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Publisher's Summary

When an elite team of specialists receives a long-awaited first contact from an alien race, it’s nothing like what they’d imagined. The "gifts," from a long-dead but seemingly benevolent alien race, have been sent to help humanity defend itself against an imminent threat. It’s clear that the gifts are intended to help, but at what price?

Caught in the middle is Sam Steele, a high-level programmer and veteran with a tragic past, up against the arrogant, intransigent Colonel Eric Web, who considers Steele a loose cannon and is most concerned with giving the United States an edge in the upcoming battle.

As the team races against the clock to divine their visitors’ complex instructions, they struggle with infighting and, ultimately, the question of what it means to be human.

©2013 Dave Donovan (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    148
  • 4 Stars
    133
  • 3 Stars
    76
  • 2 Stars
    24
  • 1 Stars
    10

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    162
  • 4 Stars
    111
  • 3 Stars
    57
  • 2 Stars
    19
  • 1 Stars
    12

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    148
  • 4 Stars
    111
  • 3 Stars
    63
  • 2 Stars
    24
  • 1 Stars
    13
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Christine
  • Sandy Hook, CT, United States
  • 09-01-17

Enjoyable listen

This was a pretty enjoyable though predictable listen. Characters were not very developed, but the plot moved at a good pace and the narration was good. This author thankfully did not attempt to stretch out the story in an attempt to produce two books from one book of material (something that I am seeing more and more of these days), instead, he has left the door open to start an entire new chapter of the story. i will want to read that also.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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

Just OK

It was interesting, but not an attention grabber that I could not stop listening to. I am glad that it was an Amazon book of the day and only paid $4.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Freeman
  • SAN DIEGO, CA, United States
  • 09-15-14

what a great hidden gem!

I don't understand how this only gets a 4.0 from some people! crazy creative and interesting!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Matthew
  • SEATTLE, WA, United States
  • 01-13-14

This Gift is abit of a mess

Would you try another book from Dave Donovan and/or Jeff Cummings?

Dave Donovan...I would give it a try. He has good chops and technical knowledge, and has alot of potential in this category of fiction. I certainly would not preclude him from my list!

Jeff Cummings...sometimes comes across as trying too hard, but on balance a good performance with some pretty technical, or complex, dialogue. Again, not enough to preclude giving him another try.

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

It is clearly the beginning of a series, and as such the ending is rather open ended, esp. in the context of the amount of dedication we all put in to commit to the story. Thus, a neater ending would have been desirable.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Try to be more natural and relaxed.

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

It is clearly the beginning of a series, and the story does need conclusion.

Any additional comments?

The reviews I read were alot more effusive than what I experienced. It was a decent listen, but didn't blow me away like it evidently did for other people. I liked if well enough, but was not in my top 25. Not even close. Recommended with reservations as noted.

15 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Joki
  • Helsinki
  • 02-18-15

Written By A Computer

Roughly around the half way point, I stopped the Audible version in disgust. There was just so much cliche and flat characterizations trying desperately to support a simplistic first contact sci fi. Everyone talked liked computers simulating a person; ironically, the aliens sounded too much like a person. But it was the over-the-top "military are eeeeeevil" messages that really had me rolling my eyes. I'm not a martial person and am hardly jingoistic - but the repeated bludgeoning of the "military screw everything up because they are stupid and utterly dogmatic" points became tiresome. There was so much telling instead of showing (he said, she said, he said, he did, she did.....) that the writing became a chore to follow.

Story: An alien sphere is heading toward the Earth - and the only person who figured out what it is doing is a computer dude. The military chief in charge of the project makes a bunch of stupid decisions based upon personal prejudice and whether something will make him look bad. Despite military dude throwing out computer dude from the program (even though computer dude was the only one to figure out the sphere), the sphere later (randomly) decides to merge with computer dude and tell him the hive mind are coming. Here are some gifts, humans, use them well or be annihilated.

The story greatly felt like it was written by a computer science guy and not a writer. The pacing, characters, and plot were flat as a board. I had a hard time telling anyone apart except for the military guys - they were universally stupid and self absorbed. Reactions and actions were lacking nuances and everything was simplistic to the point of being unbelievable. Giving the military guy an "aw shucks" down south American accent really threw this over the top of silly and stereotpyical. Really oddly, the book felt like it was written by a computer and not a person.

When the aliens started talking with our protagonist, I had had enough. It was all so clinical from the human side and overly emotional and touchy feely from the aliens. If this was a better writer, I could suppose the aliens were meant to show our supposedly scarred (but really just boring) main character how to be more emotional. But I think at that point, I was siding with the big evil hive mind that the humans should be wiped out.

I listened to the Audible version and the narrator did an ok job.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Bryan Maeen
  • Oklahoma City, OK, United States
  • 07-25-18

Soft Story and Poor Narration

The Story:
I'll start with the story, which is always the more important part of an audiobook. The story itself wasn't the worst, but it wasn't the best either. It was flimsy and a lot more political-ish that I was hoping for in a first contact book. The aliens weren't really talked about in detail, but instead you have the typical lone team against the military type scenario. The way characters interacted was a bit forced and didn't seem genuine. Not all conversations were this way, but it was more the rule than the exception.

The Narration:
The Narrator was comical. I felt like I was listening to a South Park episode with the story not fitting the narration and the narrator sounding like a cartoon. Now, I'm usually pretty lenient with narrators, since I feel they are doing me a favor by reading the books out loud and putting in an effort to make the characters come alive. This time, Jeff Cummings just did a terrible job. It would have been better if he was monotone. I had to repeat the words in my head and/or out loud in a way that I felt was more fitting to the story. Some touching moments in the story was ruined by the cartoonish way he narrated it and some not great writing was made awful when he read it out loud.

I feel that Mr. Cummings did the book a disservice. If I was the author I would be pretty upset and would wonder if anything even listened to it before putting out for sale.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lana
  • Charlotte, NC USA
  • 03-08-15

Wonderfully Creative and Imaginative

I really enjoyed this book. it was engrossing and entertaining right from the start. Kudos also to the narrator, who did an absolutely great job with the subject matter.

There seems to be an opening for a sequel and if that's the case, I can't wait for it

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

YOU MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO SLEEP!

What made the experience of listening to The Gift the most enjoyable?

fresh , different than the rest. cant put it down. im calling in to work to finish the book.

What did you like best about this story?

ITS all good.

What about Jeff Cummings’s performance did you like?

he did 11/10 job. i will tweet to him

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

there are several you will just have to try it.

Any additional comments?

you will love it. I NEED BOOK 2 NOW!

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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

Enjoyed the characters.

Okay, but too long winded.

I do not like Audible requirement to write a minimum of 15 words.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Glyph250
  • Murfreesboro, TN USA
  • 08-14-18

wow

The author, who is the kind of person who thanks postal workers for their service and who doesn't know any black people, wrote this book as hard as he could. He put black people and military people in it.

The reader, who is the sort of person who majored in theater in community college and who also doesn't know any black people, read it like this could be his breakthrough moment if he could just get past the uncomfortable parts.

The end result is a kind of reluctant literary blackface, like if your ex-military coworker were doing an impression of Morgan Freeman when your black boss walks in, and he doesn't know whether it's worse to stop or keep going. It is one long cringe, prolonged for hours by intruding space alien technobabble. This is the sort of book Larry David would write ironically, or your dad would write in earnest.

This is the book that made me look up Audible's return policy.