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Swarm: Star Force, Book 1 | [B. V. Larson]

Swarm: Star Force, Book 1

Kyle Riggs is snatched by an alien spacecraft sometime after midnight. The ship is testing everyone it catches and murdering the weak. The good news is that Kyle keeps passing tests and staying alive. The bad news is the aliens who sent this ship are the nicest ones out there.
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Publisher's Summary

Earth arms marines with alien technology and builds its first battle fleet! Kyle Riggs is snatched by an alien spacecraft sometime after midnight. The ship is testing everyone it catches and murdering the weak. The good news is that Kyle keeps passing tests and staying alive. The bad news is the aliens who sent this ship are the nicest ones out there.

A novel of military science fiction by best-selling author B. V. Larson, Swarm is the story of Earth's annexation by an alien empire. Long considered a primitive people on a backwater planet, humanity finds itself in the middle of a war - and faced with extinction.

Battle stations! Listen to another Star Force novel.

©2010 B.V. Larson (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

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  •  
    M. Pannenberg Fremont, CA 03-07-12
    M. Pannenberg Fremont, CA 03-07-12 Member Since 2014

    Fan of the Amazon

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unbelievable characters"
    This book wasn???t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    In my opinion, this is easy listening SciFi. Entertaining if you don't want to invest too much effort.


    Would you ever listen to anything by B. V. Larson again?

    Not sure.


    Any additional comments?

    The main character is a computer science major, but his conversations with the machine is just aggravatingly illogical. Also, he takes charge of the whole army of super soldiers, without any military training or background, continues to lose most of his men because he's being an idiot and then doesn't even seem to feel responsible. I profoundly disliked the main character. Lost his family in the first chapter, but that doesn't really seem to faze him much only a few pages on.

    19 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 08-04-12
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 08-04-12 Member Since 2014

    I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Six Million Dollar Man"

    The very beginning of this reminds me of the game Portal. Then it becomes kind of (early) Heinleinist. It ends with the Six Million Dollar Man.

    The story concept is really good and will keep you listening, even at the times when the writing falters.

    Problems: At the beginning the main characters' kids are killed and in a very gross way. His reaction is very lacking. Parts of the book sound like something Piers Anthony would write. We are given information on his wife's death, which was kind of gross and which adds nothing to the story. He is a college professor who teaches computer science and this seems to give him the ability to lead armies, design weapons, be a diplomat and be a military strategist. I believe those that have trained in the military all there life will be insulted by this.

    Good: The story is creative. It kept my attention as the miles I was driving just melted by. I have never heard of the (Hope Monkey) before, but I will always remember it. The length of the book is perfect. The ending makes you want to buy the rest in the series.

    The narrator was ok, but after listening to Ray Porter and Dick Hill, he was a little lack luster.

    25 of 31 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brent Portland, OR, United States 10-10-11
    Brent Portland, OR, United States 10-10-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great read"

    This was the best sifi that have listened to in a while. Not that it is brilliant by any means, but it is very absorbing, has great pacing, is well performed and avoids most of the pitfalls which have ruined so many other contemporary sifi series. As with a lot of sifi – most of what happens is absolutely preposterous, but Larson dose a great job of making everything seem plausible as it unwinds. The hero is strong, the situations novel, the conflict imaginative. Not deep literature, but a great story.

    What made this best for me is actually what it left out. I have read a lot of this style of sifi (invading space aliens etc) and in most of it the author seems more interested in tub thumping about their politics than actually telling a story. Swarm mercifully avoids this. Sure, there are political conflicts and strains, but there is too much serious stuff going on for Larson to bother going into snide asides about how easy it would be to defeat the aliens if it were not for all the liberals and hippies getting in the way, or to go off on some rant about impending global melt down caused by greedy corporate right wingers.

    The other pitfall Larson manages to dodge is not getting his ego get caught up in his hero too much. Ok, so the hero is your cliché average guy swept up by events and single handedly saves the world (several times), but he is written well enough that this feels genuine. Often, such a heroic main character just feels like the author is using the hero as an excuse to write about an idealized version of themselves, allowing their ego to explode out all over the page. Again, Swarm mercifully avoids this. – very refreshing.

    All in all 3 thumbs up and I hope Larson will turn out a lot more like this.

    17 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alex FPO, AP, United States 10-27-11
    Alex FPO, AP, United States 10-27-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "John Ringo sans the crazy politics..."

    Mr. Larson's book reminds me a great deal of John Ringo's earlier works, those written before he began letting his politics into his writing (Read: Let the crazy out), the series has a really nice premise and the action is well thought out. In fact, My only issues with the book are:

    1) Mr. Larson likes to repeat himself a great deal:
    He'll say something once, then again, then spend two pages pounding it into your cranium until you want to yell "Alright! I understood you the first time now can we please see the damn thing blow up now!" I do not mind long explanations of say 'the social impacts of alien tech', but come the hell on!, it began to feel he was pushing for word count rather then advancing the story line.

