"Pandora's Star" and its sequel are two of my favorite audiobooks, and I've listened to atleast 50 audiobooks over the last few years.
I do have one warning, the story is fairly slow going at first and there are many characters/subplots. I almost gave up after a few hours, but I'm glad I kept going. I caught myself wishing at points that he'd just stop introducing new characters, but hang in there, the story is well worth the initial effort. Some of the characters who I thought were boring and extranious at first ended up being the most interesting and exciting in the end.
Peter F Hamilton has created a unique new scifi universe in these two books. Like all great Scif universes this is futuristic and imaginative without feeling fake or "made up". The humans still act like humans(with human strengths and flaws) and the aliens are truely alien(not just humans that look different). Hearing about life in the Commonwealth is almost as interesting as the story itself.
I would definitely consider this epic scifi, but there are elements that appeal to the Cyber-punk fan in me. This is certainly edgy with plenty of sex and violence. There aren't that many sex scenes but sexuality is certaintly a driving force in some characters and is often refered to in the context of the story. There are also several homosexual characters, but he hardly makes it into an issue, its just one part of a few characters lives. Its refreshing to have characters who also happen to be gay rather than "gay characters".
Some reviews have been critical of the narrator, don't believe them. I think he did a great job, sure some of his american accents aren't flawless, but give him a break hes obviously british. Each character is easy to distinguish and he does a good job with the individual voices without going overboard(like some narrators when they voice a different gender)
So, if you've checked out any reviews, you know we have a homosexual main character here. Also If you're familiar with RKM you know he likes to include gratuitous graphic sex scenes. Using the term pornographic wouldn't be an exaggeration. I'm sure you can put 2 & 2 together and get a feel for what this book contains. I've never been offended by his graphic scenes before and this book is no exception. However, I do feel like his overly descriptive sexual encounters are always unnecessary and sophomoric. Which brings us to my disclaimer: If what I've explained so far makes you uncomfortable, you should probably not read The Steel Remains.
For those of you still reading, and I hope you are, lets down to business here. RKM is known for his gritty ultra-violence and lone wolf protagonists. While a different genre than usual, The Steel Remains is a book that will satisfy any fan of RKM's previous works. The fantasy genre is a surprising rich setting for one of his elite warrior hero's to challenge taboos and generally kill half of the folks he encounters. Well maybe not half, but definitely a quarter. So if you're concerned about RKM's change of genre, you can rest assured that all the things you liked about his previous books are present in some way or another.
RKM has done a fine job constructing a new fantasy universe. While the genre as a whole tends to fall back on old worn tropes, The Steel Remains doesn't feel derivative of any existing series. Of course you have magic, sword fighting and mythical creatures but he doesn't follow the same tired guidelines of lesser fantasy writers. He has created several different well formed cultures and explores the friction that occurs between nation states.
I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to any RKM fan. I felt there were a few places where the violence was a little over the top being unnecessary or brutal, but its in keeping with the main character's nature and background. I also felt he could have developed the history of the different races and culture a little better. There were times where I wasn't sure if I had missed something or he chose not to explain a concept. Regardless of my minor criticisms, I would recommend this audiobook for any fan of gritty modern fantasy. Also rest assured Simon Vance did a wonderful job on the narration.
I'll keep this short since there are plenty of great in-depth reviews of this series already. I just want to share my experience procrastinating on this purchase in case someone else is in the same boat. For a few years I avoided buying into this series due to it's size as well as some poor reviews which seemed consistent in their criticisms. Well I broke down and decided to give it a shot. I now feel foolish for avoiding it so long.
I've read up to book 4 and have been very impressed and entertained so far. I didn't find the authors ideas to be derivative as some reviews stated. There are some themes common to all fantasy, but the plot was original and well thought out. The setting and universe are familiar to fantasy fans, but in no way a rip off of any existing series. I've really enjoyed this series up to this point and would recommend it to any fantasy fans. Granted I have read from many people that the series has some low points, but improves in the end. I can forgive this considering how much I've enjoyed books 1-4.
So if you're on the fence about diving into the Wheel of Time series, take my advice and just do it.
I'm a big fan of Michael J. Sullivan. Which of course means I love the Riyria based books. When I saw Hollow World come up for sale I had to buy it in spite of the very different subject matter. I wish I could say I enjoyed Hollow World as much as any of the Riyria books, but don't think this is quite up to that level of quality.
I like how different in nature this protagonist is from any of his previous main characters. He is a good man, but has some moral flaws and past regrets that color his current personality. That being said, he lacks the charm and charisma of Royce or Hadrian. If you don't know who I'm talking about you need to stop reading this and check out the authors other series immediately. I guess I found him a little boring overall.
