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Spherical Harmonic: A Novel of the Skolian Empire | [Catherine Asaro]

Spherical Harmonic: A Novel of the Skolian Empire

Separated for decades by circumstance and political machinations, the Ruby Dynasty, hereditary rulers of Skolia, struggle to bring together the tattered remnants of their family in the shadow of a disastrous interstellar war. Too many have died, others are presumed lost, yet Dyhianna, the Ruby Pharaoh, must move quickly if they are reassume their rightful place as rulers of the Skolian Empire.
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Publisher's Summary

Separated for decades by circumstance and political machinations, the Ruby Dynasty, hereditary rulers of Skolia, struggle to bring together the tattered remnants of their family in the shadow of a disastrous interstellar war. Too many have died, others are presumed lost, yet Dyhianna, the Ruby Pharaoh, must move quickly if they are reassume their rightful place as rulers of the Skolian Empire.

BONUS AUDIO: Includes an exclusive introduction by author Catherine Asaro

Listen to all of our Saga of the Skolian Empire titles.

©2001 Catherine Asaro; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"A complex narrative using Machiavellian plots in a tightly woven story of deception and rebirth." (Romantic Times, a Top Pick)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (82 )
5 star
 (26)
4 star
 (32)
3 star
 (15)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (5)
Overall
4.0 (40 )
5 star
 (16)
4 star
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3 star
 (9)
2 star
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1 star
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Story
3.8 (41 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Mary Coder Fallbrook, CA USA 02-19-11
    Mary Coder Fallbrook, CA USA 02-19-11 Member Since 2008

    star gazer

    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    2
    Overall
    "I give up"

    Well, I can't say I wasn't warned. But I was anxious to find out what happens next in the series. I thought, how bad can the narrator be? In the first few minutes, I agreed with the other reviewers that she sounds childish, but I thought I could put up with it for this one volume. Then I realized that the viewpoint character was Dehya Selei, the elegant, powerful mathematical genius and Ruby Pharoah of the Skolian Imperialate. When she chirps, "I created the psiberweb," in a tone and cadence you might expect to hear "I created a new Barbi costume," I gave up. I'm buying the paper book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Mounsey Durham, NC 12-21-10
    S. Mounsey Durham, NC 12-21-10 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    272
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Good book, horrible narrator"

    I agree with the previous three reviewers that the narrator absolutely kills this book. I adore Asaro's work, and I haven't minded adjusting with different narrators in the past, but this narrator sounds like a child. The narration not only detracts from the story in general, but the character portrayals as well. The narrator, oftentimes, sounds like a nanny trying to tell a fairytale to small children resulting in caricatures instead of interesting characters.


    The sudden difference in pronunciation from the other books in the series I've listened to was very jarring and irritating. I wish the producers had chosen another narrator, but at the very least, had bothered to check the pronunciations of the previous recordings by Blackstone.

    It is still a good book, worth listening to (or reading), especially to round out the Skolian saga universe. Just be prepared to deal with the odd character voices and different pronunciations.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann Raleigh, NC 06-25-12
    Ann Raleigh, NC 06-25-12 Member Since 2009

    Ann

    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    113
    5
    FOLLOWERS
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    0
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    "Not my favorite Skolian Empire book"
    If you’ve listened to books by Catherine Asaro before, how does this one compare?

    I have read almost all of Catherine Asaro's Skolian Empire books - almost all of which I have greatly enjoyed. This book however, in my mind, goes a little over the edge in the physics/math nerdery. The discussion about spherical harmonics goes on and on. That being said, Dyhianna is meant to be insanely gifted in mathematics so maybe I should have expected the book to correspond with her personality. If you are really into physics/math (PhD or the like) you may really enjoy this book. If you didn't get any further than a few semesters of each in college its probably a bit much.

    I also did not find the story as compelling as the others. Parts of the book seem drawn out and a bit boring. I also felt that the romance fell flat - perhaps because I could not forget the fact that her husband is also her nephew... ick!


    What didn’t you like about Liza Kaplan and Catherine Asaro ’s performance?

    Another concern I had about this book is the narrator. I see it essentially as a casting mistake. The narrator has a great voice, but it is a bit girlish and in my mind much more fitting for a youth novel rather than as a the voice of a 120+ year old woman who looks like she is in her 40s. Additionally, she doesn't pronounce terms the same way Anna Fields pronounced them which I found annoying (e.g., "Saus" was pronounced "Soe-z" rather than "Saw-z"). I'm sure she'd do great in other books, but I don't think she is the best fit for this one.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ESBliss 12-20-11
    ESBliss 12-20-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    506
    1
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    Story
    "Brilliant story, awful casting."

    I absolutely love the Skolian Series the stories create an intelligent and wonderfully rich epic. I have been reading them for years, I decided to get them on Audible to hear them while I paint. I can't believe the horrible casting, the reader brings to mind an Anime cartoon.
    This should have been read by a woman with a rich voice, and a grasp of language to enable pronunciation of the names rooted in Meso-America. You would think the reader of a book based so deeply in Physics and Mathematics could properly pronounce Laplace.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebekah Reading, PA, United States 11-02-10
    Rebekah Reading, PA, United States 11-02-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    49
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    157
    26
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    "Missing Anna"

    I have to agree that the narrator detracts from the story. Despite that it's a good story and important parts of the Ruby dynasty's story resolve so I enjoyed it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sean Vikoren 01-24-09 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    137
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    "New Reader Hurts"

    After the enjoyment of the first six stellar books, the transition to the new reader is proving to be quite difficult. Her quirky style distracts from the story. Also, nobody bothered to synchronize pronunciations with the previous books.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joan Sodus Point, NY, United States 05-19-10
    Joan Sodus Point, NY, United States 05-19-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Narrator spoils story"

    I love Catherine Asaros books, but the narrator on this one makes it so bad it is hard to listen. Her voice is very childish, and her voices for some of the most powerful characters makes them sound like gnomes instead of war leaders or the highly intelligent Ruby Dynesty characters we learned to love in other audio productions. She cretainly was a very strange choice, I can't imagine what the producers were thinking.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin Ottawa, ON, Canada 05-03-13
    Kevin Ottawa, ON, Canada 05-03-13 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    61
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Please Audible, PLEASE redo the rest of the series"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    No one could enjoy this reading!


    What was most disappointing about Catherine Asaro’s story?

    Could not listen to the story


    How could the performance have been better?

    Duh


    What character would you cut from Spherical Harmonic?

    The reader!!!


    Any additional comments?

    Please Audible/Amazon, this is a great series and Anna Fields was amazing. Don't know how or why she was changed out but that was a horrible MISTAKE.

    Please... redo the reading!!!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
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