I like Rusch's books as sci fi detective novels. She creates a consistent world in which we get to know characters across books. She then kills some of those characters and you get personally involved because you want these mysteries solved. Flint or Nyquist or/and DeRicci, with Flint's help, solves the major mystery while other subplots get moved along also. At the end, your "mystery solved" fix and are ready for the next novel.
If you read them out of sequence there is enough embedded history that you get through with no sense of vital missing information, but then if you get in sequence, then all the better. BUT she always ends the mystery. There is a solution. You get your "ahhh". You may not really like it, but it is solved and it is consistent and you know there will be more later. The world of Armstrong, Flint, and everyone else awaits your next adventure.
Some of the people claim that this story is unusual because it centers on Nyquist, but DeRicci was the center in "Extreme", so this is not a major departure. In fact it intrigued me because Rusch was willing to say Armstrong was bigger than Flint early in the series. You know the Retrieval Artist series is going to be a rich environment. But I would also say that there is no central character here. This is a Moon wide, maybe wider, crisis. There are at least 6 main characters in it and Nyquist gets more room to setup a former partner who is germane to the central mystery. So, I don't agree that there is a central character in this novel. BUT Rusch has done a great job developing them and they flow together naturally.
Now for all the praise, she violates a major rule SHE set up, there is no mystery solved. This is just a freakin' two-parter. She has mentioned the lack of a solution in an earlier subplot where Armstrong Dome almost got blowed up real good, but the other major plot was solved in that book. Interesting look into an future book, so Anniversary Day was not a surprise to me.
So we go through the crises in the Domes, centered on DeRicci. We go through an investigation with Nyquist WHO shares the spot light with another detective, Marona(?), and we find out that Nyquist and Marona(?) like working together. We find Flint thinking he is second best to Talia, his clone daughter and this duo pulls out info that saves the Moon's Domes from Millions of death. We find out a big bad boogie man may be attacking not just the Domes of the Moon, but the Whole Earth Alliance, END OF STORY... WHAT???? What did we solve? Who got caught really. A former partner of Nyquist's is a brainwashed lackey, but come on!! No, the boogie man/woman bomber and/or the Twenty WHO are the real instigators and movers are not understood. They were the case to be solved, and we got a TV type end of the season cliff hanger.
I am thinking Rusch might have been hanging out with R.R. Martin. God help us all if she has.
In the end the situation with Nyquist and DeRicci seems like it will either explode or come together, NO. Just like the major mystery of the book, it just drags on to the next novel.
This is completely counter to Rusch's normal fix to the reader of a decisive interesting end with characters that have a lot more mileage on them. Come on Rusch, solve the Major mystery of the novel and then go on.
However, if you like the series so far, unlike in her other earlier novels, you will HAVE to read this if you want to continue on, but it will be an interesting read and decent continuation of the all the major characters.
First, I am actually going to review the first three books of this series. There is an implied fourth book, though I know no details. All three books are equally good and I would rate them all the same. I started out with one and found myself purchasing the other two immediately to finish.
Second, the writing is great for this genre. It is future meets past with guns. I have read at least eight or nine such series and John Birmingham (JB) is among the top three. Now most of these are like zombie books, something sciency happens and "look what happens". JB gives enough detail to be set the scene without being annoyingly magical. He then exacts a cost and shows us a path through the interaction of past with future. Obviously the slight future tech, a little farther out than he posits, could be devastating, but he spreads future tech around. However, the new tech can't overcome the weight of history. He does this is a clever, entertaining way, without getting stuck on blood and gore. He doesn't let us forget the human toll in the past. At the same time he is exploring the human toll in the future.
JB does a great job of switching between telling and showing. I know many think that showing is always better than telling, but sometimes showing is just too long and telling us gets us back to the real plot. JB choices I think are well founded and keeps the story moving smoothly.
JB also introduces the friction that happens with the world of 1940's meets the world of the 2020's. Things have changed and it is going to grate, and it does. This exploration of the interface of the past and future people is a very interesting part of the book and it is consistent throughout all three books.
So all three books cover the sciency thing, the cost of translation, the interaction of past and future, how WW II changes, how it stays the same, and finally how it ends. Setting up for the fourth novel.
JB earned 4.8 stars from me by his consistency in building the story, quality character building, killing indiscriminately (some people I liked died! And no it wasn't the ones I thought might die. DAMN YOU, JB!), great and plausible exploration of tensions on the person-to-person and societal levels, and keeping information on historical characters as accurate as we know them from rigorous history. BUT why did you have to kill ..., damn it.
I have to say, JB must have had some great editors! Seriously, JB, take them out for a lot of dinners or whatever or give them a great service medal and bonus.
