Sharon Lee, co-author of more than a dozen Liaden Universe books, this time brings us something completely different -- a pure fantasy centered around the carousel and arcade at "Archer's Beach" on the Maine coast. Kate Archer, who was brought up by her dryad grandmother, has returned to Archer's Beach because her grandmother has disappeared and the Carousel needs to be run for the summer season, and much fun and danger ensues. The book is fun and well-written, with good characterization and good plotting. The story is made even better by the excellent reading of Elisabeth Rodgers whose Maine accent may not be "real", but feels right to this non-Mainer.
More stories in the Archer's Beach series are under contract with the publisher, so I sincerely hope they'll also get Audible editions, preferrably with the same narrator.
The Tomorrow Log, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller is an excelent book that isn't, specifically, in the Liaden Universe. Very definitely space opera, though, and it could be in the Liaden Universe, somewhere.
Protagonist is Gem ser'Edreth, a thief and electronics wizard who was sold as a child by his ship to a grounder, master thief Edreth. Now his ship has sent Corbyne Faztherot to reclaim him to the ship as the Captain pre-ordained in the Tomorrow Log. But meanwhile he's caught up in the machinations of the local druglord, Sazony Belaconto, and has been "Chosen" by the Trident, a semi-sentient artifact, complete with its very own Witness.
As with any book by Lee & Miller, this is extremely well written and a delight that I couldn't put down after I started. Kevin T. Collins redeems himself with this reading which I found excellent and perfectly paced. (His reading of Trade Secret was less successful and felt rushed, but that's the only off one I've had from him.)
Trade Secret is a worthy sequel to Balance of Trade. My only complaint is that it will be a long time until we hear any more from Jethri Gobelyn, since any further adventures for him will need to wait until the authors complete a current round of 5 books already under contract that are timed later in the Liaden Universe.
Trade Secret tells the ongoing story of Jethri Gobelyn, now adopted of Clan Ixen and associate trader on Ixen's trade ship Elthoria. I very much enjoyed the continuing story of Jethri, and wish we could have more. My only real complaint, and it's quite minor, is that I'm finding the reading of Kevin T. Collins less satisfying this time around. The pace feels just a trifle rushed, with the need for a bit more emphasis of the spacing in the story. But still well worth the listen.
This is easily the worst of the Honor Harrington books so far. Long winded, flabby and not at all well written or edited. Inside that 36 hour book there's a good 15 hour book hiding, but it's really hard to find it. This is the first convincing argument I've ever seen for an abridged version! Clearly, Weber needs serious reining in by his editors, and he needs to slow down and take the time to write a shorter, and better, book.
The narration by Allyson Johnson is what we've come to expect. Well paced, but with positively awful and inappropriate accents. I've learned to live with it, but not to like it. And for 36 hours??? WAY too much of her and Weber. Fortunately, the next book in the timeline is one with both a different reader and with Eric Flint as co-author. Should be much tighter and more enjoyable.
The 9th (Ashes of Victory) and especially the 10 ((War of Honor) books in the Honor Harrington mainline series were definitely a sign that David Weber needs to be reined in by the editors at Baen, since the writing was very flabby. The 36+ hours of War of Honor could have easily been a MUCH better book at 15-20 hours. Here we have 19 hours of tight, well written, and well read Honorverse. I enjoyed all of it without a single place where I just hit fast forward.
Crown of Slaves focuses on the Genetic Slave Trade and the fight against it, along with the creation of Torch. Honor herself is essentially not a part of the story. But instead we have more of the Zilwickis and Victor Cashet, with the first appearance of Ruth Winton, niece of Queen Elizabeth.
This is the 6th book in the main Honor Harrington Series, and covers her rehabilitation as an officer in the RMN. The story continues with Honor leading a squadron of Q ships. Excellent story, but the same abysmal performance from Ms. Johnson. I've learned to mostly ignore it and just enjoy Mr. Weber's book.
On Basilisk Station is the first of the Honor Harrington books. Inspired by the Horatio Hornblower saga, these are the British Napoleonic Era Navy transposed to outer space and the Manticorian Kingdom (and eventually Empire). The stories and characters are new, but you can still very much feel the inspiration. In this first in the series, Weber writes much more tightly than in later books, and it's really a very enjoyable story. Or it would be, if the narrator could pronounce Manticorian. Now it wouldn't be a big deal,except that the word occurs in virtually every paragraph, and each and every time it is a knife thrust into the brain. There are other problems with the narration, including very odd characterizations and ridiculous accents, but I could forgive all that. But the mispronounced words are just inexcusable. It's a shame, since there are so many really fine narrators doing science fiction readings.
This 20th book in the story of Kate Shugak and Alaska is another winner, though much of the story is actually about Jim Chopin. The plot, straight out of Shakespeare, involves the feud between two villages in the Park, and the problems of young love in the midst of feud fueled by profound cultural and socio-economic differences.
This book ends with a rather controversial ending that I will not describe or comment on to avoid spoiling the book. Suffice it to say, it's a shocker.
But even knowing that, I am extremely glad to have read this book, and, as usual, Marguerite Gavin's superb narration adds to the enjoyment and understanding.
Spider and Jeanne Robinson's classic Stardance is a novel of discovery. It isn't "space opera", and isn't even "alien contact", though certainly it involves contact with aliens. It's much more about dance and zero-G, than about aliens. I first read this book in the 70's, and I wasn't sure how well it would have stood the test of time, but I was pleasantly surprised. Yes it's a bit dated, but still a compelling story, well told and well narrated by Spider Robinson. Usually, authors should not pretend to be narrators, but stick to their writing, but Mr.Robinson does a superb job of narration. All in all, well worth the credit.
If you've been reading the Foreigner series, then you won't want to miss this book! The fighting is in and around Bren Cameron's country estate, as Bren must negotiate with Machigi to prevent a full out civil war. Again.
If this is your first contact with Cherryh's Foreigner series, stop! You really need to go back to the very beginning of the series. There is way too much that you've missed to start with this book.
Ilisidi and the young son, Cajeri. The dowager continues to be a powerful and unpredictable force, with an agenda of her own. And Cajeri is a continuing surprise.
Excellent narration, though a bit slow. But the Atevi voices feel right.
A great series. Highly recommended!!
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