I finished the entire series a few weeks ago and i've given it a lot of thought since then. This is a really great series, probably my favorite of the 'modern' sci-fi genre so far. I listened to all five books (Commonwealth Saga+Void Trilogy) w/o much pause b/c i couldn't stop myself.
In terms of the Void Trilogy alone, the second entry is superior to the first simply b/c the characters and the society are more established. If you listened to the Dreaming Void and the prequel series, the Commonwealth Saga (Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained) already, I'm sure you don't need my review to encourage you to continue. You won't be disappointed!
John Lee, as always, does a fantastic job and hardly needs to be mentioned b/c he is so consistently good. This was a great listen that i will probably repeat in a few months!
For me this is tough to review b/c the writing, narration and story are fantastic and i would give them each 5 stars, that is, until the ending. This book is and was very well known in its time, won a Hugo award even but that perplexes me unless the sequel was released at the exact same time b/c this book cannot stand on its own. Had the sequel never been published, this book would have been quickly forgotten and possibly even hated due to the abruptness of the ending. I get writing a story that draws readers in and makes them want to keep reading but this book's ending is cruel to the readers. Given the succinctness of Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion (book 2), the author clearly knew exactly where the story was going and only ended the book where it ended to trap readers and force them to buy the new book. Perhaps that was the publishers decision to do it that way but to me this was an incomplete book.
That being said, i highly recommend this book (and its sequel)! The accuracy of some of the 'predictions' in this story are on par with that of Asimov and other great classic sci-fi writers and that makes it really fun to read (listen) for me personally. If i had known that book 1 and book 2 are really a single book, i would have given this 5 stars overall.
This was a really fantastic book and the connection to 'modern' Hamilton books is much more evident in this book than in the first two of the series. Don't get me wrong, the first two are great also but the Commonwealth Saga and the Void trilogy are all masterworks of space operas and that quality can be seen in the third and final Mandel book. If you already read the first two, you don't need to read my review to convince you to get the third so i'll just say that its worth it. If you haven't read the other Greg Mandel books, look up Mindstar Rising and A Quantum Murder, all three are really great detective stories.
Toby Longworth did a great job and it was nice to hear a British voice that wasn't John Lee. I think John Lee is fantastic but every book by a British author that i listened to prior to the Mandel series is narrated by John Lee and i was starting to think that maybe they only had one male narrator over there..(kidding).
As an aspiring author, i've been trying to find other author's early works to see what they started out like vs where they are now and that's what drew me to this book. From what i read in other reviews and research confirmed, this is Evan Currie's first published book and considering that, its pretty impressive. The writing is very good and the story certainly draws you in - as soon as i finished this one, i wanted to get the second and pick up where i left off. The quality is on par with Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet series and i liked Evan Currie's story line a little more. This book is less 'sci-fi' than Ian Douglas's Star Carrier series but also less 'military' than Campbell's series so it's a good mix. If you like hardcore military sci-fi or, on the other end, if you like hardcore sci-fi, this might not be for you but being a fan of both sub-genres, i enjoyed it.
I heard about this book via TechDirt b/c the author published the book through Amazon directly and did tremendously well on sales. When I saw the Audible version, i had to get it since i had owned the Kindle version for a year w/o reading it. The book is now being made into a movie so its an all around win for independent authors.
Anyways, this book is one of the best books I've listened to in a while (and that's coming off of a long stretch of Alastair Reynolds and Peter F Hamilton books, among others). The writing is very, very good and i completely understand how and why it would be considered 'movie material'. This is one of those books that when you see the movie after finishing the book, you'll have the feeling that you've already seen 'that part' b/c the imagery Howey creates is vivid and complete. In that sense, i would say its comparable to Harry Potter and Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice & Fire series).
Onto the narration by Amanda Sayle - I was impressed. This book doesn't have a sole main character, it has many that all follow a similar story line and the split is pretty even, half male, half female. Audible books tend to have a narrator with a gender matching the protagonist but this one could go either way. I think Amanda did a wonderful job that certainly adds to the overall quality of the story.
Finally, i will say that had i actually read a synopsis of this book before buying it, i would not have purchased it b/c the type of story that it is doesn't typically appeal to me. That said, i'm glad i got it and i think you should skip the synopsis and hype too, just get it and listen/read!!
I thought this was going to be a short work on what is listed in the title, space exploration, Mars and the future. Instead the majority of the work is basically complaining about the current administration's handling of the space program and NASA itself. The first thirty minutes were exceptional, full of visions of the future and travelling to Mars, exactly what i expected. From there, it derails and talks about why even planning Mars Direct isn't possible now or in the next three years. That's not to say that the information provided isn't accurate or interesting, but if you're looking for something full of theories on space travel/colonization (besides "change the government!"), look elsewhere.
I listened to this book before any other book in the series so that probably affected my review versus others. However, i think this intro was very well done. I'm only about half way through book 1 of the saga of the seven suns but this book has already helped greatly in understanding exactly what's going on in that story. Overall i consider this story to be more of a 'classic sci-fi' series akin to Asimov's universe since the concepts are not as abstract as other, more contemporary works. However, that is not a bad thing b/c it allows the author to focus on the characters and their society which always makes for great story-telling.
I was drawn to this series for two reasons: i like long series and I like the books Anderson co-wrote with Brian Herbert surrounding Frank Herbert's original Dune series. This book is better than some of those books in terms of writing and i'm confident Anderson's writing will only get better in the rest of the series.
The narrator is pretty good and does a good job providing a variety of different voices to help differentiate the characters. I also felt this narrator did a good job enhancing the voices/story by playing up the emotion the characters were feeling.
This is my second favorite novel by Reynolds behind Pushing Ice. Although the concepts are pretty far out there, the characters and story are central in this novel (rather than the science-speak in the Revelation Space series). I have not read/listened to the 'prequel' novella "Thousandth Night" (in "One Million AD") but i don't think that's required for this story to make sense.
Although Reynolds is considered a 'hard science fiction' author, he doesn't focus on how each of his concepts is mathematically possible which actually enhanced the story for me. Too much of that gets in the way of telling the story in my opinion, it is FICTION after all. This is a stand alone novel that any futurist/sci-fi fan will enjoy.
Oh and John Lee, as always, does a fantastic job.
..from the Commonwealth Saga. This book is both a brand new story line and a continuation of (some of) your favorite characters from the prequel series. The new characters are very different but the blending of the new and old makes for a great story. I finished this trilogy weeks ago and i'm still thinking about some of the concepts Hamilton created. I had to repeat some parts of the book a couple times b/c a few of the concepts are very abstract but don't be deterred, everything makes sense in the end.
John Lee does a great job with the new voices as well as keeping the old voices the same. This made the story that much better for me.
You won't be disappointed.
....be prepared to invest some time in the series as each book is long (a 'plus' for me) and the connecting plot ('long plot') is strung out loosely throughout each book. This isn't a 'con' for the series but its not as direct as Peter F Hamilton's Commonwealth Saga/Void Trilogy and could be an adjustment depending on what you are used to.
I found this to be a good book but i think it was a little tough to listen to b/c the of the way the author used the character names. Maybe it was just me but I found myself confused by characters being called different names at different times w/o being properly linked back to the 'common' name used throughout the rest of the book. Mainly this happened when the author switched from the common last name to the first name in dialogue. Perhaps knowing that upfront, listening to the book will be easier for you.
Other than that, the story was very entertaining and John Lee did an excellent job. At this point i hardly feel its necessary to mention Lee's performance b/c they are a staple of any audiobook. I don't have any doubts about the 'listening' aspect when i see its John Lee.
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