Lansing, MI, United States | Member Since 2013
The narration was good and the story kept my interest, but it seemed to be too much of a stretch. Bug like aliens that have to walk around with spray cans? Seems they would have developed a better delivery method. Then all the subordination of the troops - driven to fight the creatures against orders, because, of course, no-one-else on Earth can. I also thought it was a bit too early for Mazer Rackham. I thought he was the hero of the 2nd Formic war, not the 1st also.
Don't get me wrong, the story is well told, the characters (as always with OSC) are well developed; it just became too far-fetched I thought. If you can suspend disbelief then it actually is a very good story.
I really liked the first book! The second book was a bit of a disappointed. Book three here was better however (but not anywhere near as good as book one.)
I know this is teen/YA so I've kept that in mind when listening to it. It's a bit hard for me to review because of that. For me... all-in-all I liked the series; but there were just some things that were too silly.
As I said in my review of "A Million Suns" the tone of the series seemed to change starting with book 2. I wished these final two books followed the tone of the first book which wasn't as silly - but again... I know the series isn't geared towards middle aged men :)
So for the teen/YA readers I think you will really like this series. For you older readers, the story is good, you just have to remember that it is teen/YA.
These are the same narrators as book two and I liked the performances a lot more in this book, especially the male narrator. His delivery of Elder was very flat in book 2. It was a little better in book 3 and his other voices were great. I really liked his Lt.Colonel Martin.
Yes, I knew this was teen / young adult going in. I really enjoyed the first book and thought it was extremely well done and crossed beyond the Teen/YA boundary to hold it's own in the more mature market as well.
I however was not as pleased with this second book. The whole tone changed a little bit making me wonder if an editor worked hard with Revis to make the first book appeal to a larger audience, but didn't work as hard on this second book. Its feel became a lot more teen based and the whole scavenger hunt thing didn't appeal to me that much.
Again, I know I'm reviewing a teen/YA book, so please bear this in mind with my review. If you are a teen/YA reader, it may very well appeal to you. But for the slightly older crowd (for me anyhow) I did not like this book as much as the first and it seemed to drag on.
The narrators changed also, which never helps with the flow of a book series.
So, yes, I knew this was teen / young adult going in. I had read the first chapter in the book store when the book first came out and really like it; but I hesitated purchasing it as it wasn't really geared towards middle aged men. But I have to say, I really liked it and it wasn't too bogged down in teen/YA issues. But yes, there were some of those moments, but it was bearable.
The base premise wasn't new but it had a twist that was new (to me anyhow.) I ended up really liking the book and I think it was well done; done good enough to cross beyond the Teen/YA boundary and hold it's own in the more mature market as well.
It's not hard core sci-fi but it was well done. The narration was very well done also.
I have since read the other two books and I was not as impressed. I think the story was ultimately good, but books 2 and 3 became a lot more teen/YA based. Granted, that is what the books are, but for me I had to roll my eyes at some of the dialog and scenarios in those books. But I understood that it wasn't written for middle aged men so I just suffered through those parts and enjoyed the rest of the story. I have recommended to my 16yo daughter that she may like the series.
This wasn't exactly up my alley, I'll admit. A crazy beginning with farting to communicate - come on now! Needing a certain kind of sheep for a ceremony?? A lot of it was a bit over the top, but I guess that's what a lot of people liked about it too. Once I willed myself to just go-with-it, it did keep my interest and was well told. Although to be 100% honest, I thought it was going to be about androids, given the name and the android on the cover. It is not - silly me!
Sometimes the author would mention something about a character (and then take 5 - 10 minutes filling in a silly back story that wasn't always necessary - imho.) To me that was just a bunch of unnecessary detail.
But overall, wow, it ended up being an elaborate and clever story as long as you aren't looking for realistic. The ending is mind blowing (in all the detailed events that fall into place) and Kudos to Scalzi for keeping it all straight. While it wasn't exactly "up my alley" I have to admit it was some good story telling and thus give it 4 stars.
Will Wheaten did a great job narrating - 5 stars!!
