This was much less of what was good and much more of what was annoying in the first book. A pity because the first novel in this series was really good. I’m not sure I follow the thinking involved in most D&D novels. D&D players and the market was and I assume still is primarily young men (or they were when they first started playing).
There are story qualities that often appeal to both men and women. There are some that appeal to one and don’t interest the other yet they don’t find it annoying. Then there are qualities that appeal to one and annoy the other (e.g., musicals, porn, romance novels). As an author, I would not include any of the latter so as to not run-off potential customers. But, if, for some inexplicable reason, you are going to include the latter kind… why would you choose the kind that is likely to annoy the majority of the market that might consider buying your product?
This novel is mostly about soap opera like relationships and plots, wherein a couple of characters gingerly approach discovering and ultimately admitting they have romantic feelings for each other. Any adventuring is incidental and mucked up with that Barney the Dinosaur vibe which was only slightly present in the first novel. IMHO it is not D&D or even Fantasy but a Romance genera novel.
SCI-FI seems to come in three basic kinds. The Classic, mainly fun with ideas and concepts. The MILITARY kind focusing on characters and plot, scope HUGE (fate of the universe). To me, a third kind focuses on characters and plot but the scope is not so huge; easier to identify with as few people are actually world leaders, generals, etc. I like all 3 kinds. But that last kind seems hard to find. Anywaaay, Aristeia is the third kind.
Setting: a sector of maybe 5-10 planet colonies and species. Hyperspace travel between them takes days to months. We learn there was a war, then the Terrans (humans) entered it and they all became part of the Terran Alliance. Claims to be like a individual liberty constitutional republic (well, democracy is incorrectly used, as in the real world). But, well, not so much actually in this sector. Much like being a colony of Brittan a century ago and earlier. Each planet has a Gov appointed, complaints of govt abuse tend to be categorized as subversion or treason.
Plot and characters: A war vet's way younger sister was arrested in a college govt protest. He gets here and they jump bail before still larger charges are assessed. So they live on his ship and are smugglers. The story begins from here. Some other characters try to swipe their ship. The sister and some of the ship thieves end up in prison. Plans for a prison break are brewed, etc. That's in about the first third of the book. Great plot that seems to be building in scope but not too fast.
We get the story from the various characters viewpoint. We get who they are, personality, their thinking, but are not made into a psychoanalyst for them. Also no ism reinforcing junk, no graphic sex. No stupid characters (pet peeve) but diff assessments of the situation that make sense given the character's experience. Some, like Ben Franklin, think Alliance can be persuaded to live up to their creed, others think revolution needed.
I liked book 1 in this series and noticed book 2 is now here. BUT the filenames for book 2 are the same as book 1. This is why downloading book2 overwrites (deletes) book 1 on the PC locally. If you download book1 again same thing, it wipes out book2. SO, if you wanted to have and listen to book1 and 2 back to back you cannot.Please rename the 2 files that make up book2 from AristeiaUnabridgedPart1 to Aristeia2UnabridgedPart1 or something (so the filenames are different for the 4 files that make up the 2 books) so users can buy and listen to both.
Incidentally, I tried to use the return a book option for another book days ago, I get a popup, click ok BUT the book is not removed, my credit is not restored. I buy over 100 books a year on audible and this is an advertised feature. Please fix so it works. Thanks
I was afraid this would be a story written with modern attitudes, sensibilities, isms, etc and be merely labled as historical fiction as is so often the case. Aside from characters, plot, etc. what I really like about this series is that it seems sociologically realistic. One imagines 1800s Brit sociology, esp military, very much not PC by modern sensibilities. This was back when people actually still dueled from time to time. There were great, interesting characters, both male and, which is more rare regardless of genera, female. Sharpe's lady love isn't a basketcase, genius prodigy despite having no education either, nor more butch than the guys, or any of that stuff from modern settings I usually find teleported back and passed off as a historical novel. She has a good head on her shoulders, like Sharpe, and I but how things work out for them. Overall a great adventuring romp.
Doesn't read like a Ringo novel. We get a family who take preparing for a post appocolyptic world from a variety of causes, complete with code-words, fake identities, multiple plans. But they pose as a regular suburbanite family as that's where they live. The problem occurs which means they will hold out in a boat on the ocean (as per cover art). As zombie virus spreads they get a boat, dock in NYC harbor (?). Sent to help work on finding an innoculation are... the underage girls and dad (??) while it spreads through NYC. Police, etc. are overwhelmed but... to experience a truly great NY family restuarant meal they go to a mob owned one. They hear of a concert in the park the youngest wants to expience one while still possible... so they go? And the girls allowed out of the car to mingle in the crowd? Guess what happens? No, really, guess
Then it seems like the writing was handed off from a North American multi-generational suburban homemaker to a Brit or a Frog. They hide out on the ocean (not going to a place, just hanging out) and nearly run out of supplies. The dad decides to change the plan from salvaging stuff, deciding on an island, getting a stable, sustainable home base, then who knows. No, now he wants to rescue as many live boaters as possible and THEN figure out where to put them in tight quarters, how to feed them, put down mutiny attempts, etc. Meanwhile, there are Navy subs listening to his merry ships radioing. Navy guys aren't doing ANYTHING, literally. No, just listening to the radio chatter (no communicating even) as their supplies run out. This sound like the kind of characters and attributes or plot choices you expect from a John Ringo? Yeah, me either. Another rip-off from some other writers under the name, So that's it for me.
If you were looking for something more like Zombie Fallout from Tufo where the characters aren't quite wearing a WWJD band and a member of the Promisekeepers, but pretty close, in your post appocolyptic story then its a 3 or maybe even 4 star.
