At long last we have the Liadan stories on Audible
Among my favorite authors are Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. Their first three novels, Agent of Change, Conflict of Honors, and Carpe Diem were released..Show More » in paperback form in the last 80s, which is when I purchased my copies. While other books have been placed and then removed from my bookshelves, these books have remained among my favorites. The characters are familiar friends and I always reconnect to them with pleasure.
After these novels were published, Lee and Miller were dropped by the Del Rey after they were asked to write books according to someone else' formula and they declined. It was a loss for their fans and their books fell out of print. Fortunately, Meisha Merlin picked up their catalog in the late 90s and started publishing new novels from them as well. Now, they are being published by Baen. As new readers pick up their novels, they need to realize that the writing is not consistent through their oeuvre, a fault that may be due to different editors. Consequently, I recommend that readers begin with the first three novels published and continue with the books in the order published instead of following the space opera's chronological order. Don't abandon the series because one or two novels aren't as good as the others. This is space opera at its finest and I highly recommend the series.
As for the audio versions, some of these novels were previously recorded and released as audiobooks. Of these, only one, Local Custom, was released by Audible. Now many of the older novels have be rerecorded as the new ones have been recorded and the sound quality is much better. The narrator Andy Caploe does deliver in terms of delivering some of the subtleties of Lee and Miller's writing style. The best narrators tell the story as if they are sitting around the kitchen table talking to you personally. Unfortunately, Andy Caploe delivers the narration in this novel with a slow weightiness that tends to weary and he doesn't do well with the women's' voices. Every word does not need to be treated as if it is the most important word in the world. And while he does a fairly good job with Val Con and Edger's voices, he fails completely with Miri's voice. She comes off not as a young, strong, smart woman, but as a whiny, old woman from New York who smokes and whose voice is lower than a mans. It is a complete miss in terms of representing her character.
I loved Priscilla's story and how she grew and overcame. Norbears <3 <3 <3 I've always wanted one! For those that love books that embrace female pow..Show More »er, here is your star ship ride! Tree and Dragon!! I did feel that the narrator missed the cadence of Shan's voice. Though thorough and precise in his enunciation, the sparkle and edge was missing in the deliverance, especially when there was dialogue between Shan and Priscilla. This was slight and really those of us that have loved these books for over several decades are going to be overly critical. I overall LOVED that I can have this story on my iPod and be able to listen to it over and over. Long live Korval!
I love the Liadan books by Miller and Lee and this one is no exception. I have read it multiple times. I wrote in my review for Agent of Change that A..Show More »ndy Caploe's female voices drive me nuts and I still don't like them. Miri's voice improved in this one - but all his female voices are so breathy and quite frankly most of them are whiney - I will get Plan B but because I love the books - not because I like Andy Caploe's narration.
Love these books. They are wonderfully written space opera and I can't get enough. But seriously, Andy Caploe???? I have adjusted to Miri's voice and ..Show More »it is not nearly as breathy as it was in book one. Emirith Tiazan and the General are shrill. But the one that really drove me crazy was Ren Zel. What was he trying to do with that one? Make him sound like a computer? the voice is so mechanical in tone and pacing. Ren Zel doesn't have a huge part in this book but he has more in the next book and I really hope it smooths out. Didn't like that one at all. Some other reviewers mentioned that Nelerik's voice bugged them but I didn't have that issue. It is lighter in tone than you might expect from a guy so big but it worked for me. Still and all the audio books are worth listening to.
Think of a classic Georgette Heyer Regency, add in a big dose of language and cultural misunderstanding, a dash of real danger, and a healthy dollop o..Show More »f good characterization, and you have Local Custom. A wonderful Space Regency, if you will. Set fairly early in the of Clan Korval, Local Custom tells the story of Er Thom yos'Galan, Master Trader and thodelm of Korval, and Anne Davis, Linguistics Scholar and Terran.
This book can be read without having read any of the other books in the Liaden Universe, and is thus one possible entry point. It's a delightful story that I did not want to stop reading, and had me driving the long way around more than once. The reading is by Bernadette Dunne, and that's all you really need to know. Ms. Dunne is a superb reader and it's a pleasure to have her for the reading of the three Space Regencies in the Liaden Universe.
