ALBUQUERQUE, NM, United States | Member Since 2006
If you like your fiction with a little science, you'll probably like the 'Lost Fleet' series. Don't expect radical new ideas or cosmology on the fringe. This is what you might call "practical sf." I love the main character. He's the kind of person that I could serve under with confidence and loyalty.
If I remember correctly, some reviewers complained that the battle elements are excessive. I disagree. I think the books include just the right balance of action vs. character development, even though I have to admit that the characters don't have extreme depth.
You won't find any really clever ideas here, but it's good solid writing. I'll continue to the next volume.
This is my second series of lectures by Professor Mark W. Muesse. Both have been a pleasure to hear. I would classify this series as freshman- or introductory-level. It probably would not benefit any but the most casual religious scholar.
I feel that I came away with a good basic understanding of the historical facts, as they can be determined, and the teachings of these four individuals. Great care was taken to provide historical and cultural context for each. The work avoids any judgement about the validity of any religious doctrine.
When we experience deeds performed in the name of a doctrine, the obvious question is whether or not the actions reflect a rational interpretation of the originator's intention or are simply extremist excuses for the actions. An impartial scholar would be the ideal individual to examine this question; however, Professor Muesse makes no attempts in this area. Perhaps this issue was just not the focus of the series, but since the atrocities committed in the name of various religions are a part of their history, he loses one star for political correctness.
From my review of 'The Bat':
The Harry Hole character reminds me a little of Jesse Stone. He's definitely not your squeaky-clean hero. This series was recommended to me by someone who saw that I enjoyed Stieg Larsson's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and its sequels, and I'm grateful that he did. The summary is that it was worth the credit, but I'm not yet hooked and pining for the next book. I've purchased the next available audio book, number 3 in the series. We'll see how it goes. If I don't get a little more out of it, Harry may have to go on the shelf for a while.
Keep in mind, when reading my opinions, that darkish detective fiction is not really my thing, so I don't have a lot to compare Nesbo's work. I thought it was solid believable fiction, and, like Larsson's, very well translated. It felt like it was written for native English speakers. In a number of parts, I was amazed see that the humor translates well. Someone did a great job. Sean Barrett's performance of the various accents was very good, but the voice of Harry never quite fit the character for me. Other reviewers have stated a preference for another reader as Harry, but as this is my first in the series, I can't say. Sometimes, when the reader of a series changes, the new one doesn't get a fair chance. We (fans) like of character's voices to stay the same.
If you like the genre, give Harry a spin. You won't regret the credit, and may get to really like him.
Review of 'Phantom':
Well, I'm not at book 9 of the series. I find that I do prefer Robin Sach's narration, and I've come to think of him as Harry. As always, he does a very creditable job with 'Phantom.'
My views on the series and the Harry character haven't changed. It's too dark for me. Each release in the series shows Harry giving in more and more to his personal demons - drugs, alcohol, and ruined relationships. I understand that there is trauma in real life, but real life usually has some ups and downs. Harry never seems that get off of his slippery-slope. In addition, I prefer my heroes to have redeeming values besides just a particular skill. The only consistent positive in Harry's life is his uncanny ability to solve crime. By book 9, Harry has dropped all pretense of caring anything about the rule-of-law. I find it disturbing when fictional characters like Harry are made into heroes, or at least examples of the real world. It doesn't have to be, and shouldn't be, that way.
I thought that Harry's downward slide might be a literary gimmick to keep us reading in the hope that there would finally be a turn-around, but after 9 books, I don't see it coming. I'm not likely to continue the series.
All that said, 'Phantom,' like the rest of the series, is solid fiction. If you disagree with my perspective on the character of Harry, and enjoy dark detective fiction, then you will probably like it.
This novel is not my thing. So, take this with with a grain of salt.
Over the top statements early in the book turned me off beyond recovery. For example, stating that the protagonist is the only person in world who could do a particular assassination. I just couldn't go on.
For those who like war stories and the like, the author did seem to have a lot of military knowledge, or did a lot of research.
Don't expect this series of lectures to be entirely about the mechanics of mindfulness meditation. Once the basic practice is described, Professor Muesse spends a great deal of time on Buddhist philosophy and the reasons why conscious examination of our mind's wanderings is beneficial. Very little of this work is guided meditation; however, the guided mediations and instructions provided are consistent with what I have found in other authoritative works.
Because we are creatures of habit, i.e. our brains actually adapt to make it easier to repeat common patterns of thought, breaking the habit of allowing our minds to wander uncontrolled, can help us prevent unproductive patterns of thought from becoming habit.
Both mindfulness mediation and Dr. Muesse's introduction to it are highly recommended by this reviewer.
Christian Rummel's performance is, as always, almost spot on. I can easily distinguish the voices, even the female ones, from each other. Not a minor achievement! If he fails to excel at any part of the performance, it's when the characters display strong emotion.
I won't recap the publisher's intro here. If you are considering this book, then you should just know that this is the last in the series, and wouldn't stand alone well. You wouldn't be totally lost, but the experience wouldn't be the same as if you start at the beginning of the series. Aside from the existence of hyperspace travel between systems, this is space combat with the normal laws of physics applied. It's also about political combat with all the laws of human self-interest applied. It's the story of humanity's attempt to end an internal civil war and deal with an almost unknown external threat.
I completely enjoyed this series and can't wait to start 'Beyond the Frontier,' which continues this story line for another three volumes.
Unlike Nesbo's Harry Hole, who I'm also following, our hero in this series is a bit of an ideal. I like that. I want to believe that some people are doing exactly what they were born to do, and with honor. If you, too, want to believe in the existence of people who are not petty, political, and self-serving; then 'The Lost Fleet' will entertain and inspire. There's nothing too deep here. Just an entertaining tribute to those who serve and a bit of exploration of how, under the right conditions, an entire race can lose it's way.
Our narrator, Christian Rummel, is excellent.
This series has finally started to grow on me. 'The Redeemer' is easily my favorite up to this point. John Lee is outstanding.
These books can stand alone; however, I recommend that you experience them from the beginning of the series. There are elements of Harry's life, and cases, that appear in several books before they are fully resolved.
If dark detective fiction is your thing, and you don't expect your heroes to be squeaky-clean, then Jo Nesbo just may be your new favorite.
I sometimes find high-brow victorian literature to be a little to slow and heavy, including Dickens, but 'Expectations' is a clear exception. I loved it. Simon Prebble's performance was captivating.
The worlds best and brightest behaving like children and arguing about mission issues that would have been decided long before launch. Professional astronauts and scientists refusing orders. I couldn't believe it.
Rudnicki was great, as always, but not even Stefan could totally save this one.
Book 3 is off of my future list.
I've found a new favorite series. From character development to action, you'll find it well done here. Get ready to deal with a lot of nautical terminology, but it's necessary to the realism.
I've read the debate over the narrators of this series. The books are available read by both Patrick Tull and Simon Vance. I started the series with Vance and will stay with him. I've sampled Tull's work on the series, and found it to be equally good. I agree with those who say that it is a matter of personal preference. You should sample both before starting.
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