Miles Vorkosigan casts a very long shadow. I've always liked Ivan, but in previous novels he has never really been given a chance to shine (except for A Civil Campaign, he was brilliant in that). Usually he is just chugging along, doing his 9-5 job (exceptionally well) and flirting with women, until Miles comes barging into his life and drags Ivan along in the wake of his craziness.
This time, Ivan gets dragged from his day-to-day existence and into the crazy again, but instead of Miles it's Byerly Vorrutyer doing the dragging. As poor By is in over his head, however, Ivan is forced to be proactive instead of cruising along in another's wake.
Taj is a bit of a kindred spirit. She was literally the normal, genetically speaking, among her numerous gene-enhanced and talented siblings. She like Ivan was overshadowed by the rest of her family, even though she is quite clever and talented in her own right. Her entire family is rumored to have been killed by a rival Jacksonian house and she and her odd-sister Rish are on the run from bounty hunters.
Ivan rather gallantly marries Taj to save her from deportation, suicide and or bounty hunters (which may sound overly dramatic, but the author had to get Ivan to marry somehow!), which sets off a chain reaction involving Jacksonian contracts, snake wrangling, family politics, Alys being her subtly manipulative self, an ill-advised bet, people smugglers, rumoured Cetagandan treasure, and a gradual sweet romance between Ivan and Taj.
Some of my other favourite bit-players get a chance to shine as well - the back and forth between Ivan and By was fantastic, and Simon Ilyan has a substantial role in his quiet way. Ivan and Taj had some interesting perspectives on some of my other favourites like Simon Ilyan, Alys Vorpatril, Emperor Gregor and of course Miles, which I really enjoyed as it let me see them from another point of view. Cordelia and Aral unfortunately didn't get any screen time, though Ivan does spend some time musing on them (as he does with everyone else) - if you've read Cryoburn you'll know why I'm disappointed.
About the performance, I am not a fan of Grover Gardner's voice. There were places where his acting was a bit off, I don't think his voice suited Ivan's at all and there was very little distinction between some characters. I've given him a 3 because he did a decent job and I still managed to enjoy the book.
I suggest that you read A Civil Campaign before reading Captain Vorpatril's Alliance - not only is A Civil Campaign awesome, but it sets up Alliance very well, and there are events in A Civil Campaign (concerning Byerly and Donno Vorrutyer, hint hint) that will be spoiled if you don't read it first
There's something very special about this book. I've been having some trouble writing the review, I think this is going to come out a bit more subjective and airy than I like.
This story is told primarily from the perspective of Rose, a dead girl who haunts the highways and truckstops of America. Her reality is the people she encounters in her drifting and intangible existence. The beauty in this tale is found in the humanity of the characters, their kindnesses and flaws and the joy taken in small, everyday things. The story is made up of a number of smaller tales, at times humorous, tragic, thrilling and strange, of Rose's encounters (or hauntings) of various odd characters both alive and dead whose only real connection is the road and their mortality. Along the way Rose is drawn toward a final confrontation with her own haunt, who is not nearly so nice as she is.
I loved this book so much, the nature of Rose's existence, the style used to tell her tale, the character of Rose herself and her insights into the world and people around her, it all comes together to form a unique and beautiful story.
If you've come this far in the series, you will enjoy this book.
It is not as good as the previous two books, it becomes a bit boring in places as we watch the characters twice larp through an intentionally bad quest, and while it's at times funny to poke fun at repetitive game mechanics, its not so much fun to hear about it over and over.
That said, there's some genuine laughs to be found (the wolf thing is hilarious, so many WOW flashbacks) and the narrator Luke Daniels is awesome as always.
I'm not usually one for short stories, but this one really drew me in. I won't spoil the concept for you, other than to say it makes for an interesting, flawed and entertaining character. I would love to read a full length novel, but this is still a satisfying listen.
... with occasional bits of real cotton that you don't realise are there until they hit the tongue. Then its time for the distasteful moue and the fishing expedition.
This story is light and fluffy, mildly entertaining and occasionally amusing and sexy. The narrator is the best thing about this audiobook, I love the accent, her character voices are distinctive and she does male voices really well.
Here's the threads of cotton.
1. It's formulaic. Absolutely no surprises. Standard paranormal romance.
2. The way that characters word-vomit exposition at the slightest tangential prompting was really annoying.
3. The domestic violence. It's casual, accepted without any real protest by the victim and in one scene by onlooking characters, and seems utterly pointless to the story. I don't know if it was written in because the author thought it would be funny, or because she thought it would show that her protagonist is sassy, or a 'strong independent woman who won't take crap from anyone', or if she just thinks this is a normal and acceptable way for people to behave. And I don't really care. Domestic violence is unacceptable regardless of the genders of those involved, and this book is just not good enough for me to overlook the way it seems to normalise this woman slapping her partner around.
