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The Gift | [Dave Donovan]

The Gift

When an elite team of specialists receives a long-awaited first contact from an alien race, it’s nothing like what they’d imagined. The "gifts," from a long-dead but seemingly benevolent alien race, have been sent to help humanity defend itself against an imminent threat. It’s clear that the gifts are intended to help, but at what price? Caught in the middle is Sam Steele, a high-level programmer and veteran with a tragic past, up against the arrogant, intransigent Colonel Eric Web, who considers Steele a loose cannon and is most concerned with giving the United States an edge in the upcoming battle.
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Publisher's Summary

When an elite team of specialists receives a long-awaited first contact from an alien race, it’s nothing like what they’d imagined. The "gifts," from a long-dead but seemingly benevolent alien race, have been sent to help humanity defend itself against an imminent threat. It’s clear that the gifts are intended to help, but at what price?

Caught in the middle is Sam Steele, a high-level programmer and veteran with a tragic past, up against the arrogant, intransigent Colonel Eric Web, who considers Steele a loose cannon and is most concerned with giving the United States an edge in the upcoming battle.

As the team races against the clock to divine their visitors’ complex instructions, they struggle with infighting and, ultimately, the question of what it means to be human.

©2013 Dave Donovan (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (126 )
5 star
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4.0 (116 )
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Story
4.0 (117 )
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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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  •  
    Matthew SEATTLE, WA, United States 01-13-14
    Matthew SEATTLE, WA, United States 01-13-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This Gift is abit of a mess"
    Would you try another book from Dave Donovan and/or Jeff Cummings?

    Dave Donovan...I would give it a try. He has good chops and technical knowledge, and has alot of potential in this category of fiction. I certainly would not preclude him from my list!

    Jeff Cummings...sometimes comes across as trying too hard, but on balance a good performance with some pretty technical, or complex, dialogue. Again, not enough to preclude giving him another try.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    It is clearly the beginning of a series, and as such the ending is rather open ended, esp. in the context of the amount of dedication we all put in to commit to the story. Thus, a neater ending would have been desirable.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Try to be more natural and relaxed.


    Do you think The Gift needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    It is clearly the beginning of a series, and the story does need conclusion.


    Any additional comments?

    The reviews I read were alot more effusive than what I experienced. It was a decent listen, but didn't blow me away like it evidently did for other people. I liked if well enough, but was not in my top 25. Not even close. Recommended with reservations as noted.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Freeman SAN DIEGO, CA, United States 09-15-14
    Freeman SAN DIEGO, CA, United States 09-15-14 Member Since 2015
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    "what a great hidden gem!"

    I don't understand how this only gets a 4.0 from some people! crazy creative and interesting!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    robert COLUMBIA, MO, United States 01-27-14
    robert COLUMBIA, MO, United States 01-27-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "YOU MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO SLEEP!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Gift the most enjoyable?

    fresh , different than the rest. cant put it down. im calling in to work to finish the book.


    What did you like best about this story?

    ITS all good.


    What about Jeff Cummings’s performance did you like?

    he did 11/10 job. i will tweet to him


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

    there are several you will just have to try it.


    Any additional comments?

    you will love it. I NEED BOOK 2 NOW!

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LanaH Charlotte, NC USA 03-08-15
    LanaH Charlotte, NC USA 03-08-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Wonderfully Creative and Imaginative"

    I really enjoyed this book. it was engrossing and entertaining right from the start. Kudos also to the narrator, who did an absolutely great job with the subject matter.

    There seems to be an opening for a sequel and if that's the case, I can't wait for it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joki Helsinki 02-18-15
    Joki Helsinki 02-18-15 Member Since 2009
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    "Written By A Computer"

    Roughly around the half way point, I stopped the Audible version in disgust. There was just so much cliche and flat characterizations trying desperately to support a simplistic first contact sci fi. Everyone talked liked computers simulating a person; ironically, the aliens sounded too much like a person. But it was the over-the-top "military are eeeeeevil" messages that really had me rolling my eyes. I'm not a martial person and am hardly jingoistic - but the repeated bludgeoning of the "military screw everything up because they are stupid and utterly dogmatic" points became tiresome. There was so much telling instead of showing (he said, she said, he said, he did, she did.....) that the writing became a chore to follow.

