SANTA CRUZ, CA, United States | Member Since 2011
I thought the first book had a lot of potential, but then it started to go down hill towards the end. I had hoped this second installment would have started off better than it did and I felt the need to stop every half hour to get through the first half of the story. In fact, with a little editing I think we could have started with the second part (last 5 hours) of this recording. However, I did not find this novel without some redeeming qualities. But I can not recommend this for adults or young adults as it stands. For the record, I preordered this book and would have given the first in the series a five star review if I had purchased it on audible and not through itunes when it originally came out.
The Gate Thief picks up at the creation of the great gate. You should expect more of the same to continue from the end of book one for quite a long time. I started to really dislike the main character for being an insolent, foolish, and childish. If you like that sort of high school maturity scene then maybe you'll love this book. I could see someone relating this experience to that of listening to the Percy Jackson series because of the correlation with characters in high school, greek mythology, and super powers.
A big issue I found with this novel was the filler and immature teenage dialog between the characters. Some of it felt like an inappropriate teenage soap opera. Orson Scott Card (OSC) tries to explain that he wanted to give a thorough explanation of events so we would understand everything in the closing of this book, but I found some needless repeating of events. Often we experience occurrences, reasoning, and conclusions through the perspective of two different characters. There is also a need to explore, rationalize and philosophize through Danny's powers which brought back memories of the Pathfinder series. Another big mistake with this novel was the romantic angel. Danny has many girls trying to have his "babies" and sex with him. This definitely got a few few eye rolls from me. OSC is somewhat crude in his writing. We know this from Ender. He will be blatant about nudity, promiscuity, and bodily functions. We get the pleasure of listening to the characters talk about spying on girls in bathroom, peeing, pooping, and whole shebang that many authors tend to leave out. Overall, I mostly found the writing involving Danny to be sophomoric, predictable and staged, while finding other dialog repetitive.
So, the space time talk is back. I disliked his pathfinder series for its philosophical approach and it appears OSC's new obsessive focus on this topic has splashed over to this novel as well. 'Young child set off with self discovery for new powers but is confounded with that darn space time,' sound familiar? I shouldn't be surprised that this happened, but I guess I expected him to do a better job at separating his books since he is putting both these series out so close together.
Now, were there any redeeming qualities to this book? Yes, I thought that the other world OSC created with Wad (aka Loki the "gate thief") had some great characters developing and plots unfolding. It was a complete change from the teenage day dream world the character Danny North was living in. The narration wasn't fantastic, but it helped in this instance to have two narrators for each world. I didn't like the voice that portrayed Danny and the people from middle guard. Maybe it was due to the deep voice that came off monotone.
Anyhow, here is a passage I found amusing coming from OSC, a very outspoken anti gay marriage man.
"Girls were all man mages when you thought about it. They wrap guys around their fingers and drag them anyway they want it. First time I have ever envied the gay thought Danny. But then he had to admit to himself, being honest, he felt nothing of the kind."
Religion eventually is tied into this world of magic and I will give OSC credit for being thorough with trying to make this universe believable. An explanation for the Devil and Jesus is put forward. But we all know OSC's true God is space time. We get a long 15 minute explanation on why he wrote what he wrote at the end of this book. If you are looking to be a writer, maybe this is helpful, but it sounded like a lot of needless justifications to me.
Dorsai tells a story about a man is unique in his intelligence and abilities. He is from a world where people are mercenaries and have a code of honor and higher themselves to other planets as elite soldiers. By smart thinking, tactical genius, and strength, he elevates himself in power and becomes a hero. There are multiple worlds, space flight and fights, politics and power struggles. I enjoyed following the main character on his journey through his life. However, it got a little strange and hard to follow when the author went on about genes and these strange super abilities. There was a feeling of something missing at times and the book jumps around strangely. The ending lost a star for me as well. I was looking forward to the next book, but I am not sure anymore.
This was just too much of a child's book to keep me entertained. The characters had no depth and acted foolishly. The story was very predictable and there was an agonizing wait at times for the characters to come to obvious conclusions the author was presenting. I found this fantasy story to be all over the place. Also I couldn't understand the rationals of most of the characters. I will credit the author with an active imagination but I didn't find much cohesion. The characters were immature and it felt like they were playing at war in the end (and it was all very PG). The narration is fine if you like to be talked to like a child. The voices really emphasized the shallow, and at times generic feel of the story and characters.
If you are an adult, skip it. There are better books in the fantasy genre for kids. Try Magic Kingdom for Sale by Terry Brooks, Bartimaeus series by Jonathan Stroud or Neil Gaimans Graveyard book.
This was a great find and it reminded me a little bit of a Heinlein read. This story follows the life and adventures of a boy called Sten. This book can be broken up into 4 parts revolving around his life, and things look promising for the continuing books in this series.
