This is basically a police procedural placed in a world - filled with magic - that somewhat resembles Renaissance France. It does take a bit to get to the main plot line, but Berg's world building is as good as it gets. This is a literate and finely crafted tale, peopled with intriguing characters who are as fully realized as any I've come across.
To top it off, Mr. DeVries offers us an excellent narration. Bravo!
I'm a big Carol Berg fan. I deeply enjoyed Dust and Light and was excited to learn that there were a couple of other books written in the same world at about the same time period.
In over ten years of subscribing to Audible I haven't heard a more poorly narrated novel. Berg's elegant prose is battered by having been read at too fast a pace and with with zero sense of the rhythm of the phrasing. What should be elegant is stilted and rushed. Character voices are poorly differentiated and I've noticed that several words are mispronounced. An audiobook that I had eagerly anticipated has been rendered too painful to finish. I should have previewed the book sample instead of expecting that it would equal Dust and Light.
The book starts out slowly. Actually, it never moves quickly and that's okay with me. It offers a wonderful character study in a fully realized fictionalized Byzantine Empire. I'm a bit thrown by Berny Clark as reader. Simon Vance is the reader I've heard before for Kay. Vance handles the poetry of Kay's prose and captures the slightly melancholy tone of the book, which is about power, responsibility how an outsider can get sucked into the dangerous games of the mighty. Clark does a fine job. I'm just used to Vance.
Kay writes fictionalized novels reflecting real historical times and places. As there are few and trivial fantasy elements this could have as easily been set in historical Constantinople. It doesn't matter as I loved the book. Just saying.
Compassionate, wise, heartful
Tara Brach has obviously dealt with both meditation and with people who have need of her counseling. The meditations are heartfull as well as mindfull.
This is a bit silly, as this is not a story but a set of guided meditations, which need someone to read them, which Ms. Brach does well.
The meditations are a comfort and a reminder that mindfulness can change most experiences.
For those who found that they couldn't chose a specific meditation, they weren't using the Audible app. The music app on Apple iOS devices is pretty crappy because it doesn't show chapters. The iPod Nano is fine as is iTunes on a computer, but iPhones/Pods/Pads/Touches are lousy that way.
The Audible app not only lets you navigate to specific chapters but place "bookmarks" at any location. As the audiobook separates the different meditations into chapters, this works well. Get the app. I also use the app on my Nexus 5 phone and it works well for that, too.
Yes, I'd recommend the book. Characterization was well handled and I could identify with the two main characters.
Dressing up as a submissive sex slave was humorous.
Chinran, the main character is well handled and has a bit more depth than I normally expect for military SF.
Nothing extreme. It is a good read, but not enough of one to create a memorable experience.
This is more of a detective procedural than Williamson's normal work. Much of the story is focused on step by step investigation than on lots of bullets and bodies, though there are some of those, too.
The story moved at a good pace and held my interest.
This is the part where I say that none of the characters were that well developed, at least not enough for me to really identify with anyone that much. Character development was not bad, just not excellent either; it's well enough done to move the story forward.
Driving the trucks full of explosives into the Koban ship.
The meme of aliens glorying in combat and using the human race to cull the species into greater strength is handled well, though the plot is a bit predictable. The writing was decent, the narration was quite good. All in all, I enjoyed the book.
The character of Faith Smith (Shewolf). She was funny and capable, not that she was a comic, but that her uncensored remarks and reactions were the high point of the story.
Good job with voices and pacing. I enjoyed the narration.
Frustration. Characters were brought in, like Rusty, then mostly ignored. There was no one main character. The story didn't feature a challenging obstacle, other than the overall hopelessness of a few people trying to save themselves and the world. That's less of a problem in the book than it would seem. Each challenge was taken in stride. There was no fighting to a climax. Success piled on success. Problems were presented as no more than routine matters. Without a main character, a main character arc couldn't show up.
This seemed more like a series of snapshots than a dramatic narrative.
I enjoyed the story after I got over the narrator.
He read like an AM radio announcer, overly modulated and didn't differentiate the characters well.
No. I found the reader annoying and had to break up the listening until I got used to his reading.
A TV show.
Probably not. See below for why.
Mr. Dufris is a competent and consistent narrator. He does a good job with Human Division.
I loved Scalzi's Old Man's War and the next two books in the series. I laughed at Agent to the Stars. I'm having a hard time finishing this story. I've met the primary character before. He's the same sarcastic, wise cracking guy we saw in Agent to the Stars, Red Shirts and Fuzzy Nation. The name has been changed, but not the voice. I want new characters in a new book.
A small but irritating point is that Scalzi almost never omits the "he said - she said" after dialog. This intrudes into the narration. Wilson said. Schmitt said. Wilson said. Schmitt said. Wilson said. Schmitt said. Wilson said. Schmitt said. Wilson said. Schmitt said. That works fine for written work, but with more and more books getting made into audiobooks there should be a class for writers that brings home the point that not every utterance needs a he said after it to keep the conversation clear.
Another minor point is that this, strictly speaking, isn't a novel. It reads like a series of TV shows that loosely revolves around a theme and cast. Honestly, it isn't working to hold my interest, and I've read or listened to every novel that Scalzi has had published.
This is the third book that ends with Harrington winning the day in personal combat. The plot device is a bit old by now.
It's nice to find a competently written urban fantasy that isn't paranormal romance. Sorry, I have the wrong chromosomes to appreciate that kind of stuff.
We get a combination of wizard apprentice story combined with police procedural. It pretty much works. The main character has a well fleshed out personality and the supporting cast are good also. Plotting is a little uneven but competent. Street level London is wonderfully diverse and ethnic. So are some of the supernatural characters. Good job.
The narration is competent. The narrator does a mostly good job.His ethnic voices are the best part of his performance. He does tend to run his sentences in a predictable pattern with not a lot of inflection, ending on a lower note and somewhat drawing out the last syllable. It's a minor point but does draw my attention at times from the story to the narration. It's not enough to keep me from enjoying the audiobook.
I assume that this will be the first in a series. I hope so.
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