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Judas Unchained

Narrated by: John Lee
Series: Commonwealth Saga, Book 2
Length: 40 hrs and 58 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (6,759 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Peter F. Hamilton's superbly imagined, cunningly plotted interstellar adventures are conceived on a staggeringly epic scale and filled with fully realized human and alien characters as complex as they are engaging. No mere world builder, Hamilton creates entire universes - and he does so with irresistible flair and intelligence.

His previous novel, the acclaimed Pandora's Star, introduced the Intersolar Commonwealth, a star-spanning civilization of the 24th century. Robust, peaceful, and confident, the Commonwealth dispatched a ship to investigate the mystery of a disappearing star, only to inadvertently unleash a predatory alien species that turned on its liberators, striking hard, fast, and utterly without mercy.

Coexistence is impossible with the technologically advanced aliens, who are genetically hardwired to exterminate all other forms of life. Twenty-three planets have already fallen to the invaders, with casualties in the hundreds of millions. And no one knows when or where the genocidal Prime will strike next.

Nor are the Prime the only threat. For more than 100 years, a shadowy cult, the Guardians of Selfhood, has warned that an alien with mind-control abilities impossible to detect or resist - the Starflyer - has secretly infiltrated the Commonwealth. Branded as terrorists, the Guardians and their leader, Bradley Johansson, have been hunted by relentless investigator Paula Myo. But now evidence suggests that the Guardians were right all along and that the Starflyer has placed agents in vital posts throughout the Commonwealth - agents who are now sabotaging the war effort. Is the Starflyer an ally of the Prime, or has it orchestrated a fight to the death between the two species for its own advantage?

Caught between two deadly enemies, one a brutal invader striking from without, the other a remorseless cancer killing from within, the fractious Commonwealth must unite as never before. This will be humanity's finest hour - or its last gasp.

©2006 Peter F. Hamilton (P)2008 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"For flat-out huge widescreen all-engines-at-full I-dare-you-not-to-believe-it space opera, there is no one quite like Peter F. Hamilton." (Richard K. Morgan, author of Market Forces)
"Richly satisfying.... In more ways than one, this...work is monumental." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4,134
  • 4 Stars
    1,894
  • 3 Stars
    507
  • 2 Stars
    128
  • 1 Stars
    96

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3,347
  • 4 Stars
    1,357
  • 3 Stars
    432
  • 2 Stars
    104
  • 1 Stars
    80

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3,425
  • 4 Stars
    1,406
  • 3 Stars
    360
  • 2 Stars
    79
  • 1 Stars
    66

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Production issues and the story can be painful

Clearly there were a lot of production issues -possibly due to a story this long. As others have noted, it's very difficult to know when your are switching between events without so much as a breath for a pause.
The last third of this story was painful to me. Poor attempts at red herrings and only giving closure to certain characters was more of an insult to me. Not to mention the uneven treatment of details, forcing certain events to unnaturally extend out. The end of the star flyer itself being ridiculously resolved and so quickly.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

the performance volume either whispered or shouted

I could not finish listening to the book. I restarted 3 times but the volume range was so large that the performers was whispering and too hard to hear or shouting and it hurt to hear. I have been listening to books on tape for over 2 years and this is the second book that I have not finished.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • J
  • 09-06-14

Entertaining but it just goes on forever!!

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

You have to listen to Pandora's Star first otherwise much of the book would be meaningless and I would provide a warning that it goes on forever.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

This book would probably be better in a Reader's Digest condensed version. There is just a bunch of subplots which while they get wrapped into the over all plot, they don't really add anything to it other than to make in unreasonably long.

Which scene was your favorite?

When they finally blew up the bad guys!!

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

I'm not sure how you would do over 80 hours of a book into a movie and it does'nt really lend itself to being split into multiple movies.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

The Audible version of this book is disapointing

What would have made Judas Unchained better?

A non iritating naraitive. Maybe R. C. Bray would have been a better choice. John Lee's gasping pronounciation is quite distracting

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narrator seemed to be gasping and charging into every sentence.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I will have to read the book to have any comment.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Tony
  • SAINT ALBANS, WV, United States
  • 03-09-15

Not the reader for me

I had a very hard time listening to these books. I missed most of the story because the reader doesn't grab my attention (probably good since I listen while driving.) I don't know how to rate the story since I missed so much.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Can't Really Be More Dissapointed...

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I have no idea who would enjoy this stuff, the characters are hollow and you eventually don't know why you care at all.

