Arnold, MD, United States | Member Since 2011
This book had such potential, but it came across too boring to complete. No characters were sufficiently interesting (aside from the child voice) and in their absence the action just wasn't compelling enough to keep me reading.
The action flowed and pulled me through, I found myself looking for chores to do as an excuse to listen more. The character development was amazing and you really got the sensation of the cramped quarters of a modern space station. The science was fun and didn't ruin the suspended disbelief.
My one negative comment is that the end seemed a little lackluster, otherwise this story would have gotten 5 stars all the way.
I read another review that said the narrator made the story impossible to listen to, but I didn't believe it. I bought the book anyway because I love Niven and Pournelle-- but that reviewer was right!
I know it sounds ridiculous, but the narrator's voice sounds like a drill seargent reading a shopping list and after about 10 minutes of listening to his droning I simply couldn't follow what was going on-- from changes of location to which character was talking. Apparently a few other people had problems with it that weren't as bad as mine, but I feel like I've wasted my money on a book that I can never listen to.
Zombie novels are a magnet for mediocre writers. There, I said it. If you don't agree, then this review probably doesn't have a lot to offer you. Still, I love the genre's potential, and this book comes the closest I've seen in a long while to realizing that potential. Rise Again spends a good while really developing Danny's character to the point that, despite the fact that she's a walking stereotype (although dark, drunk veterans with PTSD aren't usually played by women-- her only stand-out quality), I feel that I really understand and relate to her, so Tripp managed to not use her stereotype as a crutch. Good character development is insanely rare in this genre, so it was really refreshing and a very strong start to the book.
That being said, pretty much every other face you see in the book is as flat as a cutout from a magazine. Danny keeps it real and keeps you caring, but it seems like Tripp was lazy in designing his other characters so the rest have no depth. A few are sympathetic, but they're all just slightly more developed than cardboard cutouts (case in point: gay interior designer, empathetic and soft-hearted female veterinarian, a-hole lawyer).
The description, however, is magnificent throughout. Excellent prose, believable action and the avoidance of too many predictable plot developments (at least predictable by me) kept me interested to the point where I looked for housework to do just as an excuse to listen. There's a lot of gore, but it's not just a splatterhouse. Also, as a horror, it only really had one scary point for me, at the very beginning. The rest was sort of hum-drum zombie head-smashing.
So there's bad and there's good in it, but it's worth reading. I should make mention that another very refreshing thing about this book is that it's not just another thought experiment about how awesome and scary the idea of the zombie apocalypse is. The story is as it should be-- the zombies are the environment, not the main character.
The plot wasn't really that moving for me, however; Danny's character arc is decent but not earth-shattering, some people get saved from being eaten, world's still destroyed but they can start over. It's all a little canned. Rise Again does attempt to make a few statements about the nature of occupation forces like those we have in the middle east, but they're too heavy handed and that's not really what the book is about. The book is about Danny, someone who's gotten herself into a downward spiral that would probably end in death (we see the ghost of her future in Wolf, also a bit heavy handed), and the catastrophe gives her an opportunity to find the spark of purpose that might bring her some fulfillment and save her. In a word, the book is about redemption, but it's not strong enough to make you want to cry.
All in all, it was a great read. It wasn't The Road or World War Z (I know the two are in completely different leagues from one another, but I loved them both), but it was better than the rest that I've read. And I've read a LOT.
We all have our tastes-- I prefer strong character development and compelling action that carries me through a story to its surprising ending. This one, like all of Clarke's work, is merely a high-level simulation of what it might be like. Intriguing, definitely, but without characters that I care about, I just can't get into it. He's sort of like a Tom Clancy of sci fi. Still, I know I'll read even more of his stuff, but only when it's cheap.
Its premise is good, kind of a "what if it all ended" apocalypse preparedness feel to it, and I think the most fun parts to it were where they had to make decisions like, "do we eat the wild dogs after we shoot them?" The characters were all a bit flat and stereotyped, and the little character development there was seemed forced. All in all, I felt a little like I was watching something at about the intellectual level of Fox News.
The main character was excellently developed, and it had a fairly strong plot, although it changed gears on me at the end and fell short. As someone deeply entrenched in the biological sciences, i love a good bio thriller although unfortunately the science must be top-notch in order for me to buy it-- this one just didn't quite cut it for me. Still, kept me reading to the end, which is saying something. Meh.
Good characters and a high-tension plot, very cohesive story. The end, however, was a bit anticlimactic, much like other Sawyer works. Still, it's not like I want that part of my life back or anything. Meh.
Amazing characters, truly suspensful action, and the plot developed with such tension that I couldn't tear myself away. I think I'm a fairly picky reader, but I am looking for other books just like this one to read.
Good God, Guidall takes his sweet time. Too many long pauses between words. Sped up, the performance became more satisfactory, and the awesome story (albeit somewhat meandering as is Bear's style) was able to come out.
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