Pratchett does it again. Every bit as humorous and satisfying as the preceding books in the series. So why 4 stars? If you're starting with this book, I recommend against it. Every prior Discworld book I've read could stand on it's own with pride. This one needs Going Postal as a progenitor.
Does this make it bad? No, it was marvelous! Does it achieve the Buddha-like literary enlightenment that its forbearers did? Only almost. I’ve been hemming and hawing about the rating since I started this review. Audible, can you tweak my vote to 4.5?
For those of you new to Discworld, do yourselves a service and start at the beginning and work your way up. Audible has about 2 years of material (if you’re on the platinum account), and I’ve yet to be disappointed by one of his works.
This is a FREE FIRST CHAPTER! Marsters DOES read the finished product (released tomorrow). Relax folks! And don't be put off the actual book by this! These 1- and 2-star ratings might turn off a new reader! Show Butcher some support!
I got a pre-release copy at ComicCon last week, and the book is FABULOUS.
I've read virtually all of the Legacy of the Aldenata/Posleen War books (save for The Hero, which is next), albeit somewhat out of sequence, due to a combination of Ringo's website being down and the Wiki article being frankly confusing. Consequently, after the initial 4 books of Mike O'Neal's main storyline, I went through all of the ancillary spin-offs prior to hitting the Cally's War storyline.
First off, let me disabuse you: this is most certainly NOT graphically racy or lewd. Yes, there are some sex scenes, but they are tastefully portrayed, and not terribly graphic in their description. Laurel K. Hamilton, George R.R. Martin, or hell, even Piers Anthony have much more graphic sex scene portrayal. Maybe I wouldn't give it to a 10 year-old, but my 13 year-old son is welcome to try his hand at it.
This book is a Posleen War cum Femme Fatale (pun intended)/James Bond espionage/spy adventure. It's a bit more fun that the others in the series, less heavy in a way, as it deals with Cally O'Neal's adult life as an agent for the Bane Sidhea, a secretive organization opposed to the Darhel. She is assigned to go undercover on Titan Base under cover of working for a Fleet Strike general, in order to determine out who's been betraying the Bane Sidhe to the Darhel.
If you're looking for more hardcore war sci-fi, with epic battles and military deployments, this is not the book for you. If, however, you want to learn more about the bad-ass Cally had emerged as by the end of Hell's Faire, and you're into the James Bond/Bourne Identity type plots, you'll dig this.
Oh, and to the other reviewer: she's rejuve'd to about 22-23, but her actual age appears to be around 50-ish. The other ages you're complaining about are flashbacks and memories, and are clearly described as such.
synaubrey: You get your wish.
I've never read any of the Battletech series. I grabbed this selection (the collection) because Defiance Audio was the producer and I loved what they'd done with the Deathstalker series. I'm a serious audio-book "reader" (I used to work in the industry); I own well over 500 and have read far more, around 2-4 per week. With that having been said, I'm REALLY disappointed.
The narrator is decent, the production is quality, but the plot is so severely abridged that it doesn't make an ounce of sense. Think in terms of the way the later Harry Potters and Eragon translated into movies: no exposition, rising action, denouement. Just action sequence after action sequence with nothing tying them together, no back-story, no character development, nothing. I've no doubt that they hit every major plot point in the book, but they don't relate them to anything, even each other.
Further, I can't help but believe that this is not the first book or story-arc in the series, so what little plot is exposed appears to simply pre-suppose the reader already knows what's going on. I'm a little over an hour in, I haven't the foggiest clue what anyone's motivations are, why characters are being beaten up for their professions, why these big power-armors are blowing one another up in asteroid fields, why it's significant that Character A is in a wheelchair or that Character B is joining some "Prince's Guard" (or even what said guard IS).
I give up. This abridging editor should be shot. I can list the number of audio books I couldn't finish on both hands (and with my count, that's saying something), but this is garbage, plain and simple. The book may be amazing, the series grand, but you'd never know it from this example. If you like high-quality sci-fi, go get Richard Morgan's Altered Carbon or Simon Green's Deathstalker, but pass on this one. Maybe if they re-release unabridged.
As opposed to getting truly thorough with the review, I'll simply stand by the review I wrote for Volume I. Exquisitely crafted, brilliantly narrated, and a joy to read.
The "Man Called Tuf" portion of the volume refers to another anthology of short stories (two are presented in Dreamsongs) and were so entertaining that I wound up tracking down a hardcover.
This is worth the credit and then some. I pre-ordered a hardbound from Amazon (this is a pre-release remember) to have for my kids when they get old enough. WELL worth it.
