The dynamic conclusion to the Agent of Change series in Lee and Miller's Liaden Universe!
Val Con yos'Phelium: a Scout, former Agent of Change, husband, brother to Turtles, and designated heir to Clan Korval's fortune and mission... Whether you considered him respectable or not, no one would call him a gambling man. When he reappears demanding Balance and retribution, he looks exactly like the kind of leader his clan has been producing for generations. On his capable shoulders the fate of his Clan, his world, and his civilization.... Pat Rin yos'Phelium: fond father, bon vivant, ne'er-do-well... and a professional gambler. The enemies of Korval have offered Pat Rin the Ring that would make all of Korval's holdings his own and a Juntavas Judge has offered Pat Rin a world....
When he appears with hired guns in tow, no one is expecting him and no one knows what he'll do. Pat Rin is a gambling man, and on his wild-card shoulders the fate of his Clan, his world, his civilization....
This long-awaited culmination of the Agent of Change sequence of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's internationally acclaimed Liaden Universe novels pits unexpected friends and unexpected enemies against each other in a war that spans planets and races - and threatens to bring interstellar violence to the very surface of fabled Liad.
©2002 Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
A 50-something who loves sci-fi, cozy mysteries, thrillers, an occasional romance, and any genre if it is a good story. And especially if it makes me laugh! No vampires or zombies though - these are NOT sci-fi!
I love this series. It is a great story! It is best to start with Conflict of Honors, then Agent of Change, Carpe Diem, Plan B, then this book, to get the full story and understanding. I was not very happy with this narrator. Most characters were voiced well, but he made Pat Rin sound smarmy, though he is written as a reserved, very proper gentleman. It was better by the end of the book, but every time Pat Rin said something, I got irritated, and it spoiled the experience somewhat. However, it would take more than that to spoil the Liaden Universe!
A trilogy. Say it in three. Done.
STORY and SERIES: The Liaden Universe series follows the fortunes of Clan Korval, comprised of yos'Phelium and yos'Galan families, their kitties, and a sentient tree. It begins with Crystal Soldier, chronologically set about 1400 years before I DARE.
I have read the series. As space opera, it relies more on fantasy than science, abounding with wizards, goddesses, and an ancient, towering, pharmaceutically inclined tree. I love the sentient tree.
Good entertainment! (But expect frequent POV switches and some gaping plot improbabilities. Also, this story may be quite confusing unless you have followed the series.)
NARRATION: Unlike some narrators in this series, Andy Caploe adopted a unique voice for each character. Some voices worked better than others, in my opinion. Several voices reminded me of New Jersey or the Bronx. I wondered if he had read the series and understood the nuances of the Liaden language. I also wondered why various books in the series were assigned to different narrators (making for inconsistency). Having listened to four narrators in this series, I liked Keven T. Collins best, followed by Bernadette Dunne.
Vocalization analysis for I DARE, in no order:
Edger the Clutch Turtle: Perfect vocalization. Deep and profound. His brother Sheather's voice is slightly twangy, and not deep enough.
Nelerikk the Yxtrang Explorer (aka Beautiful). Not quite right. Almost a nasal twang. Not deep enough. Nelerikk is a super-soldier, taller and stronger and bigger than Liadens and Terrans.
Daav yos'Phelium. Fine. Deep, bass voice, uninflected and unaccented, as Liaden should sound.
Miri Robinson yos'Phelium. Fine. Quite good.
Cheever McFarland. Not right. Sounds like he is stupid. He's a master pilot, not a mob boss.
Pat Rin yos'Phelium. Caploe pronounces his name as one word, Patrin (fine by me). However, Pat Rin's voice is too nasal and has too much inflection. Should be gentlemanly, smooth, and precise, with an underlayer of steel, reflecting his code-driven upbringing.
Clonak ter'Meulen. Good.
Shan yos'Galan. Very good.
Val Con yos'Phelium. Good. Nicely uninflected.
Natessa the Assassin. Good.
Etienne Borden. Okay. This official at Port Surebleak has a strong French accent. That startled me, given this setting. I guess Caploe reflects the French first name.
Delm Oreb. Ugh. Like a squeaky little girl, not a noble old lady.
Jeeves. Sometimes okay. The AI robotic butler was programmed to reflect high Liaden, but sometimes he sounds fussy. Almost no inflection should be noticed.
Bharupendra Darteshek. Okay. The Juntavas pilot has a strong Indian accent, probably from his name, but it sounds startling in this futuristic, far-flung setting.
Anthora yos'Galan. Mostly okay, but sometimes girlish.
Nova yos'Galan. Fine.
Ren Zel dea'Judan. Fine.
Boy child on Liad who notices the Xtrangs near the park. Okay, but a bit high pitched.
Commander of Agents. The villain's voice sounds Liaden, as it should. His speech is uninflected, so that's fine.
I can't decide if this is my favorite of the series or if Local Custom is. Never mind, it doesn't matter; I loved this book. I am so happy to have re-read it because there is an amazing amount of complexity that I missed the first time. This is my third time through the story but this time in Audible format. I have never listened to Andy Caploe before and it took awhile to warm up to his voice but I ended up really enjoying his interpretation of the various characters.
The story is like a complex weaving. The reader is kept abreast of several story lines on multiple planets and as the book comes to its conclusion the lines weave more tightly and faster and the next thing you know there is a fabulous cohesive series of events that tie everything together. A LOT happens in the last 50 pages of this book and it is exhilarating.
Although I usually prefer print over audio, because I like this series so much, I wanted it in as many formats as possible. I purchased the entire audio series as soon as it was available in 2012 but did not actually start listening to it until October 2013, finishing the entire five-volume "Agent of Change" sequence in just under two weeks.
For the most part, I enjoyed the audio version very much. I tend to read very fast and the audio forced me to slow down immensely; I even picked up on some scenes that I apparently missed while reading the series.
Mr. Caploe gives a good reading performance although I do disagree with the pronunciation of of certain (English) words. My main criticism of his performance deals with his character voice for Pat Rin in "I Dare". I have always had an affinity for Pat Rin, a quiet, elegant, and reticent person, and to hear him presented in a nasally, almost (to me) hoodlum-like voice was extremely off-putting and grating to the ear. Another voice that could have been done better was Anthora; he made her sound like some "Valley Girl" parody.
The narration on this greatly detracted from enjoying this story. I enjoyed reading the book, and I like rereading books, so I found having the book read to me entertaining. But again the narrator was terrible.
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