Nepean, Ontario, Canada | Member Since 2013
First off I want to acknowledge a few very important things. What the author achieves over the course of his military career is nothing short of amazing. His dedication, perseverance and military skills are something to behold. I respect that. I also respect that he wrote down his experience. Writing is not easy and he did it pretty well. Another testament to this gentleman.
These things being said, I disliked this book. While on the one hand it will serve anyone who is looking to become a special forces soldier very well as they attempt to prep joining a particular service, I was saddened by the author's treatment of war. He glosses over the horrors that US soldiers and Iraqi civilians have had to endure. There are several exceptional books out there that speak to the futility of these wars and the impact it has had on individual soldiers and their families. Were you only to read this book you would be forced to conclude that war is relatively cost-free vis a vis humanity and resources. If I were a young man looking to join the military and I read this book, I would join convinced war is a less than costly endeavour where at the end of it I will be an unaffected and greatly improved human being. I don't believe this is the reality.
Perhaps my view of this book was tainted by the fact I listened to All Quiet on the Western Front just before reading Damn Few. The contrast between the two couldn't be any more different. Interestingly and to his credit, in the final chapter of the book the author provides some required reading for anyone who wants to better understand war. One of the books he provides is Matterhorn. I'm glad he does this as this book is an incredible testament to how terrible war can be.
Bottom line: this is a great book if you want to know what it takes to be a Navy Seal. He almost makes war sound fun - hence my War Porn title. However, it lacks depth and fails to acknowledge the broader impact of the Iraq and Afghan wars on both soldiers and civilians.
I don't write a lot of reviews but I felt compelled on this one because I love space operas and this book has received so many good reviews. I understand this is Currie's first book. If this is the case he deserves credit. It's not a bad yarn and the world he's set up has potential, but this first novel was held back for many reasons:
- The total lack of charisma of his main character, his first officer and several other secondary characters. The author made the relationships across the entire book stilted, wooden and quite frankly unbelievable.
- The choices the captain of the book were questionable. You're flying humanities only first and only interstellar spaceship and you threw caution into the wind, not once but several times for this flimsiest of reasons. In real life this guy would have been screened out of the NASA selection process on the first round. He's a real James T Kirk vs Jean Luc.
- With all due respect, I found the whole premise of our civilization showing up at key moment in another alien culture's 8000 year history (which includes interstellar travel) and we save the day, as hubristic. Yeah, North American's save the day again. In space. I get it that we are the warrior culture and they are peace loving, but I found the whole scenario a bit maddening.
- I was gobsmacked by the lack of imagination, explanation and the seeming similarity between North American culture and the human/alien culture in the book. The author made little effort to try and sell what should be a completely different society. Yes the technologies were different and they have a different language, but this was sold way short.
- I did not like the narrator. You had several hyper masculine characters in play and his main voice did not seem to fit. His accents for the alien race were lackluster, but he did do female voices quite well. That's not always the case.
I'm going to give the second book a chance. Despite its flaws, the world and story does have potential and I'm hoping the author will take more time to explore the personalities of his characters and the challenges they are confronting. Will keep my fingers crossed.
...but it's solutions are just a touch grand.
I found the future scientific and technical elements of the book to be very interesting. The future will be very cool and I believe that despite man's best efforts to destroy our planet in record time, that we'll develop the technology to survive well into the future. However, I found many of the prescriptions to be over stated. Prescribing the future of how we'll solve the world's food and water crisis is like predicting the stock market. 95% of people get it wrong - really badly. I appreciate the effort that the authors made but I found their suggestions of how to resolve the planet's issues unrealistic and just a tad elitist. But that's probably just me.
I got this title on sale so it was totally worth it. Unless you're really keen on how to save the world, you're better off on investing your hard earned credit on another one of your guilty pleasures.
This review will cover both novels. They are epic! The sheer size of these things is itself a huge achievement. That the author is able to interweave several stories and bring it to a satisfying conclusion at the end is equally tremendous.