Third, Jay Snyder (JS), the narrator, is flawless. That's all I can say. All right, that last statement was a lie. I have listened to a few by JS and I have liked them all, but here he is shows what a true narrator/storyteller is all about. You never lose track of what is happening. He lets you know where every comma, period, and paragraph break is and you don't even realize he is doing it. The narration flows so well, I am fully engrossed in the story. I never lose track of who is talking and he can do eight characters in a scene, men and women, fully differentiated without making you scowl because some of the voices are silly or just grating. He doesn't imitate a perfect woman's voice, but he isn't trying, he's giving you a good approximation that doesn't detract from the story at all. He is consistent enough on all the characters voices that even if JB didn't give you a tag, you still know who is talking from JS' voice. That's just weirdly cool. (JB, you should definitely be taking JS out for some good meals of his choosing, and take his significant other.) I think JS shows the difference between great actors and great narrators, and frankly, great narration is FAR HARDER!
JS earned every star of 5 stars
Fourth and finally, these are well produced books. The editing is solid. No 8 second voids where you think your player malfunctioned. No repeats of the last 5 to 30 seconds of the book. No obvious edit points where the narrator's voice sounds completely different for 25 seconds and then goes back to normal. Nice polish. Pat yourselves on the back editor and producer! Lately I have heard too many of these flaws.
Overall it's a great series if you like military, alternate-history science fiction. I gave it a 5 star in overall performance, because I had to listen to all three books in a row. Expect to listen to all three if you like the first one. I am looking forward to the fourth.
I reserve triple-fives for the rare experience. First, the book's theme is well explored and well explained. Though the main scientist is a bit slow sometimes, like why her cleaning of the larger threat on the Moon won't work. I knew the "clean up" was going to have to fail right away, or this book would have gotten a three. I also found some of the Moon base's characters a bit petty at times in their reactions. These are highly trained professionals in a deadly environment for which they volunteered in an informed condition. However, the writers give the main scientist an out as she is very tired. Anyway the overall theme is well explored and well developed. The book is thoughtful without pushing to any extreme. I never said "oh, come on," to myself once.Second, the actual writing is very good. The characters are fully formed. The threat and issues are well explained. There is tension. There is relief. There is grief. There is love. The writing itself does not get in the way. The two authors move us between multiple venues easily and without losing me or jarring me. I was somewhat surprised since in KA's "Saga of the Seven Suns" are, in my opinion, written at a 9th grade level. This book is maturely written and KA's collaboration with DB works well.Third, the narrator is great, and I am not easy on narrators. I reserve great for narrators that can audibly separate characters without getting ridiculous; can separate the sentences and paragraphs; and read the book without getting in the way. JM does a great job in all three categories. I always know who is talking and when the narrative of the book is moving the book along. I am never shaking my head wondering what is going on. I never react to JM personally. I did have to adjust to him as I do all narrators when I first hear them. But his overall reading was a joy. That coming from a person who will return a book if the narrator is displeasing. (BTW, Audible's return policy is why I have sooo many in my library! I can't praise Audible enough for this policy.)
The thoughtful and exploration of the overall theme of nanotechnology.
The scene in the lab on Antarctica where things come apart. You'll know it when you hear it. Though this was dropped for a bit too long as the rest of the story moved forward.
I don't do tag lines.
I am looking forward to another book along this line from this pair of authors and hopefully this narrator. I will search for any other books this pair of authors may have written and any other SciFi books that this narrator may have read. I don't think I can give much higher praise than that.
Not going tohappen.
I find this question a bit silly. The most memorable moments are pretty well the same in all his books, but a bit difference. The Security Chief is still sassy. The Captain is slowly losing his whininess, and Ryk did move to hasten this. Okay, a memorable seen is when Captain yells at the newly introduced Captain. You'll know it when you get there. You will be thinking, "about damn time!"
This is impossible. Jeffrey has built a voice cast that is clear and consistent. An old character can appear in a scene out of no where with no introduction and I can tell who it is. This is across all the books! Jeffrey is superb. I have never had to skip back, or wished he would read faster. He's great for this long series.
When the security chief gets her family back. As written you feel her joy and in the background you feel the grief of a planet.
Some of the battle scenes get long. I still have a tendency to yell at the captain in my head about "jump jump now!" But I do that less and so Ryk is on track considering this series cover a year or less.
I buy these and listen to them because they are old friends, predictable, startling, silly, serious, glib.
Oh, don't start in the middle, without the background you will accuse me of being crazy.
I thought the book was well written including three major themes; when corporations take over, what are the limits and boundaries of family ties, and what price immortality. The author commits to a clear path on all three. Not a lot of in-depth character development, but if I was just a fly that was listening and started observing when the book starts, this is how the characters would look.
