Enter a new frontier.
An empty apartment, a missing family, that's creepy. But this is like finding a military base with no one on it. Fighters and tanks idling on the runway with no drivers. This is bad juju. Something wrong happened here. What you should do is tell everyone to leave.
The gates have opened the way to a thousand new worlds and the rush to colonize has begun. Settlers looking for a new life stream out from humanity's home planets. Ilus, the first human colony on this vast new frontier, is being born in blood and fire.
Independent settlers stand against the overwhelming power of a corporate colony ship with only their determination, courage, and the skills learned in the long wars of home. Innocent scientists are slaughtered as they try to survey a new and alien world. The struggle on Ilus threatens to spread all the way back to Earth.
James Holden and the crew of his one small ship are sent to make peace in the midst of war and sense in the midst of chaos. But the more he looks at it, the more Holden thinks the mission was meant to fail.
And the whispers of a dead man remind him that the great galactic civilization that once stood on this land is gone. And that something killed it.
©2014 James S.A. Corey (P)2014 Hachette Audio
I can't imagine anyone enjoying this presentation. (Note to fellow sufferers: Jefferson Mays was not available, and the authors have no say in choosing narrators.)
There are many ways listeners can often adjust to less-than-wonderful narration. Audiobook fans have to learn these things, or be reduced to listening to a few books a year by the short list of readers they find great. And over time our tastes often change, so there is a large grey area of what "bearable" comes to mean to individuals. And with skill, listeners can increase their tolerance levels. The trouble is: this takes effort, and at some point rebellion sets in. We buy audiobooks for sheer enjoyment- not to have to work like the devil in hopes of tolerating a very bad narrator.
After expending too much effort to bear with it, I had to abandon this one. Worse luck: after a couple of years of not returning any audiobooks, I had to return the first Koban book for the same grim reason, so I can't return this one. Now my policy of tolerance is running headfirst into the poor business practices that allow awful narrators to read otherwise good books. Audible needs to find a sizable group of unbiased and reasonable listeners to weed out the worst of the worst.
Now I'm reading the ebook in peace and quiet, and enjoying every minute of it.
The most memorable moment was when realizing the audiobook sample does not reveal what the listening experience is going to be. Going by the sample, Erik Davies sounds quite bearable. I thought I could easily tolerate him, and that's why I ordered the book. After the bad surprise of Koban, I didn't want to take any chances and waste an order. But being careful was not enough.
Others have explained the gory details very well.
Disappointment on the behalf of the authors, whose story-telling skills certainly deserve much better treatment. And annoyance that I wasted time and money--- when Audible could have and should have seen this disaster coming miles away.
Stop offering great stories by narrators almost no one can listen to, no matter how much they want to. It is as if no one on your staff (with any say in the matter) can tell the difference between great, OK, and insufferable. This is the very heart of your business, and you ought to know the difference.
It is not ultimately more profitable for you to let real stinkers loose on the world in hopes that: 1. Maybe this is not so bad. 2. It's bad, but maybe not too many people will notice. 3. It's bad, and people will notice, but our high volume sales will cover the financial loss.
The truth is, many people are loyal to audiobooks only to the point they are not subjected to too many experiences like this one.
Because it's the first thing everyone is jumping on, I must admit that the narration did leave something to be desired. The narrator isn't horrible, he's just very different from the narrator from the previous 3 books, and his narration of some characters was a little odd. Having said that, I don't think that the narration made the book as horrible as others claim.
The story itself was actually rather good. I still think that the first two books are the better ones in this series, but this one still had a good story.
I do need to say that this book and the one before it had story lines that start feeling a little... defeatist? By that I mean that everything that can go wrong will go wrong and then some big disaster is going to come and make things worse...
Also, the main character seems to be slightly unrealistic sometimes. A lot of the main characters in many of the Sci-Fi series seem to always have this unshakeable, and sometimes ridiculous, set of morals. For example; If someone who just murdered people was trying to murder a lot more people, and then tried to kill you so that he could murder even more people, do defend yourself with lethal force? Of course not! You do everything you can to not hurt him too badly and then risk your own life to bring him back for a fair trial (no doubt giving the bad guy a couple dozen more opportunities to attack or double-cross you again).
Having picked out all of the negatives about the book, I thought the story was definitely worth the credit. It wasn't predictable, the story flowed well, and it kept me wanting to continue listening. That is what getting the book is all about. Also, the ending wasn't bad either. Although the author left the series in a good place to end it if he wanted to, there is still more story to tell and I would look forward to another book...
Erik Davis's narration isn't the worst but his staccato delivery, and lacking dexterity of Jefferson Mays is wildly apparently. Some of the humorous/sarcastic quips by characters are undelivered (in a series that actually has sometimes quite amusing dialogue despite the heavy tones) and voices are just so-so. Sometimes, I find his broken fragments jarring but I'm still able to focus, (where as I have had a few books were the reader completely made the book unlistenable).
I am not a fan of Erik Davis and I'm unsure as to why the series would have been yanked from exceptionally talented Jefferson Mays, who made a great book even better (if it were pay, he's worth every penny and then some).
