Crossover starts with a very interesting premise and begins with some real promise as Cassandra, an android, assumes a new identity and tries to start..Show More » a new life as a civilian in a new society rather than as the soldier she has been. However, just as the story starts to roll out this idea of an android created to be a warrior who has philosophical problems with the war and wants to pursue normal human relationships, work a civilian job, and visit art museums, that whole story abruptly ends. Cassandra is captured and co-opted by her enemy and the entire remaining book (all but the first chapter) is unnatural dialog, incoherent political ruminations, and ridiculous sexual discussions/thoughts (although very little actual sex), and a few good fight scenes that Cassandra inevitably wins. The book would have put me to sleep if it weren't for how very aggravating Joel Shepherd's depiction of adult women is. Cassandra is an engineered humanoid designed to be the ultimate of the HK series (hunter-killer) so my assumption would have been that an android designed to be a warrior wouldn't have any inclination for sex. However, I could buy into Shepherd giving his androids a sex drive (his world after all), but for the fact that Cassandra's model type is imprinted with actual human brain patterns. In that case, Cassandra should think about sex the way a real woman does, not like a 15 yr. old boy does. Think I'm exaggerating? Here's a sample, you decide. This is Cassandra's internal monologue at one point (verbatim), "Damn, give her good food, nice surroundings, and a decent hard shag at least 5 times a week and she was happy. Let the universe rot, she just wanted to get nailed." The actual human women in the book aren't much better and certainly don't ring true as believable characters. Cassandra has a great deal of angst over the politics in her world and how much she loves art although she's a soldier, but in truth, the android doesn't actually seem to care a fig about anything but sex and fighting so the moral/ethical conflict of a thinking/feeling android used for fighting doesn't come off at all. And, I didn't give a flip about Cassandra either. She's a male fantasy - beautiful, smart, strong, and can't get enough sex (oh and of course, very skilled at sex) - she's not a real character. She's supposedly made of some super bio synthetic material, but to me she seemed to be made of cardboard. Her human compatriots aren't any more fleshed out either. You don't really see much political action, just characters thinking about it and talking about it and it's a bit simplistic and convoluted. And, the internal monologues are long, frequent and tiresome.
Dina Pearlman is OK as the narrator. As a previous reviewer noted, she does get better as the book goes on. But this is just not a good book, so it's hard to get too excited about the performance of it.
This is one of those books that it's easy to misrepresent. I've seen it described as a SF techno/polictical thriller about an ass-kicking, sexy, kille..Show More »r android. And it is. Except... it really isn't.
What keeps me reading these books is that it is not about how exciting it is to see a fembot in action. Cassandra Kresnov, who calls herself Sandy. is not human but she is a person, with emotions as well as an intellect, opinions and preferences as well as an accurate grasp of the data and in search of friendship and freedom and meaning rather than just personal survival.
The themes of the book are trust, loyalty, belonging, being loved, and what it means to be a person. The themes are explored against the background of a power struggle between competing ideologies carried out at the political and paramilitary level. No simple lines are drawn here. Sandy has to deal with the reality that politics are complex and many of the players are neither wholly good not wholly bad, that she is hated by many, marked for death by some and loved by a few people close to her. By the end of the novel she seems to have decided that what matters is who she loves and who she is loved by - not a classic fembot orientation.
Another deviation from the fembot stereotype comes when Sandy is asked to rescue a boy who is being held hostage by terrorists. Her reaction is one of regret. She is completely certain that, despite how impossible the task would be for a human, she can kill all three terrorist and save the child. She doesn't want to do this because, in her mind, the certainty of the deaths turns these kills into murder. Yet she kills the men and saves the boy because she can't see an alternative. In her mind, this means that she did something that was wrong because she decided that it was necessary. No excuses, just an evaluation of her own actions.
Joel Shepherd has given the book a good rhythm. It starts with action scenes: fast, graphic, lot's of explosions and gunfire and mayhem in public places; then moves on to personal reflection, usually by Sandy, on what the action meant; then he dives into complex and fascinating political intrigue, then dwells on the beauty of the city and the civilization it represents, before repeating the sequence from the top. He manages the rythm with skill and produces a much better book as a consequence of it.
"Breakaway" carries straight on from the first book, "Crossover" starting with one of what is to be many intense action scenes, chasing down bad guys bent on murder and mayhem. The person doing the chasing isn't Sandy but a new character, Ari Ruben, a hacker turned security guy who will give Sandy a lot to think about. Sandy will also be challenged by the political changes in The League, the alliance who created her and who she defected from in the first book. The political stress between Earth and its colonies continue to grow. Joel Shepherd has created fertile ground for a long series here.
Dina Pearlman, the narrator, continues to mangle the text with the use of random inflections that frequently slowed down my ability to process its meaning. She remains very good at dialogue and accents but I really wish they'd picked a different narrator for these books.
The story has great depth of writing and lost of action. The writing reflects a lot of background gained from the authors time living in India and ot..Show More »her southeast Asian nations. The author hails from Australia were he lives now. When younger that author won a few awards for this very series. There is a lot more depth to this series than the Mich Rap, Gray Man, or other like series's ( I have listened to them all).
Dina the narrator does a great job as usual. She is one of my favorites.
According to the author the next books in the series are supposed to be out in September 2013. However, there is no timeline for the audio-books.
I greatly prefer this series to Tom Clancy's current works which have began to show too much political bias.
The story starts very slow to the point you almost want to give up on it. However if you stick with it, the last 25% keeps you listening and in the e..Show More »nd, you are reaching so to speak for the the next book...
This forth book is one of the best. If you like stories that explore the nature of societies, the meaning of humanity, human androids, political intrigue, lots of gun fights, and strong female leads this one is for you.