The novel is a coming of age story and yet it's not. It's a story as old as the Spartans yet it's not. It's an unrequited love story yet it's not. It's many things but one other thing it's not, it's not one you'll soon forget.
Anthony Ryan is a gifted writer and Steven Brand super narrator. I'm looking forward to Book 2.
It was almost like every sentence was written in paragraph style with the point being made left to the very end and then not very interesting for the long journey. It was like Dorothy swirling around in the hurricane expecting to find the road to Emerald City but only finding the road to 7-Eleven.
Regrettably, it was tedious to listen to and I've given up on the series after this Book 2.
The entire series is written very well and the narrator made listening to it that much more enjoyable. The author spent an appropriate amount of time when introducing characters and filling in their back stories such that they did not come off as uninteresting two-dimensional characters (with exception for possibly, the Republic characters.) Even the alien types were diverse and novel.
Ever since reading and thoroughly enjoying his Ender's Game novel, I've been lured into purchasing several other of his works including (Xenocide, Invasive Procedures, Earth Unaware, Children of the Mind) and now this, in hopes that he would again write something worthy of previous interest. Sadly, this will be my last purchase of an Orson novel. Not only was this NOT a SciFi novel the entire story was plodding and the writing pedestrian. Even worse, absolutely zero of the characters were interesting enough for one to care what happened to them, so much so that I finally gave up on it after completely 4/5ths of the novel, not caring myself how it ultimately turned out.
Even with several instances of SyFy exaggerations (time paradox, flying saucer wormhole generators, &c) the novel was very entertaining and even touched lightly into the military SyFy genre. With that said, the author's obvious insistence to interject partisan politics into the story was grating. The bad guy just happens to be a corrupt southern slightly portly REPUBLICAN Speaker of the House (Newty images abound) while POTUS is portrayed almost as a man of all seasons was a disappointment. One point reduction for being partisan when there was no need to be.
Warning: Lightly touching spoiler territory
I enjoyed both the writing and narration almost as much as the first novel. The enduring eventful journeys of Vaelin and those he meets continue to entertain. I particularly enjoyed the plot arc of Reva; although, was a bit disappointed when it strayed dangerously close to current day LGBT politics. I have no problem with characters having different sexual orientations; only when the story veers into 2014 advocacy territory on any subject. Hopefully, this won't continue to be a defining characteristic of Reva who is a much, much more interesting disruptive force to place too much focus on that.
Princess Lyrna continues to be as beguiling as she is interesting and Ryan's use of her for a book-ending cliff-hanger ensures my impatient waiting of his next installment in the saga.
Speaking of which, I was pleased to find that Frentis still lives and is destined to play a key role. Ryan's plot arc with him and his encounter, and forced affair, with the witcher-woman is very poignant.
Half a star off for threatening to diminish Reva's character role; otherwise another fine piece of work.
*** SPOILER ALERT! ***
Iran/Contra being the motive for plotting to assassinate a current day sitting president because Reagan wasn't convicted, Really?! If that weren't bad enough, the writer even had to use it as causative the reason why some imaginary couple committed suicide which drove the perp looney tunes. I mean, it's not like he couldn't have pick liberal LBJ who caused the real deaths of over 50,000 troops by use of an intentional lie.
Anyway, 2 stars off for the leftist tilt but 1 star added back for the entertaining sound effects.
David Wells is an able, and in many instances, gifted writer. Also, Derek Perkins is a very good narrator. With that said, the over-the-top continued fawning over Alexander as a beloved and great king and his over use of passages where he praised the princess unnerved me after the 3rd passage but still he persisted. Regrettably, halfway through it I reached the point to where I simply wanted to finish the novel, not for the enjoyment of it, by my time and investment in it.
First, I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the story, Daemon, for its savvy technical awareness and seemingly evasiveness as to the direction of the citizen rebellion against the corporatist economic system. A rebellion instigated by a deceased diabolical uber-rich Daemon creator, Sobol.
Sadly, this second and final installment was a huge disappointment. It pretty much touched every leftist trope for justifying a revolution that kills masses of innocent people in order to upend an evil cabal of corporate and governmental overlords. If I had to pin this down using analogies, I'd say it was a mix of (John Scalzi, etal) METAtropolis (sans the gazillion pigs), a dab of Rousseau's "Theory of Natural Human", Lenin's ideas of justifying a bloody revolution with little regard to innocents, near-sighted anarchists (who seem to be all in vogue today) and a dash of OWS and Greens to give it texture.
I say "sadly" since, well, "it coulda been a contender".
The whole EMP event that acts as a catalyst is simply a plot device to launch into a sorrowful story that devolves the US both into a medieval society and a loss of over 250 million people. It could very well have been an asteroid bombardment in the beginning and 99 percent of the novel wouldn't need to be changed.
If that weren't bad enough, after every loss of life episode, the author somehow manages to recollect what seems to be every post-war aftermath from photos and paintings that the pitiable protagonist recollects seeing. From Napoleonic era, European plagues, WWI, WW2 and so forth.
Lastly, the tone of the novel always tends to reference society before electronics as being better able to adapt to such an attack, going as far as highlighting a 1959 Edsel as the standard of survivability! It often comes off as almost preferring an EMP attack to happen to bring us back to the good old days. As an example, the rag tag civilian militia that was formed for defense were named -- get this -- Company B. I kept thinking that a reference to the Andrew Sisters "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" would be alluded to but was saved that hilarity.
If you are an uber Red Dawn survivalist fanatic, you'll probably enjoy the novel; otherwise ... not so much.
I was disappointed to find that Alastair Reynolds would write a science fiction novel of almost 22 hours in narrated length that focused mainly on elephants (large and dwarf) and uninteresting characters acting out their petty sibling rivalry. I write this as one who has listened and enjoyed several of his other novels.
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