The analogy I'd use is having a super star actor to be substituted by an unknown from your community theater. Even if the performance is good, its just not the same... and sadly Erik Davis's performance isn't as good either.
There's no love lost for writing duo for the Expanse as authors rarely have much of a say in matters such as this.
The book is fine and quite enjoyable as morality ambiguity where neither side exactly begs for sympathy and the always-moral Holden has to navigate a situation that tests him.
I worried that The Expanse might not have much more to go on after Book 3's ending that gave what I thought might be a series end. Instead, it looks like there's plenty to explore with the Rocinante.
Holden seems a little more cynical and also a little more fearful after everything he's experienced. Amos Burton is colder and harsher. Naomi Nagata confidence seems to gotten the better of her, each character internalizing the events of their previous adventures differently.
Best: the amazing space opera and characters I love. Worst: narrator.
Never. He is an appalling narrator. Lifeless.
So terribly narrated that I was completely taken out of the story.
I feel bad for the narrator, he may be a very nice guy, BUT it sounds like a really, really good computer generated voice, very strange cadence. I sympathize that you can't do an indian accent, but come on!
If Erik Davies was replaced by Jefferson Mays.
Definitely not. He reads slowly, performs accents poorly, mispronounces words, and speaks with a very odd rhythm. His performance was so bad that I couldn't finish listening to the book and will be returning it. These characters do not feel like the same ones that I have grown to love from the previous performances by Jefferson Mays.
I will not buy another James S. A. Corey book if it is narrated by Erik Davies. I will gladly buy another version narrated by Jefferson Mays.
On Audible since the late 1990s, mostly science fiction, fantasy, history & science. I rarely review 1-2 star books that I can't get through
I really enjoy the Expanse series, and this book is, while not brilliant, still fun. The short version is that it has more of what I liked: more of the same winning characters, hard(ish) science fiction, and sudden twists and turns in a propulsive plot. At the same time, the seams are starting to show a bit.
A clear theme through the series has been that people are worse to each other than any aliens can be, and while that bleakness was interesting over a couple of books, it is starting to feel a little forced. In Cibola Burn yet another Earth company aided by yet more sociopaths (seriously, these Earth companies need better HR practices!) makes everything terrible until the inevitable plot twists make things REALLY terrible. The plot is thrilling, but the motivations explaining why the bad characters are so bad is so thin that it seems almost insulting when they try, especially when contrasted with the unalterable moral compass of the main characters: the Only Good Guys in the Universe.
The authors described their previous two books as writing a science fiction version of a ghost story and a political thriller. This seems like their attempt at a novel about colonialism, and they aren't afraid to hit you over the head with this, many, many times (characters compare themselves to Cortez, etc). The problem is that the authors have little to say about the topic, so it all rings a bit hollow.
Also, as EVERY other reviewer writes, the narrator changed in this book. After 50+ hours with the original narrator, this was glaring, but it seemed more normal with time. The new narrator is not fantastic, but far from bad. Any problem fell away as the book continued.
So, if you have listened to the series so far, I think this is worth it (if you can deal with the change in narration). I just hope future books will recapture the magic that made the series so great.
Oddly enough, the narrator -- that isn't a compliment.
Erik Davies is terrible. The delivery is flat (no accents, inflections, etc.) so jokes weren't funny, scenes didn't feel alive, and because the narrator really only has one male and one female voice scenes were confusing. So instead of focusing on the events of the story, I kept thinking this guy [narrator] is horrible.
If anyone at Hachette or Audible (if they can do anything) is reading this, do not ever switch narrators for a series. It is as jarring as switching out actors for TV shows and Movies. I'd rather have waited for a version using Jefferson Mays as the narrator.
I will not buy the next audiobook in this series if they use Erik Davies. I'd rather just read it.
It is great to see some of the characters from previous books come back. Overall, great story and addition to the series.
Sorry to beat a dead horse, but if you are choosing between the audio or book version, go with the book version for this one.
I understand that narrators sometimes have to change. But the narration here was so bad it's hard to integrate the book with the others. The speech rhythms felt like the narrator was out of breath. And so many of the characters became different people than the ones Jefferson Mays brought to life, with Avasarala coming out by far the worst.
I get uncomfortable criticizing a person's performance so brutally, but . . . this was the worst narration of any audiobook I've ever purchased. They should have seen early on that this wasn't going to work and switched to someone else. Anyone else. I will not purchase another audiobook in this series as long as they use Erik Davies.
Epic getting Epic-er
Lifeless and listless. Maybe I got spoiled by Jefferson Mays' wonderful performance, but Mr. Davies' narration doesn't come close. Many of the characters sound the same; either they are southern (US) American, vaguely British, or blandly neutral. Mr. Davies definitely did not give the characters the life that Mr. Mays did. I laughed out loud the first time Avesarala appeared and she just sounded like an old woman, not the whip sharp politico that she was voiced previously. I really hope that Audible will have Mr. Mays back for future installments of this series. I really wish that Audible would re-record this novel with Mr. Mays, and I wonder why the decision was made to switch horses mid-race.
There is definitely some good banter between the Rocinante crew as usual, but unfortunately, the narration made these witticisms fall flat more often than not.
Bring back Jefferson Mays!!!
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