I won't be continuing the series.
The story is exactly what you would expect - Jane Austen with zombies in. It's definitely fun, and Seth has done a good job of fitting the unmentionable plague into the original without changing too much.
The narrator is what really makes the story. Her enthusiastic, gleeful and bloodthirsty way of reading the fight scenes and gross zombie descriptions is absolutely hilarious in her upperclass accent
I found John Glover's narration of Harry Dresden to be very out of character. His voice was not suitable for Harry at all. He did far better on the bit players like Morty and Sir Stuart.I really hope that this story gets reread by James Marsters at some point.
As for the story, it's not Jim's best but it's still a good story. I liked the mechanics of the ghost world, there were some great action scenes, some really funny moments (I loved, loved, loved the Star Trek scene) and poor Harry was tortured a bit with his inability to act, but he pulls through in the end :)
Overall I recommend getting the written version - I have the kindle and audiobook, and I feel the narrator detracts from the story.
There are two main differences between this book and the previous two books in the series - the first is that it's about half the size. The second is that the camera is panned around a bit - instead of the tight focus on Alys, Cedric, the Tarmon, the Dragons and their Keepers, we get a peek at what is happening in the wider world - Selden the Elderling, Tintaglia and her mate Icefire (who fits the expression "not unless he was the last man on Earth" nicely), Martya and Rayne, the situation in Chalced and what's happening with Alys' happily erstwhile husband in Bingtown.
The book also provided some interesting pieces of information about the world as it stands as well as its past
I will spare you the disappointment and tell you straight up that neither Fitz nor the Fool make any physical appearance in this story. However there are some signs of them - at times it's like they have passed by so recently you can still feel the stir of them in the air.
This book seems to me more of a set up for the finale than a story in itself. It was a bit of a disappointment, but it has definitely left me twitching with anticipation for the next book in the series, which is rumoured to be the final book of the Rainwild Chronicles.
This is my hands-down favourite book in the Vorkosiverse so far.
Miles continues the head first fall into adorable, militarised, obsessive love after tripping over Madame Ekaterin Vorsoisson in the novel Komarr. The Vorcrusty set are affronted by the attempts by one of Lord Ivan's ex-lady loves to claim a countship and some rather dirty and intriguing governmental and gender politics ensue. The delightful all-girl Team Koudelka is getting into everything, much to the dismay and bemusement of their parents, Lord Mark's balancing act on top of the pyramid that is the Black Gang teeters and Killer threatens to be loosed. The dinner party to shame all dinner parties erupts at Vorkosigan House and for once Miles does not delight in the melodrama. As Emperor Gregor sits back and watches what happens, the sparks struck at the dinner party hit the tinder that is the disgruntled Vorcrusty and the threat of potential civil war looms over two of the most important decisions the Council of Counts has faced since before the the Butcher of Komarr became Regent, and it may actually fall to That Idiot Ivan to save the day. (Yes, Ivan is forced to stop hiding his light, and it glows like Vorkosigan Vashnoi at night. It's fantastic.)
This book is hysterically funny, melodramatic and heartwarming, as always LMB's characters are fully fleshed and incredibly lovable despite their foibles and flaws, and the different story lines twine together like the cords of a fuse, encountering ordinance simultaneously for exponential explosions of riotous action, cringeworthy humiliation and hilarity.
I have listened to this book about five times over the past year, it is my go when I need a laugh or want to feel some lovely warm, fuzzy feelings. If this is not enough to adequately express my love and adoration for this story, let me say this: the love I feel for this story is equal to or greater than the love I would feel for a fuzzy grey puppy with big floppy ears, an unusual attachment to polka-dots, a tendency to lick your toes if you sit still and happen to leave your feet within 8 centimetres of the ground, the name of Ivan, and a habit of greeting you with ecstatically squirming enthusiasm if you are ever out of sight for more than five minutes.
I read this series when I was in my early 20s, and I absolutely adored it. It's quite funny and the characters are distinct, memorable and lovable. Even the criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl at this half way point in his character development is very likeable. Watching Artemis grow up and expand his horizons throughout this series has been a very fun ride.
The narrator was a delight, but the story suffers very much from the abridgement. It was choppy and didn't quite scan. If you can get the full unabridged audio I recommend strongly that you do so. At the time of writing this review however it seems the full audio version isn't available.
I think it's work buying a hard copy if necessary to get the full story. It's a comfortable size to tuck away in your backpack or mum's handbag (or your handbag XD) and it's available pretty cheaply from KMart and other department stores.
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