She has a lot to live up to and a lot to prove in the long-running struggle among her powerful family, a highly defensive - and offensive - Earth, and the hundreds of warring colonies. Then an ill-conceived attack brings the war close to home, putting Kris' life on the line. Now she has only one choice: certain death on the front lines of rim space - or mutiny.
©2004 Mike Moscoe; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
I'm not military nor do I know about military protocols, so any slip-ups in that area went past me and did not bother me. On the other hand, this series is supposed to be set in the far future, and who can know how things will change. Also, I thought they were pretty clear that she wasn't supposed to be in the situations she was in. The original drop mission was a setup to kill her, so I don't see the problem with the plot there. I don't dissect books that I read/listen, I read them for enjoyment. I guess if you are a big military enthusiast looking for ultra-realism, this book will probably disappoint you. I found it to be entertaining enough that I plan to download the next one.
As to Dina's reading, I was entertained by the different voices. Did I stop and check them for realism and quality? No, I just took them as they were and enjoyed the book. Dina spoke clearly, did not have any voice mannerisms that drove me crazy, and I thought did a good job and was consistent when using a particular voice for a particular character.
I don't know why there is such a gulf in opinions, but I would suggest you listen to the sample online and if you like the sample, then you will probably like the book.
Courtesy of Lost Art Audio
This book has some really wonderful elements. Even though it's sci fi, it's more a military novel, following the Navy career of Kris Longknife and the political structure of 100 planets with human life. We don't see any aliens, and most fantastic elements have to do with computers and technology. I should mention that the book was written in 1994, meaning that Nelly - Kris's personal (pet) AI computer - is probably a bit less powerful than the newest Android. Be it as it may, the story is excellent, and very, very military. If you're into the politics of internal command hierarchy, or into rescue and humanitarian distress mission, it's a fun read. Mike Shepherd does a good job with a 22-year-old female, but I think it's more because she's a soldier, and Mike Shepherd was Navy himself, so he knows a thing or two in the regard.
My only real criticism is that this book was a lack of cohesion - it seemed to be separated in three parts: rescue mission & return home (very well done; we really understand Kris's history from the mission, and we get a good understanding of her family - the prime minister family of an entire planet - from her return home); humanitarian mission on Olympia (this part sags. It tells us a lot of Kris's character and leadership abilities, but it gets too bogged down in the moral implications and reflections on a soldier's duties); and mission to attack (this is the crowning moment and the name-sake of the book). Unfortunately, these three parts don't meld too well. I would have liked to see a bit less soldiering, and more politicking, maybe more love interest.
Dina Pearlman is excellent (Anna Strong series, or Weather Warden series). She does a wonderful Irish accent, which takes up a good half-hour of reading when the Highlanders visit Olympia. She also does a great job with internal dialogue versus external dialogue is very important to the listener, and she does it well.
Some of the issues I had with the book: sloppy writing, inconsistencies, logic issues, etc. But the big problem for me is that the whole space scenario is completely wasted. This really didn't need to be set on another planet. The names, people, technology, etc., all felt like it should have been a hum drum medieval fantasy type piece instead: kidnapping plot foiled, politics aplenty, the king (er prime minister) is playing a double edged sword, heroine has a plethora of suspiciously brilliant relatives/friends whose only purpose is to provide some deus ex machina answer to the not very interesting mystery, and will she survive....... The plot kept running around in circles, belaboring points of the heroine's past (yeah, we get it already, move on!) ad nauseum.
I didn't connect with any part of this. The action was flat and didn't feel threatening but the non-action scenes lacked depth and hit far too many cliches. Rebel daughter, wise grandfather, shallow aristocratic mother, distracted leader father, loyal servants who help her out on the sly. At the point where you get to the middle of the story, and (no spoilers here) despite having lost one child to murder the father doesn't investigate a threat on another child. It just lacks heart. And a story set in space should probably take place in space more and not on typical old fashioned earth type settlements with computers, hackers, cars, sleds, castles, and surprisingly no other type of creates from these planets, etc.
The narrator has been on a lot of books and was a bit too familiar to me. She does a great job reading but I just didn't connect the mature, scratchy, voice with a young plucky heroine.
Unfortunately, it just didn't pique my interest and so I won't be continuing the series.
Over the last 2-3 months, I listened to the entire 8 book series (and more are coming). I actually own these in book form as well, and regardless of the format, this is good brain candy. These adventures of Kris Longknife don't make you think, raise questions about morality or do anything but provide a pleasant diversion from life.
That being said, these audiobooks have a major flaw. Miss Pearlman has a pleasant enough voice and does a better and better job of presenting these books the further along in the series she goes. However, she also has two rather distracting flaws in her performance. Throughout all 8 novels, she regularly presents the wrong voice for a character, particularly using Jack's voice in place of Kris' quite frequently. The other problem I have might more fairly be described as a personal preference. Particularly in the early novels, Miss Pearlman regularly slips into a sort of children's storytelling cadence during the exposition. Its jarring to be hearing about a battle, when the rhythms of her voice sound almost fairytalish.
70+, been reading SF since 1953. Vision is going so have switched to Audible.
My kind of fantasy fiction. Right up there with Horacio Hornblower. My budget doesn't allow for me to obtain them as fast as I would like. I will be doing at least one a month until I read them all or pass into the next realm of existence.
