If your every listened to Banks novel "Consider Phlebas", well, you're in for the same kind of thing. If you want to hear a story told from the perspective of an AI persona -= THIS AINT IT. The story was well written (technique was 1st rate), but it did make me wish they would just tell me why the protagonist was so messed-up (you learn that at the VERY END of the story). Also, the narrator does a good job, as always. I have to say that I rated it a 4 (instead of a 5), because it was not up to the standard of other Culture novels such as "Player of Games" or "Surface Detail" (both 1st rate; buy them now if your haven't listened yet). But, I this novel was still a whole lot better than a lot of other stuff that I rated a 4.
It's the kind of stuff that's well received by younger audiences; but I kept losing interest. It's the first EX(somthin) book I've ever bought and I don't expect that I'll buy another. It's not a bad book...just not for me.
There's a lot about romance and hurt feelings and good women and no-good men. I did listen to all of it and it wasn't that bad.
I'm very happy I bought this book. Shows good people doing well in difficult life situations where there is no slathering enemy, only adult realities.
The series isn't really about an interstellar war with aliens. It's about grown-up human relationships while dealing with life and death situations.
Character development is the key to any series, and this book has great characters that are very well developed. The story is also very good (still a bit of a mystery 3/4 of the way through), which is also good. I can see the author is building to a climax. But, I ask you, how many books can you give a 5 star rating before the end?
If it ain't broke - don't fix it. The story didn't flow as well as most, and seemed to be more of a "vehicle" to get some points out into the audience. Also, the modifications to Hog's voice are horrible. I'm still a fan of David Drake, but I can't honestly rate this one the same as his other work.
I kept think of the line in "The Caine Munity"....."Constructive Loyalty". I frankly didn't see much of it. That being said, the author does a fine job of researching America's flaws without regard to any factor other than socioeconomic class. I do think America has to be reminded of its founding vision, but a diatribe of its faults doesn't necessarily do that.
It's like military Sci-Fi (a Space Opera), but in the present. I like it.
BTW- I'm rating this and book two as one because... one review is enough. The story is very complex and evolving.. The story focuses around not more than (two) characters. There is an underlying statement of truth (inn this case, I'm often reminded of the Parable of the Two Sons).
I'm a fan of Ian Banks Culture series, but I think this one needed some more editing. The author clearly had the story well laid out in his head, but often speeds away from the listener.
Let me put it this way - you might as well buy book eight now because if you've listened to all 7 books, there is no way in Hell that you aren't listening to Book 8. That said, book 7 is really good. It just that you (like STEN) is left feeling a little empty. Let's just hope that Book 8 will give us all the strength to endure.
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