Kim "Stan" Stanley Robinson has the distinct ability to write use scientific concepts within the narrative in a way that lets you understand what is happening even if you don't understand how. The science serves the drama without overpowering it, letting the characters be front and center to the story. Mars itself is the main character, with long passages of the book given over to describing the landscape and its harsh beauty. The other human characters are more familiar and (for me) more interesting. Red Mars is not an adventure tale; rather it is more of a "what if" exploration of the future of humanity. There is plenty of drama, conflict, and even spectacle. The narration was clear, with distinction between voices and was never distracting.
This is less about a war at Disney than it is a detailed (and exhaustively documented) history of Michael Eisner's time as the head of Disney, and the changes to the company and its culture that he oversaw. As an employee of the entertainment industry, I found this book very interesting, and the insider information, especially as much of it occurs in recent memory, is entertaining without being titillating. This is strictly an insider's view of the inner workings of Disney, however; what is missing is the context to put the events depicted in comparison to the workings of other entertainment companies. Fans of Disney may find this book interesting, since it explores what makes the Disney experience so distinct, and questions whether Eisner has improved that experience or not. The narration was good but not great; Lawlor's voice was more informal than I would have liked, and he seemed a bit rushed to get through the pages.
The setting, story, and characters have great potential for an original fantasy epic. That potential got me through the first book (there are two in this recording). Unfortunately, it never quite lives up to that potential. The two main characters are not well fleshed out, and the glimpses of greatness that you see in them is never fully realized. What is lacking is depth; characters have motivations and histories that are barely glimpsed but never seen, and what results is a lot of action without consequence, and danger without drama. When the dialogue is witty it is funny, but gets lost when it's trying to be meaningful. Narration is okay, but not well served by the material. I had to stop about one hour into the second book once I realized that I didn't care for these characters anymore.
Great genre-subversion story, and very funny. If you don't like meta-meta-fiction then this is not the book for you. The narration was very entertaining; what Wheaton lacks in distinction between voices, he more than makes up for with enthusiasm and tone that matches the material perfectly. Another reviewer said his penchant for dropping the "he said" and "she said" to the point of distractedness and at first it bothered me too but I got over it. The codas are a little too long but mostly funny.
This was a fun experience. There was enough dramatic tension, plot twists, and interesting magic to make the story come together in an exciting and entertaining way. Narration was good and fit the tone of the book well, though Marsters style may not be for everyone.
Good middle book
Elland, since he grows into a king
The mist is watching
Hope the third book closes everything out well.
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