All new narration adds sound effects and eliminates issues noted in reviews. To obtain new version, remove old one from device, download new copy at no charge.
We colonized seven hundred planets. Humankind enjoyed the benefits of expansion and the end of wars. We disbanded our military.
Then the Krall found us.
The Krall have used thousands of years of combat to select the genes of the strongest and fastest warriors. They are a species determined to dominate the galaxy, through annihilation or enslavement of every opponent.
Koban is an uninhabited high gravity planet with impossibly fast savage animals, which employ organic superconducting nerves. This deadly world is where the Krall are testing humans for fighting capability. We are useful only if we can fight well. If not, they will destroy us swiftly, as they have other species. They have slaves, and we’re poor tasting meat animals, so we fight or die. The Krall will use us, if worthy, seeking physical perfection through attrition of war, one planet at a time.
Growing weary of our failures in testing, the ruthless Krall are on the verge of a decision to eliminate our species. A ship carrying bio-scientists is captured for combat testing. The choice for Captain Mirikami and the scientists is simple: Prove we can produce better, smarter fighters quickly, or humanity is doomed to rapid extermination.
But the Krall are only half the problem. We must survive Koban's gravity and superfast animals. The tiger-like rippers with skin contact telepathy are predators too fast and powerful for the Krall to face. Our solution is genetic: If you can't beat them as you are, become human rippers.
The Krall will learn another species can bypass natural selection.
©2012 Stephen W Bennett (P)2013 Stephen W Bennett
Did you know you can put in a set of Ear-Buds, slap your Hearing Protectors over them, and Mow the lawn, Weed-Eat, etc, without your book being drowned out by engine noise? I recently listened to "Augustus" while wandering through the Roman Forum. I'm on my third set of "Sleep-Phones". I've been addicted to audible since 2004... I think my friends are starting to suspect I have a problem ;)
I listened to the samples of this book back when the all of the complaints were being written about the narration.. I admit, just from the sample, I passed on this audio-book the first time around because of the bad reviews on the Narration, and from the sample I listened to (Even the sample was enough to let you know how bad it was).
I stumbled back onto the first book of this series the other day, read the reviews as late as just a few months ago, and thought "Yeah, I remember this one", and started to click my "Back" button on my Browser... THEN I saw the New note from the publisher saying the Narration had been redone, and even sound effects added.
...So I took a chance...
The NEW Narration is VERY good!!! The background sounds are subtle, and don't come anywhere near being a "Performance", and they ADD TO the book, rather than distracting from it! I started hearing this slight "Rumble" early in the book and at first thought "Oh no, Bad recording with a hum in it", but then I realized it was just the low background Hum of being inside a Spaceship! The Low "Spaceship Hum" (MUCH lower than the Noise inside a large Commercial Aircraft that you learn to tune out), drops out when the People hit Planet-Side! The Low Hum lets you know each time you're on a space craft.. along with lightly hearing digital buttons being pressed, "Acceleration Gongs", "pops and pings" as metal cools, the noises made as enemies cut into a space craft hull, etc... ALL of which are LOW in the background so as not to be annoying, and DO compliment the overall story.
The Narrator does SUCH a much better job doing THIS book, than he did previously on the first attempt... I was impressed by such a radical turn-around in the Narrator's style.
As for the Writing of the book itself, it's kinda long winded in some places, and slows WAY down in many action scenes when you really want the speed to pick up and get on by the sections that clearly have WAY too much unimportant detail...
Overall I enjoyed this book highly with the new narrator, and I think any flaws in this Audio-Book now have to be laid at the writer's feet... But it's well written except for the Constant (out of place) chuckles and the CONTINUOUS forced laughter when it's not Really appropriate, and the delays in "Getting on with the action" by putting too much unimportant trivia in SOME of the action scenes.
In the Future, the Gender Roles are reversed since men become nearly extinct in the past a few hundred years before this Book's Time Period takes place... Females may squeeze a Man's Butt, or "Pat his Package", by surprise, as has LONG been the case with men doing the same to Women in Sexual Harassment matters... Not to mention Men hitting "The Glass Ceiling in their Careers" due to their Gender... That whole concept is VERY well done! It gives men a glimpse of the CONSTANT crap that women are often forced to "just deal with".
If you listened to this book with the old Narration and couldn't get through it, or HATED IT, yet you still have in your library, just delete THAT copy, and download the new one.. According to Audible, replacing the old version with the new one is absolutely free!
Wonderful world building, great storyline, rich with interesting characters. I would probably loved it more in print. The narration of the story took quite a lot of getting used to.
ANYONE. Seriously . . . . . learn how to pace your words and stop sounding like Captain Kirk. Because . . . I really enjoyed . . . . your voices. . . . and I enjoy . . . the timber of . . . . your voice . . . . but there . . . . are more . . . . variations . . . . to punctuation . . . beyond . . . periods. . . .
The book really is worth the effort of getting used to the narrator . . . but it may be more enjoyable to read it in print.
the pronouncing of the one word strikes me like a hammer after the fifty time.. I an nearly every English speaking person I know of pronounces "novice" as per the dictionary as / nävəs / not as the Nov in Nova or November. It's like a ice pick in the eye by the end of the book.