    2) Tactics, tactics, tactics!:
    I understand the main character is a college professor but, many of the secondary characters are supposed to be military professionals and you can't tell me that a Colonel or even a Sargent with years of experience on the guy wouldn't tell the nerdy self appointed 'commander' to pack sand if he ordered them to assault a position, over open ground mind you, where a superior enemy holds the high ground. And there is a word for any officer whom takes 6 companies of Marines into battle and suffers 90% losses in a engagement and that word is 'Fired.' I don't care if your the savior of the world your would not lead men into battle after that no one would trust you to.

    3) Characters:
    (Deleted to brevity) (I'm talking to the author now)
    STOP BUILDING CARICATURES AND START CREATING CHARACTERS.
    Come on the psychopathic Latin sex bomb? NEWSFLASH! Women like that don't really exist. (No matter how much you want them to)
    The dumb enlisted man and the elitist officer? Really?!?

    I'm probably going to buy the next book in this series. The story is interesting despite the above drawbacks and the author seems to be getting better at his craft.

    38 of 48 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mel Aclaro ANAHEIM, CA, United States 10-21-12
    Mel Aclaro ANAHEIM, CA, United States 10-21-12 Member Since 2008

    My wife says she can read me like an open book. Though she regrets not being able to shut me up the same way. :)

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Original. Occasionally slips to mundane..."

    ... But, overall, it's a good listen; not a wasted a credit.

    You know when your friends occasionally describe a movie as a good "popcorn matinee" for those Saturday afternoons when there's nothing else to do? This is like that.

    I like to think of this series now as my warm backup when "credit day" arrives yet finding myself all caught up with my main GoTo authors and waiting for their next title.

    If you find yourself in that boat and enjoy the occasional bucket of popcorn (with butter) and military sci-fi story a-la "War of the Worlds," meets "Transformers," meets "Alien vs. Predator," AND you're feeling adventurous enough to give an unexplored author a shot, then you're likely to enjoy this one.

    Head nod, too, to the performance of narrator Mark Boyett. Mr. Boyett's pacing, voice inflection and character-voice diversity complements the rhythm that was probably intended by author B.V. Larson.

    MEL'S BOTTOM LINE: Though it devolves a bit in the middle to a mundane "shoot-em-up" ground fight, there's more than enough originality and enigmatic backstory to keep you engaged in Book 1, even as you "Wish List" future titles in this promising series for those slow Saturday afternoons. But when you do, take this tip to heart: don't spare the popcorn butter! :)

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Naka 10-03-12
    Mike Naka 10-03-12 Member Since 2012

    Avid Zombie fan who's starting to listen to more and more Fantasy and Sci-Fi stories. So, my description is apt to change. Dog lover who's known to have cats. LOL C# coder, part-time prepper, B movie fan, AMC watcher, recovering but successful day trader, perpetual student, overjoyed uncle, former adrenaline junkie with a flare for cooking, and lots more. LOL

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "great man vs. machine opening shot"
    Any additional comments?

    i'm a casual scifi reader. i've read a few, but scifi is usually my 3rd stop when looking for something new. i like standalone books, but i'm drawn to series. i was drawn to this book based on the plot, number of reviews, and the high ratings. so, i gave it a try, and i'm glad i did.

    i've read hard scifi and military scifi where you really have to pay attention or rewind to get it. the alien technology in this book easily makes sense since nanotechnology has become so mainstream the last few years. the tech is cool, and you can see how it works, and the potential benefits. the tech makes sense so you can understand how our hero uses it.

    speaking of our hero, riggs, he is a college professor. he teaches computer science. this is a cool twist b/c you can see how he interacts with the aliens. i'm not giving anything away by saying the aliens are machines. it's fascinating to witness riggs learn how manipulate the machines' programming to answer his questions and accomplish his goals. i write code all day long for work, but you don't need to understand programming to understand and enjoy riggs' interaction and manipulation of the machines' code.

    the story opens with riggs being abducted by a spaceship in the middle of the night. i won't give much away, but riggs eventually gains control of the ship. he learns that over 700 other ships have been scouring the earth looking for "the right kind of people." just as riggs and the others start to gain some semblance of understanding what's going on and how to manipulate their ships, their ships take off into outer space declaring enemy detected. the enemy is another group of machines, who riggs names the macros. they are after earth's resources.

    this book has battles in space and on the earth. the macros are cold, heartless, and relentless, just as you would expect. there's a lot of plotting and in-fighting between the earth's forces even as the macros attack and slaughter millions.

    the battle scenes are well drawn out and smartly done. the space battles are a match of wits; whereas the earth-based are battles of attrition.

    the book is fast-paced and enjoyable with a touch of mystery. the review, mark, puts it perfectly, " Its a very entertaining story that keeps you listening. Every time you start to wonder about a certain topic, or why is this happening, or why would they do that, the author fills you in. Its as if he knows just when you want an answer but makes you wait just a bit longer for it to keep the story going."

    note: mark, i hope you don't get pissed that i quote you, but you put it so aptly.