    Story: An alien sphere is heading toward the Earth - and the only person who figured out what it is doing is a computer dude. The military chief in charge of the project makes a bunch of stupid decisions based upon personal prejudice and whether something will make him look bad. Despite military dude throwing out computer dude from the program (even though computer dude was the only one to figure out the sphere), the sphere later (randomly) decides to merge with computer dude and tell him the hive mind are coming. Here are some gifts, humans, use them well or be annihilated.

    The story greatly felt like it was written by a computer science guy and not a writer. The pacing, characters, and plot were flat as a board. I had a hard time telling anyone apart except for the military guys - they were universally stupid and self absorbed. Reactions and actions were lacking nuances and everything was simplistic to the point of being unbelievable. Giving the military guy an "aw shucks" down south American accent really threw this over the top of silly and stereotpyical. Really oddly, the book felt like it was written by a computer and not a person.

    When the aliens started talking with our protagonist, I had had enough. It was all so clinical from the human side and overly emotional and touchy feely from the aliens. If this was a better writer, I could suppose the aliens were meant to show our supposedly scarred (but really just boring) main character how to be more emotional. But I think at that point, I was siding with the big evil hive mind that the humans should be wiped out.

    I listened to the Audible version and the narrator did an ok job.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Luvs2Read09 Fayetteville, NC USA 02-07-15
    Luvs2Read09 Fayetteville, NC USA 02-07-15 Member Since 2014
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    "I liked it but..."

    I liked it but I also found it confusing at times. There was one very obvious concern that was never addressed or questioned at all. The characters were also all very trusting which isn't very realistic. It was extremely fast past and did keep my attention throughout though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JLM Oakland, CA, United States 02-18-14
    JLM Oakland, CA, United States 02-18-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Very cool story....atrocious narration...."

    I really enjoy the premise if this story. A very unusual first contact story that unfolds at just such a pace that you are kept eager to find out what happens next, and often are surprised by the wrinkles when they reveal themselves. Pretty decent character development as well for a relatively 'hard' Sci-fi story.
    But really the worst narration I've heard in a while- it actually makes it hard to listen to. I am so conflicted- excited by the story-and yet irritated by the 'voices'. It's like listening to your iPod while getting your teeth drilled. All the female voices are incredibly whiny, nasally, and just sound like they're a sardonic drag version of women. The 'old man' sounds like a caricature of something out of the Andy Griffith show, gosh n golly! There are issues with the majority of the 'interpretations' of the characters, but these were the worst offenders.
    Anyway- I am not usually sensitive to narration variations-as some of my friends are about narrators- but I couldn't let this one go by.....
    Says something for the story itself as is I am sticking with it, though I have purchased the kindle version to try and finish it up without listening to narration more than I have to.
    Too bad.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    EdgeWalkerZero 01-15-14 Member Since 2009
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    "Mediocre and tedious, I'd skip this one"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    A young reader who hasn't already read much fiction would probably be able to read this without seeing it as a patchwork of tired themes.


    What was most disappointing about Dave Donovan’s story?

    Many things, but I'll try to pick out the things that bothered me most.The antagonist is a cardboard cut-out of a career military bully whose personal goals never advance beyond projecting government power. As for the protagonist, his driving principles are no more complex than "keep them government hands off my alien gift," which is, I guess, an appropriate complement to the flag-waving military robot antagonist. Most of the characters are without any character flaws, have little more than a threadbare scrap of personality, and are utterly forgettable. The protagonist chooses his team of heroes uncritically from a smattering of his personal friends and their families. This very unremarkable good-guy team is full of broad smiles and automatic, frictionless cooperation- as one might expect from a group of well-meaning and gregarious robots. The author isn't capable of any explanation other than direct and very manufactured-sounding exposition in the form of direct Q&A sessions between characters and their "gifts."The only *interesting* part of the story (what the gifts really are, why they are there, and what they intend to do) isn't covered! The story is more about "some guy running around evading the military" than it is about mysterious powers and looming planetary drama.The author thinks that giving someone a scar or


    What didn’t you like about Jeff Cummings’s performance?

    The reader varies between kind of boring and annoying. The voices he affect can be annoying, and he has no gift whatsoever for accents. He also gives virtually everyone an improbable accent. When he's not doing that, he's giving them over-the-top cliche voices. One older character sounds like a Werther's Original commercial. The military-minded antagonist sounds like the Full Metal Jacket drill instructor.


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

    It made logical sense, for the most part. Events were caused by events that preceded them.


    4 of 8 people found this review helpful

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