Jason Pinter has written a whole series now. Obviously he has his fans. Please check other reviews. My alarm bell went off at the first cliche, and the sirens started at the first trite adjective. It was constant clamor after that. Unbelievable plot, unpleasant protagonist, poor grammar. Oh, and the narrator needed better direction. He emphasized the wrong words in a sentence when he used any emphasis at all. For the most part, his interpretation was deadly flat and felt rushed. I am far more enthusiastic in warning you away from this work than I was in deleting it from my library. A waste of credits. I hope Mr. Pinter gets better.
What a great story! What beautiful writing. And the Narrator sets a new standard in excellence.
If you liked Ken Grimwood's "Replay", you will love FFL.
Claire North joins PF Hamilton and Neal Stevenson in my personal pantheon of authors who write science fiction that is epic in scope, moving and literate. I started FFL knowing only that it was science fiction and quasi-time travel, or time-shuttling if you will. I expected something light like Brett Battles "Rewinder" or Lee Geiger's "Doctor Wasserman's Time Chamber". Instead I have someone whom I think is a first-time author who is now on my MUST BUY list.
In all of this gigantic story of detective work, spycraft, science and technology, history, love, mystery, friendship and fanaticism there is not one false note of dialog and again no artificial twist shoe-horned into the flow of narration because of plot problems. I hope a writer as skilled with language and as intelligent as Ms. North is young and can keep doing this again and again. some of the dialog is hilarious, especially the bon mots uttered by a character named Virginia.
Of course, I had to give her a pass on the Grandfather Paradox. This is almost a given in any story where the timeline can be altered. Well worth that particular suspension of disbelief.
For those Audible listeners: Peter Kenney is the best narrator ever to synergistically boost a story into the heavens. Subtle, dramatic, nuanced, intelligent.
First the good: energetic adventure in a new and strange alternate world. A likeable hero with a strong moral compass. Never a boring moment.
My problem: Denny Younger is advanced far above his humble caste by virtue of his interest in history and his brilliance. Supposedly. Well Denny may be a deep thinker but he surely is not a FAST thinker. Whenever he gets backed into a corner, his response is always (always!) "I... umm... uh" and I quote. It is the classic problem of the hero failing to see the obvious for the sake of the story. Surely this milquetoast can think faster than that. Also, he gets physically overcome by a girl his own age-- until it is time for a turnaround in the plot; THEN he is suddenly capable of physical defense.
A note: Brett Battles beautifully walks the tightrope of political neutrality in describing Denny's reaction to and description of an alternate timeline that happens to be our world. He is not going to make any Conservatives or Liberals angry here (and by Conservatives and Liberals I mean Conservatives). Well done.
As far as the big bugaboo of Time Travel stories, The Grandfather Paradox, the author does not so much ignore it as shred it into tiny pieces and shove it into plot hole oblivion where the sun never shines. In fact, Battles has one of his characters mentioning the confusion of meeting yourself and changing the future by saying: "Going down that road is a sure path to insanity". Just like the movie "Looper" when Bruce Willis dismisses any attempt to figure things out. That's alright. I always give the Paradox a pass just so I can enjoy the story.
-Denny learns all about history in our timeline but never bothers to do a little research into how to recharge his time travel machine. It never even crosses his mind. ??
-At a penultimate moment Denny is forcing a deal on his enemies and yet there is absolutely no way he can enforce their promises.
"Becoming Steve Jobs" has a narrow premise, sticks to it, and succeeds. Steve Jobs began as a product-driven, cruel company-smashing maniacal marketing genius, and rebuilt himself into a product-driven humane, super company-building CEO maniacal marketing genius. Although BSJ is an unauthorized biography, it is actually far more authorized than Walter Isaacson's "Steve Jobs" because of Brent Schendler's access to very high-level colleagues such as Iger, Ives, Cook, Catmul, Gates and of course, Steve's wife Laurene.
This isn't an in-depth analysis of the technology, which I would have liked. Nor are there many anecdotes from the many, many interesting people Jobs interacted with during his amazing life. It is a broad and illuminating look at how Jobs became a really good boss instead of a bomb inside the company gas tank. It is also, through interviews, the story of how Steve got less mean, more patient, and wiser. It separates his behavior outside of work: some people NEVER got yelled at by Steve. Starting a family with Laurene changed him. Watching creativity being gently fostered at Pixar, his "side bet purchase" changed him. He learned. He grew.
As for the leaps that were the music player, phone, and tablet look elsewhere for a real description of their technology and social impact. Although they are covered as pivotal events, the focus is always on Jobs, and that is fine.
There is a lot left untold in this useful new addition to the Lore Of Steve. I want more personal stories. I want more about the tech... lots more. Still, this is an excellent overview and the quotes from his friends and colleagues are valuable.
Oh, and one more thing: The book was written with love.
