I was searching for a military scifi book and came across this book as a new release this week. It only had two reviews that both marked it all 5's and no written reviews so I was pretty skeptical. I decided to look up reviews on Amazon.com and was amazed at the amount of positive reviews for the book. Interestingly enough this book is only available in kindle format, besides audible, no soft or hardcover releases yet.
As for the book please read some of the amazon reviews. As for me I finished the book in one continuous listening. Only a few authors can provoke a response like that from me (Orson Scott Card, Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss). I was shocked when I hit part 2 of the book and it was 6am.
The story starts right after Earth is visited and lacking a better word annexed into a large alien "supposedly" republic. As for joining the republic the children of Earth between ages 5 - 12 are forcibly taken at gunpoint from the earth where they will be trained into soldiers for this galactic congress. They are so many interesting parts to the story but it mainly focuses on the children soldiers being trained and the aliens who are training them. Every time I thought I had this book figured out it throws a new curve at you. As an example I find myself at times empathizing with the aliens who at times don't seem to like what they are doing but believe it's for the greater good. Only to then find out they see things totally different from what I expected. The aliens in this book are truly alien in both body and thought process. There not just some humanoid antagonist military that are doing things for reasons we humans would normally consider evil, rather their thoughts and reasonings are just that, alien. You can follow their reasoning up to a certain point, then you get thrown a curve. What's really interesting is that eventually these curves are explained in a way humans can understand without necessarily agreeing with them. This is some of the best alien development I've ever seen in a scifi book. As for the human children think something close to Ender's game without the kids being geniuses. They pought, cry, whine, but it never gets irritating. It really made me think of how when real children experience traumatic things in their lives they are quite resilient. That's not to say the trauma doesn't leave it's scars. With the children in the story, it's just that, they are traumatized but you are with them as that innate human resilience kicks in. You wanna cry for them, cheer them on, and most of all watch them grow. This is a book I probably wouldn't have given a chance but the publisher summary and the reviews on amazon.com convinced me to take a chance and I am so glad that I did.
As far as Narration, this is the first time I've heard Liam Owen. He does a very good job. He's no Stephan Rudniki or Scott Brick but while the voices among the children don't vary to much and with literally hundreds of children that have maybe 1 or 2 speaking lines you can kinda understand why. Yet he does get a lot of variation with the six main children and also he gets in a lot of variation between the different species of aliens speaking and they're a whole lot of different aliens.
I've noticed the volume tends to drift during the performance. Nothing horrible but maybe once a hour or so you find the volume is now to soft to hear or it stars to get uncomfortably loud. As it only happens about once an hour you can easily adjust your volume to deal with it. I have a suspicion that maybe the recording was done using cheaper equipment or maybe at a home studio. As this is the first release of an audio book for this author I believe it's something that can be overlooked. I do hope in time that here books become more well known and the quality of the recordings will improve. Maybe one day she'll be popular enough to have this book re-recorded with a full cast reading like they did for Ender's Game 20th Anniversary Edition. With all that being said I hope that you will give Sara King's "Forging Zero" a try and enjoy it as much as I have.
One last note is that there is already a sequel and a short story prequel to this book but again they are only available currently on Kindle. If you like this book as much as I do please request that audible carry Sara King's sequel/prequel as well as her other works. You can make a content request by emailing audible.com using: firstname.lastname@example.org Personally I have medical issues that severely limits my ability to read for any extended period and having these books available on audible is a life saver.
It's very difficult to describe this book. It's reminds me of the book "Spin" by Robert Wilson. It takes many strange science related events and use many characters smaller stories to relate these events, which in the end add up to something big and sinister going on. This book was apparently translated from Mandarin to English. I am 1/2 chinese, growing up up in America but my family spoke Hakka do I can't really say how well the translation is done. I will say that if I wasn't told it was translated, I would have assumed it was originally written in English by someone with a Mandarin background.
While reading, I had to do a lot of searching on Wikipedia as large portions of the story occurs during the 1960 - 1980's. I personally did not know much about the cultural revolution, youth red guard, or the period known as the Great Leap Forward, and other things that occurred in China during that time but this book made me want to find out. I don't think you have too do a lot of research to enjoy the story, for example if you don't know what a "Struggle Session" is (I didnt), the story gives you enough information to infer what it is. Though if you do a little research I personally think you will enjoy it a lot more.
The other portion of the book takes place in a modern to slightly futuristic setting. Say a state that the world could theoretically reach in the next 10 years. During this period, strange this are happening in the areas of science both in academia and industrial application. These strange things almost seem to have a supernatural force causing/guiding them from the background. To unravel the mystery a bunch of smaller stories of these strange occurrence are told from multiple characters and eventually they are slowly linked up to help you get a larger understanding.