Sten is born on a corporate world named Vulcan to a lower class family of workers. This oppressed class of employees (and their families) are subject to a greedy company that has tricked them into servitude by shady contract dealings. With unfair practices, brutality, and disregard for human life, there are many reasons to dislike the system and conflict that follow our young adventurer. Dealt a hard hand from birth into this unfair system Sten must use intelligence, ingenuity, quick thinking, a little bit of luck and force to find himself a better life. This book is classified as four books in one with each story taking place at separate times in his life (but apparently close in time span). They also wrap up very nicely. Each part was great for its own purpose and we get to see the protagonist progress through harsh conditions that bring about loss, love, leadership, and success.
Narration was good for the most part. Jerry Sciarrio did a find job distinguishing between characters he read. I only have one minor criticism. It would have been nice to have some chapter breaks or pauses because I had to back track a few times when I wasn't completely focused on the story.
I would have been satisfied using a credit on this one. Give it a try, be ready to cheer on Sten and enjoy the ride.
This book left an odd taste in the mouth and it is a shame because I thought the universe Mike Shepherd created had great potential. We have a futuristic society where humans have expanded across the galaxy. There is mention of another alien race and a conflict between Earth and the Rim worlds. Also there is a heroine who is coming into her own person wanting to detach herself from the reputation of her family and showing her true mettle. She is brave and there is opportunity for her to be a leader. However, the execution of this book was off and this one fell short of my expectations. The main character doesn't have quite the mature commanding presence and tactical genius of a Honor Harrington. The story doesn't have the cohesion and intrigue of a Miles Vorkosigan novel. And the battles lack the suspense and excitement of a Prince Rogers or Black Jack Geary book. In short, I thought the characters and stories fall a little flat compared to these other greats.
The title "Mutineer" seems like an after thought. Most of this story is about Kris Longknife's career in the military. The story starts off with a rescue mission. Next, she is transported to an alien world. As the lowest ranking marine officer, Kris finds herself in a position where the military is doing everything wrong and this situation forces her to take charge, fix things, and show her leadership skills. In the very end of this book Longknife finally escapes her planet side marine life and enters the bridge of a spaceship in a possible entanglement with an enemy fleet. During these adventures she is also facing outside threats against her life by a mystery group or person.
It seemed like many of the pieces were there but a massive editing job was needed. The characters all gave Kris Longknife a hard time because she comes from a privilege background, so in this respect the book is similar to Lois McMasters Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan series. However, Kris is very distant with her family and her choice to join the military was not a popular one. The story didn't really elicit any emotional responses, such a sympathy, for the main character for me. Parts of this book seemed off and at times un-fullfilling. And there were moments I tuned out for a little bit. Also, I thought the ending was anticlimactic and poorly done because it felt fake a bit forced. In the end Kris seems to be more lucky than smart. I have no motivation to download the next book, but I am up to giving Shepard a second chance if a sale comes along.
A good narrator can help make a mediocre book great. This narration might have hindered the listen. The different accents were not particularly enjoyable to listen through.
I though this was an okay listen, but I am not generally a fan of the vampire and monster genre of fantasy. The way of the Wolf is about a futuristic Earth that has been devastated by by an alien race known as our mythological vampires. They have learned to feed off humans for immortality and their cruelty has no ends. There are also good aliens that help our protagonist, Valentine, become imbued with wolf powers. Basically this is a story about humans fighting back.
I liked the main character. Valentine struggles from a tragic history and this tale is about him coming of age. We are given enough reasons to dislike the enemy alien vampires that rampage across Earth and the reader comes to identify a hero in the protagonist. I thought the author has some interesting ideas and was very creative with his post apocalyptic world of monsters.
I have a few criticisms. Some of the story felt a little hokey. Everything seems to go right for the main character as he seems to be in the right place at the right time. Allies also seem to pop up out of nowhere in critical times. The main characters morals are a little ambiguous to me. He certainly isn't above torture and killing at times. There is some profanity and there are many amoral characters. The author describes a world where women are raped, people are slaughtered and eaten alive. There is use of profanity and there is a sex scene that gets a little explicit. Maybe Twilight has shaded my view on vampire and werewolf literature, but it seems like authors always feel need to put some romance into their writings. So, unsurprisingly our protagonist becomes love sick and is driven to some irrational gallantry.
I wasn't expecting anything deep out of this novel, but I felt the author did an alright job overall. The narration was great, but I thought the introduction from EE Knight was unnecessary. I will probably pick up a sequel at some point down the line.
