But when it comes to taking sides, the only one Kovacs is ever really on is his own. So when a rogue pilot and a sleazy corporate fat cat offer him a lucrative role in a treacherous treasure hunt, he's only too happy to go AWOL with a band of resurrected soldiers of fortune. All that stands between them and the ancient alien spacecraft they mean to salvage are a massacred city bathed in deadly radiation, unleashed nanotechnolgy with a million ways to kill, and whatever surprises the highly advanced Martian race may have in store. But armed with his genetically engineered instincts, and his trusty twin Kalashnikovs, Takeshi is ready to take on anything...and let the devil take whoever's left behind.
©2003 Richard K. Morgan; (P)2005 Tantor Media, Inc.
"A superior, satisfying cyberpunk noir adventure." (Publishers Weekly)
"A lively follow-up to an energetic debut, with a still refreshingly cynical hero." (Booklist)
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
I also listened to Altered Carbon (first book in the series). This one is slightly better in some way - it seems more smooth or something, less time spent explaining the backdrop perhaps. The story is independent of the first book so you don't have to read them in order (but Altered Carbon is good enough that you should anyway)
Same narrator as the first book and he is terrific! Probably one of the best readers I've heard: his women's voices don't sound absurd, and you can tell who's talking from his intonation.
It is graphic, with detailed (and very long) sex scenes which are gratuitous in nature - i.e. they don't advance the plot in any significant way. I'm not a prude and I don't mind listening to sex, but be forewarned that it is adult in nature, a.k.a pornographic, no two ways about it. I would have taken off a star for this but it's such a good story otherwise and there's always a fast forward button.
And, of course, it is violent and gory and has a dim view of the value of human life...
But, other than that, it's terrific!
A combination of Phillip K Dick and Raymond Chandler, it has great
writing and is excellently read. Thanks for including this book
in your line-up.
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
The first in this series, Altered Carbon, was all the rage a few years back. It was a gritty, hard-boiled detective story set in the 25th century, complete with pithy first person narration by sardonic tough guy male protagonist. The universe is a little reminiscent of the one in the movie Blade Runner, with powerful corporations that run everything and crime syndicates and rebel groups in the shadows. The most notable technological feature of this reality is the ability to back human consciousness up on a "cortical stack" implant, allowing people to "resleeve" in a new body if the old one gets excessively damaged. The implications of this made for some interesting twists, both in terms of plot and human themes.
In this novel, a loose sequel to Altered Carbon, Takeshi Kovacs has put aside the detective work and is back to his former trade of soldiering. He's serving as a mercenary on behalf of a corporate power battling rebel fanatics on a planet whose civilian populace is receiving the brunt of the misery and suffering. He's feeling about ready to jump ship on his contract when a pilot points Kovacs to a xenoarchaeologist in a prison camp, who knows something about a gateway leading to an ancient, derelict alien starship -- the find of the century. Can he put together a team to stake legal claim?
As with many sequels to hot first novels, the dazzle factor of the author’s style and universe has worn off a little, and this reader notices the formula a little more. For those who liked the grit, hard-boiled cynicism, manga-like universe, over-the-top sex scenes, and action movie machismo of Altered Carbon, Broken Angels brings more of that, but the characters and plot are more familiar and forgettable. While the part surrounding the entering of the long-dead ghost ship, the high point of the book, has a cool eeriness similar to the opening of the movie Alien and its own horror to deliver about the fate of a superior civilization, the story leading up this point isn’t hugely riveting. Yes, the sequences about locating a corporate backer (without being screwed over by the same), recruiting a squad of soldiers from the colorful personalities found in a pile of discarded cortical stacks, battling nanobots, and discovering what became of a previous expedition to the alien ship, were a pleasant audio distraction while I was doing yard work, a lot of other science fiction novels could have done as much. The war going on in the background had potential to be interesting, but wasn’t fleshed out much -- I suspect it will come more into play in the next book.
All in all, this is a recommendation for those who loved Altered Carbon and want to go further into the Takeshi Kovacs universe, but other readers could probably take it or leave it. Audiobook reader Todd McLaren has a square-jawed voice that suits the hard-boiled nature of Morgan's prose well and keeps it from coming across as too self-serious, but his sultry-voiced women can be a little irritating. Particularly the "sassy black girl" voice.