Scout's Progress tells the first half of the story of Aelliana Caylon and Daav yos'Phelium, but is more about Aelliana than Daav. It is _not_ an easy ..Show More »story. Aelliana is abused, both physically and emotionally, by her na'delm. The abuse occurs both prior to the story and during it. That being said, it is still very much a romance. And an excellent read.
Aelliana Caylon is a brilliant Scholar of Mathematics, the reviser of a critical set of tables used by pilots to survive jump. And, unrecognized until this book, a pilot herself of great skill. Scout's Progress tells the story of her awakening and loosening of the scars and constraints that her abuse has created. And of the developing relationship with Daav as her co-pilot.
This book is fairly immediately after the time of Local Custom, but can be read as a stand-alone volume. The reader is Bernadette Dunne, who does her usual outstanding job. It is always a pleasure to listen to a book she reads, and I'm glad she's the narrator for this Regency sequence.
I love this series. It is a great story! It is best to start with Conflict of Honors, then Agent of Change, Carpe Diem, Plan B, then this book, to get..Show More » the full story and understanding. I was not very happy with this narrator. Most characters were voiced well, but he made Pat Rin sound smarmy, though he is written as a reserved, very proper gentleman. It was better by the end of the book, but every time Pat Rin said something, I got irritated, and it spoiled the experience somewhat. However, it would take more than that to spoil the Liaden Universe!
The Liaden Universe is a full and complex one. This tale starts with the original Cantra yos Phelium, and M Jela and his Tree. Yes, the tree is a char..Show More »acter in this story as much as any other character. I will say that I enjoyed this book much more in audio than in print, which I don't often say! The narration is excellent, because it isn't over-dramatic, but is just enough to differentiate between characters.
This download also has a conversation between the narrator and Steve Miller. Don't skip it! It gives a lot of insight into what goes into narrating an audiobook, as well as learning a bit about how Steve and Sharon write their books. As well as the good news that a sequel to Balance of Trade is coming!
Balance of Trade is the third book (chronologically) in the Liaden Universe by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, and the last in the "Books of Before" sequ..Show More »ence. It is outside the mainline story of the Agent of Change sequence, but has important background to improve enjoyment of later books. This book can easily be read standalone, and doesn't depend on the other two books in the Books of Before sequence.
In Balance of Trade, we follow the early career of Jethri Gobelyn, a young Terran trader in the early days of Terran and Liaden interaction. Jethri becomes Apprentice to Master Trader Norn van'Deen, Clan Ixin. What follows is a classic Trader tale, or a classic Coming of Age tale, or a classic Mix of Cultures tale. Or maybe all three. Whatever, it's a rousing good story and a pleasure to read!
The reading is done by Kevin T. Collins and is as superb as his reading of the other two books in this sequence. Each character has a distinctive voice, but the distinction is subtle and doesn't interfere with the narrative. The Liaden Books of Before are my first encounter with Mr. Collins' narration, but I certainly hope not my last.
Crystal Dragon continues the story (begun in Crystal Soldier) of Cantra yos'Phelium (the Dragon) and M. Jela (the Soldier), and of the great migratio..Show More »n that creates the Liaden Universe. If you haven't yet read Crystal Soldier, stop now and read it first.
In Crystal Dragon, Cantra must transform herself to go deep under cover and save the mathematical equations of Scholar Liad dea'Syl. With these equations, and the luck, some may survive and escape the decrystallization of the universe by the sheriekas. That she succeeds, and that it leads to the founding of Clan Korval, is at no time certain while reading the book.
This is the second book in the Books of Before sequence on Audible. These three books are very much a prequel to the mainline Liaden Universe books in the Agent of Change sequence. The narrating of the Before books by Kevin T. Collins is superb. Each character has a distinctive voice, but the distinction is subtle and doesn't interfere with the narrative. The Liaden Books of Before are my first encounter with Mr. Collins' narration, but I certainly hope not my last.
Theo Waitley, the child of two scholars on the matriarchal world of Safe Delgado, finds her life falling apart as her mother decides to leave the gene..Show More »tic scholar Jen Sar's house and move into an apartment in the Wall. Theo does not want to leave Jen Sar's comfortable house and garden. She also does not want to leave her father with who she has an attachment unusual on Delgardo.
