I don't understand some of the harsh negative reviews of part 2, from readers of part 1. It felt to me like a fitting continuation of part 1, and nearly as enjoyable. I think the whole trilogy will probably fit better read as a whole. This is really just the middle portion of a book. So it doesn't feel complete in itself.
And I really hope the negative reviews don't stop them bothering releasing part 3 in English...
I do admit, it wasn't quite as good as part 1, and had issues I feel:
- The whole side story of Prit being accused of a crime was just silly, and poorly handled. I mean the author himself is a lawyer, the character a lawyer, but even though the real culprit was known, nothing was ever really mentioned or done about it. It was kind of used just as a poor contrivance for them getting involved in the military.
- The last chapter. I don't like how the last chapter was left though, and I am going to keep thinking about it until part 3 is released. Part 1 at least ended on a note of hope, not a cliffhanger. I really don't appreciate books ending on cliffhangers...
But, that aside, the rest of the story was great.
Long live Lucullus! And bring on part 3
The Samaritan is a complex story touching themes of love, loss, family, revenge, and moral right, wrong, and shades in between. A commission of a crime goes horribly wrong, resulting in the death of some innocents, and the flow on affects of the tragedy, on all sides of the crime. Initially I started with a feeling of just who was right, and who was wrong, but as the story progressed, the line became more muddied, and many perspectives were thoughtfully covered. There were criminals, corrupt law enforcement, law enforcement acting officially sanctioned corruption "for the greater good", and just everyday people. A great portion of the story was a cat and mouse chase to an aggrieved citizen taking revenge on those he felt responsible, and "who" the person was was cleverly played out, but not with silly contrived red herrings. The story all wrapped up to a satisfying conclusion.
The narration was fantastic, with different voices conveyed distinctly. The narrator also took the initiative of adding some good sound effect embellishments at a few points in the story, and I felt this added nicely to the presentation.
I look forward to more titles by both the author and the narrator. Highly recommended
Ted Saves the World is a fun novel and an easy listen about a pretty average student who is gifted with some pretty impressive powers during a diner robbery. It is a rather public unveiling, leaving no chance of adopting a secret identity, or keeping it low key among friends. As with modern society, cell phone cameras, social media, it spreads so fast Ted is a sensation by the time he gets home.
The story was enjoyably light fare, and no plot points stretching believability, and none that had me scratching my head. And I really like how the evil in the book wasn't limited to the supernatural. There was also the small town ordinary evil, a favorite theme of mine from many of Stephen King's books.
I'm well beyond teenage years, but didn't find the characters irritating, shallow or "un-relatable". The "non-evil" characters were likeable (especially his entrepreneurial friend Dhiraj), and even one of the baddies had some interesting internal conflict for part of the tale.
Narration by Steven Jay Cohen was top notch. His reading is very soothing, and his accents and voices for each character distinct.
I hope this series continues in audio book, and the same narrator returns.
Ever since listening to Plague, also by "Buzz" Bernard and narrated by Drew Commins, I've been eagerly awaiting the release of Supercell on audiobook.
I have a real soft spot for disaster movies, and just watched Into the Storm a few days back. On the audiobook side of it though, I don't seem to come across many stories of that genre. Movies like "Twister" and "Into the Storm" do seem to be a bit formulaic in their story though and don't really try pushing the boundary of anything other than the special effects.I'm not saying that is bad, but I was kind of expecting the same with Supercell when I started. I was pleasantly surprised when the author added a real nice and very plausible plot thread to the tale - the concept of storm chasers who weren't chasing the storm for the same reason, but to do some rapid looting in the aftermath. That itself added a breath of uniqueness to the tale. And aside from the storm chasing part of the tale, and the crime plot, there is also a thread I can somewhat relate to, in the lead character trying to come to terms with making a conscious break from bigotry he had ingrained and trained into him by his father.
On the (I guess) primary plot of the novel, the storm chasing, the science of it all sounded pretty plausible, and given the author's background, I'd guess he would know what he's talking about.
And with the narration, I really hope Drew Commins has a prolific career. His narration is so easy to listen to. He is easy to understand, and carries off the accents fantastically, so each character is pretty easy to recognize.
I hope the author also continues to write more books! I'll keep reading them!.
In all I actually think Supercell would make a pretty spectacular movie, and provide as much excitement and a much better story than any similar ones out there.
Diary of a Small Fish is the story of (what I think) is a good although somewhat naive person treading in dangerous ground, and getting into trouble over it. I've always felt the whole US "lobbyist" concept something akin to quasi legalized corruption. I honestly don't understand it, so I am probably just showing my naivete as a someone with only a vague understanding. But at any rate, the lead is an ex back bench-er in a politically appointed position at the transit authoroty, working for and with some very, very, VERY questionable people, and also having spent his time in office friends and golf buddies with a large number of lobbyists taking free games of golf and meals, and then (unexpected to him) ends up in trouble.
