Not the best at characterization Bova here does at least have good science. The bad guys are really bad and the good really good and the story a bit w..Show More »eak, but I liked it any way (I've run into my share of bad guys who are really bad to buy into the story). The first book was the strongest, with the other two books spending way too much time reviewing what happened previously (there should be a law against that).
Where book one of this series (The Precipice)is a fairly entertaining space opera, The Rock Rats get uncomfortably close to soap opera. I generally p..Show More »refer hard science fiction where the technology is a logical or at least a plausible extrapolation of current knowledge. On this, Ben Bova generally succeeds, but instead of allowing the science to create most of the dramatic tension, the author relies on the hormonal response of the supposedly hard-headed businessman Humphries to fuel the conflict. Pretty silly really.
There are lots of interesting and unique problems that would be faced by anyone attempting to open up a new frontier such as the asteroid belt. A great example is the rudimentary beginnings of space battle techniques and tactics briefly touched on by the author. Instead, too much of the book is "powerful man wants beautiful woman and is willing to do anything to get her". You don't need science fiction for that theme.
Even so, the book isn't terrible - merely average and a disappointment compared to the first book in the series. Still worth reading though just to see how things turn out. I do hope there is more about Pancho Barnes in the third book. She was a far more interesting character.
One additional note: the voice talent is a bit disappointing as well. At least part of the appeal of book one was the fact that 80-90% of the book was read by Scott Brick and Amanda Karr - both absolutely superb. But even the first book had some short segments with different readers so noticeably inferior that is was disconcerting.
Here the female reader(s)is again outstanding. I can't even tell if there is more than one reader or if Amanda Karr is just so good that she can sound like several different people. Unfortunately, the men (except for Stefan Rudnicki) suffer by comparison. Barely average. I could get used to them, but every time the narration switches back to a female, you get reminded of the mediocrity of most of the male readers.
Book 3 of the series is just as exciting and well done as the first two books, (And maybe even better than the books that came after this one).
..Show More » It's easy (and unfair) to nit-pick a book after the fact, so I won't do that with some minor details that don't matter to the book as a whole..
But it did seem like there's a book missing between books 2 and 3. The saga of Poncho's sister in cold storage seems glossed over, and they don't explain the transition of her being hidden in the tunnels on the moon, to her rejuvenation and subsequent trip out to Saturn on the space habitat.. it's touched on in MANY books in this series, but never fully brought out as a plot or sub-plot, even though the basics of the sub-plot are well laid out... it just seems to be skipped over and foot noted.
I didn't especially like Bova in his early years when the books first came out, but I think I have now listened to everything he's written, and I hope this series goes beyond Titan (The last book as of this writing) since I think We've all fallen in love with Poncho.
"the Silent War" is good fun, and fast paced, and (as usual) not everything is "happy and clear cut", Bova has a gift of being able to keep the characters real, they're not perfect, they have their flaws, he keeps them in the realm of reality. You are almost ashamed of yourself when the characters are admonished near the end and you see the facts laid out as a bystander would see them... you look back and see the twists and turns and "Justifications" for what was done, and realize that your favorite hero isn't as "Up right" as you thought, and maybe you aren't either since you tend to agree with a lot of what she's done along the way. It's a true Gift to be able to draw a reader into a story that deeply.
I especially like Bova because he (semi)explains the science behind the fiction to make it more believable.. it seems like we could "almost" make the Fictional things in his book real.
I simply do not understand why an author forces me to spend time with people I have no reason to like. That's what every scene with the family was lik..Show More »e. I kept saying out loud, "Enough Already!". The banter between the mother, son and daughter is especially intolerable! The father has no redeeming character traits. Characters that I used to have some respect for are either non-existant in this story, or they force the father into slave labor and are irrational.
This should have been an novel exploring the meaning, purposes and effects of the alien artifact of which Humpries was so terrified at the end of the previous story. It was by far the most interesting part of that book. And I think Bova must have known how weak the substance of "Silent Wars" was to have opened the book with a tease of the Artifact, only to reveal its complete inconsequence to the story line at the end of the book. So the reader/listener is left thinking, what about the artifact?!? Bova has proven his abilities to write about such ideas in entertaining ways (see Voyagers).
I bought this book thinking I would find out the answers. Instead, I was tortured by listening to the whims of one-dimensional and seemingly irredeemable characters. Each character played their stereotypical part. And the alien object that could have proven to be the salvation of the story, the whole book itself for that matter, is treated like an unwanted step child that Ben Bova must have wished he had never introduced into this world.
None of my disappointment is due to the readers themselves. They do their best to save this story with their excellent and talented reading skills. But the book was fundamentally flawed when the outline for its plot was first written down.
If you've enjoyed the first three books, and I did somewhat, don't bother with this one. It does not contain the answers to the tease at the end of "Silent War". Its just not there. Sorry.