Has Judas Unchained turned you off from other books in this genre?

No, there are lots of actually talented authors out there.

What aspect of John Lee’s performance would you have changed?

Unlike the first book from Commonwealth Saga where he would constantly talk high and low making it a strain to listen to, this book was pretty even leveled in volume, it's not his fault he had to say enzyme-bonded-concrete 600,000 times.

What character would you cut from Judas Unchained?

Seriously? All of them except the people on the ships and directly related the war effort and maybe some underlying story about the aliens they already knew.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • prashy21
  • Edison, NJ United States
  • 08-03-18

Bad narration !! no pauses and change in volume

Narrator keeps on switching scenes without a pause, really annoying when you find out last few lines were from different scene.
narrator keeps on changing the volume level sometimes so high that i had to lower the volume of my headsets and other times making it so low that i was forced to increase volume.
Story is not bad from top but useless explanations and details of non-relevant things and people were excruciatingly bad.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • amy
  • Darien, CT, United States
  • 06-23-11

Interminable

The first thing you need to know is that this isn't a novel, it's the second half of a novel, of which "Pandora's Star" is the first half. If you haven't read or listened to "Pandora's Star", go do that first.

If you are an avid sci-fi reader, e.g., you could stand "Dune", you'll probably like this. If not, you won't even start it, because you couldn't get through "Pandora's Star". You did go read that first, right? It has more characters than "War and Peace", more twists and turns than a speed freak's line drawings, more sub-plots than a soap opera, and more false endings than a Spielberg movie.

As to the narration: in general, I find John Lee OK, I've listened to a number of books read by him, but he's not the best choice for this book because he really makes very little effort to distinguish different characters using different voice shadings. Unfortunately, someone made the weird production choice to provide no hint of a scene shift. The pauses between scenes are no longer than the pauses between sentences, so I frequently found myself saying "Wait, where did that come from?" and needing to replay a few minutes - even then the scene and character shifts weren't so easy to discern.

I give it two stars because I did manage to make it to the end of the combined book, but no more Peter F. Hamilton for me.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Andre
  • Ithaca, NY, United States
  • 04-25-11

Too many stories

This long, complex sequel to Hamilton's earlier novel has too many sub-plots, too many people and names, to be understood as one listens along.
However, I would have given it a rating of 4 except for the miserable job of reading by John Lee. He has the highly irritating, totally unnecessary habit of omitting the final S in many words, especially when reading conversations. Not only plural words, but others like "us" or "essence" or "excess", etc. I had the impression he feels it lends a tone of sophistication; but the habit is deplorable.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • DocJim
  • Northern Colorado
  • 03-17-12

Long, Long, Long, and X-rated!

This story is way too long. It must be read with Pandora's Box as a prequel. The graphic sex could have been left out or reduced. The language is awful. Very hard to follow which is too bad.

It winds 3 (maybe 4) stories togethers which all come together at the end. That is masterful. That is why I gave it a rating of ★★ rather than ★! This book is too long, too confusing and unnecessarily vulgar. I will skip books by Peter Hamilton in the future. John Lee I thought did a good job with the screwy material.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • James
  • 11-19-08

Beware, this is the second book of the story.

This isn't a review of the audiobook as I've not listened to it. This is just a warning that Judas Unchained is the second book in the story. Audible should have released Pandora's Star first for listeners to get the most out of this one.

4 stars, based on the paperback version.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Walter
  • 01-22-09

Where are the rest of the series?

This is mainly to say James is right. Get all the books to the listeners! I started with to the \"Void series\" only to discover that they where part of a series. Audible - are you listening?
When will void book two be recorded?

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark
  • 03-28-09

Top class science fiction..

Excellent story (make sure you know the plot from the first in the series) from one of the most accomplished and consistently high quality science fiction authors currently writing. Top class listening..

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Yaa
  • 06-22-09

Judas Unchained

This is the second Peter Hamilton book I have listened to and is set centuries before the events in the Dreaming Void. Annoyingly the first book in the series Pandora's Star is not available as an audiobook, I read it first because I wanted to know more about the universe in which Judas Unchained is set.
Judas Unchained brings the series to a brilliant conclusion though an incredible mind-numbingly large number of people die due to the catastrophic events that are triggered in Pandora's Star. A great listen - kept me rivetted wanting to know how the characters were going to extricate the future of humankind from an almost fatal fix.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful