Do not read this book unless you've read the previous books in this series. The Last Colony is particular is required listening before listening to this book. I can't imagine anyone will like this book very much if they haven't listened to The Last Colony first, as this book covers the event of that book from a different perspective.
Let me start by saying, it's very rare for me to enjoy listening to a female narrator. I don't think there are very many talented female narrators, and much prefer to listen to men in most cases. That said, Tavia Gilbert gave a pretty amazing performance. The sarcasm came across really well, and in many scenes you could just feel the emotion in her words. She's definitely one of my favorite narrators now, and I will be looking specifically at books narrated by her in the future. Those of you that listen to books fairly often know how important it is to have a good narrator.
I think that the perspective shift of this book adds a lot to the story that was already there. Zoe is a strong character that's hard not to like. It goes into far more detail concerning Zoe's relationship with the Obin, especially Hickery and Dickery. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading about Zoe's relationship with her boyfriend Enzo. I'm not usually big into love stories, but it was very well done in this book. Frankly, I was surprised at how much I ended up enjoying this book altogether.
You shouldn't go into this book expecting Old Man's War. There aren't a lot of great battle scenes with lots of action. This is the events of The Last Colony from the perspective of a strong teenage girl thrust into adulthood before she should be. My only regret in finishing this book is that there are no longer any more books set in this universe to read. I loved them all, and Zoe's tale in particular has a special place in my heart. I urge everyone to give it a try.
If you've read or listened to Ender's Game in the past, this is a new and interesting way to listen. If you've never read/listened to Ender's Game, I suggest you buy the 20th Anniversary unabridged edition. The problem I have with this version is so much of the character building is cut. Characters like "Hot Soup" have a line here or there, but if you haven't listened to the unabridged book you have no idea who this person is or why they matter in the slightest.
The biggest problem I have is, you just don't get the personal connection to Ender in this version that you get in the unabridged audiobook. Without that personal connection, you simply care less about what's happening and why. The plot moves so quickly you have no time to appreciate what Ender's going through and the effect it's having on him. You don't understand the torment he's going through like you should. Without that, this is simply a good listen instead of great listen.
The voice acting is top notch. Stefen Rudnicki does an amazing job, as always. Kirby Heyborne does a really good job as Ender. He reminds me of a soft spoken Johnny Yong Bosch, if you're familiar with his work. I haven't been able to find a cast list for the book, but I've recognized a couple of pretty famous voices, including Martin Sheen, which is pretty cool. Some actors are better than others, but nobody does a poor job.
Overall, I enjoyed this very much. If you've read/listened to Ender's Game before I definitely suggest picking this up and giving it a try. If you haven't, read or listen to the unabridged book first. You'll likely get hooked and continue listening to the other books in this universe like I did. There aren't many Sci-Fi universes as interesting and expertly crafted as this one out there. Do yourself a favor and get into it, and years down the road when you're in the mood to listen again, pick this up and give it a try. You'll likely be glad you did, and be glad you read/listened to the unabridged book first.
This book follows a new recruit in a mercenary army as he comes to terms with his new life and everything that entails. He struggles to prove himself and cope with the fact that he's going to have to lead men to their deaths. It doesn't get much more in depth than this, unfortunately, but it's an enjoyable ride. If you're new to the genre don't start with this book. I suggest starting perhaps with Old Man's War or the Prince Roger series. Once you start running out of the more well known series to read come back to this and give it a try. It doesn't compare with those classics, but it's worth a look.
This book isn't hard Sci-Fi by any means, but it gives you enough information about the universe and its workings to keep you interested and wanting to know more. There are a few problems I have with the world, such as old fashioned bullets being able to penetrate space age armor. With a slight rewrite this book could have easily been set in an alternate world to our own. The tech is simple enough that there was just no reason for the futuristic Sci-Fi setting. That said, if you're willing to turn off your brain for a bit you'll likely find this book to be enjoyable, but quite predictable.
The primary problem I have with the book is the narration. The narrator sounds like a robotic Swede. A strange description? It's a strange voice. Give the sample a listen for yourself. It took me about an hour to get over how strange the voice sounded and simply enjoy the book.
