This is classic McMaster Bujold story telling. I have listened to the other Vorkosigan Saga books and enjoy them all. For this reason, I wasn't sure how I would feel about a story centered around Ivan. It turns out, I liked it fine! The story was engaging and certainly strong enough to stand on its own. There was enough involvement of characters from other books (even the butter bugs have a cameo) to make it fun for long-time fans like me, but I think new listeners will not feel lost. As always, Grover Gardner does an excellent job. This is a fun, all-around good listen by a quality author/reader team. I would recommend it to anyone who values humor and realistic character development along with their imaginative, adventurous, outrageous sci-fi plotting.
This story was great. It was fun and fast paced enough to keep my attention. Weber created characters that are about as realistic as possible given the sci-fi universe in which they dwell. They are internally consistent, well developed, and multidimensional. No flawless goody-two-shoes in the Star Kingdom … and that includes the tree cats! Having already read the Honor Harrington books I have wanted to know more about these endearing creatures. A Beautiful Friendship does a great job explaining the beginnings of the human/tree cat relationship.
It is possible that someone reading this before any of the Honor series might have some difficulty understanding this universe, but I doubt it. I am glad I read the Honor books first, but I suspect starting with this book would be just as satisfying.
All in all, this is a very entertaining book. The narrator was very good. She gave different voices to the characters without the accents being too intrusive. I really liked the way she portrayed the tree cats. I think there might have been a risk of the cats seeming like childish “animals.” However, she managed to avoid that and depict them as very small adults.
I can't wait for the next book in this series.
I have read this book in paper form and loved it, so I was very disappointed when I started listening to this version and the narration was so poor. The reading was very amateurish in that the narrator seemed to read off the page with pauses in places their would never be in conversation. There was no sense of the reading reflecting the action of the characters. For me, this was such a stumbling block that I was unable to listen to the whole book. I will not buy anything done by this narrator again. I gave the book two stars instead of one because I know the writing and the story are excellent.
Tears of the Giraffe has all the charm of the first book in this series but is severely lacking in plot and suspense. It was over a half-hour of listening before there was a hint of the main mystery, and there were few of the fun side-cases to be solved. At points I found the book boring and I considered not listening to the rest. However, I am glad I listened to the whole book because there really is a lot of redeeming quality. When Precious Ramotswe gets the chance to work on a case, she demonstrates all the intelligence and common sense that made her a great character in the first book. The writer also includes discussion of such things as ?old Botswana morality,? which I found very interesting. The characters are well crafted and generally believable and I found the ending satisfying. There are some aspects of the reading that I found annoying, but otherwise, I enjoyed the reader. She did a good job making the characters distinguishable by their voices. All in all, I would recommend this book as long as the listener understands it is not strong on plot, as would generally be expected in a mystery. It takes some patience to reap the benefits this book has to offer.
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