, the sense of a whole life spent stoned, is a little disappointing, but that's part of the Tyler package...love of music and language and a mostly unexamined love of altered states...
I disagree with some of the other comments about the narrator. I liked his reading quite a bit, and thought it went very well with this kind of "hard science fiction." He only fell down on the voice of one character which is done as a bad Tommy Chong / 70's stoner impression--that just didn't work. (I think it's usually better when a narrator doesn't push "voices" and accents too hard).
The book itself is a nicely paced space exploration story, very traditional and well worked out. Nothing innovative, but satisfying, until the final chapter or two when the story just kind of fades away. It might be because important revelations are being saved for other "Coyote" novels.
I would have given this 5 stars--except for the fact that the reader is a real mis-match for the material. Morey has a voice and approach that would be great for a gritty realistic crime novel, but for these flights of fantasy, with an emphasis on flowing language and exotic locales Morey works against the material.
You don't have to be a Vance fanatic to enjoy these tributes to his most famous creation - they are all finely wrought far future fairy tales, visionary and playful. This collection provides excellent storytelling for any lover of fantasy.
There's something magical about Silverberg's best fiction--and the narration is decent enough, if a bit tinny sounding.
This lecture series was a lot of fun to listen to, and gives a good sense of the importance of science fiction as literature. It's not a perfect intro to SF, but has lots of good stuff. There are some mis-steps and mis-statements along the way, such as listing Ray Bradbury as a new wave author, or veering away from Campbell's golden age Astounding SF to spend too much time on HP Lovecraft, etc.
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