The story is top notch and the characters and the worlds that are described are fulsome and real. The only flaw is that there is some meandering at times, but these are bearable. Just requires you to be a bit patient. Don't worry it's worth it.
I loved the sci fi elements. These were well conceived. The future could look like what is being described. Unlike Star Wars, which is pure fantasy, the ideas in this book seem more "real". So that really appealed to me.
Loved the bad guy alien race too. The author didn't leave you guessing about their motivations, which I appreciated.
All in all, a fantastic listen. Well worth a credit for anyone who likes this genre. The narration is superb as well. The gentleman who reads this monster is a real pro!
This is an excellent book for those who are looking at getting into the market, but don't want to buy and trade stocks. The premise of the book is essentially: you can't beat the market. The evidence he provides to support this proposition is overwhelming.
After reading this book, there's a very good chance you'll look at your investment strategy and make some significant changes. For the better I would add.
One caution. As a novice I found portions of this book quite technical and way over my head, but the central concepts are clear enough, so about 2/3rds of the book is understandable, enjoyable for those who don't work on Wall or Bay Street.
Really liked the narrator. He did a great job!
Just a short review to say echo what most other people are saying about this series. It's fantastic. The writing is wonderful. Very witty at times. All of the characters get developed to satisfying end. And the story. It's been a while since I've read (listened) to anything so long that flows so well, concisely and ended so satisfying. I appreciated the limited thread plots vs some of the other big series out there where there are many more. It's a bit campy at times, but heck that's fantasy. Thankfully, throughout the novels the author is able to make the characters and storyline realistic. The fight scenes are generally very well done, though there's a bit of super hero stuff going on. A real strength - it's clear the author is a sailor or has researched sailing really well. Whereas most other people glance over the technicalities of sailing in fantasy novels, Sullivan demonstrates command and it's a real plus to the story.
One concern I had was the magic system. This could have used more detailed explanation. As it was outlined, anyone could have become a powerful mage. I did like how Arista stumbled her way things and never became all powerful. Just a bit more explanation is all.
Finally, the narration was fantastic. Really loved the portrayals of Gaunt and Sauldor. The voices made you loath them even more.
A fantastic listen and real credit to the genre!
Overall this book is consistent with the first one. It's a decent tale. Great pace and lots of excitement, but I have several quibbles that prevent me from thinking this book and series is exceptional. If I wasn't an end of the world type of guy I wouldn't bother any further. Concerns re: this book include:
- Sloppiness. Part of the main characters backstory is that he fought in Afghanistan or Iraq. Almost unbelievably, the author seems to confuse the two wars. In one reference it's Iraq, in another it's Afghanistan. It's possible he fought in both, but the author gives no indication of this. Here's another one. His wife a terrible driver, pulls a U-turn at 70 mph? C'mon!
- The constant references to poo, feces, etc. We get it. Everything smells terrible and the dog smells constantly. In this second book it's now juvenile.
- There some plot leaps that are just plain silly. One key character, basically on a whim leaves the group. Really it's unbelievable. Also, it took me a while to accept that the main bad person was something else before she came to be a zombie. I get it; this is the author's decision and if wants to take the story in this direction, he is free to. A part of me still finds this element unnecessary and yes very silly.
- The soliloquys and tangents. I stopped listening at the very end, when the narrator started the backstory of the main character's arrest as a teenager. It was one too many. Again, I get it. This is the authors style and helps to make his story and characters unique. It's too much. At times, it seems like he's adding these things to hit his page quota. I'd rather have him delve into some of his secondary characters. They're a bit thin going into the third book. They could use some attention.