His situation brings a level of awakening to the character, and questions the nature and grayness of political corruption, the concept of intentional bias vs subconscious bias to those you'd consider friends (in this case often lobbyists). In reality, the story turns up a huge amount of real, intentional corruption from other parties.
The whole situation with his ex-wife and new girlfriend was very well handled. Aside from the outcome, their behavior to each other was to me very moving. I would like to think that there are people that good in reality, and that I myself could be like that. :)
The book was very well written, linear, and easy to follow. The narration by Keith Sellon-Wright was fantastic, and a real pleasure to listen to.
As a novel, this was a very enjoyable and engaging story. As an audiobook, it was a fantastic listening experience.
This review isn't to rehash the plot, but more to give my take on the book itself. The synopsis of the book should be enough for that!
The novel revolved around a group of characters, and from chapter to chapter the story was told from the view point of various characters. The main character would be USAF pilot Jake, to his fellow pilot and girlfriend Sandra, certain chapters from the leader of the alien invasion, and others. The main plot of the story was primarily from Jake and Sandra's viewpoint, with other characters filling in some of the larger scope parts of the story.
I found the writing style very engaging, and there was some occasional verbal imagery that I found added some (I hate to say it for a book billed as an sci-fi action book) lyrical moments to the story.
I also found the story quite "realistic". It wasn't like say Independence Day where, although enjoyable, I don't think even the most jaded fan of that film found the ending and victory very plausible. This story didn't give me any of those "Oh you have got to be kidding me" moments.
I also appreciate the story was contained. A lot of authors of books with this type of catastrophic invasion scope don't seem to be ever able to make a story and contain it in a single book, or end it on a cliffhanger, or just leave a single novel feeling incomplete. Don't get me wrong, I don't have anything against those sort of series or trilogies (eg some of John Rongo's) but I do prefer to listen to them when they have finished the trilogy or series. I am not not much of one to read a part of a story and then a year or two later read the next part of it. This story is complete, although I did feel like I would be keen to find out what would happen next to earth and the characters introduced. Or just what the author would write next.
I found this audiobook captivating from start to finish. I was listening to it while painting my lounge room, and it made the task pass unnoticed. Mike Ortega did a fantastic job with all voices. The novel cut from character to character each chapter, but I didn't find myself getting at all lost with the frequent POV changes, as I often do with audiobooks. I never had to restart a chapter as I found I'd missed something. Part of this is the writers style I think, making sure you are aware properly at each change, that you are established who is in focus (something authors should keep in mind when writing, as on paper is it easier to track than audio), but also the narrator adds a lot to this, giving each character a distinct feel.
After finishing this I went to check if there were other books by this author I could get, and saw there was also Sector 64: Coup de Main. The reviews on Goodreads were oddly negative, but the Amazon reviews of it seemed positive. I don't quite get the great disparity. At any rate, Sector 64: Ambush is an expanded novel version of the Sector 64: Coup de Main novella, so this means you are better off sticking with this revised work. But to all the negative Goodreads reviewers of the novella, please don't write off this book based on your experience with the novella. And to the overwhelming positive reviewers of the novella, you'll love this expanded version. As to the disparity.... ?????
In summary, highly recommended. I am eagerly awaiting more books by the author. Whether they are set in the same world/characters as this one, or new standalone novels.
Botanicaust is a rather unique post apocalypse world, after some botanical plague nearly destroyed all crops on earth. The book opens some unknown time after the apocalypse, but I'm guessing more than a couple of generations (there do not appear to be any people who witnessed it first hand left). At any rate, some of the characters have some knowledge of what they were told caused it, but that does come into question in the book.
Humanity in the area of the novel has segmented into several groups. Their are several groups of technically capable people, who see the rest of the uncivilized world as "the cannibals". This is based on their knowledge that there was a lot of cannibalism post apocalypse, so they just have the mindset that everyone non-tech are cannibals. The non tech world, as we start to learn however, is not as simple as "all cannibals". We learn early on that Levi is from a small Amish like community of non-cannibals. And much further into the book Levi himself is surprised to learn that they weren't the only non-tech non-cannibals in the wasteland, and discover there are others living and trading that aren't just wanting to catch and eat them. Yes, there are cannibals, but I don't believe the problem is anywhere near as wide spread as the characters all thought. At any rate, I think all characters by the end seemed to have gained an understanding that none of them were fully right in their beliefs, whatever they were, and had come to accept change.
