Peter F. Hamilton is one of my favorite sci/fi authors. Just short of 1,000 pages in hardcover, I was really looking forward to digging into this book (yes, I bought the hardcover also). His books are usually sweeping space opera's with enough sci and fi to choke a normal person. This book started out with the usual excellent overflowing amount of cool ideas, interesting characters, and pacing that I have come to know and love. Please note that I rated this book 4 Stars, so I want to re-iterate that I really liked the book overall.
However, somewhere in the middle, things got a bit muddled, a little repetitive, dare I say... a little boring. The writing was excellent, don't get me wrong. But, I think writers of this quality sometimes get away with a lack of hard editing simply based on their reputation. I myself could have probably edited out 25% of this book without the story having suffered at all. Granted, that 25% that I would throw away would be better than 90% of anything I could write, but that's not really the point.
Another "tell" in a book that sags is that it gets really good again near the end and the pace noticeably increases. It's as if the writer has discovered their error and is trying to make good. This is where the editor should step in, remove the overstuffing, and make the whole thing sing. The amount of sci-fi-ness that was put into the last 10% of the book was more than what was in the middle 40%, which is saying a lot for a book of this size. I think that at some point during his writing, the author may have bored of writing about forward-looking tech, sweeping universes, and the story of mankind and wanted to tell a good simple family/people story.
The characters were fresh and engaging. There was a great bit of suspense/mystery which I really liked and was refreshing (I don't think sci/fi writers employ mystery enough). Aside from when it sagged, the story moved along well and kept me very engaged. As always Peter F. Hamilton's technology is all stuff that I fully expect my great great grandkids to have. It's well researched and based in the realm of possibility such that you don't find it far-fetched, just forward-looking.
The narration was excellent! The accents sometimes faltered and some characters were a little hard to differentiate, but excellent nonetheless. Anybody that can narrate a book this long gets extra kudos in my book.
I have enjoyed listening to this entire series, so far. This book obviously advances the overall storyline and does so in the typically wonderful way of the previous books. For me, toning done the love-lines in this book made it more enjoyable. If you liked the other books in this series, you won't be disappointed. In fact, I think this book lifts the series a notch!
I really enjoyed this book! It is long (which I like), easy to listen to, full of good story, action, love, magic, etc. The plotting is very good and fits well with the first book. Nick Podehl is not my favorite narrator, but he's better than a lot of others, and does a good job here. The book keeps things moving along very well and does a lot of deep character diving. I could stand to have a lot more magic on display, but that's a small nit for a very good novel.
I enjoyed this book very much! It didn't have that gritty, personal feeling of the first book in this series however. Actually, much of this book felt like it could have been written by Robert Jordann, which is a compliment, but also tells a bit about the classic feel and storyline.
The pacing of the book waned a bit in the middle, then lots of things happen in the last 25% of the book. This is likely what would happen if I wrote a book, but not what I expect from one of my favorite authors. There was plenty of action and good writing to keep me entertained, but it felt like he was playing catchup to close the book out, near the end.
A very good book that any fantasy fan will really enjoy!
Michael Kramer and Kate Reading aren't my absolute favorite narrators, but they are in the top 10. This is another rock solid performance!
In the past, I have not been a big fan of Stephen King's work. He was always a master storyteller, and able to tap into many base human emotions, but I never thought he was a really great writer. I'm glad to say that I am starting to change my opinion, specifically with much of his newer work.
I like the way he handles the time travel in this book. It is done very well and has consequences, unlike in most books. The story is a very human story and does a good job of taking you to a place in time.
Normally, Stephen King does not write books that are this long, and in this case I don't think he should have either. There is a good bit of stuff in the middle of the book that kind of feels like filler. He could have shaved a lot of that part down and not lost anything in the telling. But, when you are Stephen King, I guess not too many people are telling you to shave down parts of your book :) Another slight case of my pet peeve about missing editors in most books today, but not overly egregious, and still told very well.
Overall, you will like this book, even if you (gasp) don't normally like Stephen King.
I'm a little over half way done with this book, but I am going to go ahead and write this review, because at this point I've been mostly bored, so even if the book does pick up the pace, half of the book was still boring, thus earning 3 stars. I'll listen to the rest, because I'm this far in, and I find the premise of a pandemic highly interesting. So, I'm just hoping something will actually happen (and hopefully not all in the last chapter - pet peeve).
Some of the problem is the semi-bland narration. It's not offensive (like too many I've listened to), but makes the characters sound bored most of the time.
The writer talks far too much about details that don't matter. I don't really care which shoe a character puts on first. I like details about surroundings or characters that actually tell me something about what/who they are. But too many details in this book don't enlighten you in any way, they just fill pages and waste time.
Yes, some of these kinds of details are also in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but they told you something about the character and there were far fewer than in this book.
