I gave up on this book about half-way through. There's 7 billion people on the world, but only our conservative red-blooded American hero has the connections and wit to initiate a trading relationship with a visiting alien civilization? Not really swayed by that, but ok, I'll suspend my disbelief. But then there's all this self-righteous political posturing by the author, over and over, thinly disguised by the main character's soliloquy's. One of those examples of something so bad that at first you want to think it's satire, so you stick with it, and then realize that, no, someone actually does think they can get away with that crap.
That was two strikes, but I still stuck with it! There's some fun bits, some interesting plot turns, and some ok science. But then there's this point where the main character and his friends start talking about the mechanics of space flight and asteroid mining and nothing happens at all. It's just made no sense. I mean, sure maybe the science was good, but it wasn't interesting, and it more seemed an opportunity for the author to show off how much research and thought he'd put into this issue. It's also kind of obnoxiously presented by the main character in a way that makes that main character look like he's 100% smarter than everyone else, so he loses any readerly sympathy very quickly.
Most of the characters are not characters, just caricatures: the fat bearded nerds, the earthy, xenophobic New England old-timer, blah blah blah. Didn't see any female characters to speak of. Maybe they were in the second half.
The reader was quite good, I'd never heard him before, and I thought he did a great job of assuming many different voices, and of switching around between them all. I'm going to look for more that the reader's done, but probably not John Ringo again, ever. In any format. Ptui.
This is the longest audiobook I've listened to (of about 50-60 total), and it's also the only one I've listened to twice. I love it, and can't recommend it enough. The reader was soooo good, I can't imagine ever reading this on my own. I love the world that's built here, wholly original, with good magic and a good sense for what makes good "rules" of magic. I wish I could read myself into this world over and over, via sequel upon sequel. Doubt that's going to happen, but I can always re-read, right?
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