Laughable plot in which the "hero" leads a group of former soldiers in a plot to kill politicians who refuse to balance the budget (along with one senator who revealed confidential information while drunk, leading to a military mission being compromised). This is right-wing propaganda in extreme form. The heros all love their guns -- anyone who is not a gun nut is of suspect character. Flynn's later novels -- the Mitch Rapp novels -- are enjoyable even for people who are not right wing zealots, although the political orientation of the writer is clear. Term limits, however, has too many rough edges -- and the plot does not make sense. In the final resolution somehow the deficit spending issue that prompted the initial assassinations is forgotten.
I am not a big fan of urban fantasy -- where magic has somehow entered the modern world -- and where various magical creatures (dragons in this case) use cell phones, order pizza, and drink coffee. Still I enjoyed this book and would probably buy the next book in the series. The main character is good -- and he does experience some genuine character development. And his brother Bob and sister Jessica are also pretty good. But the main female character got a bit annoying -- implausibly focused on her own interests even when she is about to get herself and the hero killed. The performance was good. I especially liked the dragons with Russian accents.
I am old enough to remember when Sci-Fi was mostly upbeat, the characters were likable, and the plot made sense. This book recaptures that tradition. And the narration was good, much better than in other Sci-Fi series I have recently listened to. The book is not deep but if you want some enjoyable escapist Sci-Fi, this is a good choice. I hope Audible makes the rest of the series available soon.
The first two novels in the series have the "new beginning" theme, much like Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series, as the hero is exiled to the edge of a failing empire and sets about rebuilding a new and better civilization. I liked these books quite a lot. The third novel goes back in time to show us the details of the decline of the Terran Empire. I have three major reservations:
1. I suppose the decline of an empire is not likely to be pretty but I am guessing that few if any historical examples (and not many fictional ones) are as ugly as this one. It was pretty depressing reading (or listening) much of the time.
2. The author seems preoccupied with sexual abuse and sexual violence.
3. More so than Nuttall's other books this book seems dominated by a kind of "populist tea party" ideology in which government bureaucrats and journalists are uniformly bad and politicians are very bad. University students are lazy, naive and self-indulgent. But guns and "the right to bear arms" are good and marines are very good. Public schools are bad but anything that resembles home schooling or marine boot camp is good. This excessively simplistic ideology is emphasized and repeated throughout the book.
In addition to these concerns, I was disappointed in the performance. I have never heard so many instances in which the narrator puts the emphasis on the wrong word in a sentence. It was like he could not be bothered to actually understand the meaning of what he was reading.
There was also one other minor point that bothered me. I admit this is hard to believe for a successful writer of military science fiction, and maybe I am wrong, but Nuttall seems to have inverted the ranks of colonel and major, treating major as senior to colonel instead of the other way around.
On the other hand, the basic plot is quite good and the central relationship (between the marine heroine and the prince) provided some positive elements in the book.
If you liked the Apollo 13 movie (as I did) you should love this audiobook. It is the "man against nature" theme except the nature in question is on Mars, not on Earth. Most of the book consists of diary entries (or log entries) by one man who is stranded on Mars. The entries are both funny and gripping, and I appreciated the heavy dose of "real science" as the protagonist figures out how to survive on Mars and how to help with his rescue. And the voice performance was excellent. Loved this book.
This is the best audiobook I have listened to this year (and that is an embarrassingly large number of audiobooks). It fits into the science fiction category as it takes place in a distopian near future in which vast numbers of people retreat into an online multiplayer game that takes on the status of an alternate reality that is more important to many people than real life. This is also a coming of age novel focusing on a group of young people who learn about themselves and about each other while going through a harrowing online adventure. The third category is the "popular culture" genre as the heroes have to navigate an online game based on 1980s pop culture, especially popular "geek" culture. The combination is very original. This novel is a great nostalgia trip for anyone born between about 1950 and 1975 and is just a great adventure for anyone younger than that. And the performance is excellent.
The Lost Stars series describes many of the same events as the Lost Fleet series and the Beyond the Frontier series but from a different point of view. I like the approach, borrowed from the Alexandria Quartet. I find the characters compelling, the plot lines interesting, and the political and military detail very plausible and insightful. I would have given the first 95% of the book five stars. However, I did not like the ending, which leaves the key issue in the novel unresolved and has two major plot twists. Campbell abandons his normal approach of careful, plausible plot development. I had been completely drawn into the reality of the story and suddenly, in the last few minutes, found the spell broken as the author introduces a stereotypical megalomaniac plot line that seems implausible.
I hope the author rescues the plot line quickly in the next novel in the series. And I hope the next novel actually has an ending that is not yet another cliffhanger.
Still worth worth reading or listening to, but I suspect it would be more satisfying to be able to read the sequel right away.
I love the Flashman series and this is one of my favorites. I would have preferred the unabridged version but this abridgment was very well done and I found the book very enjoyable.
Jack Campbell (J.G. Henry) is one of my favorite SF authors and this is an excellent novel (an offshoot of the Lost Fleet Series). The thing I like about J.G. Henry is that the gets the small things right -- the characters, the interactions, the details of life in a military environment -- it is all consistent and makes sense. He does not overindulge in emotion and histrionics and extensive battles. He has some good battle scenes but, ultimately his books are based mainly on interactions between characters. The building trust (professional, not romantic) between Drakon and Iseni -- former Syndicate CEOs -- is very interesting and satisfying.
It is great to finally get the unabridged version of LOTR from Audible - the greatest fantasy series of all time. I asked for this from Audible at least a couple of times and I assume many others sent in requests as well. I am just delighted to finally get it. I listened to it on audio cassette many years ago and it is just great.
Nice to see Grisham turn his hand to humour -- combined with some suspense and the usual thoughtful insight into an element of the legal profession. Could be my favorite legal novel ever.
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