ANAHEIM, CA, United States | Member Since 2008
Author Taylor Anderson does a great job here in setting the scene of a vicious WWII sea battle. The opening chapters build -- in both complexity and pacing. Just as the story is rounding its peak, you take a quick and much needed breath. That's precisely when Mr. Anderson allows that breath to transport you to a whole other world. ("We sure as hell ain't in Kansas anymore...")
There's much to like here for both military adherents and fantasy/sci-fi fans. Mr. Anderson's depiction of military dialog and Navy shipboard culture is spot-on. As a former Navy guy, I especially appreciated the good-natured ribbing and comical scenarios in which Mr. Anderson's destroyermen find themselves. It sort of reminded me of Henry Fonda's "Mr. Roberts." (Salty old Navy types will reminisce of "West Pac deployments.") Meanwhile, fantasy/sci-fi fans will find much to like here in the conflict the destroyermen find themselve plunked in the middle of in a "lost world" type conflict between Lemurians and Gricks.
Narrator William Dufris is excellent. Story pacing, character diversity and voice inflection are but a few of his talents. With one forgivable exception of his pronunciation of the ship's "forecastle" (it comes off sounding like "fox-sel" as opposed to the "folk-cil" (foc'sle) that navy folk will insist upon), Mr. Dufris otherwise adds those wonderful little details like a character catching his breath to speak after a quick gulp from a soda can. These weren't lost on me: it's a nice touch Mr. Dufris adds that gave his performance that three-dimensional edge.
BOTTOM LINE: Imagine "Tora! Tora! Tora!" meets "The Final Countdown" meets "The Lost World" meets "Predator." It may sound like a mess. But, it works! Imagine my surprise. On to Book 2.
...But, I just couldn't get into Mr. Campbell's foray into the fantasy/steampunk genre. I gave it a good run. But now a little more than 50% of the way through it all, and with the two main characters still having internal monologues with themselves about "why...(this)?", "why...(that)?", "why...(this other thing)?", "(what's the meaning of life as I know it)...", I find myself now feeling like the story is still "getting ready to get ready to get going."
I'm still a fan of the author's. But I think I'll stick to the author's Lost Fleet / Lost Stars series, instead.
...But after 9 books, I'm starting to get attention deficit.
I find my thoughts increasingly being pulled away from the main story towards more "universal" thoughts about whether or not the author might be willing to tackle in the future the sci-fi properties of the "straka" thingy that pulled all these interesting characters together from different worlds.
Does the portal go both ways? Can any of the folks in this story ever end up leaving this universe? If not, why not? Why is it that no beings from a more advanced time period than 1944 ever end up in this world? Will the Destroyermen ever find clues that can help them seriously consider answers to these questions?
That said, it's still a great ride with more of the same type of action and imaginative twists and turns... which seems to still be working for now. But it IS beginning to beg the question: "Is war all there is ever going to be...? Or, can future books begin to address a larger arc so as not to devolve into a 'Game of Thrones-ish' type perpetuity?"
Anyway, if you've hung on through Book 8, then you won't be disappointed with Book 9. In fact, the volume gets kick up yet another notch here.
Oh, by the way, big hat-tip to narrator William Dufris. His performance continues to rock. And not just from his range of voice-diversity. His penchant for modulating the pace of narration to match the scene, and interjecting the little breathy gasps, gulps and chuckles all do great justice to Mr. Anderson's story and keeps this series a "4D" adventure.
Mel's recommendation: Buy it.
...this one felt a bit like an anthology of three short stories that were smacked together with some filler transitions to glue them together.
I was especially disappointed that a couple of events from the last book that held some promise for an interesting new arc didn't really go anywhere in this one. (Caution: mild spoiler follows.)
The Dancers' previous interest in Kansas, for example, as well as their recovery of a body from the void of "jump space" that was introduced previously, either fell flat or didn't really go anywhere here. In fact, the Dancers themselves -- which I had hoped would evolve in this book as a relationship that revealed new insights about alien culture, ancient relationships with humans, as well as insights about the nature of jump space and the "mysterious lights" -- were treated as little more than a backdrop in this book.