I both love and hate time travel stories. I usually hate the ones that allow the protagonist to bop around at will. Especially ones that try to make a suspenseful (race against the clock) story to save the day - when all they have to do is use their stupid time machine and go back... say 12 hours more, etc.... i.e. Heros (TV show).
The time travel stories I love are ones where there are restrictions. This is one of those stories. This grad student, Matt, discovers that a simple device seems to be able to jump forward in time. The restrictions are that the amount of time it moves forward is exponential each time; so a few seconds turn into a few minutes, to days, months, years, etc. There is no going backwards.
So the story turns out to be him moving forward in time, further and further each time. It's a bit light heated but clever. A warning - if you can't handle a story that discusses and rebukes religion then steer clear.
When I first started listening to the narrator I was a little turned off - he seemed young and amateurish. But he actually ended up doing a pretty good job actually and since the story was completely centered around Matt (who is young and a bit immature) , the narrator's voice became totally appropriate and fit perfectly.
In all, this is a quick, witty, funny, and overall fun story. It was not at all what I expected and I was presently surprised.
Probably 60 percentile.
Book 2 fell a little flat for me; I rated this one a little higher but it too had some plot elements that you had to say "whatever" and just continue. There are just some elements that are totally unbelievable and unrealistic.
I don't want to throw out any spoilers so I will just say that if you are looking for hard core scifi, realistic scifi, etc., you should keep looking. It has some very cool elements and it will probably make a good movie (which I believe may be on the table - I would watch it) It was enjoyable story telling, I just wished the plot was a bit tighter. I guess there was just some of those "common sense" issues. So when you are reading (or listening) you are thinking to yourself, "okay... but couldn't they have just done this?" Or, "that would never happen that way... etc."
So again, a good story in all actuality, but if you are very nitpickey on plot issues you may want to pass. If you just want an enjoyable story with pretty good character interaction then give it a whirl, you'll probably like it!
I would... with a few disclaimers. It is a fun story if you are more into characters interacting with each other vs. action and/or realism.
Probably. The writing was pretty good for the most part.
No - just from book 1.
Well, all-in-all I guess I liked it. I liked it good enough to finish and continue onto the third book. There are some plot elements you just have to say "whatever"... get past those and just enjoy the characters and it's a fun story.
I wasn't all that keen on their "first day" activities. You get abducted and plopped into a huge NEO with no welcoming committee (no guards, no one) what do you do? You decided you need to elect a mayor - day one???? Strange. How about explore the place?? That would have made more sense to me. Then to make it worse, DAY 1 was examined over-and-over again from different characters perspectives. This actually could have been cooler if there was more interesting stuff going on...
Once you get past DAY 1 (almost the 1st half of the book it seemed) then it got much better.
The character development and dialog was good I thought. The narrator's spin on the various voices helped personify them as well.
Harley - because he just seemed like one of those guys that act all bad-ass but is really a big softie.
The plot had a few holes in terms of being realistic and believable. If these creatures are so advanced why can't they directly communicate with us? Why do they even need our help?
Maybe that will be explained more in the next two books. But, in terms of a character based story it was very entertaining. The astronauts seemed to say the F-word a bit more than I would imagine they would, being professionals; it didn't really bother me (except I always had to have headphones on so the kids couldn't hear.)
The actual science wasn't bad either. I like how they addressed the fact that there was an 8 second delay in communications back to Earth for example.
If you can suspend disbelief and roll with the story, it was well written and entertaining. There were many characters but they were all well defined and all entertaining with their own unique personalities (if you can keep track of them all.) Joe J. Thomas did a spectacular job with the narration and added a whole new element to the story that wouldn't have been there if I simply read it myself. I loved his Harley voice.
Orson Scott Card is a master of detail. I'm not sure how much he wrote vs. Aaron Johnston but it had a full OSC feel for sure. Like all OSC books, the details of the story are delivered in painstaking precision. Sometimes too much, sometimes just enough. You definitely get to know the characters.
This book is just a build up to the Formic invasion but we do get to see a little action. The narration was good and the various narrators were good at their respective parts. The weird part was when you were used to a certain character voiced by a certain narrator, then all-of-a-sudden, a different narrator is voicing them.
A good story. It will keep your interest even though (as with most OSC books) it is drawn out a tad too much IMO.
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