When I picked this book up on a blind whim, I had no idea it was destined to become one of my top ten favorite books. Spin the Sky weaves a portrait of a war hero coming home to his wife and son on their cattle ranch in space with vignettes of his surreal space adventures, and ties it all together with a love story both heartfelt and epic.
Cesar is the kind of character I love best, an archetypical hero who can pull miracles out of his hat and fly on luck, but has flaws that run deep and seem to keep him a few steps away from what he's longing for. Penelope is a no-nonsense dilettante-turned-rancher who has an emotional core she's been running from for years. Their son, Trevor, is a teenager obsessed with stories about his absent father, and one day going on adventures of his own. When Cesar finally comes home, sick and scraggly and unrecognized, he chickens out and pretends he's a drifter. But the pull of his family is strong, and mysterious sabotage on the orbital and with the herd might mean he's showed up just in time.
The narrator did a pretty good job, especially with the emotions of the characters and the accents, but some of the voices for the teenagers were a little high-pitched. Still, overall it was a good narration.
Part space western, part mythical epic based on Homer's Odyssey, and part epic love story, Spin the Sky tells it all with a surreal, funny, and stylistic narrative that left me in turns whooping with joy and breathless for what would come next. And the ending is amazing! This is a book I'm looking forward to rereading for years to come!
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, especially as much of the hard science fiction written these days seems to take a dystopian view of the future. I was totally blown away. Jack McDevitt writes with science firm in hand, but it's a backdrop to a truly grand adventure story. Think Indiana Jones crossed with a procedural mystery in space and you have Seeker. And no dessert without dinner, either, this story's deep.
I didn't care for some of Jennifer Van Dyck's fantasy narrations, but she shone here. Pacing and voicing combined for an immersive listen with a few laugh-out-loud moments. I'll definitely look for more Alex Benedict in the future!
I love Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan books and was looking for more character-based space opera, and this did the trick. The action was fast, the dialogue fun and snappy, and the characters deep. Val Con's inner struggle was gut-wrenching, and the love story between him and Miri was one of the best I've seen in science fiction. I loved the comedy of manners aspect mixed with a strange world that felt vast and full of history, even though the book wasn't very long.
Narrator Andy Caploe did a good job, though the narration was a bit over-stressed at times. But I liked his Clutch Turtles!
I definitely look forward to reading more Liaden.
If you like George R.R. Martin's novels, definitely give his stories a go. "With Morning Comes Mistfall" is one of his earlier works, but no less powerful. This is more of an atmospheric piece than some of his other character-oriented stories, but it creates a fully-realized world in a short amount of time, and I came away feeling like I knew the place. Claudia Black's narration is spot-on, too.
This was a solid Napoleonic adventure story, but it lacked much of the strength and gusto of the first book Under Enemy Colors, which had more powerful characterization and better overall cohesion. But, I like Charles Hayden. I'll follow him here and through to the next books when they come.
I have mixed feelings about this book, because while I liked the characters and felt deeply for them, there wasn't much in the way of originality here. The highlight was Asher, who defies the likable farm boy stereotype by being belligerent, selfish, self-centered...and entirely fascinating to watch crash through his version of life. His friendship with Gar is a great buddy story, but the rest of the plot lines are less defined. Also, this is only half of a book, so beware the blatant cliffhanger.
Kirby Heyborne did an excellent job at narration, and I loved his portrayal of Asher. His narration was a good part of my enjoying this story.
If you've been bemoaning the wait for the next Patrick Rothfuss book, or wondering why nothing modern ever reads like Tolstoy or Dostoevsky, read this. The Scar is epic in a personal sense, lyrically haunting, and felt on every human level. Jonathan Davis did an amazing job at narration, catching the emotional nuances. I now count this among my favorite books, and Davis among my favorite narrators.
I fell in love with Niven and Pournelle in Mote in God's Eye, and thought I'd give this one a try. So glad I did. While it was a little outdated with the Soviet Union in the play, it read more like alternate history, and the social issues of an invasion were tackled from every angle, including the point of view and politics of the aliens. The payoff at the end was amazing, and the characters were fully-formed people I could route for.
There is some amazingly difficult pronunciation in this book (which gave a bit of a listening learning curve, too, but you'll get used to it quick enough), and honestly, I applaud the narrator for tackling it head-on and doing a good job throughout.
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