I enjoy Orson Scott Card's writing, but this book fell a bit flat for me. As the first in the series it included a lot of build-up but not as much interesting storytelling.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The performance by Jim Broadbent was wonderful, he really brought a great authority and kindness to the story. I listened to this book while going on several long walks around my neighborhood, which was a great way to really get into the story. I've been almost exclusively listening to science fiction and fantasy for the past year, but picked out this title based on Audible's recommendations. It did not disappoint!
I enjoyed snippets of this book, but the overall plot line wandered and seemed forced. Card wrote this very early in his career, and it shows. The characters and concepts he introduces are strong but they don't hold together very well. I think the concepts would have worked better as a series of short stories about the world of Treason, rather than strung together as one narrative. I also thought the ending was unsatisfying and sort of cheesy. Great narration from Rudnicki as always, though! (Although my boyfriend had to stop listening because of Rudnicki's deep voice - his style certainly isn't for everyone!)
The narrator's voice was too sing-song and dramatically forced for my taste, his female characters too breathy. Add one-dimensional characters "the skeptical politician," "the self-righteous arrogant rival captain," "the eager cadet" (times about fifteen), and this book amounted to a real disappointment. I've been looking for a good epic sci-fi series to sink my teeth into but I'm bailing on this series after the first book. I found myself eager for it to be over so I could get back to something with real substance beyond battle descriptions and inner monologues about whether endless war turns people cold. I hoped for more from this book, but it came up short. Back to wishing I was still newly discovering Alastair Reynolds.
This book is worth the listen purely for Jefferson Mays' reading of Avisarila, the aging Indian politician grandma who curses like a sailor. Add in more starship battles, evil alien plots, political intrigue and the search for a little lost girl, and it's popcorn sci-fi at its best.
While the first book swapped perspectives between two key characters, this book covers four perspectives, more widely variant. The way the stories are woven together keeps the book moving along while more convincingly delving into the ethics and motivations of each character.
Also mad props to Corey for writing convincing, engaging female characters, something I've found sorely lacking in many other sci-fi authors like Alastair Reynolds or Orson Scott Card. Gone is the cheesy manic-pixie-dream-girl-in-his-head from the first book of the series, and in her place there's a gigantic kickass curvaceous Polynesian marine wearing mechanized body armor. Yes please!
I'm eager for the next installment!
I've listened to dozens of different science fiction authors on Audible now and James S. A. Corey is on my top 5 list. Not for depth or particularly thoughtful writing, but for pure shoot-em-up romping fun. "The Expanse" series is excellent so far (I'm two books in). His character development is engaging, the technologies and political concepts are just "near future" enough to resonate very well, and I enjoyed his active, fast-paced writing style. Jefferson Mays delivers a great performance - he does enough to differentiate the characters' voices without sounding cheesy. My only complaint, echoed by Joshua in his review, is the "imagined girl in the character's head as plot device" trope, which got a bit old in the last third of the book. But otherwise this was a great fun medium-weight sci-fi story that had me hooked from start to finish. I blew through it in a week and instantly downloaded the next book in the series. Popcorn sci-fi!
The story is compelling enough - starships, scientists, mysterious disappearances and holes in space time. McDevitt seems to be aiming for detailed character development, but instead the story falls a bit flat, with lots of exposition and irrelevant description.
Something about the narrator's voice was just a smidge off for my liking - the way she reads dialogue is a bit forced and lacking in believable emotion. It wasn't bad enough to turn me off the story, but it didn't draw me in the way other performances have. I suspect a slightly different narrative performance might have hooked me better.
All that said, it kept me intrigued and amused for the entirety of the performance. I was glad to listen, if only to pass the time.
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