This prequel novella to Kevin J. Anderson’s international best-selling space opera Saga of Seven Suns is based on his 2004 graphic novel Veiled Alliances from Wildstorm/ DC Comics.
This audiobook shows the origin of the green priests on Theroc, the first Roamer skymining operations on a gas-giant planet, the discovery of the Klikiss robots entombed in an abandoned alien city, the initial Ildiran expedition to Earth, the rescue of the generation ship Burton and the tragedy that leads to sinister breeding experiments. Veiled Alliances is an excellent starting point for readers new to the Saga, as well as an unforgettable adventure for fans of the series.
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Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
I first read Kevin Anderson in the Dune books he wrote with Frank Herbert's son Brian. Even though none of the add-on Dune books had quite the mystique and intrigue of Frank Herbert's original writing, I really thought that Brian and Kevin wrote more realistic characters and better dialog than the original Dune books so I read a little more by Kevin Anderson and found this seemed to be standard for him. Anderson isn't the top in scientific creativity, fabulous prose, or the tightest plot lines, but he is one of the few sci-fi authors to give me characters I really love, love to hate, wish I could meet, or wish I could be. So, I was really excited when Hidden Empire: The Saga of Seven Suns, Book 1 was released. I bought the book immediately and then...Never Read It. I was in a super stressed period of my life and could not get past the first few pages - too tired to concentrate. Now that my life is semi-sane and I've become an audio-phile, I started to pick up Hidden Empire on audio, but saw this prequel and thought this might be a better start (and Nurlip's reviewe confirmed - thank you, Nurlip). I was right - this is a great place to start The Saga. This novella is a series of vignettes designed to give you some near history prior to the opening of Hidden Empire. Since I've now started Hidden Empire, I can attest to the fact that Veiled Alliances makes it much easier to latch onto the many new concepts and character intros that come thick and fast when the The Saga really begins.
David Colacci is OK as the narrator, but he has a kind of sing-song rhythm in some of the narrative sections that I don't care for. However, this book is short and he is not the narrator for The Hidden Empire so not a big deal.
Veiled Alliances is interesting and entertaining in its own right, but it really is designed to be an introduction to a much bigger world, The Saga of the Seven Suns world. I would recommend Veiled Alliances to anyone considering taking on The Saga.
I've been trying, on & off for several weeks & consistently for the last 2 days, to listen to this brief audiobook. I haven't read anything else by the author & on the basis of this am not likely to do so.
The reader, David Colacci, isn't my favorite but he's not awful; to my mind there are 2 main categories of 'good' readers: those who do a straightforward job of simply reading, an audio version of a print book. Then there are those who perform it, who make it come to life to the extent that it actually may be better than just reading it (something VERY rare); some examples of this are Martin Jarvis's rendition of Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett's "Good Omens," Oliver Wyman delivering all 4 of the "Monster Hunter International" books (may there be another VERY SOON) by Larry Correia, and Susan Bennett's performance of "You Suck" by Christopher Moore.
David Colacci falls into the first category; he reads smoothly, with good pacing & emphasis, and you can tell which character is which --though without cues by the author you'd be lost most of the time. With the performances above, you know exactly who's who at all times because each character has his/her own voice, & the voice IS the character*.
So it's not the reader's fault that I started the book 5 or 6 times & kept re-starting because the book was so uninteresting that my attention would just wander off. Eventually I just powered on & kept going. It stayed boring. Oh, there were occasional flashes of interestingness, & then there was one plot point that was just mindboggling & appalling, of which which I suppose I'll express my outrage in a moment, as it could be taken as a spoiler.
i'm not sure I can offer a lot to bolster my contention that it's boring; the characters on the generation ship repeatedly blaming their captain for their problems was aggravating but ultimately believable if one has a suitably low opinion of people. Otherwise, the characters were flat, unengaging. I never was able to get much of an image of the aliens, tho whether that's due to my missing details or lack of description on the author's part I'm not sure. I just could not get involved in the book.
*In Martin Jarvis's very entertaining biography, he tells of going to work at a radio program that he'd listened to for a long time & being astonished when the actor who plays one particular part walking in wearing jeans; he'd never imagined that character in anything but a suit. As he put it perfectly, "the voice was wearing the suit." That's how you know a performance is good; when it gives you a vivid portrait of a character in your mind, & the portrait is so clear, so PERFECT, that nothing else will work & if any other reader were to do it, it'd sound just wrong.
ok, here 'tis: *SPOILER ALERT*
*SPOILER ALERT!!* *SPOILER ALERT!!* *SPOILER ALERT!!*
the appalling incident with the double standard was the captain sentencing the mutineer to multiple, repeated gang rapes by the female aliens. If we reverse genders in the situation, I would think there'd be enormous outrage. Let us say there was a male captain, and a woman was one of the ring-leaders of a mob which imprisoned him & threatened to kill him. The captain eventually regains his post. A while afterward, he rounds up a couple of big, burly alien males and tells them to forcibly rape the woman & keep raping her until she gets pregnant.
Does anyone else have a problem with that? I'll never be accused of being a rabid feminist but that sounds quite horrible to me & I'd be fairly outraged if I read it in a work of fiction. I suppose it could be viewed as the first in a series of episodes which show us how truly alien & awful the aliens are, but still think it would garner much outrage if published that way.
Just wrong, wronger, wrongest either way, but I felt like I was supposed to be okay with it, view as just another plot point, because of the gender distribution.
Commodities broker, father, husband, and avid scifi/fantasy/self help fan.
I LOVE Kevin J. Anderson's writing. LOVE it. And the Saga Of Seven Suns is hands down my favorite of his efforts. Anderson labels this work a "prequel," and it lays a tremendous amount of groundwork for the entire series. Roamers, the Klikiss, the green priests, you name it, you get the origin or discovery of these great elements that make the entire series such a wonderful listen. His rich universe detailed in the series comes alive in this audiobook. That being said, this very good audiobook is somewhat rushed, and brief. It should have been two or three books, to give it more depth, and perhaps cover the stories more thoroughly. This isn't a complaint. It's just that the author is so good at the craft, that you're left wanting for more. And ultimately, that's a GOOD thing.
Whether you've never read the series, or are a rabid fan, as I am, you'll enjoy this audiobook. It's storytelling on a level far above so many other authors.
I listened to this book before any other book in the series so that probably affected my review versus others. However, i think this intro was very well done. I'm only about half way through book 1 of the saga of the seven suns but this book has already helped greatly in understanding exactly what's going on in that story. Overall i consider this story to be more of a 'classic sci-fi' series akin to Asimov's universe since the concepts are not as abstract as other, more contemporary works. However, that is not a bad thing b/c it allows the author to focus on the characters and their society which always makes for great story-telling.
I was drawn to this series for two reasons: i like long series and I like the books Anderson co-wrote with Brian Herbert surrounding Frank Herbert's original Dune series. This book is better than some of those books in terms of writing and i'm confident Anderson's writing will only get better in the rest of the series.
The narrator is pretty good and does a good job providing a variety of different voices to help differentiate the characters. I also felt this narrator did a good job enhancing the voices/story by playing up the emotion the characters were feeling.
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