I have something like 216 books in my library at this time, I always mean to be more active but I go nowhere without a book in my earphones
I am always willing to try again maybe a book written a few years down the line when he has had time to get his style nailed down as for the narrator she did not do to badly with what she had to work with.
it lacked substance. I see most people bash the military discipline (it WAS bad) but I can forgive almost any deviation from realism as long as the book is well written, this one was not. granted I did just finish listening to skin game from Jim Butcher and narrated by James Marsters and few can hold a candle to that duo but I had intended to just clear the palate with a short book before going onto another 20-30 hour book...I couldn't even finish it. the concept of her being put in charge of a backwater that she had to whip into shape reminded me of a poorly written attempt to copy on basilisk station by David weber. maybe if I had read this one first I would have enjoyed it more.
child's book narrator. I cant really say anything bad about her voice but the inflection and tone she uses just sounds well suited to children's books to me.
it wasn't really any one scene that ruined it for me, it was his writing style and ideas on how his military works. the views of the characters and reasons they do what they do just did not seem real to me.
I don't want to sound like an armchair expert by critiquing someone's work who is a far better writer then I will ever be, but I did not enjoy the book. I think it better suited to a younger crowd who wants excitement without any realism.
Well written, highly interesting scifi adventure story that keeps your interest throughout the audio book. Excellent narration. This first in a series holds promise to keep you interested from cover to cover of each book. I highly recommend this for those who enjoy high adventure, solid and entertaining stories, that keep your interest throughout. David in Kuwait
If you like strong female characters in sci-fi, then you will enjoy this military sci-fi series. I have actually read most of the series in paperback, but picked up Mutineer on Audible to see how it compares. I thought the narrator did an excellent job, particularly with the Scottish/Highland/Irish characters (though a true Scot may feel differently), and in keeping all the characters voices seperate (and there are a lot of characters). Looking forward to listening to the others soon!
I'm a big fan of strong female characters in sci-fi and have loved authors like Elizabeth Moon for portrayal of such characters and their exciting stories so I was quite disappointed in this weak character and her pathetically boring story lines.
The pace was slower than any adventure story should be with the author obviously setting up future plotlines for the next book or reveiwing information from a previous book.
The characters were 2D with innapropriately stereotypical cultural backgrounds. The relationships lacked depth and the romances were immature at best.
The dialogue of all the characters was flat and the use of modern idiomatic language was distracting. I also had serious problems with the stereotypical language used in the dialogue of characters from certain religious or cultural backgrounds.
Probably my worst complaint was the narrator, who mispronounced several words, used bizzare accents and kept up a slow 'children's book' tone throughout the series, including scenes of violence and death which was just creepy.
I will say that the universe created by the author was interesting but not enough to make up for the slow pace and boring characters.
This book reminds me of Moon's Vada series. It's okay to listen to but nothing remarkable. I found myself really not interested in any of the characters and beyond apathetic to the whole family rivalry plot line...
"Check the sample"
Mike Sheperd writes a really good story, multi-layered and with a good dry wit. Listen to the narrator before buying as, if you can't 're-read' it in your mind, you'll find the voice a problem. Tommy's funny Irish could be put down to the Chinese influence but, as another has said, the Scots is awful! I disagree that Shepherd had the Scots as English however. He was comparing the Lorna Doon Officers Mess with the English in India... Well, listen/read and make up your own mind. I've gone on to get more I like the story that much.
"A dissapointing book"
I'd heard good things about the Kris Longknife series, and while in book form it still maybe alright I found the audio version a chore to listen to. The narrator has no idea when or how to put the emphasis in a sentence, perhaps because she doesn't seem to be able to read ahead of her speech. In addition she has very little range in the voices she does, every male voice sounds the same.
I can't recommend this as an audiobook at all.
"Could do better"
This, the first book in the longknife series, is a well paced and, at times, thought provoking book that is let down by a number of inconsistancies by the authour and awful accents by the narrator. The narrator sometimes makes you feel like their narrating a childrens book and her Scottish accents are the worst i have heard in a long time. The main flaw in this book is that the authour has clearly not done enough research into his subject matter. From his implying that Highlanders came from England to the total lack of any science realism, this book is dissapointing. If a science fiction authour wants to ignore physics, fine, make up some new science (like Star Trek) but don't talk about radar and optical sensors in space that magically ignore the speed of light. This carelessness mars what could have easily been a much better book. The character development is good as is the story telling but ultimatly i was left dissapointed.
"Scottish Accents Not a Strong Point"
While I generally liked the performance on this one, Dina Pearlman can't do Scottish accents for toffee. I'm inclined to believe she's reading the written down accent however, since the author doesn't know what a Yorkshire Pudding is.
I liked this, but it did seem to have more text than story; ie. it was a little long, as in elongated for word count. Kris suffers from that most unfortunate of character conditions, not seeing the bleeding obvious until 5 minutes after the reader. However, the plot is pretty good, the action is realistic, the spaceships actually use a form of Newtonian physics (at least as far as sublight travel is concerned), and Kris is a likeable character.
One of the strongest points of the book is also its weakest. Mike Shepherd was a Navy brat according to his bio and the book is jammed full of naval jargon which is very authentic-sounding, very atmospheric, and requires you to look up half the words before you can figure out what gives. Kris is a Boot Ensign; I spent the first 5 minutes of the book looking that up on Wikipedia. There's such a thing as too much authenticity.
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