I was given the Audible credit in return for an honest review, so here goes. To me, the story started out promising, with the main character living on..Show More » the streets, having escaped the planet of his birth during an alien invasion, and escaping to a warship, where he is accepted into the academy which trains into future officers. Sounds like a rags to riches Ender's Game, and reads that way too, which isn't a bad thing. He becomes a successful pilot, and all around kick ass soldier. He does have a LOT of drama in his love life, more than I would have expected, but I was OK with it. Then the story takes a turn for the weird, when Rafian and his current Lady are recruited by the Network, which is a shadowy spy organization that is not mentioned once in the book until they got their invitations, which I thought was jarring. The training was reprehensible, where the students are basically forced to have sex with each other on pain of death, to learn not to form attachments of feeling with sex, and they are trained to kill, back stab and manipulate others. They are then sent on their first missions, to earn the right to gain the basic rank of Person. Before that, though, they are mindwiped to forget their memories of self, retaining only technical knowledge. Rafian is dumped in a universe where he is to join a rebellion and overthrow the government. He does this, while also falling for a Noble Lady Soldier, who he marries. He returns to the order after being gone for 3 years, only regaining his memories at the last minute. he then has to resolve the conflict between himself, his now wife, and the other woman he loves. Plus, all the other women he is going to keep having sex with. The last part of the book involved them taking back their home planet from the invading aliens. It felt rushed at the end, as if the storyline was jammed in place to fit regardless. Rafian's ability to rationalize having sex with all these different women, while his wife was raised to believe in a monogamous culture, was really jarring and really made me think of him as an unlikable jerk in that respect. It was overall an ok read, with some good bits in the combat scenes, buit the personal interactions and drama were offputting. I won't recommend against reading it, but it doesn't seem like a book that will be getting a re-read. The narrator was mediocre, being a bit monotoned, with a lot of background noise during her reading. She does not have much variety in her voice for different characters, so overall, 3 stars.
Disclaimer: I did not read the first book in this series. That being said, I really had no problem jumping into this world and its characters. I quick..Show More »ly grasped the important events from the previous book through the conversations of the characters rather than overviews or summary background paragraphs, and what's more, it made me want to go back to read the first book.
Anisha Dadia did a fantastic job reading. She was expressive, clear, and I had very little problems discerning between characters while they were speaking. This is not a complaint, but more of an observation (since it did not detract from the listening experience for me) but the recording sounded like it was maybe done in a room maybe a little too big or the acoustics were off. Granted, my headphones are not the best, and it didn't take away from the book itself.
I think by coming into the book and not having any preconceived notions or biases of the characters was interesting. At first it was just Rafian and Marian and then other relationships and connections unfolded and I saw their history peeled back by layers even as their stories progressed.
I really enjoyed the setting and world building. Greg has made a complex and elaborate universe with all kinds of species of humanoids, aliens, customs, and technology. I couldn't help but think of 70s scifi with bright colors and lots of fantasy elements mixed in, very "space magic" and I loved it. I'll definitely be checking out more of Greg's books.
--I received a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.--