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Publisher's Summary

Renata Ghali believed in Lee Suh-Mi's vision of a world far beyond Earth, a planet promising to reveal the truth about our place in the cosmos, untainted by overpopulation, pollution, and war. Ren believed in that vision enough to give up everything to follow Suh-Mi into the unknown.

More than 20 years have passed since Ren and the rest of the faithful braved the starry abyss and established a colony at the base of an enigmatic alien structure where Suh-Mi has since resided alone. Ren has worked hard as the colony's 3-D printer engineer, creating the tools necessary for human survival in an alien environment - and harboring a devastating secret.

For the good of her fellow colonists, Ren continues to perpetuate the lie forming the foundation of the colony, despite the personal cost. Then a stranger appears, far too young to have been part of the first planetfall, a man who bears a remarkable resemblance to Suh-Mi.

The truth Ren has concealed since planetfall can no longer be hidden, and its revelation could tear the colony apart.

©2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc. (P)2015 Blackstone Audiobooks

What listeners say about Planetfall

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    347
  • 4 Stars
    333
  • 3 Stars
    206
  • 2 Stars
    61
  • 1 Stars
    26
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    487
  • 4 Stars
    264
  • 3 Stars
    109
  • 2 Stars
    22
  • 1 Stars
    15
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    321
  • 4 Stars
    271
  • 3 Stars
    199
  • 2 Stars
    71
  • 1 Stars
    34

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Made me think about the theme for a while. .

This book was a fantastic piece to listen to. The author/narrator has a beautiful voice that infused so much life into the dialogue and fostered a ton of sympathy for the protagonist.

I was a bit wary of downloading this book because of how people reviewed the ending, but I thought it fit well.

Without trying to give too much away, I believe a big theme of the book is the Buddhist idea that "to live is to suffer," and a broken person like Ren is a good person to explore this. She's constantly fleeing from her pain to no effect, and I think the ending works in context. By looking forward she can finally let her suffering pass, rather than looking back as she did for most of the book.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

You want different? Here it is!

Sci-Fi by its very nature tends to be at least somewhat derivative; this book, not so much. The world inhabited by narrator Ren is interesting. Due her position in the original expedition and her unusual talent for wielding a 3-D printer, she holds a special place in the community. But she's strange: Why does she have such a hard time forming relationships? What are she and colony leader Mack hiding? What's behind the weird religion on the planet? And why won't Ren let anyone enter her home?

Emma Newman gets points for some interesting world-building. The idea of an economy based on massive recycling and manufacture by 3-D printing makes the rapid development of the colony feasible. Pretty good character development, lots of surprises, awesome ending. There is just enough of "back when we were still on earth" to give insight to what makes Ren tick, as well as what drove the group into space, without over-explaining. When we get to the core of Ren's problems, the treatment of emotional scarring is handled gently and believably.

One gripe: Newman could have cut out at least half of the obscenities. They were unnecessary and distracting.

As for the narration, I don't know how it could be any better. The author/reader doesn't try to "do voices", just gives a straight-forward reading that completely works.

Good book: all the way through, I kept thinking I was going to hate the ending. I thought I had it all figured out. Boy was I wrong, on both counts.

36 people found this helpful

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

Melodrama disguised as sci-fi

I’m confused by all the rave reviews. I love a good sci-fi, but this is 90% drama- I’d say it’s similar to a summer/beach read, except it’s too emotionally overwrought for that- and 10% world building that frankly isn’t compelling or original enough to be remarked on.
The main character is also really problematic- she’s not only much weaker and melodramatic than I’d like for a female protagonist, but also just too incongruous - a genius brave enough to travel to a new planet in search of alien life but then easily duped and bossed around by any man at hand (including one she’s known for ages and one she’s just met and has plenty of reasons not to trust). The dialog around her emotional issues and her friends’ attempts to help her reads like an after school special and her incessant daily angst reads like a young adult novel (she constantly talks about the shortcomings of her parents to be proud of her meanwhile barely mentioning the death of her 3 year old daughter?!). Maybe I would have liked this book in my teens, but I even doubt that, because I just don’t believe or like the protagonist enough. Especially disappointing coming from a female author. Save your credit for something else.

5 people found this helpful

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

Great World-Building, Great Characters, Whip-sawed

I'm afraid the ending of this novel caught me so far off-guard, I had (and still have) trouble connecting it with the rest of the story. It left way too many loose ends for my taste.

This all could have been "fixed" with an epilog; I do not disagree with where Newman took the plot at the last minute. Indeed many aspects of it were foreshadowed. But after spending hours getting to know and care about several brilliantly rounded characters, they and I were left in the lurch.

This is the best I can do without spoilers. There was enough in this book to adore that I'll be looking for more from Newman.

As she also narrated her own writing, I should say that she skillfully gave distinct voices to her characters, and carried us through the protagonist's head-space very well.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful

Really enjoyed this one, I was pulled right in and I don't think I've ever felt like I was in a character's head this viscerally. Very intriguing mystery and wonderful characters,

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Surprisingly original

Well written with good story and character development, Planetfall creates a futuristic world where all too normal human conditions are explored.

With interesting plot twists, and no forced revelations, the story develops through stages, introducing the character in her different roles as scientist, engineer, lover, partner in crime, mental illness sufferer and ultimately enlightened human.
It's not a iterate treasure, but a story you get sucked into until the end. In true British fashion, the end comes as the conclusion, perhaps to the dismay of many readers who might want that final plot twist that leaves you hanging. There's no questions left by the ending, but still so many things to explore throughout the story.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent unique story. Love the reader as well

What talent Emma Newman has! To write and narrate with such beauty, she must be an amazing person in real life. The only reason this book does not get 5 stars is the ending. It was too fast and short at the very end. I left wanting just a little bit more to feel satisfied. Otherwise, this story has not been told before. If there was a sequel, that would help fix the abrupt ending.

7 people found this helpful

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

New Bits, Bland Flavor

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I would have rather spent my time on a book with an amazing ending. Bad endings can kill any joy saved up in the process.

What was most disappointing about Emma Newman’s story?

The fact that so much time and so many words were spend on Ren's psychological condition. In a sci-fi, I want to hear the sci-fi, not all the human insanities that are within us all.

Have you listened to any of Emma Newman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not.

Do you think Planetfall needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Yes. If Planetfall were to have a follow up, maybe I wouldn't be so grumpy with the ending of this one. I was truly disappointed.

Any additional comments?

I loved the detail given to explaining the workings of the new society. I loved the neural interface, and the 3D printers, and the tone. Up until I didn't.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Fabulous character. Fascinating world. Abrupt end.

The narration is top notch. Worldbuilding original and engaging. Main character interesting. Ending felt like getting to the top of the stairs one step early.

2 people found this helpful

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

No one worth liking in this book

I will do my best not to spoil this for those who decide to listen. In the end I found that I didn't care about the fate of anyone in the book. I found them all so flawed and in some cases devoid of any redeeming qualities that I prayed for a giant meteor to crash into the planet and kill them all. There is some solid and interesting science fiction in this story and honestly that was what held me to the end but now that I've listened to it all, I won't think about the experience with anything but sadness. I only gave the stars for the performance which was good and the science which was good. I may have missed something but shouldn't you want to root for someone in a book? When your main character is a lying, self loathing hoarder who shuts out the world and never really comes to grips with or apologizes to anyone for those flaws how can you like them?

9 people found this helpful