Absolutely. I've been a fan of Peter F. Hamilton after going through his later works, and wanted more of his style - which is deceptively subtle, fast paced, and very engaging.
Greg Mandell - He's a few years removed from military service and while still retaining his edge, more human. He appreciates the way of soldiers without being reduced to a simpleton military mindset. Adding psi empathic abilities to a solider makes for really good reading.
I had to look this book up again just to make sure Toby Longworth was the only narrator - he's simply fantastic! He gives each character not only a distinct voice, but also personality. He is smashing! One of the best readers I've ever come-across.
You can't hide the truth from him...
The problem with numeric scores is that if a book finds a target audience, they tend to come out and rate the book a "5", even when the book is half-baked with little substance (see the Twilight series for more on this).
"Into the Black: Odyssey One" is the top-ramen of the sci-fi genre. It's "The Last Airbender" of military sci-fi. It's pointless, boring, and treats you like your an idiot. You'll be treated to thin caricatures, devoid of substance or motivation. There are better ways to spend fourteen listening hours.
If you want an entertaining military sci-fi human-vs-bugs romp, just read Heinlein's "Starship Troopers". It's just as shallow, but a hell of a lot more entertaining.
This is a tough review to write. I greatly enjoyed the first three books in the "Old Man's War" series, and picked this up without hesitation - as it was listed next in line. However, this is not a book targeted at adults even though it's mistakingly placed in Contemporary SciFi. This is pure bait and switch to sell a few more copies to unsuspecting customers.
1. "Zoe's Tale" is Young Adult Science Fiction.
2. "Zoe's Tale" is an almost verbatim retelling of "The Last Colony", except it's the "Twilight" version.
I'm quite miffed at Audible & the publisher for not prominently calling this out, and classifying the book correctly.
It's strange that Scalzi chose to re-write "The Last Colony" entirely from a teenagers point of view. I had expected Zoe to START OUT as a teenager, then slowly grow into a woman as the story moved forward. However, what I got was Scalzi channeling giggling girls, fart jokes, and teenage crushes. Really? Had I not been on some very long airline flights, this book would have been returned for refund posthaste.
It's clear that there was a kernel of a story hidden in "The Last Colony", where Zoe impressed General Gau, and somehow wrangled an impressive piece of technology from The Consu. However, Scalzi does very little with those events, and thus you'll spend the entire book building up to a rather flat third act.
The one shining star in this whole mess was the narrator: Tavia Gilbert. She grew on me quickly, and her voice acting was very well done.
So - would I recommend this book to a teenager? No.
Why? Because, they'd be dropped into a series 2/3'ds of the way through, with no other books voiced for them before or after.
Scalzi is a good writer, but your credits would be better spent on his other work.
Near the top of the sci-fi stack. I listened to the first Revelation Space book, and it just didn't grab me - so I avoided Alistair Reynolds for quite a while. This book, however, thrilled me from start to finish.
About 6 or 7 hours in I realized that the book wasn't even halfway over yet. This was significant because more had happened in less than half a book, than happens in so many other books. Densely packed, and wonderful for it!
I've listened to a ton of John Lee; he may not do nuanced differences in character voices - but he does imbue them with a lot of personality. If John Lee reads a book, I'm 80% sold... he's that good.
Only hoping that Alistair Reynolds has more like this up his sleeve. This was epic in scope, and exactly what I crave in good sci-fi. Coupled with John Lee - you get a perfect audio book.
Who am I?
You'll spend the most time with Ramone in this story, though with a twist. Still - he really grew on me as the story unfolded.
The interesting thing about Ramone is that he is a feisty personality... a jerk, full of hubris and venom. A second rate reader would have made that all sound insincere... hallow and plasticy.
However, Mark Vietor simply becomes Ramone Espejo; a seamless and nuanced performance that entertains through the entire book.
At just oner 10 hours, this is a little too long to hit in one sitting. Still - I burned through this in a week - and was looking for excuses to get in my car just to listen (as it's the primary place I listen to audiobooks).
I came into this with zero expectations, having no experience with the author or reader. I really love sci-fi, and was pleasantly surprised at how well the story was crafted, and the excellent performance that Mark Vietor gave. Quite pleased with all aspects.
This is a story about many things: longing for love, a lover had, a lover lost. Politics, business, and a power struggle between father and son. There are science fiction elements sprinkled into the long, winding tale - but a sci-fi tale it's not.
Like the main character who is afraid of confrontation (won't go after the girl, won't stand up for himself, won't look into the box), Wilson sparingly teases you with interesting sci-fi concepts, only to beat a hasty retreat back to his comfort zone. This relegates the majority of the book to the minutiae of daily life and exquisitely boring relationships.
This is science-fiction for people who don't like science-fiction.
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