I wish I could describe it better but like I said the closest book I've read to this type of story telling is "Spin" by Robert Wilson. The book is a little slow so I'd suggest trying to get a least 2 hours in before you decide whether you like it or not.
Luke Daniels does a great job narrating. I actually liked the fact that he didn't use a lot of Chinese accents when reading. As the bulk of the characters are Chinese and they are supposed to be speaking Mandarin, Mr. Daniels just chooses to to different voices with no accents. Rough throaty voice voice for the hard boiled detective, soft we'll spoken voice for the academic professor, nonchalant blasé voice for the lazy uncaring stay at home husband. It works well.
Two personal things I really enjoyed about this book is if you were heavy into math or science in college, this will probably trigger some memories. I learned both assembly and machine code in college and as I stated in the reviews title, there is a scene where they create a human computer using a 30 million man Chinese army holding flags to represent or/x-or, and/n-and gates. I pretty much died laughing during that scene. Wish my college professor would have made us do that when I took the class. Would've made understanding logic gates and transistors so much easier. Also this is the first book I think I've read where China, the U.S., and U.K. are all on the same side working together. While the book does show the differences in ideological views between the east and west and doesn't try to hide past and modern animosity, it does portray a situation where the governments recognize their differences and are able to work past them due to a larger issue being at stake. It was really nice to not have the stereotype of the eastern block as being the enemies. It was pretty cool for the author to imagine what could be done if east and west were able to work together as allies and equals.
Apparently this book is the first of a trilogy and I believe while all 3 books are complete only the 1st book has been translated to English. I believe the 2nd book is being translated now for written release but no word yet on a audio release. If you enjoy the book like I did please send audible a content request for the remainder of the series.
This book is my hidden gem for 2014. First off let me say that I enjoy Larry Correia's Monster Hunter Series. That being said, when I first noticed "Into the Storm", I didn't pay it much attention. It was a book I just added to my wish list so that someday I'd take a second look at it. About six months later I did take a second look and was at first turned off by the fact that it is sort of a tie in book to a Role Playing Game (like R. A. Salvatore and Dungeons & Dragons), which I really haven't had good experiences with. Also it seemed a little short for my taste, personally I like my books 10+ hours. Then I noticed Ray Porter was narrating, so I decided to give it a try. It is definitely in my top 3 books for 2014 and so totally unexpected.
The best way I can describe this book is Military fiction in a fantasy setting and while very formulaic, it still gets you invested into each and every trope character. I usually hate cliches & tropes but somehow Larry Corriea makes it fun and interesting. The story is very much "Dirty Dozen" meets "The Devil's Brigade" in a fantasy setting. As mentioned this book is a tie in to a Role Playing Game. I had actually never heard of that particular game before reading this book and at no time while reading did I feel I needed to research the games lore or other information to understand "Into the Storm". Mr. Corriea gives just the right amount of information so you understand the world without having to check a compendium or other book. Since completing the book I have researched the game but mostly to see if any other authors have written books using this world.
Ray Porter's reading was the icing on the cake. Already loved his narrating the Joe Ledger series and Peter Clines "14", and he does another great job with this book. Like I said earlier, his narration was the factor that nudged me to buy this book. The only other thing I would like to mention is the length. I enjoy long books and this one is a bit shorter than I like. Yet when I reached the end, I can see why the length is just right. It covers an entire war an at some points weeks or months are pushed through in a paragraph or two. This is not a bad thing but I'm guessing Mr. Corriea had to create a story that took place during an event in the game and do it in a way that it doesn't interfere with any other stories taking place simultaneously. I could have wished for a longer book but when I reacged the end I felt satisfied. Now I'll wish that Mr. Corriea either changes this into a series or perhaps writes a book that take place in a different part of the game world. Either way I would love to see more from him in this fantasy world. I really can't think of anyone I wouldn't recommend this book too. Either you'll love it outright or it will be a guilty pleasure, it's just that good.