When I saw the presence of this book, I greeted it with an air of casual indifference. I've never been a huge fan of short stories; not enough meat to them. I prefer my books like I prefer everything else: Epic. Moderation shows a lack of commitment. Some of these though… wow.
With this installment, I find I'm forced to revise my stance: I'm now not a fan of BAD short stories. It seems that a truly talented writer such as Martin can cram all the character development and plot progression required for a genuinely good tale into 45 pages. Sir, I’m sorry to have doubted you.
I picked this up while patiently twiddling my thumbs awaiting Dance of Dragons, the rest of the Mallorean, Memory of Light, etc. (Martin, if you ever read this: For the love of all that's holy: finish this series! Without dying halfway through. And without more prequels. We've lost WAY too many incredible sagas midway recently).
I have to say that I was actually ignorant of the prolific nature of Martin's repertoire. He's been all over the place, genre-wise, and appears equally talented across the board. It’s also quite a treat to have Martin himself narrating the autobiographical portions of the book. You really come to know the man behind the Songs, and get a good idea of not only the struggles he overcame becoming a writer, but also the varied successes and triumphs that you’re (most likely) unaware of (I had no idea he won awards for comic book scripts, for example).
All in all, this was a fantastic purchase. I heartily recommend it. If you’re a diehard Fantasy/Sci-Fi fan, this is your cup of tea. If you’re looking to learn more about one of the best writers of modern day, you’re in for a treat. If you’re seeking a long, involved, multi-part drama a la the Wheel of Time, Song of Ice and Fire, etc., then you may want to pass… but I’d recommend giving this a shot anyway.
One of the major problems that the fantasy and science fiction genres can face is the author falling in love with the world they are creating to the exclusion of character development. Titus Groan is perhaps the worst example I’ve yet seen of this. It’s as though Peake sat down, wrote a short story, and then amused himself for the next two years by attempting to use every synonym in the thesaurus for every verb or adjective in his pitiful plot (“Not enough room in this sentence? I’ll just add eleven more.”).
I’ve given this monstrosity 4 and a half hours to pull it together (I’ve just begun chapter 19) and NOTHING of note has happened yet. Peake’s writing style is frankly painful, providing a plodding description of four or more paragraphs to state that the sky is blue. His story telling is erratic, his timelines and characters confused, and, as of the point of this writing, has provided me with approximately four pages of character information.
The narrator is decent. Though his voice acting appears moderate in this reading, consider what the poor man has to work with: a series of Dorian Gray characters babbling (often incoherently) about nothing. Each character appears to be mentally challenged, and you as the reader are invited to partake of their nonsensical ramblings.
If you’re a description fanatic (not lover, you need to be a FANATIC for this one), you MAY find something appealing in this drivel. If you’re looking for engaging, entertaining fantasy with a PLOT, go elsewhere. This book is utter tripe.
I bumped into this series entirely by accident, and was thoroughly impressed. I'm 26, very well read in the fantasy genre, and normally favor things like Jordan, Martin, Brooks, Pratchett, etc. (though I take an illicit pleasure in the Harry Potter-esque books of the world).
This was amazingly well done. It's not Harry Potter. Not better, not worse. It's easily AS good though. Parents, be prepared to have to define a few words to your kids (the main antagonist is the anthropomorphic personification of entropy).
It gets better throughout the series as well. If you're not totally thrilled with this book, give the next few a chance as well. Once knit together, you'll find a rare gem.
I strongly recommend this series; I've purchased it in hardbound for when my children are old enough to appreciate it.
Truly, a greater travesty has never been perpetrated on the audiobook-listening public. Mr. Jordan, one of the greatest fantasy authors of our day (I own the hardcovers of the entire series thus far), would no doubt have to spit to get the taste out of his mouth were he to hear this rendition. The book, some 900 pages long, has been sliced, diced, run through a food processor, then given to a talentless, tone-deaf mule to read it. For the love of all things holy, wait for the unabridged version (Audible: hint, hint), or read the book. The unabridged readers are superb, and the storyline unparalleled. While I cannot recommend the series and its unabridged counterparts highly enough, this was a waste of time, tape, and the electrons used to transfer it during download.
The story is well worth the slow pace, but the reader's voice makes me want to hit her. Think a British harpy with hemorrhoids. Unlike most narrators (see Jim Dale), Nadia May's range includes a grand total of two voices: Female, and female-sounding male. I'm not the least bit surprised that she was not called back for the subsequent (and far more popular) titles. I'm an audio book fanatic (I have hundreds), and Ms. May has made it to my very short list of readers to avoid.
On the upside, the storyline that takes place after this book is worth the suffering, especially if you are one of those who, like me, refuse to engage a series out of order.
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