I have listened to the whole series. Overall, I liked the world Robin Hobb created but the characters were a little frustrating at times. Also, the conclusion of this series wasn't that great. However, it did wrap things up for the most part and I felt compelled to keep buying into each book with my credits to get a conclusion. But it is really hard to sympathize with the main characters motivations and understand his loyalty rulers of this society. I have mixed feelings about some of the characters too. I just felt the story could have been written better and I think generally that is my opinion about some other Robin Hobb works I have listened to as well.
Despite those complaints I would still say this is worth a listen, but be prepared for a long story. This is a series about a boy coming of age and being outcast because of his blood. There is a mentor component and a struggle to find ones identity. There is also magic and adventure in the later books.
Mars by Ben Bova is about Earth's first manned mission to mars. The book was written in 1992 so it might be a little out of date. The main character, Jamie, Is half Native American and the story makes a big fuss about racism in America towards this culture. This book isn't my favorite of those that I have read so far from Ben Bova. The story went by very slow. Yet, Ben Bova is a good enough writer to keep me interested enough to listen to the whole thing. Just do not expect high amount of action. This has a more realistic feel and might be more similar to a real mars mission, not some Buck Rogers fantasy adventure. I found the characters likable. I think mainly this book could have used a nice editing job and a little more suspense. Overall, I am satisfied with this read and I will continue to buy Ben Bova's work. A bunch of other stand alone novels falls in the same time line as this one, so there is more to look forward to after this read if you like it. As to that, I can recommend Empire Builders.
This story is about a boy and girl who are in a car crash and find themselves as ghosts in a sort of limbo world. They children must come to terms with their new ghostly lives and figure out how to interact in this new world where the laws of physics are a little off. This story is mostly told from the perspective of the girl. There are only children ghosts in this universe because adults obviously know where they are going after death. This book is appropriate for children and young adults. As someone who doesn't read many ghost stories I found the ideas fresh enough. However, I found some of the characters are a little too thick headed.
There are some strong similarities to the Dresden Files series, however, Pennies for the Ferryman is no where near the same level of quality. The protagonist, Mike Ross, is similar to Dresden in that he is dirt poor and is an investigator of paranormal situations. Mike Ross is more like Mortimer from Dresden Files. He can see and talk to ghosts and help them move on. The exception is that Mike Ross is more aggressive and a little bit of a smart aleck. He is also a bit of a juvenile and lives at his moms place. He is an Afghanistan war veteran who had injured his eye during his service requiring him to get a new eye implant that allows him to see ghosts. This upsets the ghost community and soon finds that life at home is as dangerous as life was over seas. The style felt a little military oriented. There were some issues with the writing and I was up in the air as to whether I care much for the characters. Mostly I felt the writing lacked originality. You might think an author named Jim B. would want and try to separate his writing from other known writers in his category of work. Overall, it was a decent enough one time listen. Maybe some day I will will pick up the sequel, but this one isn't very high on my list.
I will take a different approach with this review and include some reasons why people who have seen the movie should check out the book as well. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card is a book I have read and listened to many times. This work by Orson Scott Card is the crowning achievement of his career and I am glad that he finally agreed to bring this book to a movie format. If you have not seen the movie yet and want a review of the book by itself, skip the next paragraph.
While the movie release was done well in the given time allotment, I believe that it is still worth checking out the book itself; the real genius. In the book we get a better look at the family of Ender Wiggin and see their effects on Ender. His brother and sister are equal to Enders genius and play a role shaping society. There is a larger focus at the battle school. The overall tension is greater and we see better character development. Ender shapes the pupils around him and the reader can understand more what makes him a good military commander. The reader comes to understand just how manipulated Ender is throughout the book and can find some sympathy with his actions. Without much politics of the time explained, the ending was altered to some extent as well. Lastly, Orson Scott Card wrote a book about Bean himself that takes place from his perspective during Enders Game. If you haven't read/listened to either of these versions yet, then you are missing out on two different and complex stories.
Enders Game is about a world consumed with the fear of annihilation after an alien fleet had invaded some years ago. With similarities to starship troopers, nations have come together to provide a fleet of spaceships for the salvation of Earth. This Earth is overpopulated and there are laws that prohibit having more than two children. Only for special exceptions are "thirds" allowed to be born. Such is the case that Ender Wiggin who is marked by birth with the intent to be the savior of the planet. Ender himself is a tactical genius. He has been recruited at a young age to go to a battle school in order to train to become a commander. There are some interesting applications of futuristic technologies and include mind invasive tech, and battle room facilities in space. Children are brought together at very young ages and forced into hard realities with no privacy. They are hence analyzed and shaped into effective weapons. The story pushes at the limits of human tolerances and shows at what lengths these military leaders will go to produce a commander of battle fleet that they believe will determine the fate of human existence in the stars.
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