Although MJS's other works are fantasy, I also enjoy Sci-Fi and was excited to see how he handled the genre. Since he's so adept at writing epic tales I thought this book would have a much grander story arch. In reality, it's more of a standard thriller with an added Sci-Fi dimension. This by itself is a fine premise for a book, I was just expecting it to be more exceptional considering MJS's talents.
What did I like about the book? Well the future "Hollow World" setting is quite thought provoking. He doesn't shy away from envisioning a wildly divergent evolutionary path
that we could take while showing how some basic traits/failings of humanity will always follow us. I found his world thought provoking but also slightly repulsive in it's order/homogeneity. Months later I still catch myself preforming thought experiments on the society he created. It's very interesting to think about how life would be like in that environment
I'm trying not to give the story away, but I found the main plot device to be rather outlandish. While story was told with proper pacing and excitement, I had a hard time buying some people's motivations and actions.
All in all, I'm happy I used a credit on this audiobook. I don't feel it's wasted at all. Of course I can think of several better books in this genre which I would recommend before Hollow World. If you're a MJS fan, you might want to read this regardless. Just keep in mind it's no Riyria Revelations.
I don't know what happened to this story. I really enjoyed The Lost Gate and anxiously awaited book 2. Unfortunately The Gate Thief was a major let down.
This book really makes me wonder if OSC skipped over his teen years because it seems like he has no idea what teenagers are like. It's not as if his characters act like adults as some bad YA authors' protagonists do, they don't really act like any human being I've ever met. It's as if an android tried to write about human emotions based off of observations alone.
Danny North is obsessed with kissing girls, but also has some weird sexual repression/female purity issues going on. It doesn't help that all the teen girls in his life are walking wombs in waiting. They don't just want to have sex, they desperately want to get pregnant. Granted I'm no expert on the sex drives of teen girls, but I've never seen a single girl act like the girls in this novel do. It's just really weird, not exactly creepy just mind bogglingly odd and not normal. I don't know if he has strong religious beliefs about sex for procreation only that forces him to phrase teen sexual desire in this manner, but it's just strange and divorced from reality. To make it worse, the story spends an inordinately large amount of time exploring these feelings. It's true teens spend an inordinately large amount of time thinking about and discussing sex/relationships, but not like this.
Aside from poor representation of teen life, the rest of the story is lack luster compared to The Lost Gate. I lost interest in caring about Danny, Wad/Loki, and their version of the universe. The story does progress well enough, and OSC still knows how to tell a story with proper pacing. I just found myself struggling even to want the good characters to succeed. There were none of the endearing shenanigans of The Lost Gate(ie the Walmart scene). They talk about Danny being a trickster, but he doesn't do anything deserving of that title.
This story wasn't a wasted credit. The setting and magic system are interesting and fresh enough to keep me entertained. However I will have to carefully read reviews of book 3 before I decide to buy it.
Nice little free story from Michael J Sullivan. There isn't a lot that can be done in such a short time, but I enjoyed hearing it. It made me realize how much I miss having a new Royce and Hadrian tale to read. I wouldn't pay for this story alone(due to length not quality). Of course, since it's free what have you got to lose?
The Riyria Revelations series begins as enjoyable if not light adventure fantasy, but grows into much more. The story initially centers on a pair of elite thieves for hire who are renowned for doing the impossible. Following one ill advised job their lives become much more complicated as they're swept into the middle of an ancient struggle for the fate of humanity. As the story progresses you are introduced to more characters and a complex intriguing world emerges.
Michael J. Sullivan has a real talent for feeding you a lot of detail mixed in with action so you don't feel burdened by the number of names or individual histories. While the characters and world are well developed at no point did I have to study the story to make sure I didn't miss anything(ie GRRM). There are no long winded descriptions or data dumps but at the end you realize how much you've learned about the history of the world.
The author strikes a nice balance between moral ambiguity and an overall sense of right and wrong. While no one would claim that a pair of professional thieves are model citizens it's clear that they are good people when it really counts. In fact it's somewhat refreshing to read a fantasy series that doesn't center on backstabbing politics. There are evil characters and betrayals of course, but this isn't one of those stories where you feel conflicted rooting for the main characters. You really feel as though you get to know the cast of characters and grow to love many of them.
If I have to admit some criticisms it would be based on a few of the romantic elements. While he does a great job with some of the character's relationships(ie Royce/Gwen), some of the series' early love interests seemed a little forced. I found this improved as the the story goes on so don't worry.
