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.
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.
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.
This is one of those frustrating novels where no plans every work out, where the protagonists are doomed to failure, and everything that happens is depressing. The idea that the Wicked Witch of the West from the Oz story might have her own point of view is a clever one. The novel starts out well. But it reaches its peak when the witch is still at school and then goes downhill. Even the witch herself becomes a less attractive character as the story goes on and most of the sympathetic characters are killed off or change for the worse.
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.
Another outstanding novel from Lois McMaster Bujold. When I was young I thought the great science fiction and fantasy masters were Asimov, Tolkein, and Heinlein. I would now add Bujold to that group and would probably put her ahead of Heinlein. Miles Vorkosigan is the best character in modern science fiction. This book, once again, extrapolates current science to create an interesting backdrop to an excellent plot and excellent characters.
I enjoy most audiobooks -- but I find myself unable to finish maybe 5% to 10% -- audiobooks I do not enjoy. The Painted Caves would have been in that category but I found myself fascinated by the question of how bad it could get. Without doubt the book sets a new standard for filler -- material repeated from previous books and material repeated again and again in this book.
The Mother's Song (or Poem or whatever it was) is laughably bad and the long repeated introductions between characters also became a joke. And the descriptions of the Caves were interminable. Even the basic plot line was repeated from the third book of series -- Ayla and Jondelar have a misunderstanding that causes them to nearly break up and causes great harm to others -- a misunderstanding that should have been cleared up in a 5 minute conversation (okay, maybe 2 minutes).
Also, the characters lost believability, with Ayla and Jondelar both doing things completely out of character toward the end of the book.
The first book in the series (The Clan of the Cave Bear) was an interesting concept and was well executed. The other books were not as good and were slow-moving but not bad. This book is dreadful.
I have enjoyed the previous Paksenarrion books a great deal. I was very disappointed in this case -- and the problem is entirely because of the narrator. The story is good, but I found I just could not listen to the narrator.
She seems to have very limited ability to vary accent, pitch, and other vocal qualities to represent different speakers. Here principle method of creating a difference between characters is to have one character shout, while other character speaks in a normal voice. The shouted voice reminds me of a child shouting his or her lines in a school play -- including being overly precise with pronunciation.
Most readers are remarkably good at creating an alternative reality just through their voice. In this case it was the opposite. I would love to have book done again with the original narrator.
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