Are good editors so hard to find? Or is nobody listening to the editors? It just seems that too many books suffer from a lack of editing :(
I'll admit it, I'm a grown man and I still like comic books. I don't have a "collection" per se, I just really like the art and the inventiveness of the storylines. So, I thought this was a very cool re-imagining of the whole super-being concept (and it is). I also really really like Brandon Sanderson's writing and have read all of his previous books.
Why did I give the "Story" three stars then? It's hard to pinpoint exactly, but I really thought it could have been better. One aspect is the information that is withheld until near the end of the book answered some of the questions that bugged me through the whole thing and I thought the author was just trying to be a little too cute by withholding some of these things. It's also very very hard to pull sci-fi/fantasy into the real world in a successful way. When you build a completely new world, you can suspend all disbelief, but when your book opens in a bank lobby in Chicago, my mind starts putting me in those places and thinking about what I would do.
I also have a hard time believing that completely normal people would stand any kind of a chance against someone with more powers than superman or that superman would need any kind of an armed military. Also, if someone like superman could rule Chicago, why would they stop there? Do ego-maniacs ever have enough?
So, see, maybe it's just my geek brain getting in my own way. I would probably like it even more if I listened to it again, knowing what I know now, and making an active effort to suspend disbelief.
This book is clearly laying groundwork for what I hope will be an epic series. Yes, I will certainly listen to the next book, it's Brandon Sanderson for crying out loud! I promise to be a better listener next time around :)
The narration was very good!
The characters were well done and complex. There was plenty of action and interaction. This is a very inspired concept!
This book is over-the-top in an Indiana Jones Temple of Doom way. It's the least believable book in the series so far. I couldn't stand listening to the characterization of Mike Fink. But actually, his characterization kind of fits the whole book to me, too big, too noisy, and just plain unbelievable. I actually laughed out loud at the preposterous nature of a big scene near the end.
Note to writer/editor: You cannot have a verbal reading of a journal entry that the person never wrote down and it was only in their mind!
I have loved all of the previous books in this series. So, I'm going to listen to one more. If it doesn't redeem the series for me, I'll stop there. Also, if they don't either consumate their relationship or break it cleanly in the next book, I'm going to be quite unhappy. Enough is enough I say.
Engine problems, because it never got started. Or better yet, barely got started by the end. The overall feel of "didn't go anywhere" of the book applies to the writing all along the way. There is a ton of description about meaningless stuff that doesn't lead anywhere. I really like detailed descriptions if they actually mean something to the characters or storyline, but this writer writes detailed descriptions about meaningless things, then flies through things that should be meaningful. If you like knowing that someone was "walking West along a wall that ran Southeast against the North side of the city perpendicular to the East-West crossing", then this is the book for you. I don't mind this kind of description if it ties into the story, or is going to be a long battle, or has some general purpose, but it didn't.
The narration is almost adequate. Better than just being read to, mostly.
If the whole book were like the last 20%, it would have been much better. There are lots of ways to get to know characters and tell their backstory without having to labor through it.
I bought this book some time ago, started to listen to it and absolutely hated it! Maybe it was just me, maybe my head wasn't in the right place. When I recently ran out of other listening material and decided to just hunker down and bear it, so I started over from the beginning again. I originally rated it 1 star, but as you can see, have revised my rating to 4 stars :)
In the beginning, I didn't like the narrator, his voice sounded like he had a very bad cold, which maybe he did (or maybe he just grew on me) because I found myself really liking him after a while. I'm not sure if his voice changed or if I just grew accustomed to him.
This book can be very confusing at times, which may only be true in Audio form. It changes between time, place, and character sets quite often and there is little indication (at least in the audio format) when that is happening, so I went through some confusion at the start of each new segment.
The author uses a lot of complex foreign words to name things, people, places, events, etc. which change depending on the person's point of view from which he is writing. Yes, it may be very authentic, but many times I found myself not even trying to figure out what was being said or referred to, and just waiting to pick up the clues based on context. For example, one character may have 5+ parts to his/her name (think middle eastern) but also have 2 or 3 additional names due to their classification in the society. Add on top of that the point of view of the speaker and you will understand why, many times, it took me a while to even understand who was speaking or to whom they were speaking.
Okay, that's the bad stuff... This truly is a sweeping and epic novel that covers a lot of territory, nations, characters, and time. The story lines are complex, but very fulfilling and creative. The inter-personal relationships are also complex and satisfying. The action is fairly constant and well done.
Overall, I found myself very drawn into the story, captivated by the action, empathetic with the characters, and sad when the book ended. If you don't let any of the negatives get to you early on, you will be rewarded with yet another great novel in this series!
I really enjoyed this book! How many times can you say that, even of a really good book. Not only is the writing great, but the narration is excellent, and the action just keeps on coming. It's not a complex work of fiction, but I don't think it was intended to be. It is a good story that keeps getting better. The length of this book was perfect (I complained that the last one was too short).
I miss the ship and the rolling sea, but the story is kept fresh with a new setting and new set of characters. I'll be downloading the 3rd book in this series as soon as I get more credits :)
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