The main character, the captain and daughter, is the deepest, though I liked the spy who I cannot name, for obvious reasons. I cannot say that I formed a clear attachment to any of the characters, but as a whole they were believable and were a solid part of the total story.
She is the RUN-ON Sentence Queen. I actually slowed the book to .5x and I was finally able to enjoy the book. I think I could have lived with .65, but not any faster. Now, she does creditable character differentiation, make no mistake, though slowed to .5x they sound just a bit gruesome sometimes. In fact, ONLY during the times where there were multiple characters in the conversation could I listen at 1x and not have my eyes glaze over and my head ache. BUT her voice is fine, her voice characters well defined, only her blazing speed of run-on makes her performance a 2. I have to ask this? Did anyone listen to this book before it was published? This is NOT a rhetorical question! I would like to know. Shannon was not well served by her producer or director or whatever they have running these recordings. Producers, if you can't hear the pauses at 2x, you have an issue!!!! If a listeners feels relief playing the book at .5x, you have an issue!!!!My advice to Shannon: Slow down, pause for commas (we need them and that is why the author put them there), take a breathe between sentences (your breath lets our brains package the sentence), and take a long breath between paragraphs. You should be able to hear sentence pauses even at 2x. Seriously! You did fine on the rest.
The title. I thought the title was great, though the author might have brought it up more than once and a bit earlier.
Overall I thought the book was good. I would invite everyone to use .5x. Yes, the characters can sound a bit off at times, but overall the reading is much better at that speed.
An anti-hero is forged by hubris and by corporate greed and power mongering. The main character goes on to try to be a poor man's super villain. He does OK and a readable, fun book is created. As always this particular narrator does a great job. This isn't a book that will absorb your every moment, but it's a great book to have around when you want to have some fun.
Scalzi writing and Wheaton's narration. Scalzi can draw characters that are "3D". They even talk in clichés when the characters SHOULD be using those clichés. I do think we connect with writers and Scalzi is one of mine. His characters can be funny, serious, scared, alien, or human and they are always believable to me. Bastard's got my number.
Scalzi makes all his characters interesting. Even the bad guys are interesting. I can't pick one so Sean and Van, the main character and his partner.
Wheaton as a narrator is great at an art that is FAR harder than JUST acting. With a slight change in voice he gives me clear cues who is talking and they are consistent. There are few, if any, times I become aware of him as narrator. The story unfolds in my mind with ease. Females sound female without squeaky voices. Older people sound older without just sounding all one age. Men sound like men. Each character is each character. I have bought every Wheaton book, though I did return on because he was only in one story out of many. Audible has several gem narrators and Wheaton is one of that pantheon and I do think narration is a far harder art than acting.
Yes, though it is 10 hours. The other version is 11, can't wait to find out why. I listened as much as I could at a time and finished it in two day.
It's a combination of two great artists.
First, let me say, I allow for authors learning their trade, so I will not be sarcastic here. This book would gain much from any editing, but someone other than the author. The number of redundant statements is voluminous. The author mistook restating things like "if someone walked in now, it was the end..." She restated this in 6 sentences in a 8 sentence paragraph. In fact redundancy was a redundant theme. I think the writer thought that be restating the obvious she could intensify the feelings she was trying to describe, but instead it was distracting.The overall emotionality played out at a 4th grade level, also. The main character was a long-time job-only geek, whose beauty is without equal. She meets a sensitive, emotionally-connected, handsome multibillionaire. They both fall in love in about, oh, 3 hours book time. A sex scene is included, but it turns out to be formulaic. Every character other than the main character was a cardboard cut out. No depth other that stereotypical males. The main character's best friend was killed but had no more important that a balloon popping because she died just as we learned they were best friends. AND then the main character gets all whiney blaming herself for something she had no idea could happen with it did. In other words, the author wanted a brooding, complex character and had no idea how to get there without just saying, "hey, this is an intense, brooding character who takes everything on herself." Oh, turns out her boyfriend of 24 hours is also an intense, brooding male with a heart of gold.The last issue in the writing was the constant use of clichés. Some clichés can add to the sense that characters are real, however combined with overly formal language, or Yoda Speak, the effect is weakened. Using too many clichés too often gets annoying.As I said, a good, tough editor would help immeasurably.
Only if it was free and only to see if she has improved her writing. A ten minute free listen on Audible would be enough to check that out. BUT NO, not without that listen. I could not complete the last 2 hours and intend to return it.
