Science, yes, but also relationships, pathos and politics interact to make this a pretty fun listen. I like these long intertwined stories of science, world building, yet not necessarily space opera-y. Not so far in the future that you can;t imagine it ...kinda...
But you have to be interested in the science to enjoy this, it is an integral part of the story.
Usually as a series goes on I find they get predictable, and somewhat worn out. When I first started this 4th installment of Monster Hunter, I was a little, meh... But once I let go and got past the first half hour or so, I started to enjoy it quite a lot. The usual 'stars' from the first books are not the center of this book (no spoilers). But that actually, in the end, worked out for the best. If you liked the first three, you'll like this too I think.
This was a wonderfully written and read book. Really, perfect narration in my little mind anyway...I have listened to a lot of zombie, dystopic future, post apocalyptic books ( and yes other Sci-fi genre as well, and I found this to be an amazingly engrossing, unique and utterly human 'zombie' novel. I use quotes because it's not like other zombie novels at all. Well, maybe a little like "Raising Stony Mayhall"' or "NOS4A2" ( I know, that's not a zombie book at all), but what they all have in common is the human-ness of the people and the interactions they undergo in extremely unusual circumstances. So no macho hero with an arsenal saving the day, but a girl, a teacher and a small supporting cast will have you riveted and wanting to know what is happening, how and why throughout the entire narrative. Yes there are zombies, and some of their requisite tearing and rending of flesh, but that's not the focal point of this book-it's not a non-stop action packed zombie against man gore-a-thon, though still some good old icky zombie death scenes, don't worry. Really highly recommend this for a creatIve, ingenious 'end of the world as we know it' read.
But I'm glad I didn't. At first iI could not get into this book, the narration was a little 'hard'. Not that it wasn't well done, I just found it heavy and somewhat murky. But that's kind of how the narration felt to me. Once I got into world and the flow of the characters, it became mostly interesting. Sometimes I felt that the physics got a little heavy handed, long deep dives into all sorts of real and fantastical physics which, some of I enjoyed greatly, and some of which I found distracting and not needed or helpful to the actual plot. But there was very good character development, very interesting and original heroes and anti-heroes, histories and entire societies were well developed.
So if you like deep thoughts, learning new words for things like cameras, world creation, long philosophical treatises, then you will probably love this book.
OK, I have to admit I rad a lot of zombie stuff, anyway,and this was overall a ver respectable effort. I don't know why exactly this gets such soaring reviews, but I did enjoy it. I liked it enough to get the second one which was not very zombie-filled, but I digress. Not gore laden, which I'm fine with, pretty decent characters (I don't ask too much from zombie books in this department, but still need something), nice mix of manly men, and yet, some pretty tough babes-who don;t even have to be someone's love interest. Nice plot line, overall I do think it is worth the read, indeed.
I really wanted to like this. I wanted it to be a rip roaring space adventure-hopefully with some identifiable or with some luck, interesting characters. But not really....'Black Jack' Geary is not lovable, he's completely self obsessed, so you are always hearing him repeating lots of inner dialogue about 'woe is him'...because everyone worships him... We also hear,ad nauseum, how far away everything is in space and exactly what the time lag is for each and every maneuver. Sounds like he's describing a video game screen or trying to 'teach' us about what it would be like, really, to fight at faster than light speeds. These never ending reflections during 'battles' actually makes the fights strangely disjointed: They fire on the enemy and...now let's stop and remember, "they really fired this over 3 minutes ago because they are 3 light minutes away, so it's already happened....and Now -back to the action....
Didn't work for me- and I love good space opera, give me some Old Man's War, or some Larson over this any day.
I really enjoy the premise if this story. A very unusual first contact story that unfolds at just such a pace that you are kept eager to find out what happens next, and often are surprised by the wrinkles when they reveal themselves. Pretty decent character development as well for a relatively 'hard' Sci-fi story.
But really the worst narration I've heard in a while- it actually makes it hard to listen to. I am so conflicted- excited by the story-and yet irritated by the 'voices'. It's like listening to your iPod while getting your teeth drilled. All the female voices are incredibly whiny, nasally, and just sound like they're a sardonic drag version of women. The 'old man' sounds like a caricature of something out of the Andy Griffith show, gosh n golly! There are issues with the majority of the 'interpretations' of the characters, but these were the worst offenders.
Anyway- I am not usually sensitive to narration variations-as some of my friends are about narrators- but I couldn't let this one go by.....
Says something for the story itself as is I am sticking with it, though I have purchased the kindle version to try and finish it up without listening to narration more than I have to.
How can something shallow be so deeply you may ask? Well, it was consistent and unwaveringly uninteresting. So why did I listen? Well it was a 'special' price, $1.95, so it wasn't worth returning, so I hung in there. It wasn't actively irritating, the narration was really quite acceptable, it just didn't feel like a real story, The characters were so unbelievably flat and undeveloped, it made it impossible to actually care for any of them at all. The plot was predictable and unimaginative, evil dinosaurs?? Really?? I read lots of kinds of science-fiction, weird fiction-I can even appreciate a GOOD space opera... this was not that.
An unusual zombie, 'Differently Living' story, indeed. What does it mean to be human? To be a person? Stony helps us think about these things. This is not your typical zombies eating flesh and heroes/heroines try desperately to survive... Not your Walking Dead (which I love anyway)... Could a zombie baby grow iPhone? Grow at all? How does a dead person live? What's life anyway? Read this book and think about it....
First let me say that I loved The Way of Kings, and could not get into this book at all, I listened through the entire first download and still didn't feel it. I agree wholeheartedly with the comments on the narration. S-L-O-W. I actually kicked the speed up to 1.25, which was almost the right tempo, but then the sound quality gets compromised and unpleasant to listen to.
Besides the annoyingly slow narrator, the story itself was a giant religious treatise. The parts about the actual city of Elantris was interesting, but the whole religious domination/war mongering motif was heavy handed, and I'm not even particularly opposed to religious incursions into my plots, but it really took away from the sci-fi of this book for me.
It is clearly not written as skillfully as his later works, though I can see some of the promise he eventually shows in his other books. I do not recommend listening to this book, especially if you have read others of his works.
So this seems to be typical for Sawyer, great idea, don't worry I won't spoil it here, but always ends up a little sugary sweet for me. The 'tension' in his books, and this one is typical of this, just doesn't quite 'wind up' enough for me. The resolution is somewhat 'easy'... Happy Happy joy joy... Maybe it's a Canadian thing, but I wish for a little more conflict and difficulty in resolution.
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