Crossover is the first novel in a series which follows the adventures of Cassandra Kresnov, an artificial person, or android, created by the League, one side of an interstellar war against the more powerful, conservative Federation. Cassandra is an experimental design - more intelligent, more creative, and far more dangerous than any that have preceded her. But with her intellect come questions, and a moral awakening. She deserts the League and heads incognito into the space of her former enemy, the Federation, in search of a new life.
Her chosen world is Callay, and its enormous, decadent capital metropolis of Tanusha, where the concerns of the war are literally and figuratively so many light years away. But the war between the League and the Federation was ideological as much as political, with much of that ideological dispute regarding the very existence of artificial sentience and the rules that govern its creation. Cassandra discovers that even in Tanusha, the powerful entities of this bloody conflict have wound their tentacles. Many in the League and the Federation have cause to want her dead, and Cassandra?s history, inevitably, catches up with her. Cassandra finds herself at the mercy of a society whose values preclude her own right even to exist. But her presence in Tanusha reveals other fault lines, and when Federal agents attempt to assassinate the Callayan president, she finds herself thrust into the service of her former enemies, using her lethal skills to attempt to protect her former enemies from forces beyond their ability to control.
As she struggles for her place and survival in a new world, Cassandra must forge new friendships with old enemies, while attempting to confront the most disturbing and deadly realities of her own existence.
©2006 Joel Shepherd (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
I'm not sure there was anything I liked "Best". Only things I didn't dislike as much. The writing was unsophisticated, almost juvenile. This isn't necessarily a bad thing as it can make for good escapism that you can just experience without having to think about it too much. However when combined with the "Bad" the unsophisticated tends to lose any of its redeeming quality.
Now for the bad.
1. Exposition! Exposition! Exposition! I frequently found my mind wandering during many of the frequent pauses for the main character to 'reflect' on whatever Mr Shepherd decided needing elucidation at the moment. The first few times when I'd catch myself doing it I would rewind to the point where I was last paying attention. But I realized early on that I really wasn't missing much, definitely nothing that moved the plot forward, so I stopped rewinding and found that I could easily pick up the plot, such as it was.
2. I want to like the main character but find her slightly cartoonish and vaguely unrealized. I feel that Mr Shepherd missed an interesting opportunity for character growth with Cassandra. She had a decidedly non-standard childhood, yet I've seen real life people with a more standard upbringing be much more unstable than she. It made it a lot harder to sympathize with her situation when it seems she doesn't suffer near as much as you'd expect.
I think John Scalzi handled a similar situation better with his Jane Sagan character in the Old Man's War series.
3. While the political situation was interesting the rest of the world seemed flat, and Mr Shepherd seemed to have trouble conveying his ideas for Cassandra' universe, thus all the random expositions that, at least for me, did little to shed any light on the subject.
No, probably not
She's not the worst narrator I've listened to, but she needs to slow down just a bit. And she has some odd inflections and pacing at time as if she didn't understand what the author intended. I blame this as much on the director as her.
Maybe, the action was decent, it would have to have a big SF budget though. And as long as the book is once you cut out all the expository nonsense you'd only have about an hours worth of material left.
I felt there was a lot of untapped potential here. The whole super soldier story line is a hard one to balance and be able to stay inside the suspension of belief zone of most readers. Mr Shepherd tried, but ultimately missed the mark with me, and I can usually overlook quite a bit.
She did the best with what she was given, I hope they paid her well.
The book was frustrating to get through. This is what it felt like listening to it: little bit of plot – protagonist explains sex life – little bit of plot – protagonist is questioned about sex life – little bit of plot – protagonist has fond remembrance of sex life – little bit of plot – protagonist has sex and explains about sex life to sex partner – little bit of plot – protagonist calls co-worker and jokes about sex life before telling vital information strangely connected to sex life. While I have never been a teenage boy, it felt like I was being pulled into the mind of one at times and it was difficult not to stop rolling my eyes over and over or at one point bash my head on my desk. It was soooo tiresome, so boring, and so repetitive.Another point of irritation about this book is that it takes place on a plant in the far future, however all the architecture on the planet is exactly like present day earth. There are districts that divide the place the protagonist lives in and they are labelled something like (not kidding here) “Old earth Chinatown”, “Old earth Spanish District”, “Old Earth India”, “Old Earth Whatever with that old earth architecture, music, food, language”. The rest of the place is made up of glass and cement. Seriously. I wanted to like this book. Some of the ideas have already been done, but they were still interesting. The plot had potential. If 90% of the sexual thoughts were cut out of the protagonists head and it was filled with a bit of depth she would be far more interesting and relatable. The only reason I have not asked for my money back was because I wanted to write a review to warn others who have similar tastes in SciFi, against buying this. However if you do ignore me (like I did with the other reviewers) it will really make you appreciate the genuine talents of other Scifi writers out there.
