This book/series is billed as a Sci-Fi epic; yep, it is the beginning of what could be an outstanding Sci-fi or sci-fi/fantasy series. That it is the beginning of a series *needs* to be said, for this book lays all the ground work for the novels yet to come.
I have often thought that Weber places way too many characters in his books - its almost as if his books need to come with a who's-who. Weber departed from style this time around for he had just enough people to make the main and sub-plots work and work out. There seemed to be a few - and *only* a few "loose" characters at the end of this novel, but with just a little imagination one might figure out their place in future books of the series. This book was an audio "page-turner"; I stayed up late, too late, too many nights. So ... basic premise, a bit of a reach but not too bad for a starting point; plots / themes / character consistency, outstanding; narrator?
I was extremely impressed with this narrator. Pronunciation and diction were excellent; accents, excellent; speed, very good; intensity - I felt like the narrator was getting as involved in the novel as I was - outstanding. In addition, while there was no doubt who was speaking, be it male, female, good guy, bad guy, etc., it was done without the narrator attempting to "sound" female or "sound" huge, hulking male. The listener could intuitively differentiate by the narrator's style of speaking. Lastly, he did not have any annoying habits that would have detracted from the listen.
All in all, an excellent book, excellent narrator, and excellent listed (I went to find out if he had published a sequel yet!).
The only other reviewer (to this point) appeared to comment primarily on chapter transitions and the narrator; being overly harsh in their criticism and doing a significant disservice to the author. Many of the points made in that review were valid - though nowhere near "earth shattering" - and it bothered me greatly that the review contained nothing about the novel itself, author's universe construction and the story.
Yes, several segues between chapters did seem somewhat rushed. On the one hand those chapters could be viewed as "stories within a story" and contributing to the whole. On the other hand, a few of those rather abrupt transitions simply jumped over intervening years - I can forgive that sort of quick shift much easier than a contrived shipboard story or subplot that started and went nowhere. I am certainly not saying the author made the best of choices in smoothing over those transitions but it was better than trudging through pages of fluff 'n stuff.
Ok, done disparaging the previous reviewer. :-)
A VERY big positive from my perspective: there were NO descriptions of sex.. There was one (and as I recall only one) "intimate" scene which was handled delicately and without describing the act itself. Throughout the novel there was no bed hopping or gratuitous sex used as a plot mechanism.
On the critical side, I frequently found myself wishing for more (or better) character development. At least the characters' personalities, once fleshed out, remained consistent, interpersonal relationships, social and familial development progressed predictably (with respect to the passage of time).
Another positive: the science and technology were eminently believable. Ships could exceed the speed of light, but the rest of Einstein's universe and laws seemed to still be in effect. Ships had to plod along until superluminal generators (or whatever they were) were engaged, combat was fought at sub-light speeds with understandable weapons. inertia could be dampened but not avoided, etc.
The previous reviewer did get one thing right: the narrator left a great deal to be desired. Personally, I thought the book, plot, action and characters made the narration bearable, but only just. Even when totally "into" the book I found myself drawn back out of the novel because of abominable pronunciation, inflection and/or emphasis.
All in all, I think the narrator took too much away from an otherwise decent novel to give it a better overall rating. I would recommend the the audible version only when nothing else was available and even then with a caveat about the narrator. Otherwise, I could only consider recommending the paperback or kindle versions.
If I take out the one minute Audible lead-in/out, this sample chapter was about nine minutes.
According to the Amazon.com statistics, the actual audio version of the book is 18 hours. I must admit that I was extremely disappointed with a "teaser" of about 1/120th of the novel. Not enough to even BEGIN getting involved in, let alone making any kind of informed decision about the novel.
If I wasn't a Butcher fan in general, and a Dresden fan in particular, I think I would have been turned off by this. I was planning on purchasing the title anyway, but .... come on guys!
On top of this, once again we will have to wait for the audio version. Amazon says the hardcover is released on 7/26, whereas the audio version is to be released on 8/4. Mumble ... mumble ... mumble...
I was absolutely spellbound by this title, for throughout the book there is remarkable character development; you love the heroes and hate the bad guys, you feel for the underdogs - possibly even experiencing the pain of the semi-bad guys who must come face to face with themselves, their circumstances and their future. You sit at the very edge of your seat, until ... the book just ... ends!
