A generation after the events of The Long Earth, mankind has spread across the new worlds opened up by Stepping.
Where Joshua and Lobsang once pioneered, now fleets of airships link the stepwise Americas with trade and culture. Mankind is shaping the Long Earth - but in turn the Long Earth is shaping mankind...
A new ‘America’, called Valhalla, is emerging more than a million steps from Datum Earth, with core American values restated in the plentiful environment of the Long Earth - and Valhalla is growing restless under the control of the Datum government...
Meanwhile the Long Earth is suffused by the song of the trolls, graceful hive-mind humanoids. But the trolls are beginning to react to humanity’s thoughtless exploitation...
Joshua, now a married man, is summoned by Lobsang to deal with a gathering multiple crisis that threatens to plunge the Long Earth into a war unlike any mankind has waged before.
©2013 Terry and Lyn Pratchett and Stephen Baxter (P)2013 Random House Audiobooks
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After reading and enjoying The Long Earth very much, I was keen to get to grips with The Long War. Sadly the plot leaves much to be desired and most of the characters seem to have mud for brains and little to no sense of empathy for the most part. For the last third of the book I was gritting my teeth determined to simply get to the end, however the last third is the worst; Joshua seems utterly determined to kill himself with stupidity, Sally and Lobsang appear happy hang him out to dry if it were not for the trolls and meanwhile the rest of the cast limp along like overly cooked spinach. Roberta appears to fulfill absolutely no purpose whatsoever! I cannot begin to imagine how two otherwise excellent authors could manage to turn out a story so poorly written. I imagine they have a third book in mind (this can be the only reason for the inclusion of the otherwise pointless Roberta); one can but hope they improve ... well, everything, when they work on it. After the poor experience of listening to The Long War, I won't be purchasing it however; I'm sure it'll turn up in a second hand bookstore at some point and I won't feel bad about abandoning it if I've paid second hand prices for it.
"Ran out of steam."
The first book was a fascinating stream of ideas, the second book was a damp squib. There were lots of initial story lines that went nowhere, deviations from the plot which appeared out of character and to be honest I found the last third to be pretty tedious. For instance, one of the characters had an old Sony Walkman, but we had been assured time and time again that no iron could be stepped, had someone spent a lot of time re-engineering an old walkman just to trade it for the equivalent of beads? Lots of socio-political ideas were raised, then discarded with an attitude ' it's all ok now'. I suspect this book was rushed out and not really thought through or developed. There was lots of potential, but the authors seem to have got bored with it, as indeed did I. Bu the way, there is no long war.
Very satisfying sequel to "The Long Earth". All the great characters we got to know in book 1 are here with couple of new ones too. It is quite upbeat generally and nothing too unpleasant crops up, for me the overall feeling in the story verges more toward an utopian outcome rather than dystopian - but of course both are possible in the long earth.
Some new inhabitants of the long earth make an appearance and they are as peculiar as you would expect them to be. The story begins to gather a bit more to it in depth, details such as politics, possibilities of how to inhabit the long earth, different cultures emerging, how they interact etc are looked into. There are so many possibilities for the long earth I imagine it being quite a difficult thing to decide on which aspects to look at and expand on, if I had any complaint at all it would be that there could have been more! That is just me being greedy though and sorry that the book is finished.
Long and short of it - if you liked book 1 you will like book 2. But you will sadly have to wait for book 3. It seems such a huge universe to fit into a trilogy I cant imagine how the final instalment is going to finish and I expect to be left wanting more - which is a good thing.
"Disappointing for Pratchett"
I wasn't sure about this new series Terry Pratchett created but I thought I'd give this sequel to The Long Earth a go. I found it hard going and at times found I didn't really care what happened to the characters.
"Great story, and fabulous reader."
The story is wonderful and Terry Pratchett always leaves you pondering the events and how they might reflect on us. The description is great, and I found myself very attached to the characters!
The background about the characters, making them more real so their lives really matter. Also the detail was just right, so you could picture what is happening at any point although the experiences are fantastical.
Obviously, this is unlikely to happen in our reality, but it was good to follow up on Joshua and Lobsang's adventures through the many versions of Earth, and the resulting difficulties they face.
I found myself drawn along with the story. Michael Fenton Stevens read beautifully, steadily, and with expression. You were never mixed up as to which character was speaking. He read with wonderful consideration for the characters and their predicaments.
So many times during the stories particularly with Joshua and Jansson. I don't want to add any spoilers, but there are some gripping, terrifying and thoughtfully emotional moments.
"Good second part novel"
This book has a good story that moves along at a reasonable pace with characters that make sense.
The threads of the story all work and it builds well on top of the first book (The Long Earth)
Michael Fenton Stevens reads the book well without getting in the way of the narrative but clearly identifying all of the characters.
A very good listen but you do need to listen to/read The Long Earth first.
"Excellent narration, disappoiniting story line"
Yes, Fenton-Stevens narration is excellent and I did enjoy 'The Long Earth'.
The plot just seemed to wander for me, it seems to be putting things in place for books later in the series or just seemed a bit contrived. If not they just seemed to be padding and the book might have benefitted from being more concise, presumably we will find out in the later books.
Fenton-Stevens does an excellent job all around but I particularly like Joshua.
I really don't want to be unkind but feel I must be truthful, personally I was disappointed with this book particularly after 'The Long Earth' which I really enjoyed. The story arc didn't really work for me and if it hadn't been for Michael Fenton-Stevens' narration then this could have been a bit of a dog's dinner. Hopefully the next installment in the series will return to the standard set in 'The Long Earth'.
"Interesting ideas but rambling"
Narrator is fine but I was disappointed with the overall story. There is no 'long war' and nothing to really get your teeth into. Some of the ideas are interesting but it did seem to ramble on and I almost gave up listening at one poin and that very very rarely happens.
Lack of pace and real plot. Didn't seem to hang together or give you a reason to keep listening.
He is a fine narrator and his voice is easy to listen to.
"A sequel that doesn't live up to its predecessor."
The Long War picks up with the same mostly likeable characters as The Long Earth, however the story itself is a little rambling and doesn't really deliver the level of drama that the title suggests.
This book focuses more on issues of race (regarding the trolls in particular) and generally succeeds at this. But it can get a little didactic and some events seem very obviously, and a little clumsily, intended to make the reader think.
The ending itself is a little anticlimactic and seems to be designed more to lead handily to a sequel than anything else.
The narration is good and the characters are brought alive more than would happen in just reading it.
I could see it quite easily being made into a TV series. One might cynically suggest that this was the intention all along. The pace and action of both books in the series would suit the mini-series format.
Negative comments aside, I would still listen to or read any further sequels as I like the general tone and style of both books so far.
"Follow ups are never as good"
This is a follow up to 'The Long Earth'.
Somehow I never find follow ups quite as good as the original, and that is the case here - it's more serious (and gruesome at times) and doesn't really bring many new ideas.
I did still enjoy it though.
Like 'The Long Earth' it seems to end abruptly so I have no doubt that there's a third book coming along sometime, and I hope it brings a few fresh ideas rather than just capitalising on the success of the first 2. I'll read it anyway !
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