The first book was interesting enough that I'm going to give the second book a chance. Though if the plot doesn't pick up in the second book, I'm not sure I could give a third book a shot.
As someone who grew up and spent most of his life in Fargo North Dakota, I felt I had to respond to the review written by Ladonna.
First of all, this is the third book released. It's the fourth book that should be read at this point in time if you want to follow the timeline properly. However, reading Contact Harvest first (which was written later, but is first on the timeline) isn't really necessary. You can enjoy that book on its own later. For Ladonna to jump into the third book then complain that she's lost and upset that there isn't enough back story is ridiculous for two reasons.
First off, the first book released (The Fall of Reach) is entirely back story for John 117. Second, there is quite a bit of back story and character development in this book. Ladonna simply should not have jumped two books ahead if she wanted to appreciate it. Nobody should buy a book without spending thirty seconds on Google to find out if it's part of a series or a standalone book. Ever.
As for the "technical jargon", well, that's going to be up to each individual reader. I personally don't think there's much technical jargon in the book at all.
As for the narrator... I can't really defend Todd McLaren. He's not awful, but I sure don't get excited when I see his name on a book I'm interested in.
The quality of the recording is fine. I have no idea what Ladonna is talking about when she says that it's sometimes loud and sometimes quiet. It's not. Whatever equipment she used to listen to the recording must be faulty. I've listened to this book twice now, and have not at any point had this problem.
This is indeed a sci fi book for the sci fi fan. An understanding of Halo is not needed. You need not have played a single minute of any Halo game in your life. It is, however, very important that you don't just pick a Halo book at random and start reading. You must either start with Contact Harvest or The Fall of Reach. Personally I suggest starting with the latter, but that's personal preference. I hope this review will keep Ladonna from scaring off potential listeners. The Halo series of book are some of the most epic, well written sci fi books I've ever read, and I read a lot of sci fi.
As the title says, I'm really not sure what I think of this. On an intellectual level, I thought it was a mostly well written piece. However, I didn't really enjoy it very much. I won't give any spoilers, but there was an event towards the end of the second book that Sagan went into more detail about in this book. That was the only part of the book I really enjoyed.
There is also a chapter in the book completely about sex. In the first two books I thought that the way sex was handled was mostly well done and pretty tastefully done. Tastefully done in the context of the characters anyway. In this book I could say the same thing if the chapter had been about half as long as it was. I found myself rolling my eyes after a while and just wishing it would hurry up already.
This is also a personal preference, but I've never particularly enjoyed women narrators. It's rare that I think one ever does a great job. Something about a female voice tends to let my mind wander more than usual. That problem is especially bad in such a short book, but as I said, this is just a personal preference. Stephanie Wolfe wasn't particularly bad, but she wasn't very engaging either.
Let me first start by saying, I played the video game Knights of the Old Republic. It's very important to have played that game if you want to get the most out of this book. If you haven't, you're probably not going to get most of the references during Revan's part of the story.
That said, if you have played the game, this book explores most of the things that went unexplained in the game. It's really quite a fun trip. I can't wait to play The Old Republic in a month to see how this book will tie into that game as well. I'm more excited than ever to get my hands on it, which is the whole reason this book was written in the first place.
As for the audio, Marc Thompson does it again. What a fantastic narrator. It's been a treat to listen to the more recent unabridged Star Wars books narrated by Mr. Thompson.
As for people who have not played the Knights of the Old Republic, it's really hard to recommend this book to you. I hope someone who hasn't will review this book soon. If you have played it, this book is a must buy.
Marc Thompson is a fantastic narrator. I've listened to many of his books, and loved every one. I encourage everyone to buy this book immediately. We need to show that if they release unabridged star wars audio, then we'll buy it! It appears they've stopped making the horrible abridged releases already. However, I really hope this starts a new trend of releasing old star wars books unabridged. Hopefully it's not a one time thing.
As for the book, it's also fantastic. There are plenty of reviews of the material in the book on Amazon. Buy it. You'll love it.
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