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Professor 11-28-12
    Professor 11-28-12

    1*=I didn't like it..... 2*=It was OK...... 3*=It was good but I will never read it again.......... 4*=Maybe I will read it again in the future.............. 5*=I will definitely read it again(maybe more than once)

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "BEST WORK BY B.V. LARSON"

    IMHO this is best or maybe second best work (Technomancer) of B.V. Larson
    Sci fi Story with strong and interesting characters and many developments at this moment I'm reading book 6 and my attention still fully occupied.

    You will find everything you may want: aliens, humans, AI machines
    Love happiness and sorrow, Honor, betrayal and sacrifice and you will definitely enjoy it.


    PS
    For some some strange reason audiobooks of this series are published 3 or 4 months later than ebook version, so I had to get the dust of my Kindle.

    16 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim EVANSDALE, IOWA, United States 03-03-14
    Jim EVANSDALE, IOWA, United States 03-03-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Reads like a made for TV SCYFY movie."

    If you were looking for just a simple time passer with sci-fi flair, then this may fit the bill. Not much depth, 2-d characters, but lots of action. The book kind of loses the plot and wanders too much mid way through. I'd like to learn more about the aliens in the story, but not sure I'd want to sit through another one to find out. Unfortunately, there are far better SCI FI stories out there competing for my time and attention.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    aaron gilbert Pearland, TX United States 02-27-14
    aaron gilbert Pearland, TX United States 02-27-14 Member Since 2013

    Christian, Texan, electrician, lover of reading-I lean towards Sci-fi/fantasy but enjoy the classics, history, and science titles also.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Flight of the Navigator meets The Terminator"
    Would you listen to Swarm again? Why?

    Yes, I would listen to it again perhaps in a few years when I've forgotten most of the fun.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I loved the concept of equipping Earth with advanced alien tech.


    Have you listened to any of Mark Boyett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have listened to most of this series with him as the powerhouse behind why I keep getting the next one. Mark performs with an amazing ability to stay out of the way of the story and still flesh out the characters.


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

    To save humanity would you sacrifice yours?


    Any additional comments?

    I've really enjoyed this series as it is one of those that is easy to get into due to the writing style with a heavy nod once again to the narrator Mr. Boyett.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Avihu Turzion Givat Avni, Israel 02-12-14
    Avihu Turzion Givat Avni, Israel 02-12-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "Feels like a novelization of a GI Joe movie"
    Would you try another book from B. V. Larson and/or Mark Boyett?

    I will to give them a second chance. This book was horrible, but they might have wrote something good. I shouldn't hold a single book against them. But I will inspect that book more thoroughly before starting it.


    What was most disappointing about B. V. Larson’s story?

    The lack of character development. The main character starts flat and devoid of all emotion, and continues pretty much the same way. And no, losing loved ones is not an excuse to not having emotions.

    The disregard of the ways physical changes to the characters would affect their behaviour. After the main character undergoes a radical physical change, he acts the same. I would believe such a change would impact a person's character somewhat. But if that was the only thing wrong with it, I would have been more than willing to suspend my disbelief for it.

    Complete disregard to the ways warfare is conducted. For some reason the author thinks that if a certain faction is comprised only of computer equivalent devices they will operate the same way as his buggy computers at home. This is Independence Day virus scheme stupid.


    What character would you cut from Swarm?

    Sandra. As much as the story needed a female character, it could definitely do without this stereotypical buffoon. Her presence just strengthens the misogynism of the story because she is such a degrading stereotype, and she does nothing to advance the plot.


    Any additional comments?

    The premise sounded very promising at first, and the fast pacing makes it easy and interesting to read, but this story doesn't stand on its on.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-20 of 226 results PREVIOUS12323NEXT
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  • Mara
    6/20/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Amazing book! Action filled sci-fi! Great narrator"

    It's an amazing book! Loved it from the very first "page" till the last!

    The story is great and original, very fast paced sci-fi novel, filled with action, aliens and cool technology. There is no moment you could feel bored. Couldn't put it down at all. Despite the fact that there is a lot of military insight and strategy in the middle of the book, it wasn't too overwhelming (even a girl like me was still interested). I guess it helps that the main character isn't a military person as well, so it's simple enough to understand his solutions and thinking. And the story has a lot of twists and surprises to keep you on the edge!

    And special love goes to the narrator - he is just amazing! The best I've heard so far! He really makes you feel the book on your own skin, the way he paces his talk, all the emotions he puts in the voice! And it's so easy to understand (very well pronounced and clear voice - English is a foreign language for me, so it's important)! The different characters also have different distinguishable voices. Great work!