The book was complete in itself, and didn't really end on a cliffhanger. But I'm really looking forward to the other books in this series - I hope they get made into audiobooks. I do hope perhaps that they delve more into the real "how" of the apocalypse.
The narration was fantastic, and the narrator was able to convey the different characters accents and the tones of the narration. I'd definitely recommend the narrator for continuing this unique series!
Purple Jesus is a uniquely written tale told from the perspective of three people - Purvis, Martha, and Brother Andrew.
The style of the writing was pretty clever, and I found it different to anything I'd read prior. Each main character had a distinct style and voice, and the narrative would cut from one to the other, sometimes repeating series of events, sometimes just overlapping at the end of the prior to the next character's narrative. I found it flowed very well.
Purvis was a character I really found myself liking. I'd put him as "uneducated" rather than an idiot, like he was continually getting involved in deeper thought, or attempting profound discussions, but just didn't have the "book smarts" or audience for the articulation. I really found him endearing.
The story itself is like a small crazed slice of life of these people and where their lives overlapped, and changed.
The narrator did a fantastic job on all the accents (and there were a LOT). It was always easy to identify characters. I'd like to hear more by this narrator, and by the author!
I admit, I really like a good sci-fi detective story, like the Hamilton's Greg Mandell books. It is I feel a genre that has woefully low coverage, and not just recently. As a teen I can only recall finding one or two stories that fit the category, one novella by Larry Niven that I can't recall the name of - and he made a point in the intro of saying something similar, that they were rare...
Strictly Analog is the story of an ex-veteran private detective, stuck low tech in a world where nearly everyone else in society is in a continually online state, with I guess their times equivalent of Google glasses... Severe injuries he received in a war leave him unable to use the optical devices, but he makes the most of it by then being able to provide low tech off the record investigations (hence the Strictly Analog).
The lead, Ted Lomax, is thrust into a battle to prove the innocence of his daughter, who has been accused of the murder of her secret police boyfriend. The dystopian society described is frankly pretty horrid, with America fragmented and mostly foreign occupied, and few unoccupied placed like California run by pretty nasty people, in a totalitarian society. The journey taken in the story is full of unexpected turns and surprises for Ted, and he learns, became, and found more than he could have ever expected when he began.
I loved the narration. I found it relaxing and clear to listen to, and character voices were well distinguished. I never found myself lost, or rewinding.
In all, it is a great standalone audiobook that I'd recommend, and listen to again. I'd also buy any other books by this author.
Dead Trees provides a unique apocalypse. Rather than zombies or plagues we have more or a HG Wells Jules Verne style underground humanoids rising up. The book doesn't really cover the fall itself, and I personally feel the scenario was not very plausible (eg the military not making a better stand against unarmed creatures), but just like zombie apocalypse books, you do have to "take things on faith". That was the authors imagination, and I'll go with it and enjoy. The story more or less starts post apocalypse (barring a secondary characters brief intro story), when humanity is nearly wiped out. Starting from this point, the tale is excellent. The main character, Elise, was a strong, resourceful, and caring character. You really got to like her. Initially it starts with her on the road with her daughters, surviving, and her party grows, and then they are "rescued" by the military remnants, and the story switches from survival to using brains to solve the problem, and you find Elise is a scientist with some ideas that turn out to be very useful indeed. Life in the military complex is somewhat strained, with some scientists forming some rather unorthodox experiments, and Elise working (for the greater good outcome) from several angles.
The narration is very good, and I found the dialogue for characters all distinct. However, the author had written the book in a multiple first person perspective, which works better in written form than in spoken (unless you have multiple narrators). In audio format, character switches just aren't as clearly demarked, and I admit the first time a switch occurred I had to restart the chapter as I was getting confused, thinking I was still listening to the same character and then wondering what I was listening too. Obviously for a narrator, even if you can do voices well, it is just too much to expect a narrator to say carry on a gruff male voice for an entire chapter. Once I got used to listening for point of view changes though, I got used to it.
The story was very enjoyable, and I'd most definitely listen to more from this author and narrator.
Milk-Blood is a chilling and unfortunately believable tale of "troubled" people in run-down Detroit.
The story is written from multiple perspectives, including from the author adding frequent notes as part of the tale. In some scenarios, the same timelines are covered by different characters (and perspectives) and in others, the narrative will segue from one character to another. From a literary perspective, I thought the construct worked exceedingly well (I'm not speaking as a literary expert, just a reader). The author notes add another level of realism to the tale, and although I believe some (at least the last bit) was plot, the majority of it seemed to come from actual personal experience of the author, making the scenario even more disturbing.
Narration is top notch, and voices are distinct, and breathe extra life to this disturbing tale.
The book has stuck with me after completion, and will continue to sit in the back of my mind for some time....
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