This book is primarily seting up the series for a new set of books. It actually starts prior to the end of the previous book in order to give aditional background information to frame the New struggle about to envelope the varius star nations.
The Book is a good solid addition to the series. I admit I would have liked to see a little more progress made in the overall story arch however the book was wonderfully full of details. Particularly in terms of character development, the mechanics of why specific tactics work or would not, and the world in general.
The book seemed to be laying the foundation for something through major changes that effect specific characters and events that would be required based on David weber's style of writing. Specifically that level of detail for military actions and campaigns that make things so realistic. vs other writers where some how despite all odds or common sense the good guys win battle after battle that tactically and strategically they had no chance to win over the course of a single chapter so that the writer can get onto the next key event. David Weber on the other hand ensures that the key tactical and strategic elements are in place. and this means it occasionally takes a lot of work to get the foundation in place for the next big development.
That being said I do not believe it was as engaging as some of the earlier works but it is my hope/believe it is setting the foundation for major progress in the story and sweeping events given the drastic upheaval in the personal lives of the characters.
I wanted to add something about the voice actor. He did an outstanding job. I believe all of the complaints stem form 2 factors.
The first can not be prevented when you change narrators. Specifically people get used to how a character sounds in an audio book. and when that voice changes even if pronunciation of all the names are the same it is jarring. This series is 6 books long so far and has had 4 different narrators. I do not get the voices fully straight until the second book by the new narrator. This often means enjoyment of the book is degraded while I try to get things sorted out.
The second is complaint is avoidable and it was not avoided in this case. Different people by experience, or simply local dialect pronounce words (particularly names) differently. If Mr. Collins had been the first narrator of this series there may have been a couple minor complaints based on regional pronunciations. But over all the reviews of his performance would have been glowing. And the next Narrator would be stuck with low ratings if like in this case the director did not help ensure consistency in the pronunciation of names. The end result is some people will now not buy (or recommend) this release of this book and blame it on the terrible narration, or the reviews concerning the narration. It's my hope the publisher picks a good narrator and simply signs them for the entire series. not just for this series but that it becomes standard practice for all series.
Mr Collins, if you happen to read this know that I at least think you did a great job though I hope in future work the director provides guidance on the pronunciation of names in order to stay consistent with previous books or perhaps you research such on your own if they do not.
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