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Koban, Book 1 | [Stephen W. Bennett]

Koban, Book 1

We colonized 700 planets. Humankind enjoyed the benefits of expansion room and the end of wars. We even 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 entire galaxy, through destruction and annihilation 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 tested humans for war capability.

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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (972 )
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4.4 (903 )
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Story
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Performance
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  •  
    Chuck Baker Augusta, Maine United States 04-27-15
    Chuck Baker Augusta, Maine United States 04-27-15 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Good story - not so good narration"
    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    The narrator constantly put emphasis on words that changed the meaning of the story and it just sounds wrong... It's like the reader tries to emphasize something in every sentence and that's just not how people talk... Annoying to me.


    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nate 05-14-15
    Nate 05-14-15 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    34
    3
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Story
    "Good Story, dreadful narration."
    Would you listen to Koban, Book 1 again? Why?

    Like many of the other reviewers, I found the narration dreadful. Each time the narrator use a chuckle in his voice I would cringe. Unfortunately, he did that a lot. But, I trusted the other reviewers and stuck with the story and listened to all of it.

    This is a well written book and worth the read. I'm looking forward to the other books in the series.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Koban, Book 1?

    The testing day.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    His intonation and inflection was entirely wrong for this type of book. People are dying left and right and he would use a chuckle in the main character's voice. It really made my teeth grind.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No


    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Denny L Bauer 06-21-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Story
    "I feel sorry for the author."

    Bennett wrote an an enjoyable book that suffers because of the narrator. I've listened to more audiobooks than I can count, and I've never heard worse. Character voices are cheesy, he doesn't pronounce words correctly and puts emphasis on the wrong words. (The sound effects and fake laughter have to go) All that being said, the story has me hooked and I will download the next book in the series.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Mossbarger 05-04-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Struggling to finish"
    Any additional comments?

    The narrator is just killing me. I'm 5 hours in and it is a struggle to continue. I have decided to suck it up because I really want to like this series and believe that book two's new narrator will save it for me. Fingers crossed.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ZHerm 06-17-15
    ZHerm 06-17-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    1
    FOLLOWERS
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    0
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    Story
    "Truly enjoyable story - except for the narrator"
    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Mispronouncing approximately 20% of the words, adding an annoying chuckle to half of the dialogue. It really distracted from a great story. I rarely write reviews, but this narrator must be stopped! Some comments indicate that there may have been an improvement in the narration; I shudder to consider how it could have been worse before.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura A Azevedo 01-07-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    59
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    147
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
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    Story
    "Great Story, Poor Narration"
    What did you like best about Koban? What did you like least?

    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.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Patrick Freeman?

    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. . . .


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    The book really is worth the effort of getting used to the narrator . . . but it may be more enjoyable to read it in print.

    30 of 37 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trip Williams Upstate, SC, United States 11-01-14
    Trip Williams Upstate, SC, United States 11-01-14 Member Since 2005

    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? OR, you can just let the horses in the yard, and THEY'LL mow and weedeat (literally) FOR YOU!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    300
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    316
    84
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    61
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    Story
    "New, Revamped, Narration is MUCH Better!"

    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!

    21 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    averageconsumer 05-21-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    111
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    7
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    "Great Story/Deadly Narration"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Koban to be better than the print version?

    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.


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    He strangled this worthy book, one bizarrely contorted paragraph after another. Other than that...


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    Yes. The world needs more good audiobook narrators.

    19 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Spencer OH 07-26-15
    M. Spencer OH 07-26-15 Member Since 2015

    mag boy

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    1
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    0
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    Story
    "Worst Narrator Ever"
    Any additional comments?

    I read the reviews of this book before buying it. Although it seemed as if everyone acknowledged the poor quality of the narrator, I figured i could struggle through and appreciate the story. After listening to two hours of this book, I find myself unable to due to the overwhelming annoyance with the narration. The narrator seems to choose a word out of every sentence at random to emphasize in his incredibly nasal voice. I would recommend reading a hard copy of this book for the story, then move on to the vastly superior narrators of the rest of the series.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. 07-18-15
    M. 07-18-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    79
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Story
    "Good Story, Horrible Narrator"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Koban, Book 1 to be better than the print version?

    No. No no no no no no no.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    In a world where book narration is done in the movie announcer voice, Patrick Freeman leads you through a space opera about humanity's first contact with an alien species while making the journey about as enjoyable as dancing barefoot on broken glass.The narrator places peculiar emphasis on words that don't need emphasizing. His voice is grating an nasal, at times he uses unnecessarily elongated S sounds (even when not voicing one of the aliens). He often ends sentences by making it sound like he's asking a question. He does manage to do well on the dialogue, but every other word that flies from his lips is like a dagger in the ear.


    Any additional comments?

    The story itself is a good one, which makes me sad that I can't actually recommend this production. Definitely listen to the audio sample before purchasing the audiobook. If you can tolerate Patrick Freeman's horrible performance then purchase it. Otherwise, definitely buy the physical book and enjoy it without the headache.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Mr. R. Chvapil
    UK
    4/12/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Harry Harrison feel"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Koban?

    Mental shift of all the Primes and newly arrivals becoming Kobani. .....United we stand.....


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    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....


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    the beast within


    Any additional comments?

    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

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • a j kember
    12/22/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "If you like having your intelligence insulted...."
    If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Young teens could enjoy this book


    What was most disappointing about Stephen W. Bennett’s story?

    The pace of the plot line really drags. There's nothing surprising or unexpected in the story direction. It's all very clunky.


    What didn’t you like about Patrick Freeman’s performance?

    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.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    I was disappointed, and slightly amazed that this had got good reviews.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm obviously not the target audience.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • stig1875
    8/1/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mr Anthony Geoghegan
    Kenmare, Co.Kerry Ireland
    7/8/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I'm bored with it already"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    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.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Stephen W. Bennett? Why or why not?

    I'd be dubious now as I've been burned.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Patrick Freeman’s performances?

    Not a chance.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Koban, Book 1?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • James
    7/6/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story. Stick with it as it gets better."

    Good story, had some difficulties with the narrator. Stuck with book. The story initally was a bit slow to start but soon picked up speed and turned in to a great story. The content of the story was excellent and not complicated. It did not assume that you knew what a certain subject was. Looking forward to the next book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Captain Kretin
    6/4/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "As good as it looked"

    The story sounded interesting. It is. Other reviews said it had lots of Technical stuff - it does but it does not harm the story at all!
    The narrator really adds to the story. Good work in every way, can't wait to start the next in the series, same narrator - great!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Schedim
    Uppsala, Sweden
    6/2/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Abysmal narration"
    What didn’t you like about Patrick Freeman’s performance?

    This is the worst narration I have encountered, odd intonation and slurring words, mixed with overly clear pronunciation of "complicated" words ruins the rhythm of the reading. I breaks further by the overlay of another actor reading some lines (possibly to "cover up" even worse performances of the original reade).


    You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    It may or may not be a good book, I don't know. I couldn't continue listen as I begun to fixate at the lisp(?) of the narrator.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jeremy
    washington, tyne and wear, United Kingdom
    5/6/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very poor narration"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A decent narrator, I turned it off after 20 minutes in disappointment


    What could Stephen W. Bennett have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Choose a different narrator


    What didn’t you like about Patrick Freeman’s performance?

    Clunky, poor performance, with a slight lisp, that appears and disappears in unconnected places


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointed, and annoyed that I wasted a credit on it.


    Any additional comments?

    Never again with this narrator!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • luke
    3/5/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Terrence
    London, United Kingdom
    12/16/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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