This book is definitely unique, presenting a complex, interwoven series of events that eventually come together... more or less. The author creates a dizzying array of characters, which I found difficult to keep straight despite Peter Kenny's amazing array of voices. The narration is truly astounding, with accents, pitch, and timbre that seem impossible to come from one person. I found the end of the story a bit unsatisfying.
This story is vast and intricate. The story HEAVILY uses the "F" word, which I found somewhat offensive. If that doesn't bother you, and you have the ability to play this story in a way where you can focus on the details and personages, and if you like bizarre storylines full of new and unique ideas, then you might enjoy this book.
I listened to this book on the recommendation of a friend. I did not enjoy this book at all - I struggled to get through it, hoping the entire time it would get better, which it did not. At the end of the book is an interview with the author, where he remarks that the predecessor to this book has been compared with The Great Gatsby. I wish I knew that before I listened to this book - I despise The Great Gatsby, for many of the same reasons I did not like this book.
Things I liked:
1. The narrator was excellent. Good voice acting, though occasionally I thought his emphasis was not right for the circumstances. How you say something carries as much information as what you say. There were times that I felt if I were reading this book rather than listening to an audio book, I would have imagined the character saying the line differently.
2. There is an interesting (though somewhat predictable) twist involving Susan's father.
Things I did not like:
1. I don't like mobster / Mafia stories. I did not like The Godfather (or its sequels). I did not like The Sopranos.
2. I enjoy stories that *go somewhere*. This story goes nowhere but in circles. It's all about relationships and feelings and who is having sex with whom. I don't need to know this stuff.
3. I did not particularly like the main character. He does not think, act, nor respond as I would. This is not usually a problem if the character is clever, eccentric, or even deranged. This character was just a jerk. But everybody loves and respects him!
4. The main characters are arrogant, condescending people who believe they are better than everyone else. It's hard to sympathize with characters when you don't like them.
5. There are a number of dangling story lines that are extraneous to the story and go nowhere. Again, I prefer stories that go somewhere, not just aimless ramblings about people's day-to-day living.
Obviously I am not representative of everyone who listens to audio books. There appear to be a lot of people who enjoy this type of story. I prefer more action, mystery, comedy, and characters with whom I can empathize.
Definitely a female author. A little too "touchy-feely" for me. Story has a lot of dangling threads - unfulfilling, incomplete. My overall opinion of the book is, "Meh."
As usual, Scalzi provides a narrative with many unexpected but believable twists. His characters are well-developed and fleshed out. I found myself caring about the characters and their fates. The narration by Dufris is remarkable, with emotion and personality that really brings the book to life. I often find myself wincing at the sound of a male narrator trying to voice a female character, but Dufris is able to do this acceptably and the female characters' voices are tolerable.
The reason I rated this 4 stars rather than 5 is that I found the previous book in the series, "Old Man's War," to be more enjoyable. This book at times fell into a droning and somewhat boring series of dull conversations between characters, with little advancing of the storyline. To me it is like Scalzi is trying to pad the narrative in order to meet a publisher's demand for a certain number of pages. There is such a thing as too much information when it is extraneous to the story.
That having been said, overall I did enjoy the story and would recommend this book.
Very intricate storyline. I was amazed at the author's ability to present multiple sides to an argument, develop creative alternatives for the story's characters, turn the tale in unexpected ways. The story unfolds beautifully; I found myself not wanting to quit listening, the story carried me along and wouldn't let go! The narration was excellent; easy to understand. Enough difference in the characters' voices to make it easy to follow the story. I was slightly confused initially because the two main characters alternate focus with each chapter - Holden, then Miller, then Holden, then Miller... It took me a few chapters to catch on to what was happening.
My only complaint would be that I found the ending somewhat weak, but I assume this part of the story is developed further in subsequent books of the series. I'll definitely be listening to Corey's subsequent books in this series.
Not a lot to say here. Most of the stories were mediocre, a few were awful. None really memorable or particluarly enjoyable. As you can tell, I was somewhat disappointed by this anthology. Not my cup of tea.
It took me a while (I'm a bit slow sometimes, especially with intermittent listening) to realize that the first person narrative changed characters every chapter. The voices are not greatly different, so I was confused by the narrative and character names. Once I realized that the first person changed chapter-by-chapter, things began to make more sense.
This book covers vast expanses of time and space - millions of years, millions of light years. Ships the size of cities; people with lifespans measured in millions of years. The story was very engaging at times, very drawn out and, dare I say, boring at other times. I found the interrogation of the four prisoners and the "funeral scene" particularly long and boring, unnecessary to the storyline. These sections could have been almost entirely eliminated without harming the story. I almost quit listening entirely during the funeral portion because it was long and pointless.
Overall, I'd have to say I liked the book because of the ideas and concepts presented. However, I had little emotional connection with the characters.
I found the narrator John Lee easy to listen to, though I wish his voice characterizations had more "personality". Most of the characters sounded very much alike in tone, tenor, pacing. There were a few who had different accents, which helped, but the main characters were too similar for me, especially early in the book before I picked up on the subtle differences.
I probably will not be seeking more Alastair Reynolds books anytime soon.
I found the story very unusual and enjoyable. Very entertaining and memorable in a bizarre sort of way. It's fairly short as Audible books go, though the 3 codas are longer than I expected! All in all, I liked it and would recommend it.
My only complaint would be Wil Wheaton's narration. He is a good narrator; he is a lousy voice actor. His narration is crisp, clear, and easy to understand. Unfortunately, with rare exception, his character voices are all identical, which makes it difficult to follow the dialog at times. The writer (Scalzi) generally writes dialog like "Blah blah blah," he said. "And blah blah blah blah," she said. So the identification of the character comes AFTER they speak. So I found myself constantly thinking, "who is this speaking right now?" To me, it interrupts the flow and causes me to do more thinking than I should have to! Some actual voice acting would have been nice. Other than that, I enjoyed the novel.
One final note: There is a LOT of vulgarity used by the characters, mostly the "F" word. I would not recommend listening to this with your 12-year old.
I really enjoyed earlier books in the series, but this one moves too slowly, has too many characters, too many ships, too many locations. I find it difficult to follow, way too much dialogue and not enough character interaction or development. Much of the story revolves around discussing tactics. The actual action sequences, as usual, are engaging and enjoyable, but there is not enough action and too much blather. I don't like this one as well as the previous books. Pity.
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