- Finally, the main character's wife. You'll read it in other reviews. She is a shrew and terribly annoying and the author has done absolutely nothing over the course of two books to give the reader any indication why the main character is so loyal and dedicated to this entirely unlikeable person. Based on the wife's behaviour, about 98% of the male population would have never stayed married to this women for 20 plus years. I get they are four weeks in the zombie apocalypse, but surely this character could have revealed at least one redeeming quality that would engender such marital devotion. Alas, we are left to scratch our heads.
Narrator does a super job. Saves the book in some cases.
Before I write my review, I'll say that the accomplishment of writing a novel, having it published, and widely enjoyed is an extraordinary thing. I could not like this book, despite an honest effort on my part. I listened up until the last 2 hours. I could listen no more.
I love fantasy. I've ready a lot of it over 25 years. I say this only to indicate I've got lots of material to compare to. Here's why I didn't like this book:
- How can the main character be so brilliant, yet make so many poor choices over the course of the book. I find it galling that the protagonist would be able to survive on the streets for 3 years based on his record of nearly insane choices during the rest of the book.
- I understand he's a prodigy, but regardless of culture, 15 year olds don't interact with adults the way this kid does. It's like every adult in the book is either an idiot or the listener is led to believe that the protagonist is all of the sudden a mature adult that has shed his adolescent veneer. It's rather unbelievable that this kid can shake down or intimidate several people in his travels. In almost every other fantasy world I know, the Inn Keeper, Horse Master, Tailor would have cuffed this brat and sent him along his way.
- The protagonist is a master lute player (by 12 sigh); yet rather than leveraging this skill in one of the largest cities in world, he decides to beg. Yes, but lutes are expensive you say. Yes, but surely someone as brilliant as this young man would have found his way to get his hand on a lute at some point.
- The entire dragon section of the book is unbelievable. You mean to say this beast has lived in the forest around the town for 200 years and no one in the village has any knowledge of its presence or what it is. For peat sakes, it randomly spits fire and has to eat large tracks of forest as food. Surely to goodness some farmer or forester would have ran across one of these animals at some point.
- For such a long book, I was surprised that the author did very little to explain the geopolitical nature of his world. He mentions there's a commonwealth and a war somewhere, but the details are frustratingly lacking, and this takes away from the books depth.
- I found the advancement of technology annoying. You have the university achieving all of these wonderful things, but it would appear these advancements have not made into the broader world. Keep in mind the period of time in the book is 2000 years. That's just silly and there's no explanation for it. Perhaps that was coming. You can't have this bastion of goodness and not expect similar advances in a common society over a 2000 year period. Surely at some point people other than the mages would learn how to invent plumbing!
Bottom line is that there were just too many foibles within this book to make me do anything by nash my teeth. The author has talent. He keeps things moving along and has created an interesting world, but even for a fantasy world it was just too unbelievable and frustrating.
A word about the reader. Didn't enjoy him at all. Didn't like his voice and didn't like his accents. Regretfully, like other reviewers I found him "pitchy" and whiny. This doesn't help the annoying and frustrating main character.
Among non fiction, very high.
How much society is now structured to foil and confound the natural progression of boys. If your son struggling with school, you should listen to this book. It is very powerful. It is well researched and when combined with the research you'll see that the Dr. Sax's recommendations are actually common sense. We've really overdone and overthought society and this book is a call for us to go back to more modest times.
There are aha! moments throughout the book.
I'm an administrator at a university and I wanted to consider information about why young men are not being successful at university. I'm now researching mentoring programs exclusively for men. Because of this book!
Pratt was awesome. His voice and tone were perfect for this text.
Ah yeah... we're so screwed. Economic armgedon is coming and few in North America and Europe know what's coming or have the willingness to take the required medicine. I'm the furthest thing from an economist, so this book was extreamly instructive though tough to follow at times. On the whole however, the author gets his points across with clarity. A great and sobering listen if you want to better understand the fiscal malaise that most of the developed world is experiencing. However, if you prefer the ignorance is bliss approach to your life, best not to listen.
Would I laugh or cry. I'm not quite sure...
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