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
Crossover starts with a very interesting premise and begins with some real promise as Cassandra, an android, assumes a new identity and tries to start a new life as a civilian in a new society rather than as the soldier she has been. However, just as the story starts to roll out this idea of an android created to be a warrior who has philosophical problems with the war and wants to pursue normal human relationships, work a civilian job, and visit art museums, that whole story abruptly ends. Cassandra is captured and co-opted by her enemy and the entire remaining book (all but the first chapter) is unnatural dialog, incoherent political ruminations, and ridiculous sexual discussions/thoughts (although very little actual sex), and a few good fight scenes that Cassandra inevitably wins. The book would have put me to sleep if it weren't for how very aggravating Joel Shepherd's depiction of adult women is. Cassandra is an engineered humanoid designed to be the ultimate of the HK series (hunter-killer) so my assumption would have been that an android designed to be a warrior wouldn't have any inclination for sex. However, I could buy into Shepherd giving his androids a sex drive (his world after all), but for the fact that Cassandra's model type is imprinted with actual human brain patterns. In that case, Cassandra should think about sex the way a real woman does, not like a 15 yr. old boy does. Think I'm exaggerating? Here's a sample, you decide. This is Cassandra's internal monologue at one point (verbatim), "Damn, give her good food, nice surroundings, and a decent hard shag at least 5 times a week and she was happy. Let the universe rot, she just wanted to get nailed." The actual human women in the book aren't much better and certainly don't ring true as believable characters. Cassandra has a great deal of angst over the politics in her world and how much she loves art although she's a soldier, but in truth, the android doesn't actually seem to care a fig about anything but sex and fighting so the moral/ethical conflict of a thinking/feeling android used for fighting doesn't come off at all. And, I didn't give a flip about Cassandra either. She's a male fantasy - beautiful, smart, strong, and can't get enough sex (oh and of course, very skilled at sex) - she's not a real character. She's supposedly made of some super bio synthetic material, but to me she seemed to be made of cardboard. Her human compatriots aren't any more fleshed out either. You don't really see much political action, just characters thinking about it and talking about it and it's a bit simplistic and convoluted. And, the internal monologues are long, frequent and tiresome.
Dina Pearlman is OK as the narrator. As a previous reviewer noted, she does get better as the book goes on. But this is just not a good book, so it's hard to get too excited about the performance of it.
Thumbs down on this one - don't waste a credit!
Interesting Exciting Fun
Cassandra Kresnov is the main, and my favorite character. I just find her journey fascinating as she progresses through the story as an artificial person trying to fit into a society whose first reaction to her is most often fear.
I definitely spent a lot of time laughing, there is plenty of humor in the book in addition to the action. As for the action there is plenty of that too.
I read this book several years ago and picked up the audio book as soon as I saw it on new releases. I already really enjoyed the story and the narration of the audio book definitely did not disappoint. Definitely happy about spending a credit on this and cannot wait for the sequels to be released.
I'd read this trilogy when it was originally published a few years ago. I generally don't read science fiction, being more of a fantasy geek, but the plot seemed interesting, so I bought it and loved it. Joel Shepherd is a great author: the plot, pacing, and characterizations are all quite good. So, my only question before buying this in audio, though I was very excited to see it available, was the narration.
My previous experience with Ms. Pearlman's narration was with "Polgara the Sorceress", which was a good book. I did not, however, care for the narration at all. She has a pleasant enough voice, she just mauled some of the pronunciations of some key places and/or people from the Belgariad series, one of my all time favorites. I couldn't finish it.
So I was nervous about buying this, but having enjoyed the print version so much, and wanting to experience it in audio, I bought it anyway.
