If you've enjoyed this series so far, you won't be disappointed. There's quite a bit more of a supernatural twist here that I personally didn't care for but worked in well for the story. As with the previous books in this series, the story line is solid but the characters are a little flat - with the villains almost comically archetypal. It's a good romp, but doesn't expand the genre much.
Trying to avoid spoilers here. This is really just a loose-ends cleanup attempt wrapped up in a pretty straightforward story arc. If you, like me, have found that Koontz's writing in recent years has gotten increasingly lazy you won't be surprised. It was good to see many of the more memorable oddball characters from the series make an appearance, and a strange attempt was made to tie a lot of things together that we never really saw as needing to be connected.
Unfortunately, like so many other Koontz books, the end just kind of falls off a cliff. Since he ended the Moonlight Bay books, Odd Thomas was the only interesting stuff he's done -- and that was getting pretty tired by the end. At least now the series is wrapped up (unless he does something really contrived).
Dean Koontz moved from my "buy immediately" to my "wait for it to get cheap" list years ago for everything but Odd Thomas. Now he's moved to my "if there's nothing else" list.
A well tailored addition to the series with it's own story arc well integrated into the overall arc of the series. As with the first, there is a satisfying ending here so that you can choose to go on with the series to see how things develop or you can stop and still be satisfied.
Masterfully planned and very well read -- one of the few times that switching an narrator wasn't a disaster. I wish the narrator from the first could be there reading the parts from the characters he handled so well in the first, and that Robin Miles could be doing just the new main character here since it's nearly an even split. Still, she does a good job pulling it of.
I don't want to give anything away here, so no plot summary from me. I'll just say that it's a fantastic story in the same universe, that we learn much more about the aliens and humans, that we learn more about some of our favorite characters and are introduced to some good new ones.
It's hard not to compare this with "The Martian" which was one of the best new SF stories I've read in years, and extremely well read as an audio book. Benford's book is probably both far more rooted in the realistic problems of Martian environment and also far more optimistic and speculative about the possibility for any existing Martian biosphere. This story has a much more human angle and I think some of that human drama was far to simplified and even cynical (the details about the corporate and government workings, in particular). The story was still interesting, the concepts were good, and I was entertained.
Bravo! -- This works on several levels. It's a great mix of the hyper-modern and the simple pre-technology worlds. The culture, story arc, plot, and characters are all fully fleshed out, consistent, and well described. The story involves war between two cultures we don't usually hear much about in Science Fiction, one with roots in the Caribbean Sea and the other with roots in the Aztec world, marooned hundreds of years ago and just beginning to rise back to a beginning industrial technology level on a planet as a result of a larger interstellar conflict.
The accents are well read and the characters interesting. An attempt is made to bring those cultures forward without losing too much of their identity. The story works fairly well at that and also as a terrific science fiction story about rebuilding and lost technology.
The only thing missing, in my opinion, was the use of the linguistic concept of "I&I" (pronounced eye-and-eye) that is unique to Caribbean cultures. I've read other places that its use is a reference to the combined nature of the individual and his God as a both separate and unified. I think it's a beautiful addition to language and that the author missed an opportunity to incorporate it here. In all other respects, this is a fantastic novel.
If I wanted a romance novel, I'd go find one. There's a decent murder mystery here (though not great) wrapped around a bad romance novel. If any man ever actually acted the way the male hero in this book does, he'd be locked up rather than laid. I've also never man an abused woman who really just needs a good f*** in the role of a submissive to get over it. Talk about cliches. No, IMO, this is a pulp romance novel thinly disguised as a detective story -- which probably explains why it's so popular. The disguise lets people pretend to like it for one thing, when they really want the other. A bit like claiming to read playboy for the articles.
I started with the prequel and have worked my way to this one. In my opinion the series started a little weak but entertaining. Over time, Wilson has gotten better and better and building complex plots with well planned surprises. In recent stories he's even "gotten" me a couple of times with surprises that I "should have seen coming" since the clues were all there. That's unusual for me. It's not perfect and if I wanted to pick at nits I could -- especially on some technical details -- but that's hardly the point. I'm not looking forward to the new narrator that is introduced later in the series.
I'm not a fan of Mr. Colacci's reading style. With no disrespect to this hard working narrator personally, I simply find that his reading carries the tone of someone reading to a child. I try to avoid picking books he's read when I'm shopping on Amazon.
The rest of the book was in line with the rest of the series. It's a good, interesting, story with a lot going on and tremendous creativity. Anderson's world building is thorough and detailed, and doesn't lean too heavily on old ideas. On the other hand, it's a bit late in the series to be dropping in entirely new types of players to the plot. There's a hint of deus ex machina at play when that happens.
Overall, I think four stars is about right.
I'm a big fan of Mr. King's work in the last several years. His books have been outstanding novels even if taken from the broader perspective of general fiction -- which is not something you can say about most horror or suspense novelists.
Mr. Mercedes was good, but not quite on the "great" scale of some of his other work. I'd call it a solid, workmanlike novel that checks all the right boxes, keeps you interested, follows a reasonable story arc, and entertains you for the hours you listen. It won't haunt you or stay with you for years the way some of his work does.
I'm glad I purchased it, and look forward to his next.
It's not so much a bad story, as just badly told. Scott Brick does a fairly good job narrating it, but you can tell that even he has a really hard time figuring out where to build tension. The story reaches a sort of ending then stretches on into a different story. It's like the author had a few different story ideas and sort of munged them together. The level of coincidental path crossing is almost silly. I've never gotten this far through a book and abandoned it with just an hour or two left to go, but I found I just don't care about anyone or anything in it.
This book is creepy in a bad way, not a good way. I'd been warned - in the comments there were other people saying that some of the discussion of the rape that goes on in the lawlessness that exists was a bit much. I'd say that's not really the problem. They're not really all that graphic, they just seem that way because they're so out of place. The problem is that it seems almost to be the purpose behind writing the book. The rest of content is about half story line and half depressing side stories that have nothing to do with any of the longer term characters. Those parts of the story that do follow any kind of plot arc are very thin and barely hold together as a framework that drags from one story about a pedophilic rapist to another. Only those parts of the story seem to really get the attention of the author. It's just bad, and I very much hope it doesn't reflect the inner mind of the author.
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