However Theo has problems of her own including a notation in her file that she was physically challenged. As a result of this she is frequently in danger of losing status and companionship. It is when her mother's duties as a scholar result in the two of them having to leave Delgardo to allow her mother to investigate a serious breach of scholarship, that Theo starts to understand that there are dangers beyond a bit of clumsiness on a moving sidewalk.
Meanwhile Jen Sar is also pursuing his own path.
And Theo's all important fifteenth birthday is approaching.
I ended up thinking that this first volume in Theo's story is one that reminded me of the best of Robert Heinlein or Andre Norton's juveniles.
The narration is truly excellent. I think I enjoyed listening to Eileen Stevens read the book more than I enjoyed reading it myself. One of my tests for excellence of narration is to try to read a chapter without hearing the voice of the narrator in my head. If I cannot put aside the voice of the narrator then I know I have had a great listening experience.
Mouse and Dragon is an immediate sequel to the events in Scout's Progress, and continues the story of Aelliana Caylon and Daav yos'Phelium. It is, in ..Show More »some ways, a bit easier to read than Scout's Progress, though we're still very much aware of the abuse that has occurred. If you haven't read Scout's Progress, you can still enjoy Mouse and Dragon, but they really are a pair and I recommend reading them that way.
In Mouse and Dragon, we have the ongoing growth of the relationship of Aelliana and Daav, and their eventual lifemating. More than that would be a spoiler, but we get a glimpse into the very beginning of what will be the Fledgeling (Theo Waitley) sequence.
The reader is Bernadette Dunne, and she does a superb job. Thank you, Ms. Dunne, for giving some of my favourite characters a voice.
I love these authors and the Liaden Universe. I have read all the previous books. However, I tried reading the ebook and quit after halfway through an..Show More »d I tried again with the audiobook and did not enjoy it. The problem is nothing happens. By the middle of the book, some of the characters have relocated. Some people are following other people, that's it. It turned out to be chore getting through the story.
It is like a continual set-up for another book in the series. It was a chore getting through the previous two books about Theo and I see they were just a set-up for this book, however in this book there seems to be nothing but more set-up. What will the family do to survive? So many dangers are facing the family... all that causes this story to not be a story.
The narration also had a problem that when she spoke in male voices the volume was lower, so you turn up the volume and now it is too loud when the female characters speak. Also, Miri's dialog was always delivered in a laughing tone. This became really irritating and unnatural.
Space Opera, set on Planet Surebleak. Much MUCH richer as part of the Liaden Series, but comprehensible as a stand alone. One of my favorites in the s..Show More »eries, even though the chief protagonists are only about 12 years old. These two kids outwit school-yard bullies and deadly Agents of Change. No magical dramliza to save the day (which gets boring). Instead, Nova's fierce and honorable son Syl Vor (aka "Young Dragon") must duke it out.
He's a fabulous character, a little lonely, at times bored, and striving to overcome his recent nightmare experiences on Runig's Rock, when he was hiding from merciless killers while protecting newborn twins. He's smart, stubbornly tenacious, sweet, and sometimes still adorably child-like.
Is the plot improbable? Yes, but not nearly as fantastical as most books in the series.
Secondary characters from the series include Ren Zel, Anthora, Tree, Pat Rin, Miri, Val Con, Daav, Shan, Padi, and Mr. Shaper, the neighbor. Nova plays a big role, but the others get only bit parts.
We see plenty of Syl Vor, the tween-ager, and his new friend Kezzi, a delightful girl of the romany-like Bedel People. She is training to be a healer and seer. Together, they confound bullies and killer-spies.
The scenes showing how Syl Vor and Kezzi became "friends" are a hoot!
Content: One sex scene involving M/F adults, some violence, death. No profanity.
Trade Secret is a worthy sequel to Balance of Trade. My only complaint is that it will be a long time until we hear any more from Jethri Gobelyn, sin..Show More »ce any further adventures for him will need to wait until the authors complete a current round of 5 books already under contract that are timed later in the Liaden Universe.
Trade Secret tells the ongoing story of Jethri Gobelyn, now adopted of Clan Ixen and associate trader on Ixen's trade ship Elthoria. I very much enjoyed the continuing story of Jethri, and wish we could have more. My only real complaint, and it's quite minor, is that I'm finding the reading of Kevin T. Collins less satisfying this time around. The pace feels just a trifle rushed, with the need for a bit more emphasis of the spacing in the story. But still well worth the listen.