I don't usually review books. I figure I either like them or I don't, and it's usually a manner of taste and style. This book, however, was so boring that I couldn't listen to more than a few hours of it. Apparently written for teenagers, there are no insights here, no world building, no secrets, no innovation, and really, no fantasy either. Not sure how he did it, but Rothfuss managed to turn what might have been an interesting story into some sort of coming of age sigh-maker. Rothfuss surely isn't an explorer of souls as is Guy Kay, and he surely isn't the master storyteller as is Jordan, isn't the magic technocrat as is Sanderson, nor is he the world builder as is Martin. Nor, to his high discredit, is he the coming of age storyteller of a Rowling. Fact is, his prose is trite and simplistic, his characters unidimensional, his story unimaginative, and his plot twists inane.
The reader certainly doesn't help much either.
I see a lot of folks liked this book, but I certainly did not. I'd advise the hard core fantasy fans to spend their credit elsewhere.
There is a great deal to this little story, including great description, what I'd call sublime horror, and a rather large dose of social commentary on the time it was written.
Be advised, however, that this story was written in the early 1930's using the literary style of that period. It was a time of great social change, and the concept of science not being able to solve all problems was really being driven home. Fear that the world was becoming a darker place was growing and the future was looked upon with gathering dread. With older works of art, one should recognize that fears tend to change somewhat. Yet Lovecraft knew about the kind of fear that never ends, that corrodes the soul, that destroys lives.
Listeners who wish easy prose and fast action should probably pass on this.
Yet if you appreciate very well written, thoughtful, and suspenseful in the classical sense sort of prose, this little novella is for you.
This isn't an action series. The sea battle aspect of this series is not the focus. Rather, this series is a work of historical interest which illuminates the life of the times and the politics of the times. If history interests you, then you are in the right place. If you want sea battles and dashing heroes, you best look elsewhere.
This review pertains to the entire series.
I generally don't write reviews here unless the work is extraordinary in some way. In the case of John Ringo's Legacy of the Aldenata series, it is the extraordinary failure of missed opportunities.
Ringo creates a rather interesting world where Earth is swept into an interstellar war involving several alien races which we can neither understand or trust. The various races are well fleshed out in terms of social norms and motivations, and the political and psychological interplay between them could have made for masterful prose in the hands of a better author.
What we get, however, is what we in the military used to call "The enlisted man's world view", in which the entire force structure is to revolve around the combat individual and his small unit. As one progresses through the ranks, this world view tends to expand as well, so that, one hopes, the individual begins to realize that although the heroics and capabilities of combat units can, indeed win battles, wars are won with command and control, logistics, and politics. It is unfortunate, then, that the protagonist of the series, who ultimately leads the entire galactic force structure, continues to act as an enlisted man.
Here we get battle after battle, fought by generally mono-dimensional characters sharing the same political convictions. To Ringo's credit, the tactics he presents are sufficiently correct, and the scenes of combat are reasonably well done.
The quality of writing is rather basic in the first few books, but gets significantly better as co-writers come on board. The level of political and psychological insight improves as well.
Yet I wonder how much better a more accomplished writer would have handled the political, social and psychological aspects of the interaction between the Humans and the various alien races, and how each society would have been impacted by such an exchange.
Ringo will likely never be considered among the best writers of sifi, and the books in this series ultimately devolve to what I might describe as "Sifi channel made for TV" quality. If all the reader requires is a fast and furious romp through the war zone, this series will suffice. Those who require sifi Asimov style, with insightful treatment of sociology, psychology, and the state of Man, will likely sit back in wonder over the missed opportunity of creating something compelling enough to become classic.
The series has been left unfinished, it appears.
This is a story about a perpetually dysfunctional military, aliens of friendly, evil, and all-together shady types, and a handful of heroes who somehow make the best out of all of it.
I didn't much care for the first several chapters, but somewhere around the 1/3 mark I began to enjoy it, and at the end, I had become enthralled. I generally don't much care for male readers with American accents, but all of that changed when the narrater tackled the alien voices, and did a stellar job doing it. I replayed the last couple of chapters just to hear it again.
Be aware, though, that the story is dripping with military jargon, military world view, and what I might call military social pet peeves. Most of it is rather authentic, if not sometimes a bit shallow. There are significant and colorful descriptions of battle, complete with reasonably accurate tactical analysis. Some actions of the characters, however, don't seem to make much sense.
The SiFi aspects of the story is rational, and the science is consistent.
Overall, I'd recommend this to anyone who enjoys military fiction.
Well written, seems less cartoonish than the Hornblower and Belitho series. Can be pretty funny at times. And, of course, narrated by my favorite, John Lee. if you like the period sailing stories, you owe it to yourself to try this one.
I typically dislike Sanderson's previous work, but I thought I'd give it a try after reading his latest Wheel of Time effort. The Way of Kings reads an awful lot like Jordan, and less like Sanderson. That's better for me, I suppose, but it may help to remember that when considering the download.
The world he creates isn't as interesting as the history he creates, but his use of language might cause some confusion early in the story. I found it difficult to keep all of the strange names straight, so I can understand why some reviewers here stopped reading early. It really is worth reading through.
Innovative? Not really. Creative? certainly, but it seems more a derivative of Mystbourne and WoT.
So, a good read, I think, with a bit more downside than WoT. I would recommend it to fantasy fans, but perhaps not to new fantasy fans.
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