    I'm already prepared to listen to the next book in the series!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • D. Fitzgerald
    coventry
    6/1/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Best read this year"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    The reader was very good,reminded me of Ed Bishop.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Gripping stuff from start to end,have got all the star force books now. Will get the audio versions too.


    Which character – as performed by Mark Boyett – was your favourite?

    All of the characters were good ,hard to pick out.Riggs I think


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

    Yes I did one Sat Morning.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gerard Lynch
    GLASGOW, United Kingdom
    3/26/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Start but fizzles out"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Probably not, it has a great idea regarding the 2 alien races but as the story continues it falls into the pulp sci-fi genre. It is a good pulp sci-fi.


    What will your next listen be?

    39 Steps by John Buchan


    What about Mark Boyett’s performance did you like?

    Good atmosphere - certainly could feel the sense of claustrophobia


    Was Swarm worth the listening time?

    Mindless late evening listen - yes


    Any additional comments?

    Fair book - bit in same vein as "Forever War" but not quite as good

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mike
    liverpool, United Kingdom
    3/9/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "a decent book"

    the sotry is well told although there is the usual problem of men trying to produce femail voices to me they always sound wrong. other than that there where a few editing issuers with the recording words seems to jump or be cut off half way through this does not affect the story however can be annoying and gives the impression that the book may be abridged when it isn't (i assume as have not read the book in print form however audible says it is unabridged).
    over all a solid and interesting scifi story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Colin
    Tewkesbury, United Kingdom
    1/29/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Hidden Depths"

    A great start to the series. This really sets the scene for a relatively simple story that then gets you thinking. I think it takes a real knack for words when a writer gives you simplicity and you can't help filling in the details. No overburdening with technicalities either and that makes a great adventure story. Iain M Banks did it in great detail, B V Larson does it with simplicity - both manage a good story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • David
    Great Dunmow, United Kingdom
    1/18/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not the depth of the likes of Reynolds or Hamilton"
    What did you like best about Swarm? What did you like least?

    Rocked along at a good pace, no switching off while surroundings are described in minute detail or sub-plots expanded like some of the "Space Opera" type reads from Reynolds or Hamilton. It did feel a rather simplistic storytelling though with too many plot holes and "well why wouldn't you do X?" questions especially w.r.t. military tactics and descriptions.


    If you’ve listened to books by B. V. Larson before, how does this one compare?

    NA


    Have you listened to any of Mark Boyett’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    NA


    Was Swarm worth the listening time?

    It was OK. Relatively short I thought, and in two minds about whether to read any more.


    Any additional comments?

    Worth a listen so you can decide whether to read the rest.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • GMJ
    East Yorkshire, UK
    12/15/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Never judge a book by its cover"
    What did you like most about Swarm?

    I picked up the 'Swarm' Soley on recommendations (and I am glad that I did). I was immediately drawn into a fast paced nightmarish scifi scenario which kept me constantly engaged. I was looking looking for a high paced classic scifi adverture that would keep me entertained and I was not disappointed. A definite buy for any scifi nut who cannot stand unrealistic plots.


    What other book might you compare Swarm to, and why?

    Similar pace to the vampire novels by Scott Mariani.


    Have you listened to any of Mark Boyett’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    Have not listened to any other books YET!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The first few chapters leading to his abduction.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • john
    DURHAM, United Kingdom
    12/8/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Exciting consept"
    If you could sum up Swarm in three words, what would they be?

    Exciting, addictive, fun


    What did you like best about this story?

    The concept of the nanos and macros


    Have you listened to any of Mark Boyett’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    I have only listened to 2 other star force books, so can't really compare.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I have laughed, i have been on the edge of my set and i find my self trying to find excuses to go listen as much as i can!


    Any additional comments?

    Really looking forward to the rest of the series!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Truls
    Norway
    12/1/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "For the first time in a while, I wanted more."
    What made the experience of listening to Swarm the most enjoyable?

    I have read a lot of since fiction stories and my favorites are the ones that span over several books, like The Saga of Seven Suns and The Foundation series. The Star Force Books had the same mystery angle and unknown future. Larson had me guessing and looking forward to the next page.


    What other book might you compare Swarm to, and why?

    The Saga of Seven Suns and The Foundation series.


    What does Mark Boyett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Mark Boyett makes this book come to life in my head.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr
    United Kingdom
    12/1/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent series"
    If you could sum up Swarm in three words, what would they be?

    Gripping,engrossing and addictive


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    There are many strong characters. I don't have a favourite one.


    What does Mark Boyett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    His narration is excellent and consistent. It helps with the visualisation of the book more than just reading it


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

    I couldn't get through it fast enough and then couldn't wait to listen to more in the series.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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