Rudi Mackenzie has journeyed far across the land that was once the United States of America, hoping to find the source of the world-altering event that has come to be known as the Change. His final destination is Nantucket, an island overrun with forest, inhabited by a mere two hundred people who claim to have been transported there from out of time.
Only one odd stone house remains standing. Within it, Rudi finds a beautifully made sword waiting for him - and once he takes it up, nothing will ever be the same....
©2009 S. M. Stirling; (P)2009 Tantor Media
Mr. Sterling's mind continues to run in Turbo Mode. In this volume, some issues are resolved only to be replaced by deeper mysteries. A number of new characters are introduced, some good, some bad, most interesting. Rudy continues to learn and move toward becoming the larger than life hero he must. In the end, we must await another book.
The only criticism I have is the inordinate amount of time taken to describe the many feasts that Rudy and his compatriots must endure on their travels. I can only suspect that Mr. Sterling must write on an empty stomach. I nearly went so far as to give the book only 4 stars for this reason but it is just to darn good everywhere else.
I strongly suggest that if you have not read the previous books in this series that you start with the first and work your way to the last. Otherwise much of the context will be confusing. Fortunately all the previous books are also very good.
The story is epic in scope, passable in style. A good ripping yarn, but not a classic.
The narrator has excellent control. Each character had a unique, fitting accent and it was clear instantly who was speaking (or thinking) most of the time.
Unfortunately, the narrator had a few annoying and recurring pronunciation errors that really jarred me when they occurred. Pronouncing "chete" as "sheet" is understandable, but since it's based on "machete", he should probably have pronounced it "shetty". "Coif", when referring to headgear is pronounced "koyf", not "kwaf" (which refers to the hair). And every time an animal "barred" its teeth, I had to grind my teeth to keep from yelling out "BARED".
Please, audiobook narrators, get your pronunciations right before you start! If you're not absolutely sure how a word is pronounced, please look it up, or ask the author! These pronunciation issues jar me out of an otherwise thoroughly enjoyable listening experience.
I usually buy and read the printed books first and then after awhile I will listen to the audio
book if I enjoyed reading it. In this case I went
directly to the audio version because I could tell from the previous book in this series that it
was becoming one of those "dragged out" series with little resolution. Though classified as Sci-Fi this series belongs more in the Fantasy genre.
At first I just thought this was an unusually tedious fantasy novel.. Turns out it's a Christian story, heavy on the Catholicism, replete with a visit to heaven and all kinds of post-post-lapsarian commentary and hope of salvation.
It's kind of like the Narnia books you began as a kid, thinking Cool, a nice fable with talking animals and magic and . . . turns out they're on a train to heaven.
Not my cup of swill.
Over 20 hours of listening to drawn out descriptions of food, fights, different religious beliefs, and a quest that didn't make any sense. I was expecting it to all come together in the end somehow, but surprise, the ending was the worst part. It was inconclusive, confusing and based of some other world power that didn't fit with the rest of the story. Worst book I have ever downloaded out of the 50 or so I have downloaded. I have never deleted a book from my i-tunes library but this one is getting deleted so I or somebody else doesn't click on it and have to listen to this drivel again.The only good thing I can say about this is that the narrator was good.
Couldn't recommend this to someone else. The original storyline, books 1-3 were certainly appealing but the rest of this storyline is really just dragging on and on. It's just good enough to make you want to get the next one to see how some things get wrapped up.
I suppppooossse. Already in for the long haul, so I gotta see how this ends
Narrator has some pronunciation problems...someone BARES his teeth...they don't BAR them. Other than that, he has some good interpretations of how the dialects are supposed to sound...its not his fault that Stirling has decided to go with an insane amount of widely diffuse ones
Has to have a follow up - totally designed for one (sneaky bugger).
The first couple of books were good. He really should have just wrapped up the whole thing after the first 3. If he wanted to continue the story, he should have just jumped WAY ahead instead of a half generation ahead. It makes the story committed to the immediate descendants of the main characters in the first 3 books who are generally likable and/or relatable....not so for the follow-on generation...Rudi MacKenzie becomes more and more insufferable as the story continues...we got it, okay? He's a supermodel olympic athlete ninja that is too damn awesome and humble and beloved by the gods and on and on and on...bleah. Worst thing that happened was killing off Mike Havel back in book 3...great character...Now all the characters are all holier than thou and full of themselves and their own importance.
This book keep me enthralled till the very end. It was the best book of the 2nd generation of MacKenzie's trilogy.
