Humanity's worst nightmare has again come out of the Dark. Can a human race in turmoil survive?
When the human race faces extermination at the hands of an expanding species the last survivors travel 1,000 years to reestablish the race 10,000 years away. It is now a thousand years after the birth of the New Terran Empire. The race has aggressively expanded during that time, with a fleet that has never lost a war against an alien species. But the signs are there, the old enemy is back, and the Fleet will face its greatest challenge in a foe 50 times their size.
Science fiction in the tradition of Anderson and Weber, where the physics of normal and hyperspace dictate the strategy and tactics. Enormous fleets battle across the immensity of space with advanced technologies. Can the proud human Fleet hold off the tide of an advancing enemy, rallying allies and deploying new tech? Or will the conquerors achieve what they could not 2,000 years before, and end the existence of the upstarts.
©2012 Douglas K. Dandridge (P)2014 Douglas K. Dandridge
Doug Dandridge combines a healthy dose of in-depth technical description with excellent story telling to paint a realistic backdrop for his "Exodus" series. Not having read much of this genre in recent years I was pleasantly surprised with the way this story developed setting the stage for for future novels while still delivering a great deal of action both in space and on the surface. This is not just ship to ship combat. There are plots and sub plots a plenty that make this story and the characters come alive.
Dr. Jim Fox -- Former College Professor and Mental Health Therapist
I loved the story, but what it is is a book-long "setup". Unlike some books written in volumes, this story does not stand well by itself. By the time Book 2 arrives I may have to listen to this book again to regain the storyline in my head. Unlike J.K. Rowling or Jack Campbell, in which each book was a story in itself, "Empires at War" does not stand alone well.
It is a great book and will probably be a great series. If you read it now, you will have to wait for Book 2. That to me is frustrating.
I usually don't write reviews of books I don't like. Call this a lukewarm, mediocre review. First, the good: The premise is engaging and is set forth in the prologue. Earth is destroyed by aliens and a small ship of survivors makes its way a 1000 light years away to start over. The story opens 2000 years later. Obviously, the plot line will be the aliens re-discovering the hated humans (who assassinated the Emperor's son) and utterly destroying them. The archetype myth becomes David (the human empire) v. Goliath (the alien empire). Except the humans have advanced to within 20 years of technological parity with the aliens. Almost a fair fight. Pretty interesting idea.
The bad: The narration is just awful. Mr. Sterling has narrated some gay romance stories (at least that's what they look like to me on Audible) so I am surprised at how poor this narration was. His accents are terrible. His inflections are all wrong. Just bad reading. No excuses for this. If he had a director, the director was asleep. If no director, he needed one. I will say that he improved his diction and reading as the book progressed.
More bad: This is obviously going to be a serial series. However, I cannot understand why Mr. Dandridge takes the time to develop characters and then kill them off. It does not add to the plot development. In addition, the bad guys, of which there are a number, are stereotypes with no depth, motivation, or understanding. They are cliches at best. And, I have no clue how all of this will play out in the coming books. It's a cheap way to build suspense, in my opinion, and adds nothing to the overall trajectory of the plot.
Still more bad: The plot wanders all over the place with no real logic or direction. As a reader, I am trying to make sense of how all of this ties together. I can't. We move from micro-moments with characters that are likeable to grandiose movements with no connection. There are too many loose ends and dead ends.
This book could have benefited from a re-write and editing and from using a different reader. Oh well. Caveat emptor.
Lots of plot building with little action. Many characters have been introduced but none of them have achieved anything. Hoping book two will make some use of storylines.
If you don't want anything to happen but you like character identification this is your book.
I would need to research on the plot.
Yes the narration was fine.
The 12 hours of character introduction could have been done while something was happening. Or summarized into 1 hour.
Great original story that has a chance to develop into a good series but the story had way too much potato and appears to be saving the meat for book 2.
Introductions of many characters in the story that take up substantial reading time but the characters are never seen again. Likely for future books in the series but when one of the few and short action sequences do occur the characters involved are totally new.
The best scene was actually the free preview on the Audible website of the actual exodus from Earth. The book itself is all character development for (I'm assuming) future books is the series.
Yes...wish for a better conclusion. This book DOES NOT stand on it's own and requires you to get book 2 which I may purchase if it is released soon. If they wait too long I'll likely totally forget about the series.
If you want to write a series then (in my humble opinion) the first book should leave you fulfilled enough to WANT more in the series and not left hanging and furious at the author for putting out a work that far from complete. The narration by Finn Stirling was first rate and I look forward to listening to more of his work.
I thoroughly enjoyed the story, but it was very difficult to get through because of the terrible narration.
