While "Gibraltar Earth" was clever, "Gibraltar Sun" and "Gibraltar Stars" do not live up to the epic potential they were given. While it's fine that their outcome is obvious, it's boring yo take an entirely uninteresting route to get there.
In "Sun", dramatic situations are resolved too simply. Between them lies countless political meetings which are uninspiring.
In "Stars", you'll spend the whole book watching the book's progress timer, wondering when the author is going to execute the plan he's created. Sadly, the series doesn't include the execution, only the painstaking and straightforward preparation.
Save the two credits on "Sun" and "Stars". Your imagination can surely create a more interesting and more complete story.
The Gibraltar Earth series has a great premise but falls far short of it's potential. It is a dry list of steps for creating the infrastructure needed to achieve the series's goal. Yet, it doesn't show the elaborate system in action, missing the potential for complex interactions, moral challenges, and some gripping story telling. Even during its dry procedures, it misses opportunities for human interest stories and drags the reader through a few predictable "suspense" situations.
The first book, Gibraltar Earth, is clever and a decent read. The imagry is decent and the sci-fi is interesting. Sadly, there's no need to read the second two books, Gibraltar Sun and Gibraltar Stars. These contain too many lengthy recaps of the story this far, mission profile checklists, and bombastic political presentations. Skip the later two books and simply use your imagination to finish the story; I'm sure you know how it will end.
Instead of buying the later two books, pick up Peter F Hamilton's "Pandora's Star" and "Judas Unchained". They contain epic premise which is fully realized with plenty of intrigue and human interest along the way.
I expected this book might be more cheesy and romantic than my usual fare since it was recommended to me by my mother. It lived up to this expectation, but I barely noticed. Instead, I was surrounded by the author's deep characters and the complex tapestry into which he wove them.
Perhaps even more memorable than the book is narrator Jonathan Davis's captivating performance. His voice brings romantic flare the characters' passion and the pronunciation of the Spanish environment. Like an elite few narrators, Davis recreates the spirit of each character so fully and uniquely that you'll forget there is only one person reading. I guarantee that for months afterwards, when you hear a name or place featured in this book, you'll recall Davis's rich interpretation its post-war Barcelona counterpart.
'The Shadow of the Wind' is a worthwhile dip into romance, intrigue and mystery.
After Jonathan Davis's captivating performance reading 'The Shadow of the Wind', I was excited for this sequel to continue my journey in old Barcelona. How shocked and disappointed I was to hear the badly miscast narrator. The clear English accent of narrator Dan Stevens is jarringly out of place reading about Spain. Where 'Shadow's Davis brought warmth and flair to the pronunciations of Barcelona's people, places and passion, Stevens flatly delivers 'Angel's Game' as if reading an article from the UK Daily Mail.
Get the print edition or eBook in order to imagine Jonathan Davis's authentic narration in your mind.
Though Solaris may initially seem awkward and full of unnecessary back story, all of this information will be used and make sense in time. In hindsight, the non-traditional delivery and over reliance on suspension of disbelief helped place the reader among the strange circumstances of the book's characters.
Ultimately, Solaris delivers a refreshingly creative science fiction context for some very human emotions. Solaris is clearly a classic.
It was a pleasure to hear Alessandro Juliani's voice again after his prominent role in Battlestar Galactica. As one of his earliest narrations, his style was slightly more dry and stilted than I'd prefer. Still, he succeeded in bringing the characters to life and pulled off some of the difficult emotional passages.
The audio book rendition of Daemon adds great depth to this already gripping book. The judicious use of subtle production effects and a second narrator make characters and scenarios much more convincing. Even without this, Jeff Gurner's narration is consistent and engaging, though paced slightly quickly.
Daemon is a surprisingly good first book from new author Daniel Suarez. Its technical accuracy will please critical and knowledgeable listeners. You don't need to suspend much disbelief because all of the technology is realistic. As Daniel has said in interviews, his goal is to write books which are "just on the horizon" of the current time. Will that make this book dated in ten years? James Bond novels are still enjoyable, right?
Daemon is engulfing, especially in its audio book recording. Recently, a particularly intense chapter had me so engaged that I drove 45 minutes past my highway exit, only noticing my plight when the chapter ended. Thankfully, that just gave me more time in the car to enjoy this great book.
"Xenocide" continues the story but not the quality storytelling of "Speaker for the Dead".
The story itself is a pleasantly tangled web of conflicts. However, some passages drag on, belaboring obvious circumstances. Entire scenes appear unnecessary as their outcomes affect the story and character development minimally. Feel free to let your attention wander a bit at these times.
Sadly, the use of many narrators damages the audio book. Expanding on the director's goal to give a different narrator to each character's point of view, even more narrators are brought in to voice newly explored characters. The producers took this so far as to commit crimes against sound waves, though I won't point them out, hoping you didn't notice. Not all the narrators perform equally well, yet the effect could have been achieved by using only the best two - the lead male and female narrators.
"Xenocide" is a decent read if you're committed to the "Enderverse", but its fragmented narration will test that commitment.
"Speaker for the Dead is the deeper story," says author Orson Scott Card, comparing it to his better known work "Ender's Game". Thus, for all the acclaim earned by "Ender's Game", this book deserves even more.
Like all good science fiction, "Speaker" is primarily about its characters and their development as they face their challenges. The many characters are diverse and well defined, forming a tight web of conflict and emotion. The larger plots which progress the multi-book story arc are also intriguing. However, the next book "Xenocide" doesn't match the quality of "Speaker", so you may which to depart the "Enderverse" at the end of this book.
Unfortunately, the audio book is confused and fragmented by its eight narrators. The problem lies in the director's high-concept goal of providing a different narrator for each character's point of view. This causes dialog from a single character to be voiced by many narrators, obscuring the subtle character nuances a good narrator can develop during their read. At times, it's even difficult to tell the difference between dialog and thoughts, and which character is speaking. The director's goal could have been accomplished by two narrators as it was in "Ender's Game"; the main male narrator who brings the steady determination of Ender, and the main female narrator who brings the passion of Valentine.
Ultimately, "Speaker" is a great read and a decent listen. Since "Ender's game was just the intro" according to the author, you'll be excited to hear what "Speaker" has in store as the headline act.
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