This is a superb reading of one of the most compelling and well-written books of American literature. I wanted a book that would be good for a long trip, and it's certainly that. But I had no idea how much I would be drawn into the story of the Joads and of the destruction wrought by the disks of the combines. There are timely and cogent lessons here for us today, with entire states turned over to a mono-culture of corn. But forget the lessons, forget that it is literature, forget that you read it because you had to in school. Read this book because you can't put it down. Even when you know it all ends badly, you _care_.
Clan Korval is on Surebleak, and the Bosses have started a school. Young Syl Vor, bored by himself in the clan house, moves to the city to live with his mother, Nova yos'Galan to attend school. Meanwhile, the Kompani have saved the life of Rys Lin pen'Chala, a Field Agent of the Department of the Interior who was beaten and left for dead near the underground home of the Kompani and found by Kezzi, a young apprentice healer.
Kezzi is caught as a truant by Mike Golden (Nova's "Hand"), and taken to the school where she meets Syl Vor. Syl Vor proposes her to Nova as his Sister, and they become good friends while building a bridge between the Korval and the Kompani. To tell more would be too much, however.
The story could easily be a simple YA addition to the Liaden Universe, but it actually explores more than that and introduces characters that I think will have a significant influence in the future. And to dismiss it as mere YA is to totally miss the point.
The reader is Eileen Stevens, who is also the reader for the Fledgling Arc of the Liaden Universe. I found her reading quite good, with characters easily distinguished while not being overly intrusive. If I had one complaint it is that when the story switches viewpoints and storylines, which it does regularly, Ms. Stevens didn't provide a "whitespace" break between the story lines. Even a 1/2 second gap would have helped clarity. But really, I'm nitpicking. A thoroughly enjoyable story, and highly recommended. If you're new to the Liaden Universe, this story is essentially standalone, but still probably not the best starting point. I'd start with Balance of Trade, Local Custom, Agent of Change, or Fledgling. Really, any would do, but I think personally I'd go for Agent of Change, which was the very first published book in the series, though not the chronologically first. IAC, if you're just starting, you have a treat ahead of you!
The Nonesuch is a leader of the Corinthian set, a fine horseman, and a man of impeccable taste. Miss Trent is a well-born but impecunious woman forced to take a position as a "Governess/Companion" to a young, beautiful and heartless heiress (Tiffany) of less than noble birth, but surpassing beauty. When the Nonesuch comes to the neighbourhood on a matter of business, he ends up staying well past his original intention. But is it to chase after the heiress? Hardly. This is, after all, a Georgette Heyer novel!
As always, there are many turns and miscues, but it all works out in the end. But it's the characters, the wit and bit of language, and the sheer fun of a Heyer that makes it all so much fun and such a delightful read. The Nonesuch is well read by Eve Matheson, and makes for a great listen.
Book 8 of the Imager series, or book 5 of the "Quaeryt" story arc.
This book continues the story of the founding of Solidar, as Lord Bhayar unifies the continent of Lydar, with Commander Quaeryt leading his Imagers to overcome treason within the forces of Bhayar.
In this volume, Quaeryt continues to move towards building a Scholarium where all Imagers and their families can live and learn while supporting the common good of all. But first he must do battle with elements within the armies of Lord Bhayar that want to put control of the continent in the hands of the army and of the High Holders.
The action level is about typical for this series, but there is thankfully much less of the overt sermonizing. I continue to find the reading of William Dufris excellent, though there are occasional times where I lose track of whether it's Quaeryt or Bhayar speaking towards the second half of the book.
C. J. Cherryh's Foreigner series is one of the best alien-interaction series ever written, IMHO, and this is the first book in that series.
The series centers around Bren Cameron whose role is that of the sole interface (Padhi) between humans and the Atevi. Humans have landed on the home of the Atevi, and have been isolated onto a single large island to prevent further wars caused by misunderstandings. The Atevi are a sentient species that is hardwired to think differently from humans and this has led to a previous war that nearly wiped out the human contingent despite the humans far more advanced technology. Bren's job is to be the interface, translator, interpreter, and diplomat between the species, and is the only human living amongst the Atevi.
Foreigner is a complex book, and is the start of a series that develops in complexity over time, but there's a fair amount of world-building that has to happen in this first book. Don't let that put you off, it's more than worth it.
The entire series is read by Daniel Thomas May, and he does a superb job. The voices are easily distinguished without hammy and inappropriate accents, and his reading is never intrusive, but always clear and well-paced. If you're just starting this series, I envy you. Though I find myself going back and re-reading every few years from the very beginning.
All the familiar elements of a good Heyer Regency are here - the star-crossed lovers, the stern but good-natured Charles, the humourless Eugenia, the ineffectual Lady Ombersly, and, of course, the Grand Sophy, a resourceful young women brought up by her father, Sir Horace, in the midst of the Napoleonic Wars. The final climax of the story is perfect Heyer. Funny, convoluted, and perfectly in keeping with the characters.
The reader is Sarah Woodward and she does an excellent job. Highly recommended.
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.
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