He didn't even try to capture any kind of emotion in any of the characters voices, he was decent with a few characters with accents, but otherwise very monotonous and uncaring. He needs to stick to gay romance novels and leave sci fi to the great narrators like Jeffrey kafer
Need a different someone different to Narrate. Story is disjointed and hard to follow with all of the different threads.
Didn't do justice to the characters when reading their conversations.
I might consider reading additional books from Doug Dandridge but only with a different narrator.
I may give the Kindle or print version of this book a try.
After three years of membership, and almost two hundred books purchased, this is the second book I've been unable to finish. And the only book I've returned due to the performance. I've listened to some poor narration but never before have I been so disappointed with the skills of the narrator that I'm now compelled to say bad things about his abilities.
To begin though, I should say some nice things about Mr. Sterling. His voice has a fine tonal quality and I suspect were it not for some physically limiting attributes, he would have a decent command of a nice set of "voices". Additionally, his voice can at times convey a sense of warmth and even comfort. However, none of these things by themselves are enough to qualify as a narrator of Fiction in general and Science Fiction in particular. The need to clearly enunciate particularly difficult words and phrases while maintaining the pace of the narrative is important. Mr. Sterling appears to lack this capability. He slurs and lisps his way through much of the dialog when reading in his normal voice and the quality diminishes precipitously any time he attempts to use one of the many other character voices.
In addition to the issues presented by having an instrument that is markedly different in design from the average human, Mr. Sterling does not appear to be comfortable with the subject material. There is a distinct lack of continuity between sentences and paragraphs. That lack of continuity can even manifest itself at times in the middle of a sentence. Long pauses can sometimes be used to introduce a dramatic effect. But, long pauses used at every juncture simply result in frustration. It is not clear to me whether the long pauses are a result of poor editing or poor performance so to be fair I suppose it could be both. However, another theory might be that he is reading the source material one sentence at a time until the director is happy with the delivery. Once that sentence is in the can, he goes on to the next. At least, that’s the way it sounds most of the time.
I should note that I am aware that often the narration must contain longer pauses between sentences and paragraphs in order to facilitate increasing the replay speed. Often this speed of play is managed by increasing or decreasing the time between words rather than speeding up the entire playback. I’ve some experience with this technique and I do not believe that the abhorrent lack of continuity here is a result of this technique. I must also add that Mr. Sterling appears to lack an understanding of how important it is to place syllable emphasis properly. Saying UNderstanding can imply a different meaning from underSTANDing. And in most cases, placing the emphasis incorrectly is just, incorrect.
Finally, I must mention that not all of the performance issues should be laid at Mr. Sterling’s feet. The direction and production quality for this book are not up to the standards that I have come to expect from Audible.
I am disappointed as the subject and premise are ones that I am greatly interested in in general and stories told over a vast span of time are my favorites in particular. As I said in the title of this review. This story could have been very good.
If you are interested in the story, please play the provided sample and listen closely. You may decide you can live with the performance issues.
"Dull & Dreary"
Difficult to say but it certainly was not for me. I stuck with it to near the end and decided it was total waste to time and a credit. Should have returned it under the superb Audible returns scheme.
Tightened up the plot considerably.
Monotone voice lacked engagement or excitment.
At least 50%.
I really don't like giving poor reviews but on this occasion ...
"Spot the derivative ideas"
Quite enjoyable, and the author is clearly a David Weber fan, using several ideas from both The Honorverse and Safehold series. If you know both series, it's quite entertaining spotting them. I enjoyed it enough to want to know what happens next, though the narrator is fairly dire., particularly his 'women's voices, which are more than a bit on the squeaky side.
A different worldbuilding/background (which is interesting BTW) and less political-philosophical meandering. But in in most other aspect this is a good substitute to for any abstinence in wating of the next Honor Harrington book.
The characters are less engaging, but this may grow over time as the author gets to know them.
The narrator is good, but sometimes he forgets/fails to change the voice between different charcters.
"Seems Like Half The Story Is Missing"
Not without the sequel being better. Verdict is still out on this story.
The problem with this story is that, after the beginning, not much happens. Having read the description, you'd think that you're in for some war between empires, but by the end of the book, you're very much still waiting for that to happen.
There is an interesting build up, but this is spoilt a little by the unbelievable baddies, all of whom seem to have no redeeming or believable qualities what-so-ever. The Prime Minister reminds me of the baddy who appeared in the Honor Harrington series (the one who tried to jump her in the shower) and that's not a good thing, given how poor that series was (until I got so fed up that I gave up on it).
Hopefully future instalments will pick up the pace a bit and won't try to drag things out needlessly in a poor attempt to sell more books (*cough* David Weber *cough*). It would also be nice to see some reasoning and believability with the villains in the story. Also, something which makes the main characters a little more memorable too.
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