These books are so much fun they feel much shorter than they really are. Be careful, the hours fly by as you listen. Do yourself a favor and give it a listen. I think any fan of fantasy will really fall into these books.
This book was a whole lot of fun. I don't want to be too descriptive and give away any spoilers but the story follows a man who moves into a new apartment building in LA that seems too good to be true. Well it is...
The protagonist slowly begins to notice an increasing number of quirks and small oddities in his apartment and the building as a whole. The story centers on how he and a select group of neighbors explore these eccentricities.
Did I mention that the fellow apartment dwellers are just as odd and eccentric? Learning about the characters and seeing them develop is almost as fun as the main mystery. I won't introduce them here and ruin the fun, but they're all interesting without being so odd that you can't identify and empathize with them.
This isn't so much a mystery that gives you clues in hopes that you can figure it out before the end as many crime mysteries are. You sort of fall into the story and the mystery is a current that pulls you along. Don't over think it, just enjoy the ride!
Ok, so I understand this book is cherished by countless Sci-Fi fans and is considered a masterpiece, although as a whole its really not that good. But, but, Its DUNE, THE DUNE you say. The book universally adored by legions of rabid fans, a "classic" even. Well, sit down, we need to have a talk...
First off, Frank Herbert is a brilliant writer. He created an amazing, intricately detailed universe full of wonder and inhabited by equally interesting cultures in constant conflict . Unfortunately that's where the brilliance ends. Its not very accessible, and frankly, the story just isn't that interesting. I've been hearing about how great this book is for years, so the disappointment is all the more depressing.
Herbert created a great setting and wasted it by focusing on the inner musings of every single character ad nauseum. The vast amount of character development overshadows the interesting parts of the plot to the point that the brief bits of excitement are constantly paused just to explain what everyone is thinking at every turn. I'm sad to say, most of these peoples thoughts aren't particularly interesting. Now before you discount me as philistine who needs constant action, I love Tolkien, George RR Martin, Neal Stephenson, and many other "long winded" authors.
If your a Dune lover, please don't hate me. I get that this holds a special place in the hearts of many. Honestly, a lot of people who's opinions I cherish love this book, but I kept asking myself if I was reading the same Dune as everyone else. I can't recommend this to anyone who didn't grow up with the tale, but who cares I'm clearly in the minority here.
If you're a fan of modern fantasy you need to get this book. This tale follows a young farm boy Arlen, as he grows up in a brutal world tormented by demons who rule the night. The people of this world struggle to use every last minute of daylight before fleeing nightly to the safe haven of magical wards. Mr. Brett has created a vivid and deep world that's both touching and terrifying.
The perils of night and relative safety of day add a tension to this world that shapes the lives and culture of all it's inhabitants. For as long as anyone can remember families have huddled fearfully in their homes listening to the screams of demons, or worse, the screams of those caught out in the night as the demons rise from the earth. There are tales of days long ago when people knew of killing wards that could allow humans to retake the night, but these wards have long been lost to time. Some day they say the deliverer will come to teach people of the long forgotten wards and lead them to regain the night, but there is little hope in these old stories.
If any of that sounds interesting, you won't be disappointed. Not only is this an exciting book full of action, but the author also explores in detail the effects this existence would have on it's inhabitants. The many characters in this book are all unique and well developed, and you grow to love most of them. There is a true sense of empathy with each person in this story. Even when you hate a character you can understand how they got to that point.
Don't waste any more time reading reviews and download this now.
**One warning, there are some graphic scenes of violence and sexual abuse in this series. If you're a prude or are easily offended you might want to stay away.**
I've tried and failed to finish this audiobook on several occasions, and its not for lack of trying. I stuck it out until I was at least halfway through(the 2nd time) so I believe I made it past the "slow beginning". I'm normally a fan of very long books, and I hate to give up on a story but this one just falls short for me.
If Jane Austin and Charles Dickens had a child who wrote fantasy books, I think those books would be a lot like this. This is more a book of manners than a plot driven story. The writing is very clever and witty, but so much of the story is centered on stuffy gentlemen and ladies discussing magic in drawing rooms and parlors. Don't get me wrong, the writing is very clever and witty. You can tell author has great talent, she just focuses that talent in the wrong areas of the story.
Judging by the other reviews a lot of people love this book. Personally I don't see the attraction. I'll admit there is some amusing dialog and the setting is well thought out, but that only goes so far. Don't get me wrong this is a very well written book from a talented author, but some witty repartee can only carry a novel so far.
For me this was a wasted credit. Listen to the sample before purchasing. It just goes to show that one person's masterpiece is another's snoozefest.
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