Ok.....Everyman screw-up post-teen goes to war in space after evil aliens bombard Earth -- and he (painfully) becomes a man. It sounds familiar, but this book (and the inspired narrator) give this story a series of clever twists. If you like books like Redshirts (or the discussions surrounding Bun-bun -- the massive future tank-like armored vehicle in Ringo's Aldenata series -- not the rabbit) quick-witted, quick-moving with lots of wry asides. . .this is a winner. How did I miss this? And there are 4 more on Audible !!! It deals with serious issues along the way, and the plot actually picks up more of an edge as it goes -- but for a refreshing and smart book, you will like it. One reviewer (who still gave it 4 stars) wrote they had fun but that the story was a bit simplistic. Each time I started to think it was simple I realized the author was playing on themes and almost clichés that I was supposed to recognize and anticipate. Then we veered off in another direction. I am really looking forward to book 2 in the series. (I have not read this in print at all so I can't really compare, but this is so good on audible....the inflections of the reading are great.) In conclusion, I note that I review about one in 10 books I listen to. I reviewed this, hope it is useful.
If you like McDevitt you will like this book. It is not his best, and God knows the books in this series do not move quickly. But it is fun and the premises are both clever.
As this is the umpteenth "Legion of the Damned" book, you will either like the series or not. If you have not read the series and like military sci-fi it is a must read, but don't start here. Go back, read the first two. If you have read the series, this continues the Cat/Andromeda arc well. She is growing in complexity and depth. As is the case with many of these Legion books, the destination is not that important -- it is all about the journey. There is a little more thinking and a little less fighting. It feels like almost an interlude, but it was quite enjoyable,
Let me begin by saying that I'm a guy....and that I don't read that many mysteries. But to broaden my horizons I've been consciously trying to read more female-lead science fiction recently, and have enjoyed it. I've been trying to read mysteries and police procedurals as well. So I decided to try a strong female-lead mystery. The lead character is quite a bit of fun -- very smart and pleasantly different. The story, while not tremendously complex, is interesting. But reading a book that is DEFINATELY written from the female perspective with the amount of romance involved was a surprise. In the end, I think it helped me "get" my wonderful wife of many years (also a constant reader) a little better....and for that alone it was worth the time. I will probably not read more by this author, although I enjoyed this, and would read another about this particular character -- not because it isn't good -- but more because I'm somewhat limited as a reader. It is unfortunate to say that, but I think it is true. Odd review, huh?
John Lee is the best narrator ever and the Hamilton Commonwealth/Void series is one of the best Meta-Space Operas ever Nice combination. If you have followed our various storylines in and out of the Void you will have to read this. If not, you will not get it. But can I make a suggestion? Go back and start with "Pandora's Star"....I envy you the journey.
Pandora's Star (2004), ISBN 0-330-49331-0
Judas Unchained (2005), ISBN 0-330-49353-1
The Dreaming Void (2007), ISBN 978-1-4050-8880-0
The Temporal Void (2008), ISBN 978-1-4050-8883-1
The Evolutionary Void (2010), ISBN 978-0-345-49657-7
The Abyss Beyond Dreams (2014) (This one)
The Night Without Stars (TBA)
OK....I admit it, I'm more likely to read Sci-Fi or Non-Fiction history than mysteries. But I have read all of the Dexter/Hannibal Lechter/Scarpetta books. And every Summer I take some time off to try to find a few non-Sci-Fi audiobooks. How did I miss these? What a clever premise. What a smart writer. I guarantee you will like this if you can take the rough imagery (it is a sadistic serial killer after all.) Just try the first hour....hooked. Good narrator as well !
I wanted to take some time off from science fiction -- so I went to the "police procedurals" list on Audible and looked for the highest rated book with more than a few ratings. This was it -- and for good reason. I've read Crais before, but this seemed to be particularly good. Do not read it if you don't like dogs.
By Book 4, it should be assumed that readers like the characters and the series -- and pretty much know as much as possible about the premises. So this is for those folks. I start by noting that I was been a big fan of this series from the onset. Thus, I was horrified in the first 50 pages. I thought: "He's ruined it." It was ground-based and felt like a Captain America cartoon. I almost stopped listening. Then, just as suddenly, the majority of that stopped and we were in space and things were fine. The on-the-ground sub-plot even improved once it was fitted into the story.
In the end I enjoyed the book and look forward to #5. Part of what makes this series interesting is that the characters think their way through situations -- any moron can pull the trigger on a super-gun and survive catching bullets in their teeth while delivering pithy platitudes.
In the past I have suggested that every Audible.com subscriber who listens to more than 50 books per year should be allowed to award a SIXTH STAR just once per year. Sort of a frequent flyer club for hardcore listeners. This year would be hard -- I would have to give out two, and they could not be more different books. Silkworm, a detective novel by J.K. Rowling (writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith) and the military sci-fi story Ark Royal by Christopher Nuttall, a Brit living in Malaysia.
First, both remind me that these are audiobooks, and that involves either a reading or a performance of the book. These are performances. I have told everyone I recommend these books to make sure to listen to them rather than read. The performances are wonderful. There are a dozen books I've listened to where the narration makes the book even more......these go on that list.
Second, both are excellent writers staying within the bounds of their genre. Rowling is like a vacuum cleaner -- it is as though she read every single detective procedural from 1920 to present and decided to write the best one of that school. (One reviewer criticizes her for not using the "Harry Potter" imagination -- but that totally misses the point of what she has done.) It is not derivative, it is just really proficient. Similarly, Nuttall writes the quintessential military space opera. He does not try to go outside of the genre or beyond it.
Third, in both cases I feel sad that character development, language and sly intelligence are so sadly missing in many books. When I read these two, I realize how much you miss that when its not there. I won't give away either plot -- but I hope you take the time to listen to these as they are fun, interesting, smart and satisfying.
Finally, I know.....it is only July. But I feel pretty sure that these won't be topped this year, although there is a second book following Ark Royal.
This is a tough book -- there is a lot physical and psychological torture. The idea is not new, but it is well-done. Excellent narration. That all said, I enjoyed the intellectual challenges. It was like reading Kafka -- a book that ends up being as much about you as it is about the character. More literature than Science Fiction despite the excellent time-travel "rules." It put me in mind of "the Man in the Empty Suit".
interesting, unique perspective
I don't usually review books I can't recommend without reservation. But this is sufficiently good that even with a few reservations, it is worth the read. It takes a rather old meme (generation colony ship with "something going on") and infuses with a new perspective and a variety of unique ideas. Take a chance and read it -- it has twists and turns that I was not expecting.
Yes. She is always very good.
It isn't what it seems to be
I'll remember this more than a lot of other books.
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