Off the narration the book is very fun and entertaining.
The author did an excellent job developing the characters, the story line and the world. While the story is generally military sci fi, it touches on social issues and bio ethics in a well interwoven and non preachy way.
Many people have commented that the narration is generally flat with what emphasis there is in the wrong places. While I agree in many respects, I had a somewhat different take and I prefer to withhold or at least temper my judgement on the subject of performance. Thus the neutral rating.
Patrick Freeman has a very good reading voice and at times, clearly demonstrates that he does indeed understand how to breath life into his reading. While many lines are delivered with an unusual cadence, others seem to be quite normal with emphasis in all of the right places. This made me wonder whether the unusual cadence in delivery was done purposely as an interpretive mechanism, perhaps visualizing the way the characters might actually speak in that time and place. While I guess I will never know unless the narrator or author decides to tell us, I decided to listen to the story as if that were case. Doing so made the unusual cadence much easier to listen to.
This story has so many places to go in sequels that I am certain I will buy the next one (I am hoping that there is a "next one"). I very much enjoyed the insight the author provides into the though process of the Koban inhabitants (for reasons that will become obvious in the story, I would not use the word "animals"). The relationship between the humans and the rippers just begs for a follow up.
To put it mildly: no. I read all the reviews here before I bought this eagerly-awaited audiobook. After seeing opposing reactions to the narrator, I decided to accept him in the spirit of the positive reviews. I listened several times to the sample and thought I could live with any imperfections. But it didn't take long before I had to stop listening simply to escape surprising extremes of mental suffering.The narrator reads this excellent story in the gruesome meaningless cadences one would employ for doggerel.
There are indications of a very nice speaking voice and an intelligent mind behind the voice. So...how can this happen? Did the narrator never listen to a decent reader? Has he never listened to himself, made extensive comparisons, and asked a selection of people to respond with useful criticisms? I believe that the problems of chronic tonal and rhythmic meaninglessness can be fixed. And they had better be. Somewhere within himself, the narrator has the makings of actually being good at his job. Meanwhile however, he is very far from inadequate- and well into the realm of downright excruciating.
I didn't get far enough to know what I will like best. But right from the beginning, I found the quality of the writing and thinking behind the story intriguing, creative, and original.
He strangled this worthy book, one bizarrely contorted paragraph after another. Other than that...
I wouldn't. In my view there has never yet been a film better than a very good book.
In theory of course, it should be possible.
Yes. The world needs more good audiobook narrators.
The story ideas were very interesting and I look forward to listening to the next book in the series. The narration was not great, with the narrator regularly mispronouncing some words and other quirks that detracted from the experience. But I don't believe all of the trouble can be blamed on the performance. The writing is not especially good (Mr Bennett's first published story), and I think the narration emphasized this. Still, neither the writing nor the narration were terrible (I listened to the redone version) and I enjoyed the story very much.
Lose the artificial lion noises, after the first 50 times they get annoying
Some one more interested in telling a good story rather than acting out a comic book
The publisher's summary generally describes the thrust of the story. The Krall have a spiritual mission to dominate the galaxy through competitive, brutal breeding. Only their very best warriors are allowed to survive and breed in a complex social hierarchy. How do they become the best? By finding other species and battling them. Through battle test, the Krall hope for physical and spiritual perfection. And so, they discover humans. Humans are weak, pathetic prey. The story goes into great detail in many scenes, giving us a rich experience on a hostile, alien planet. The ingenuity, intelligence, leadership, and luck it takes the captured humans to survive is remarkable and realistic. The back story is just as interesting as the main plot. The morality of human gene modification is a central dilemma cast in the history of a devastating clone war in the human past. That war wiped out 98% of all human males, which led to some interesting changes in male-female relationships.
The downside of this interesting story is the narrator. He has what sounds like a slight Candadian accent. His inflections, pauses, and emphases are all wrong. You just have to get used to it and get past it. Despite that, I had a hard time putting this one down. It pretty much consumed my New Year's holiday. Sounds like there will be a sequel, and I will snap it up if it arrives.
The story was fresh but went into too much detail about every nuance of speech and body motion of each character in every dialog scene.The Narrator was awful. I have listened to almost 200 books and this guy was by far the worst. He put unnatural pauses in every sentence and emphasized the wrong words for effect. He paused after every 6-8 words, regardless of the flow of the sentences. It was almost like listening to the William Shatner Star Treck character over acting while reading the book.
I ended up listenning to the book at 3x speed and skipping many chapters to finish.
Get a different narrator. I'm avoiding this narrator from now on- no matter how much i like a book, this narrator will ruin it. I can't believe the producers of this audiobook allowed this to happen.
The book is O.K. Avoid this narrator.
This is a pretty good book. The overall story and concept behind the plot are put together very well. I wish, though, that I had read some of the reviews before I purchased this. There is no kind way of putting it; the narrator for this story was terrible. I have purchased and listened to well over 100 books from audible with narrators of varying degree of quality. In all of those I had never run into a narrator who as distracting to the story as this one. The pauses in speech and odd word emphasis make this a hard listen.
