There's a lot to like about this. I mean, it's pretty standard urban fantasy fare. Guy discovers the monsters he heard about a child are, in fact, real. He's torn from his pedestrian life (in this case as an accountant) and introduced to a wider, richer, scarier, world than he ever knew existed. Et cetera. Et Cetera. Et Cetera. This version also comes with a limp love triangle and an extra (super-sized) helping of our hero being unbelievably awesome at everything.
The familiarity of the story's basic outlines isn't, in and of itself, a terrible thing, I can easily imagine a story built along these lines working quite well. This one, however, fell short for me. There's a paranoid sort of libertarianish streak that runs through the whole thing that was really redolent of the worst of Terry Goodkind. I had a very hard time getting past the idea that world that seems to take as a given that the government has no place at all in:
a) protecting the public at large from these deadly creatures that threaten them at every turn and b)regulating these heavily armed paramilitary units that runs all over the country, lovingly stroking their guns and shooting anything that moves.
Any oh, do they love their guns. The amount attention paid to firearms in almost fetishistic detail quickly became tedious for this non gun nut. I really can't emphasize enough how much time Correia spends on the guns, on the proper way to fire them, on the relative merits of different guns. It just goes on and on. And on.
So, all in all, it's a pretty standard and competently executed urban fantasy stuff, with a strong strain of military survivalist paranoia. It didn't really work for me, but your mileage may vary.
For the most part I won't touch a book that's narrated but its author. Gaiman is the rare exception, he's just disappears into his role as narrator. Tonally he's exactly right for the book.
This is Gaiman in minor key, much smaller and less serious than something like American Gods or even Sandman. It's actually the style I like him best. Here he's creating a new fairy tale, or maybe synthesizing extant fairy tale elements into something new. It's a very simple story: in a fit of romantic pique a boy promises to retrieve a shooting star for the girl he's got a crush on. That promise takes him on a adventure he could have scarcely imagined.
Outlined like that it doesn't sound like the most original thing in the world, but it's just utterly charming. Evokative of every fairy tale you ever loved as a child, it's thrilling and triumphant, and sad and just utterly perfect. It even manages to take a few surprising turns along the way.
I've listened to this a few times and it never fails to delight me.
Maybe I just went into this expecting the wrong thing, but this just didn't work for me at all.I figured it would be a light hearted take on Star Trek, from a different perspective. Not the most original idea in the world perhaps and fairly disposable, but that could have been fun. Scalzi's funny enough to have made that work.
Instead its got pretensions of... I don't even know what... its got pretensions of something, quickly managing to crawl up its own butt in the most obvious and stupid way I can think of. It concludes with a with something that read to me a lot like the author chastising other writers for not caring more about their work. Which might have gone over better if, you know, this whole exercise hadn't been so tedious.
I'm probably making it sound worse than it really is, Wheaton is charming and it's not like it's terribly long. I just felt like at seven hours long, it was twice as long as it should have been.
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