I hated it! An outstanding novel with a conclusion that left me feeling empty, wanting and believing there should be something more - I was gasping, believing there HAD to be something more - to the point of checking the Audible website to ensure I hadn't missed a section when I downloaded the entire book! I wanted to hear Grisham, in his author's notes, tell us we could expect a sequel. It didn't, there isn't, Grisham didn't, and I DID have the entire book. I believe I have read all, at least the vast majority, of Grisham's works and never before have I felt so ... unfulfilled (let down?)
The narrator (I hesitate to say "performer")does an acceptable job. Diction was clear and crisp, albeit a bit slow at times. He kept the listener involved and the characters straight, though I sensed what might charitably be called a lack of involvement, a lack of passion. There were so many sections and characters that cried out for the narrator's passion that sadly was just not there.
Would I listen to this work, knowing what I now know? Absolutely. Would I recommend the work? Absolutely. But could Grisham not, with all his skills and imagination, come up with an ending that actually ended the book?
I normally do not write reviews, but I find this book is still rummaging around in my head long after the read.
On the surface, this is a book of nightmares and fairy tales; magic and monsters. On the surface, its an entertaining tale of an epic journey through the imagination.
Deeper though, Gainman brings an unlikely troupe of characters to life. There is an undercurrent, a story within a story if you will, where friendship blossoms, souls grow and mature in situations where both the very best of humanity and the worst of depravity are on display. It’s a story of how one man faces death time and again to gain everything he thought he ever wanted – and discovers it has no meaning when it cannot be shared with those he loves. In the end, Richard finds it is not what we have but who we have that makes our lives worth living.
After several previous experiences, I admit I was somewhat apprehensive about an author reading his own work. However, Gainman does an excellent job narrating this novel and bringing the story to life.
"Hood" has only a passing similarity with the story we might think of as "Robin Hood". The very basic premise, some of the characters, era and political landscape were much the same, though different enough I did not feel I could predict where the story might lead.
I had trouble "putting the book down". It flows very well; the narrator does an excellent job maintaining the characters and mood of each scene. I often found myself closing my eyes, transported to a different time and place, able to visualize the story as it was read. Very nicely done!
On the negative side, it felt as though the novel’s theme was closer to some of Lawhead's other books than it was to Robin Hood. The only choppy scene transitions in "Hood" were where the author chose to include references to “Albion”, or to try and weave in the story of the princely warrior who could save the world - beautiful maiden/old hag and all. These allusions weren't needed - "Hood" stands very well on its own. I caught myself wondering, albeit rarely, if Lawhead was “plagiarizing” some of his previous works in order to fill out the book, which detracted from its overall quality. It occasionally felt/read as if "Hood" was written simply as a sequel to one of Lawhead's other series.
All in all, still an excellent book that I highly recommend. I can’t wait to see what the next one holds!
I write with some chagrin; I wanted to read this sequel to _Altered Carbon_ despite some trepidation after reviewing several customer comments.
At the outset, let me state that I truly enjoyed the book. I am a fan of the "SciFi-mystery-military" genre (e.g., Weber, Ringo, Drake) - logical after my 20 year military career. This novel was filled with everything I enjoy in SciFi and then some; in all, an excellent read.
Many previous reviewers have noted the author's use of language. One *can* write a militaristic novel without reverting to "R-rated" language - I suppose it *is* possible; but for those who have spent time in the service, yet alone in a war, the characters would simply not seem "real" without one or two of them resorting colorful language. So the use of less than eloquent language is understandable.
What did *not* appear understandable, was how the author (twice) resorted to crudely executed, thematically incongruous and linguistically graphic depictions of sex. There was no need. I fail to see what Morgan hoped to accomplish by forcing the storyline to incorporate this byplay (forgive the pun). I don't use my fast-forward button often, but ......
And yet it was a *very* good book; I enjoyed it immensely and strongly recommend it. The narrator speaks with a very, very slight lisp, but his diction is otherwise clear: spoken in a well intoned, rich baritone (though his female voices leave something to be desired).
Should you choose this title, be ready for a fast paced, exciting plot; relatively accurate (again, graphic) descriptions of combat and combat-incurred injuries, and long periods sitting on the edge of your seat!
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