Not sure if I spelled the last name correctly, as I've always listened to these books.
Long time sci-fi reader and member of maker community, primarily metal fab and electronics. The two mix well for me.
I must say all the criticism of the food descriptions from other reviewers is too bad. Just think what it would be like to be in this post Change world without a grocery store to provide your meals. I think the food descriptions, vivid portrayals of the landscapes, and details of the craft goods bring reality to the story and educate us to the scenario. This story is long, but imagine riding a horse or walking across the continent! A criticism is the dualistic nature and standard formula of the story, which is so clear it is somewhat childish, along with the religions being so accommodating of each other. I do appreciate the reach for balance provided by the end scene on Nantucket. I am a little unclear how Marion appears in the end, though. The narrator is still mispronouncing "Gervais", which irks me as I live in this town! He also mispronounces "Chehalis". Should be "jur-vas" and "shay-hay-less". Funny that I hear him mispronounce "valkyrie" early on, but he gets it right towards the end. Otherwise, I have nothing but praise for the reading as the narrator brings the story to life. I look forward to the rest, even though it is predictable.
I am getting bored listening to tactics, feasts, battles, and confessions. It's becoming very heavy with religious overtones. At first it was just a hit of religious undertones at the start, but it is now full of piety and self righteousness. Just get on with the the quest, please! I'll admit I'm writing this before I'm even done listening, but I'm halfway through and having a hard time keeping interest. My husband is going to do a search to see if he can find a summary of the last three books so I don't have to listen to them to find out how it ends. I've invested this much time in a series, so I'd at least like to know how it ends. I'm not sure I can suffer through 3 more books.It's almost like the author was just dragging it out so he could pump out some more books. I'm pretty sure there is some fat in this series that could have been cut and still not lose important information.Oh, and the repetitive telling of histories from the previous books is pointless. If I'm this far in the series, there is almost no chance that I've not read the previous ones. If I hear an explanation of what CORA stands for one more time I think I might just implode.
Boredom, annoyance, and disappointment.
I'm surprised others like this narrator. His accents drive me batty. At the start almost all women, McKenzie or not, sound Irish. His African American men all sound the same. His Midwestern is like nails on a chalkboard to me. In the previous book, where Engulf is introduced, Engulf doesn't have a Midwestern accent. Suddenly, about a quarter into this book, he has a Midwestern accent that makes him sound like a wimp, even then he has it inconsistently. The one guy from Wisconsin that is supposed to be a Native American in this book sounds like he might be from Jamaica. And, his mispronunciation of words is terrible. Is there not someone managing this guy while he reads the story?
I would and will buy more books by Stirling. The Novels of the Change are great.
Rudi's fight with the primitive descendants of survivors on his travels while he tries to free his friends from a hostage taker by paying the ransom he must.
The narrator, Todd McLaren, detracted from this book, and the previous ones I've listened to in the series by his frequent mispronunciations of words. For example, ration, rhymed with fashion, is the common usage. Ration, rhymed with nation, has not been used since the First Word War. His mispronunciation of the name of Portland's river as wil-a-MET, I noticed corrected in about book 4, so someone from Oregon must have complained and told him it's locally called the wil-A-met (short "a". It appears no one took the time or trouble to correct him on the pronunciation of Haida, the native tribe from the Queen Charlotte Islands. In the books where that tribe drew first mention, he pronounced it as high-EE-dah, and continues to do so in Sword of the Lady. It's too late now, since the series is finished, but should he run into it again, he might be interested to know it is pronounced high-dah, with no particular emphasis on either of the (only) two syllables. In earlier books, I felt he read words the author had not written, as if he was not paying full attention to what was on the printed page.
Yes, it inspired me to continue buying the series because I enjoy Stirling's work. It also inspired me to take careful note of the narrator of subsequent purchases of books outside the Novels of the Change, to be sure I don't buy anything narrated by Todd McLaren, who can't be troubled to seek local knowledge when he runs across words unfamiliar to him. Though in all fairness, I must say he does British accents quite well.
"More of the same"
The further development of the characters, story line is interesting enough to keep me coming back to find out what happens
NO... random changing of accents and poor pronunciation of words used many times drives me nuts.
I think the style is getting a little rambling, repeatedly reminding the listener what things are. I guess that’s similar to the style of a lot of American TV shows though. I do not need another description of the main characters outfits, I have heard it enough.
I suspect an abridged version maybe more enjoyable.
And if I had a friend that kept speaking in a language I didn’t understand to then have to repeat himself in English he may well get a punch, high king or not ;)
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