Oh, god, yes. First, YOU can NOT emphasize EVERY other WORD. When YOU do EMPHASIZE every OTHER word, THE listerner IS continuously THROWN off THE structure OF the SENTENCE and THE point OF the SENTENCE. This form of reading does not allow for subtle character moves, where the narrator shifts from one character to another with subtle shift of tone and speeds. I had to work hard much of the time to figure out who was saying what in scenes where several characters where involved. The producer of this audio book should be told to listen to some of the better narrators and understand what good readings sound like. Sometimes the changes in character the narrator tried to crate could be hilarious. I had to replay the section after I got over my tendency to laugh. I could hear from time to time that this narrator could be a decent reader, but they need careful guidance from a good producer. The net effect was that I was too aware of the narrator and his quirks and that distracted me from the story.
The writer also needs to do some basic research into the sciences. The diabolical, evil mastermind billionaire, which she used in her description, was going to substitute a body for the main character after the main character is thought dead... like DNA or finger prints is not known in the future? A single person's apartment is a wealth of DNA and finger prints. So the diabolical evil genius' plan would fall apart in about 15 minutes. A suspense/crime Sci-Fi writer has to understand all of this.
Probably not, I think I have heard all the detail and nuance that exists in the book.
I can't say I learned enough about any character that I have a favorite. The main character the SEAL officer who later becomes a ship commander is annoyingly obtuse sometimes. Other characters don't get as much development as they need. In short he could have added at least 2 hours to shore up the lack of character development. HOWEVER, the characters were believable in most cases and likeable if they weren't acting stupid to bring about a problem too quickly.
He has most of the basics I like. When he is reading his timing seems natural and doesn't see too jerky or so smooth I don't know where the sentences go. He had good character separation, that slight tone change that stands out consistently for a character without too much jarring, with two notable exceptions, the rhino guys and Molly,"the Dad's got to have something to live for" daughter. Both parts he had a good handle on how he wanted to play the character but he overdid the effect. Sometimes he over did them to the point of annoyance. From my point of view a hint of a voice consistent voice change is enough. I am not looking for the different voices of cartoons. But overall I was pleased.
No extreme reactions.
The author will either mature in his storytelling in that he will give us the background we need to truly relate to the characters, or he will become unreadable. The SEAL officer who is the main character is reacting to a civil medical person from another planet. Okay, interesting, but after a while the relationship hasn't developed or changed and the off-worlder starts to become a whiner and the main character is in waaay too much denial about what is going on. Little things that could have added, when the now ship commander says he is going to meet with his whole staff of mostly aliens, we never learn much about that at all, the main stage setting. We need to know these representatives to finally care if the interplanetary good guys are worth hoping they will survive. Finally, author uses the commander's stupidity several time in both books and it gets old. One more than one occasion the commander Is out acting like a ground pounder instead of captain of the last hope of humanity, oh, like Captain "tear my shirt" Kirk. So he is out in some puzzling situation with a bunch of SEALs with him and they all get so interested in one single thing, none of them notice some evil this way comes, and the team is caught totally off guard. That's not going to happen in a professionally trained unit. Someone will always be monitoring their helmet HUDs, always!
I wouldn't pay full price, but the $7.95 was fine. I don't mind supporting beginning authors who have the basics to be decent writers.
The Concept. Most of the authors involved are well known and I like their other books. So they pick a first line of some other novel to base their short piece on. Sounded interesting with an interesting group of authors, and the narrators looked good, too. Only about half of the stories are SciFi. Well, written stories, but uninteresting to me. If I wanted to read about 1920's Chicago or prewar Germany, I would look in period fiction. I am not saying this is bad writing, just not Sci-Fi.
I won't be buying any more with this format, but these are great authors, so yes. BTW, the listen button just gave too little information on this book to make a decision.
Narration was fine, though it was WIL WHEATON that mislead me. ("WIL WHEATON!" shouted like Sheldon on TBBT.) I love his narration and I probably wouldn't have bought it if his name hadn't been on there with Resnick and several others. WIL WHEATON!
I am a pretty hard core Sci-Fi reader. So these shorts that had fantasy, period fiction, with a touch of real science fiction just didn't do it for me. I can tell you that most of the writing was good, though I didn't make it all the way through the book. So take my rating stars based on your leanings.
The main character didn't just run around acting silly in a very bad situation. He thought. He wasn't perfect, but he thought. He added a crew that you grew to like.
When he decides he has to share the information he has with the rest of the solar system.
Jim Holden is the main character. If you don't like him you won't like the book.
No extremes. Just good solid story telling with a great performance to boot
The narrator has the ability to separate his narration from the characters. He has a sense of timing and import. He does not over act. He does not make me aware of him. I can instantly tell the different characters apart and they don't all sound the same. Twenty year olds sound twenty and forty year olds sound forty.
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