Still a fan, but I'm really hoping for a little deeper treatment of these things in the next book even as we go romping off again on more trips through the same hypernets and similarly-themed stellar slugfests in adjacent star systems.
Oh, a hat-tip to the narrator. I have to say that Mr. Rummel's performance continues to be a consistent bright spot through this series. His pacing, inflection and command of different male and female voices continues to impress. Well done, sir. :)
Wow. I can't say if any of the tech or physics in this sci-fi are theoretically sound, but the author's narrative pulls it all together reasonably while setting a great tech foundation for the story. It's up there with Taylor Anderson's "Destroyermen" series and Jack Campbell's "Lost Fleet" collection. If you've read any of those and enjoyed them, then you might just find yourself another fave author in Evan Currie. Well done. On to Book 2.
Book 3 starts off shooting. The quantum pellets not only don't stop but keep building to a climactic end. Great series... waiting for Book 4... and the screenplay. :)
Don't hate me, but despite the positive reviews this story seems to have already received from others, for me: it felt like "another" vampire-/witchy-/supernatural-beings infused plot line.
Characters "shift" in/out of dimensions even as they share a common reality with regular folks. And then there's this thing with a stuffed owl, and "the boss"... no spoilers here, but suffice to say: it wasn't working for me.
Had the author given a little backstory that attempted an explanatory spin about how it is these beings/dimensions came to be -- or even how they came to be discovered and accepted by folks living in the regular world (the government licenses supernaturals in this world) -- then m'be it would've gel'd a little better with me. Instead, these issues are treated as a "given" in the storyline. Perhaps it's addressed later in the story, but it wasn't happenin' in the critical first hour... so it lost me.
Okay, so that was one thing.
The other thing that kept taking me out of the story was the narrator's choice to use different voices for the first-person narrative and the protagonist's dialog with others in the story. I mean, imagine the protagonist carrying on a Russian-accented dialog as he converses with others in the story, but then using a U.S. Western accent while narrating his account of that scene to you and me. WTH?
I quickly found myself working too hard to keep track of where the guy was that I was supposed to be following... so I just let him go. :(
The only downside this audio book had for me was the feeling I got on the commute that other drivers were probably looking at me and wondering what it was that had me grinning like an idiot.
The protagonist's sarcastic narrative -- and narrator Dina Pearlman's performance -- were a perfect combo.
Fast paced, great sequences with plausible predicaments and the right spice of biker-chick crassness kept this story moving -- with me alternatingly engrossed and cracking up the whole time.
Okay, let me hit the downside first, then I'll end on the up-
DOWNSIDE: It's yet another zombie apocalypse story. If you've watched, read or listened to "Night of the Living Dead," "Return of the Living Dead," "The Walking Dead," Blah-Blah-of the Dead, then you know the plot here.
At this point it's time for a confession: I'm TIRED of zombie stories. So, why'd I pick this one up? I mean, besides the fact it was promo-ing the first in the series for free? Because, even with a tired old theme as zomb-ocalypse certainly is for me, I still hold out hope for an interesting new twist on the genre. If you even remotely enjoyed "28 Days Later" or "World War Z," then you can appreciate what I mean.
Unfortunately, this wasn't the new twist on the plot that I was looking for... The little twist on the character perspective from book 1 to book 2 was, I thought, a creative angle, but at the end of the day, the larger plot itself was really being driven by more of the same underlying stuff. I guess that's all I have to say about that.
UPSIDE: A.R. Wise's writing style and tone gel'd with me. Narrator Brian Sutherland was great. I'll keep an eye out for new stories from Mr. Wise; given a different genre, I think he could be another fave.
"And that's all I have to say about that."
LOL! I'm writing this immediately after completing the last chapter in this audiobook. What a GREAT ending that promises to create some very compellingly juicy subplots in future episodes. Outstanding!
This has been a consistently great series. Now at Book 8 and the formula that made Books 1 through 7 so compelling continues... it does NOT disappoint. The combination of history, character development, and traditions that consistently evolve on the shoulders of actions in earlier books -- AND a great narrator with broad voice diversity -- makes this series a "must listen."
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