"Harry Harrison feel"
I liked the story line. As hinted in the headline this book recalled memories of Deathworld Pyrrus. This book however adds more ideas and twists. Due to it's length (excellent) the author covered many side stories that helped paint the picture but never losing the sight of the main storyline. I also liked the characters and clear effort that went into creating the social relations in post gene war society. And of course I will never get bored of the old line of humans as underdogs fighting against the odds and standing triumphant in the end(?)...hopefuly in future books.......fingers crossed
Mental shift of all the Primes and newly arrivals becoming Kobani. .....United we stand.....
Many scene were enjoyable. There isn't a favourite one but I liked the moment when the native tigers established mindlink with their human victims. The potentional richness of what could develop from this in future books is obvious and I can't wait....
the beast within
I enjoyed the narration once I got used to it. However I think few characters, mainly the the women and characters in charge were little unnatural. Overall good and enjoyable performance. Thank you
"If you like having your intelligence insulted...."
Young teens could enjoy this book
The pace of the plot line really drags. There's nothing surprising or unexpected in the story direction. It's all very clunky.
It's like having a 'voice over man' reading to you. The phrasing of the sentence is repetitive, and rarely matches the actual world being said.
I was disappointed, and slightly amazed that this had got good reviews.
I'm obviously not the target audience.
"Recomend this book and series"
I started this series a week ago and cannot wait for the rest of this series to come along, I just hope that Audible keep the series coming.
I would recomend these stories to other listeners.
"I'm bored with it already"
A less hackneyed plot and a narrator who can enunciate more than 6 syllables without pausing for his reading to catch up would have really improved this read for me.
I'd be dubious now as I've been burned.
Not a chance.
The Krall are boring and predictable. I find it completely unlikely humans would colonise some 700 worlds and end up in a state of internal peace. Talk about not understanding human nature.
I like escapism, it's not the escapist nature of the book I have an issue with. I'm just bored and not interested in finishing it. Plus the tiny hint of lisp the narrator has is starting to bug me. His characterisations are good though.
"A bit of escape"
Don't pick this up expecting a classic, once your into the story it flows nicely with likeable characters, a good plot line and a blend of tech's. It does feel - at least to me - a little light weight on occasion but I've already bought the second in the series. What else can I say.
"An excellent first story!"
I had to write a little something here about this audiobook, I was just getting ready to buy the 2nd and 3rd audiobooks because I absolutely loved the build up in this first one. I noticed the narrator had changed on the second and third books so I went along to Mr Bennetts FB page to see what caused it?
Seems there were some issues people were having about Patrick Freeman's narration, which in turn affected sales? Seriously? I mean seriously? I don't get it, I really don't. I absolutely loved what Patrick Freeman did with the narration here? There was a hell of a lot of tension in this story between species, Patricks methods of reading totally nailed that tension in my ears and in my visual imagination of what was going on with the Krall.
I've just taken a chance and bought the other two books because I'm totally hooked to the story and universe Mr Bennett has created, so yes, another new fan to his universe. I just hope the narrator of the other audiobooks, (Eric Michael Summerer) can nail the vibe that has been created in this first book. I got burned really hard with the change of narrators with Peter V. Brett's (The Demon Cycle) audiobooks, he dropped the narrator Peter Joyce and replaced all the books with Colin Mace and for me, killed the 'feel' of the audio story dead in the water.
Anyway, it's been a while since I've enjoyed a good long bit of audio Sci-Fi like this, the last time I got a feeling like this was listening to Peter F Hamilton's Commonwealth Saga. What ever the other books hold for me, this is a great story and a great bit of narration no matter the negative comments thrown out somewhat unfairly to Patrick Freeman (in my opinion).
If you are thinking about getting this audiobook and are taking in some of the negative comments about narration, don't listen to them. Get it the audiobook, judge the audiobook for yourself, it's a great rollercoaster of a ride.
For me 5 stars all round.
"I was hooked from chapter one."
The sound effects enhanced the great storyline.
I'd compare this to David Weber's writings because of the detailed descriptions and in depth analysis during the narration. Just my kind of reading.
I had a visceral reaction to the fighting etc. and loved the detailed descriptions of the dangers the characters faced.
"geat book shame about the narration"
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and immediately bought book 2, excellent plot and very original storyline. the only downside is the narrator who frankly is dreadful, he makes it sound like half the characters are either addled or drunk but even that didn't spoil a really good book.
"Enjoyable for the most part"
The basic story is interesting well written with good character development. The gender role reversal is interesting but really is just a side note and a bit of a distraction. The arrogance of a conquerer race is well done and the idea of the survival of the fittest carried to an extreme is logical.
The narrator generally does a good job but for one of the main female characters decided to use an odd speech pattern with pauses and tonal inflections that is very annoying and as it is a main character you come to dread her lines.
Overall the story was enjoyable to listen to and is recommended.
This is a great book but I have to take one star off performance because the audio gets suddenly a quieter in places.
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