While still enjoyable, Mr. Wood's 4th foray into the adventures of Victor the Assassin seem to be a bit rushed. There is less plot complexilty and more shallow "chase scene" writing. Victor spends less time using his brain and more time dodging many many bullets. His lady friend is a big flaw: Is she a mentally ill shrew? Is she a moody 14-year-old? Is she wise in the ways of the world? Take your pick from page to page. We are at a loss to figure out Victor's protective feeling toward her.
Another problem is that Victor "Keeps his promises". Well, when it suits the plot; otherwise he lies like a rug, as he has in past and better installments of this saga.
I did think the way he tied together the first part of the book and the very last paragraph was just delicious. I will certainly read the next installment, in hopes that this lazy business was an abberation.
Frederick Forsyth is a masterful writer. This is as much a police procedural as a thriller. It never bores or flags in its pace. To listen to this is to understand why it was the perfect subject for a movie (twice) with its straightforward story. The only mystery is how he hid the rifle and the only twist is one of identity and yet the plot engrosses totally.
And hand-wringing, bosom-beating romance with an ending predictable withing the first few minutes of listening. The narrator was fine but could have toned down the angst with a flatter reading of our heroine's endless tormented monologues. I care about the environment, but Howey's approach has the pessimistic and defeatist tone of 1950's British science fiction.
I guessed the ending within the first half-hour of listening and even particular upcoming lines of dialog were utterly predictable.
I found that even the pleasant romance could not save a very silly story.
Sometimes the movie (3 Days of the Condor) is almost as good as the book. In this case, and In some ways, the movie is better: more complex, grittier. Still, this is an excellent first novel by James Grady (Taking of Pelham 1-2-3 is another best seller) that is fast, taut and well written.
This is the first of 4 books. This one is good, and by book four, I am giving 5 stars.
Juvenile dialog, pretty good writing, and MASTERFUL action scenes. Unlike Ben Coes or Mark Greany, Tom Wood really knows how to write a believable and nail-biting action scene that does not take you out of the moment with cartoonish stupidity or technical inaccuracy.
Victor is a great creation, and pretty consistent in his actions and most but not all of what he says.
The writing is pretty good, with the occasional dangling participle but very smooth syntax. The silly dialog improves bit by bit in the next 3 books (yes, there are more!) and Victor becomes more sympathetic while the CIA becomes less evil. I would remind Rob Shapiro, the narrator, that the word is "prostrate", not "Prostate"-- an error he repeats in the next book in the series. Shapiro is good, but I wish he would tone down the querulous whining and let the dialog carry some of the load.
Often, when an author paints his beleaguered hero into a "how will he ever get out of this?" corner, the escape is disappointingly unbelievable. But no Deus Ex Machina here, Tom Wood comes up with some very clever solutions, stratagems, and twists.
Tom Wood is intelligent. I like that in an author. Some of what gets published today is really lowest common denominator stuff, but here we have logic and believability.
If you like this first book about Victor, you are in for a treat, as they keep getting better, and Wood gets better at keeping you guessing.
Obviously more coming
Michael Z. Williamson "Freehold" series for Buetner's "Orphan" series for combat and social awareness.
My Gosh! Stop with the stereotypical raspy voice for almost all military.
Can't stay awake that long, or I would.
Read "Terms of Enlistment" first, if you can, although this novel does well enough as a stand-alone. Marko Kloos has revealed himself as quite the subversive, and I approve! He seems to think that sometimes, a society will endure a time when it is not the cream that rises to the top, but the ... well, you know.
In the first book of this series (may there be many more!) Grayson is a callow youth; not stupid, mind you, just living in a black and white world. He is optimistic in a world that is falling apart. In "Lines" he has begun to realize that he is those at the top are behaving with perverse stupidity, and he slowly comes to know that he has to do something about it or lose his self respect.
A weakness of the book is Kloos aliens: what makes them tick. Why are they so powerful and yet so apparently stupid. Humans are cockroaches to them, such is their technological superiority. They wipe us out like we would fumigate termites, and as easily. But I don't know of any termites that can band together to kill humans, or burn down a house rather than let you move in. The aliens inscrutability is taken too far. Wouldn't they make more effort to stop us from fighting back if they are so powerful? Maybe Kloos will explain this in the next book.
And there better be a next book. Our hero is likable and the writing is smooth and professional.
But please, again, narrator Luke Daniels, stop with the constricted throat rasping voice for all ground troops except our hero and his girlfriend. Even Sergeant Brianna sounds like a weight lifter. And apparently all the pilots speak in a rapid monotone or with a Tennessee twang. Oh, another choice for soldiers is that some sound like Squiggy from Lavern and Shirley. There are about 5 exaggerated voices that are used over and over again. Gets really annoying.
Having been so mean to our Narrator, let me say that his performance choices are very important, and can change the quality of the book. Luke Daniels is good! Just never let him do military voices again unless he broadens his repertoire.
The narrator has about 3 voices and 2 accents. He does not serve the material well. The characters are not developed. The moral qualms of the soldiers are unrealistic in the situation as described. Too many characters who are not anchored by time and place and personality. Poor writing. I can't give it one star because the spelling was fine.
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