Richard Morgan is a fun read/listen for any hard tech scifi lover. Period. He just gets it. He's into the moment, wherever you are in this great audiobook, and you can feel it. He's brought warfare, technology, moral crises, hard action, plots within plots, backstabbing, subterfuge, turn-on-a-dime plot direction, and so much more to this novel. From Voodoo tech dealers, to mega corp nanotech battles, to virtual playgrounds, to bionic enhancements that offer virtual immortality, to gigantic alien ark ships, you, dear reader, are going to be busy in a great way.
Remember, if you like the soft gentle scifi writings of early Heinlein or Norton, this won't quite be your cup of tea.
Otherwise, jump in, pull the bar close to your chest, keep your arms in the car at all times - You're in for a wild ride!
Besides incessant listening to audiobooks, I also read on my Kindle at night, birdwatch, garden (roses, daylilies), and do genealogy.
Not quite as good as Altered Carbon but almost so. The element of surprise at the world Morgan created was missing, but I was happy with how it felt comfortable and familiar to return to Kovacs world. Cyber noir or cyber punk--whichever it is, I certainly had a fun listen here and wouldn't hesitate to get the third book in the series, "Woken Furies".
A great successor to the first novel, 'Altered Carbon'.
In this book, mercenary-for-hire, ex Envoy special agent Takeshi Kovacs has left Earth after his noir detective stint and proffered his talents to an elite paramilitary private contracting unit. He's serving in an engagement off-world when he gets an offer to lead a very dangerous and very secret archaeological expedition in the war-torn region to recover advanced, ancient alien relics.
Bottom line - if you liked the first novel, you'll like this one as well.
I ordered both this title and Altered Carbon based on the reviews. The first one was okay, but it seemed rather long and it never really developed for me. The narration was top-notch, but I just never got engrossed in the storyline. If I had not already gotten Broken Angels, I might have given it a pass. However, since I had it already, I decided to give it a chance. I'm so glad I did. This story was much more engaging. Altered Carbon was more of a detective story, albeit in a Science Fiction setting. This time around, it's more of a SciFi/action story. It seemed to help that Takashi had a large supporting cast to interact with this time out as well.
Unlike what others have said, I don't feel it is necessary to listen to Altered Carbon first. This book stands on it's own and other than a couple of references to the previous book, there are no ties storywise. There are more references in both books to other events in the character's past that are not (yet) contained in another book, that you'll be hard-pressed to identify the Altered Carbon references if you aren't already familiar with it. In short, you won't be at a disadvantage nor less likely to enjoy this book if you haven't read/listened to Altered Carbon.
Can't believe it's only his 2nd novel. I enjoyed Altered Carbon but had a hard time following or really getting engaged with the characters. This sequel has a much different feel although Kovach is still central...different sleeve and still sorta Mickey Spillanesque but with some light and warmth in the darkness. You do NOT have to read the first one to appreciate this sequel, but it may jump start you on some of the concepts. The throw-away sidebar ideas are an ideational feast...wish someone would flesh many of them out into full stories. This guy is scary. Can't wait to see what happens when the Martians and/or the real badass aliens come into focus. He creates a fantastic but very coherent world which begs many philosop[hical questions. But more importantly, it's a fast-moving, engaging and fun read...with several interesting twists. I'm ready for volume 3.
I loved Altered Carbon's take on sci-fi noir, and the way that it explored the stack system (where people's minds can be transferred to different bodies. Broken Angels ditches the noir/mystery feel, doesn't do much with the concept of stacks, and instead goes for an ultra-violent military thriller with a little "Alien" thrown in. The story didn't make a lot of sense to me, and I got turned off by the frequent graphic sex and violence. Granted, Altered Carbon also had a lot of sex and violence, but at least it was held together with a good story. Also, Kovacs, who was a bit of an anti-hero in "Altered Carbon" comes off as pretty much unlikeable in this.
The genre, no, but the author, yes.
I enjoyed the scene where they were exploring the Martian space ship.
The Martians were interesting.
Will definitely like if you liked the first book "Altered Carbon" nicely narrated. Gritty and Hard nosed characters and plot development. May offend some in its crudeness of action and settings, but would not expect a Harlequin romantic comedy reader to even glance at this book. Definitely a good listen for the appropriate audience.
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