I enjoyed this book even more than the first. The Jao race's character is better developed and individual characters are better developed. The story is exciting but also gives the reader much to think about in terms of relationships between humans and the alien races as well as the strengths and weaknesses of each. Chris Patton does a superb job of reading, making the characters vivid and compelling. Sadly, there is no mention of a sequel on Eric Flint's web site, and with the death earlier this year of coauthor K. D. Wentworth, this is probably the last in the series.
As an older adult, I'm not usually a fan of young adult literature. That being said, I enjoyed this series immensely. Unlike many sci fi authors, Beth Revis has fleshed out her main characters quite well. She has also raised and handled well a number of important issues: leadership competency, personal growth, racism, tolerance, and love. Quite a lot on the plate for a young adult series. Shades of Earth is brutal, not ultimately perfectly satisfying in its conclusion (like life.) But it is consistent with the rest of the story and tightly told. Sometimes the thrill-a-minute-pace, carnage and implausibility is a bit much for the reader, but overall the series ranks as one of the better ones I have read. The series is good enough that I can overlook the somewhat silly plot devices required to move the story along: such as the shippers not knowing that Godspeed was orbiting Centauri Earth in Book 2. Rather than carp at the fact that the ending is a bit inconclusive, fans of the series should hope that Ms Revis writes another sequel at some point in the future.
If you love Honor Harrington and adore her treecat, Nimitz, you are going to be disappointed as neither makes an appearance in this novel; perhaps because it's the second half of "A Mighty Thunder," divided in half no doubt because of its extreme length. Well, "Shadow of Freedom" is still too long. Mr. Weber, always fond of using too many words, has padded this story out beyond easy comprehension. He introduces multiple new situations and multiple new characters to the point where the listener becomes confused and bored. About 25% of the novel is good, with great battle scenes, though they are a bit long. The rest is eminently forgettable. The author normally excels at keeping his plot lines and timeline consistent, but this time, he seems to have erred in a short Zilwicki sequence and a reference to Honor Harrington's role in constructing the peace agreement with Haven. The latter seems perfunctory and not consistent with the time frame of the rest of the story. I, along with other reviewers, would like to see the Mesan Alignment tale brought to a conclusion. Instead, 17 hours later, the plot has advanced only a little. Mr. Weber owes his readers, and listeners, a tighter, better-constructed story, with some kind of end in sight, rather than the ponderous unwieldy tale he just published. If the series continues in this bloated way, I am going to be rooting for Manpower to win!
I agree with other reviewers that the quality of narration is way below that of previous volumes in the series. I generally like the story but Weber is way too wordy and his lengthy descriptions impair story flow. You have to be a dedicated Weber fan to wade through these massive books. After six volumes, we seem to have progressed only through 5-6 years of story. As Safehold is still only in the early stages of industrialization, it's going to take a long time for the planet to progress to interstellar capability at the present rate of progress. I know I'm not alone in urging the author to tighten up the stories and move towards a conclusion. I'm older than Weber and would like to see the story concluded sometime during my lifetime and his.
This story is not formulaic. Ken Macleod has constructed a complex, rich and scary future based on today's technology and our political milieu. With its many characters, numerous political factions and a Balkanized future Britain with numerous small states, it's hard to get a handle on the plot at first. A persevering listener will soon catch on and be taken for a wild ride through the near future. Though the book was written in 1995, the author has uncannily anticipated social networking, computerized market manipulation and blogging. His future world is rich in detail, its denizens not always whom they seem to be and not averse to changing sides when it suits their purpose. Character development is good for a sci fi novel, though the plot moves by mysterious means for the most part and is not generally character-driven.
Moe Cohn (sp? as this is an audiobook), the central character around whom the story revolves. He is a mercenary but in spite of his profession, he has his ideals, intellectual honesty and yes, he makes mistakes, like other human beings.
The reader was excellent, with numerous distinct voices and good acting ability. This almost seemed to be a radio play at times.
The story is complex enough that it's worth considering reading it rather than llistening to it. Given the future noir degradation of Ken Macleod's world, I don't entirely buy the level of technological achievement that it manifests: space stations, space ships and highly sophisticated computer networks seem out of place alongside ruined buildings and groups of people living tribal lives in the wild.
Complex, believable plot with a lot of twists and turns.
After a slow start, it's very fast-paced.
He brought the characters to life
No, too involved, need a break to digest the plot
I particularly enjoyed learning about Norway's WW II history and the involvement of some of its citizens with the Nazis. Nesbo's writing puts the reader into the middle of the action and gives the story an immediacy not often achieved by authors.
While the narration is not first rate, I did not find that it detracted from an excellent story. The plot is well-constructed, the character development good and the story moves along well. I finished the novel in a few days, staying up late to listen to it. I got caught up in Allen Steele's universe, finding it quite believable. Since the reader of the Coyote series knows something about the end of this story already, that's quite an accomplishment. I'm looking forward to the next novel.
This early PD James story is quite good though not as satisfying as her more recent novels. However, the sound quality is poor and makes listening to the story an ordeal. I suspect that it's just copied from an old cassette with no attempt made to clean up the audio. I would recommend that all recordings of this quality be removed from Audible's library until the sound can be enhanced by modern techniques.
While the Enron story is known to many, few really have a deep understanding of the events that propelled Enron from the top to the bottom of the corporate heap. Kurt Eichenwald's book brings the story to life with intimate details of the progression of events that lead to Enron's downfall and a look at the character, ambitions, life and loves of the principal players. Like a tragic drama, you see how each executive's flaws played a role in the Enron debacle: Andy Fastow's lack of scruples and greed, Jeff Skilling's close relationship to Fastow that blinded him to his defects, Ken Lay's detachment from the details of running Enron that lead to a corporate machine out of control and above all, everybody's dedication to the bottom line of showing a profit on paper in complete disregard of the real financial situation. The book is alive in the way a good novel is and I do wonder how true to life Eichenwald's depiction of events, thoughts and dialog is. It seems difficult to know this much detail but the author apparently did an exhaustive study of his subject. Nonetheless, it is fascinating from beginning to end, well-read and hard to stop listening to.
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