This book was a delightful change from the average scifi opera or scifi military books. Something in between those two genres and yet totally new to me. The best way I can describe it is Ender's Game meets Lord of the Flies with the Kilrathi from the Wing Commander video games as the enemy (I'm really dating myself with that Wing Commander reference, lol...) Simply put mankind has changed greatly since a clone/gene war devastated all human worlds and war is considered a barbaric thing of the past. Enter a new alien civilization looking for worthy foes to fight in combat. They take humans to the planet Koban to fight their novice warriors and thin their own ranks, survival of the fittest. Enter the ship "Flight of Fancy" and their capture by these aliens and imprisoned on Koban. Only when they get there, they find their alien captors have much larger plans than first announced. This book has great scenes of ground combat, and while space combat is limited I'm sure the author could write scenes, just like Jack Cambel. They're is also political maneuvering and tactical feats of brilliance in the spirit of ender's game. With the author tackling so many different things that it only feels like a glimpse of what is come in later books. Just enough to water your mouth, get some flavor and know that the author has the ability to deliver meat in the follow up books. While I normally hate books that are just long setups for future sequels, this book deliver just enough be enjoyable on its own and make you want to get to the 2nd book ASAP. So far their are four books in this series though one is a compilation of short stories that happen apart from our main character's. I will warn you that this book ends without any real resolution though I wouldn't call it a cliff hanger. Gonna download book 2 right after writing this review. I hope you take a chance and find it as different and refreshing as I did. Audible has books 1 & 2 available. If you like it as much as I did please submit a content request for book 3. Nothing worse than waiting for an audio book to be released when the hard copy is already available. Oh yeah, Patrick Freeman does a marvelous job as the narrator. This is the first book I've listened too with him. He does a wide range of voices from young men, old men, young woman, older women and a scores of aliens. In fact the aliens in the book are just learning to speak the human tongue and Patrick Freeman makes it so believable. I'd say he's almost as good as Scott Brooks or will be so soon. Sadly book 2 has a different narrator, if he can do half the job Patrick Freeman does, I would be satisfied.
Simply put this was the best military-scifi book I've read this year. I've read some of the other series that B.V. Larson wrote and while I enjoyed them, "Steel World" in my opinion is his best work so far. I really felt like someone took the best qualities of John Scalzi & John Ringo and made the perfect mashup. I've seen it compared to Starship Troopers but the whole time I was listening to it, I was thinking that if you took Old Man's War Series & combined it with the Troy Rising Series, you would get this book. While I do say this book is very similar to the other books mentioned, B.V. Larson delivers his own new & fresh ideas about a futuristic military. I'm anxiously awaiting any sequels in this series. As for Narration, Mark Boyett does a very good job. I've heard him read the Troy Series and enjoyed his reading both then and now. I hope he continues the Narration for any future books. As a side comment, while book is marked as part of a series, it does have an actual ending. The book could be self contained or it could pick right up from where it ends in a sequel. Also the series could just switch to another set of characters. The fictional universe that is created is so well fleshed out that I hope Mr. Larson, does in the future create spin-off series about other characters.
I particularly enjoyed Brandon Espinoza's performance. In his voice portrayal of Ben especially. His vocal inflections reminded me of a particular movie actor "Channing Tatum" who I could well see playing that character in a movie version of this book. Regardless of how you feel about Channing Tatum, Brandon Espinoza reading the part of Ben really brought that character to life for me. As regards Phoebe Strole, I will say I think she did a good job with her Narration. I had a hard time connecting with the main character, Cassy. During most of the book the main character is extremely sarcastic & flippant. Phoebe Strole delivered these lines so well that I would actually get irritated with Cassy and think that if I was actually in the room while someone spoke to me like that I would need to step outside to keep from getting angry. As I believe that's how the character was meant to be I think Mrs. Strole did a great job.
This book takes a lot of ideas about an alien invasion and spins them in new and unique ways. Particularly 5 unique ways and therefore waves. I was always wondering what twist would the author throw at us next. Among all it showed, there was one big plot hole that hit me 1/2 way through and I kept waiting for it to be explained. It sadly never was and since most of the book is about catching little details that seem out of place, only to have them brought up later as major plot twist, this particular hole is very bothersome. Hopefully there will be a 2nd book and that will explain it. Even if the author did one of those little interviews afterward and explained that would satisfy me and would raise the story and entire star in my opinion. My only other complaint is that the main solution to the issue the character's face is fixed with a bit of "Dues ex machina". Some reviews say mix Justin Cronin "The Passage" with Orson Scott Card's "Ender's Game" but I would say mix Stephen King's "The Talisman" with Stephanie Meyer's "The Host". The world built by Mr. Yancy & the way he kept parceling out information kept me hook. I do think this was a technically challenging book to write and believe the author deserves credit for doing a job as well as he did, even with the things I personally dislike about it. I will say I gave the story 3 stars but if there is a sequel to this book I would read it. Also I'll be taking a look at other works created by Mr. Yancy.
Let me start by saying that I couldn't get past chapter 7 of this book. At that point in the you reach a very graphic & violent scene of gang rape & what I would consider to be beastility. I normally enjoy John Ringo's work but I couldn't keep going through a scene like that. I'm hoping to return to his books, perhaps when he produces another book in the Troy series.
Report Inappropriate Content