If you prefer your post appocolyptic stories to be more like one would expect in a story actually written by Ringo, DJ Molles, or even the TV show Walking Dead, like me, then this is a none or 1 star at best. I prefer characters in this genera be realistic for the situation (time to leave the Well, In A Perfect World One Would Hope To Be Able To stuff and get-it-in gear)
My review title is because I noticed this one several times and passed because I don’t like stories so large in scope and world-import as gods interacting much or warring. But this book actually doesn’t have that so I wanted people with similar tastes to not let the title fool you.
The main character human is a 20 something, not a child, whose career plans didn’t work out. The human who may or may not have formerly been a dragon is interesting and contrasts well with the MC (and others). The bounty hunter is half-orc. There are some other interesting creatures in (and under) the city. The audio sample introduces what causes the overall plot but the rest of the story happens in the different parts of the interesting City of Splendors. It is more like Murder in Halruaa or Murder in Cormyr in tone. But it’s not a murder mystery but of the maybe-former dragon and a potential threat to the city. Along the way the MC deals with what to do now that her first career choice didn’t work out. I liked it and the characters.
It starts out with a small crew battling off pirates at sea. Quirky, gritty, realistic characters make up the small crew. Some are generous, ungenerous and suspicious, young and timid, older and cantankerous, with a constant sarcastically joking banter, and fiercely loyal to each other. Flashbacks help fill them and their story out. The flashbacks also help explain the overall plot. The story also covers characters in other locations that relate to and eventually meet up with the plotline. None are stereotypes, few are very powerful, but most are complex and realistic characters so it was easier to identify with, take seriously, and care about them the challenges they face.
When things turn out to not be what they were supposed to the mission changes. Shipboard, slogging and fighting through the jungle and creatures, discovering unforeseen plot angles, ancient ruins, and a little castle conniving. It had great action scenes, mystery, some political intrigue, and surprising plot twists. At various points it had the tone or flavor of Serenity, old jungle exploring adventure movies, Indiana Jones, and The Mummy. It doesn’t end in a cliff hanger but a character has decides to start a new a new effort that could be a next novel. I immediately got the next novel in the series but it is a different thing altogether. A great writer, I can’t wait for her next stand-alone novel.
The narration was really good with a variety of voices that fit the characters but spoken too fast, without enough (sometimes any) pause between phrases and sentences. Not so fast that I couldn’t enjoy the story but in many places it made it hard to follow and I had to rewind and this detracted.
The main character wakes in a tavern inn with tattooed arms and no clue why and what happened. Now she thinks of it, she only has hazy memories of the past year. She doesn’t know what the hell and been going on but is darn sure gonna find out, who branded her and why. She sets out, one adventure leads to the next, is joined by some interesting characters for their own various reasons along the way, until we finally find out. This is the first in a series but good as a stand-alone novel. We have something lizard man like, a singing thief grafter or bard, merchant trading company wizard, a dragon, a calmari, and all sorts of encounters from upper middle class engagement party, to mountain passes and caves, etc.
What I liked so much about this book is that it starts simple, both as to characters and story scope, and then grows as you go, so that I bought it. I felt like I got to know them so they had a less lame and more genuine feel to them. I was not rolling my eyes as the authors tried to make me their characters’ psychiatrist, and having them and their “stuff” deluged onto me and me hoping I had some dry towels.
It had a much more Connan the Barbarian feel to it than Lord of the Rings, which is what a D&D novel should be IMHO. Opinions vary but to me: Fantasy is for LOTR types and D&D for CTB types of stories. Otherwise why bother having two different genera or looking in one instead of the other to find the kind of story you want if their content is the same? I think of it this way: if the whopper were a big mac but with a different name, then burger king would never have taken off.
More Romance novel than D&D
Seems to me this is Romance genera or you might stretch to say it is what the Fantasy genera has been mostly turned into. A guy stumbles across the daughter of a woman he desired beyond reason in a small town. He must have her. Sound like a few generas you know so far? Porn or Romance, depending on what happens next. But wait, there’s more. She knows not who he is, he is a powerful sociopath, and the chase begins. She is the victim and fears she is losing her mind (for the psychobabble content ingredient), he the crazy bad guy (the demonized and/or denigrated must be male), there is also a good guy (well, maybe he is), there may or may not be sex involved (thankfully not in this book) etc. This is a Romance novel, not D&D.
I’m not saying porn for women should not exist. Musicals too, I guess. Different strokes for different folks. But does it have to be everywhere, all the time? It would be nice if we could at least keep this stuff, whichever kind it is, whoever it is written for, in its own genera so the unsuspecting don’t stumble across it and have that “ewwww” moment. A little consideration or proper categorization should not be asking too much.
The 1 audio file included ends at chapter 13 and there is no second file. I wasn’t completely sure until the third novel refers to things the author obviously were included in the second. Mirya is not yet rescued in chapter 13 but the third book refers to those scenes and other events that would have been in chapters 14 and higher. Also, there are completely blank, silent setions of about a minute in several places. Something must have gone wrong with the audio producing software. I probably would have given this one 4 stars because what there was in the audio file was like the first. There were some pretty surprising events. The overall plot is basically like the first except in the opponents and how it works out. Garen rescues a gal on the beach, commands a ship and goes pirate hunting, and then a battle for the city happens again. Of course, I don’t know exactly how it turns out due to the missing chapters and was a bit surprised where the family was located in the opening of the third book because that part was not included in the file that made up this second audiobook.
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