She is better in this book, though at first I didn't think I'd be able to finish (which I haven't, but I'm halfway there). Chapter One was rough, she came across as emotionless and bland, and her descriptions were quite boring, not to mention rushed. She got better during Chapter Two, and really hit her stride in Chapter Three and beyond. She differentiates the characters quite well so you always know who's talking, and seems to be good at affecting different accents. She conveys the emotions of the characters very well, and picks up the pace of the narration during the action scenes effectively conveying the urgency of these scenes. It's not perfect, but all in all, I'm impressed, and plan on finishing this trilogy.
IT Project Manager in CA. I would say I am a Audio Book Addict...
This a great story that has action a plenty along with a imaginative dissection of the human condition and what being human means. The setting and characters are well imagined and developed using very descriptive prose.
After listening to the story I quickly purchased the second book in the series.
Dina Pearlman is also one of my favorite narrators....
i love the story line its has spy's imda android GI trying to make in life that makes the story unique and gives it a thrill and never boring
Intense Refreshing Gripping
The standout scene occurs early in the first book when the title character undergoes vivisection. After that the buy into the main character's point of view is complete and there's no turning back.
I listened to the sample because I saw her name as narrator. And yes the audio version and in particular the Ms Pearlman's talent as a narrator add another dimension to enjoying the book just not available to silent reading of the text.
The quality of the writing is high and sustained through out the trilogy. Often such a fantastic first book is followed by a weak sequel, but that does not happen here. Shepard not only understands his main character thoroughly but has an unusual grasp across a broad range of very real political and philosophical issues. All too often a SF writer will sketch out a simple black and white conflict - political or other issues - and then have the characters run through the plot. Shepard achieves something I've rarely seen in that on both the political dimension and across several softer issues he sets up a very believable universe within which his characters operate. But these background issues are never allowed to dominate. The story is well told and the characters always in the center of the action with the wider issues and setting providing an enjoyable and very realistic background.For example, in the political realm in SF authors often can't help grinding some current axe, but Shepard resists anything like that. The political factions are not reflections of today's, but realistic creations fitting the future world that the main character - Sandy - lives within.The struggle between those people and entities against the creation of artificial life vs those who wish to embrace its potential would seem to set up a very black white background, but that doesn't happen. As the main character moves through the trilogy it becomes clear that this division is nuanced with hidden agendas popping up from unexpected but believable sources. And at no point does Shepard allow some very complex background material to overwhelm his main character(s) or their stories.Shepard could have fallen into the trap of not allowing one side to have of the 'right' on some moral ethical issue. In the third book one android recommends to another to read the book by Shelly 'Frankenstein' in order to understand why the organic humans fear the created artificial life forms so much.
Dina Pearlman is awesome as usual , I go looking for stories she narrates
I liked the story, the technology, the vision of the future, and the characters (mostly). There was a guy early on who was basically racist (against Artificial life) so much that I got tired and wanted to quit to avoid listening to him. Plus the begetting of chapter 2 was so physically violent against a person, I started to reconsider the book (and this form a person who reads about vampire hunters and zombies) The rest of the story was fine , though interception and the intermixing of politics often slowed the story down to a crawl, disrupting the action. I will give the 2nd book a chance at some point.
"Crossover: Cassandra Kresnov"
A good tale. Somewhat let down by the narration, which is in a rather harried 'american' style and the somewhat implausible attribution of 'old earth' regional accents to the characters. But still perfectly enjoyable overall.
"Cyperpunk political action thriller"
Books biggest problem is that it don't know what it wants to tell to reader. It takes lot of time in political pondering which it throws in trash can because it comes too serious for frivolous action scenes.
Political books need strong characters that have good character evolution, but this book offer only very one dimensional characters who don't have any evolution during book, except that writer add attributes for character during book so that they can react like he wants in current scene, but most times this feel that this attributes should have been mentioned earlier in the book, now it looks like that characters get more attributes every time when they have in need of one.
I usually love cyperpunk books, but this is just too painfully written that I could enjoy it.
Diana Pearlman is excellent narrator, she has good talent to get characters feel different of each other and which makes it easy to differentiate them. But even she can't make this book enjoyable, but still thumbs up for her.
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