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I made it to the one-hour mark in the audible version of this and that’s it, I’m done.
What killed the read for me:
1) RUE (resist the urge to explain). When RUE is not enforced the reader is left with several, “Thanks Captain Obvious” moments. Being talked down to is annoying, and in general it makes a read very self-conscious. Explaining a culture, a place we’ve never seen before, or the way an unknown technology works is fine. Explaining that a character loves his sister because she’s his sister is just a waste of word count.
2) One dimensional characters. Using exposition narrative/exposition internal dialog to tell the reader x,y,z about a character is fine, however using this as the only way to define a character makes them one dimensional. The tricky thing about a character telling the reader how super cool and smart they are in a first person narrative, is the reader will assess how big of a liar the character is based on their actions over the course of the book. If actions are not witnessed to support most of the characters super cool and smart claims, then the reader will feel detached from the character and the ongoing plot.
3) The futuristic cultural elements failed to meet my common sense thresh hold. Mars has been colonized but its run by a tyrannical government. There’s no crime because if you commit a crime assassins will be sent to kill you. Wow, how does that work? The people selected for assassin roles are removed from their families and not allowed to get married or have close relationships with anyone. They also can’t own property and are rigorously tortured before being given a role that makes them the social pariah’s of their society. Why do these guys want to participate in life at all? It goes against some pretty basic fundamental facts about human phycology, and I couldn’t listen to Serus Blackwell try and rationalize why he was motivated to do anything anymore.
This is the kind of read where I sit amazed at the writers willing to figure out how to self publish and promote a book to the masses, but aren’t willing to fund a basic copy edit or read a few books to improve their writing craft. If a writer doesn’t take the occupation of writing seriously enough to spare readers from copy edits and several adverbs, then I can’t in good faith recommend the work.
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Any additional comments?
For me the plot was good and so was the narration, this book does leave a lot of questions unanswered. To have come so far to live on Mars but not having a lot more than they had on earth is a little too much to believe. I expected it to be more advance but the only where I saw this was in their weapons. I found a lot that was hard to believe from the Mob not being able to keep track of their soldiers (hit men). If you are going to go as far as program humans I would have thought you would have put a device in them to know where they are and a way to kill them if they were to out step the line. This hit man was going to the hospital to visit a friend with no worries of being caught didn’t change his look at all even with a price tag on his head. This is how it goes through out the story. He doesn’t change his look until later at the end of this one or the beginning of the next one. Running around looking like a policeman is fine why he is on Mars but not so cool when on a space ship with a price on your head. It was way to easy for him to get in and out even when there were soldiers waiting for him on the outside. The members of the mob knew him, knows what he is doing but they let him get on the ship without stopping him even when he comes face to face with one. So much of this makes no sense to me but it does make a action pack read.<br/><br/>Mr. Kessel does a good job of narration at first I thought his tones were a little off but as he goes along he does get better with a few places sounding a little off. His character voices were not but when the female were angry they seemed a little too soft. At times it seems like he is pushing the emotion with other times hitting them right on the money. His different characters have nice pleasure voices. The voice he gave to the mob members were strong, deep and full of power. His performance for the most part was good he did make this a more pleasurable listen. A little more work is needed to make this come across more easy flow. At times if felt like the narrator was as lost as I was at times. If this is the case it would have a big effect on his narration. I did not hear any background noise. If any breaks were taken I could not tell. The music used at the beginning and end fits the story went well with the story wasn’t over powering and was very smooth as you go into the story. With not having enough information given and at times too much I thought this narrator did a great job. I have listened to the next one in this series and plan on listening to some more of his work to get the full impact. I really think with the right book this narrator would be outstanding. I just really felt he felt as lost as I was at times trying to understand all the pit falls of a story that leave so much out. I feel it was a 3.5 but giving him a 4 until I listen to more of his work.<br/><br/>The author does a wonderful job explain why Mars is falling and that the people haven’t learn must from the past using up it resource never looking to the future. I do understand why they would want to move on and why maybe earth might be the better place since so many years have passed it might have refueled itself. I understand why they picked who they picked to take back and why they tried to ease the peoples mind with the lies they told. To me this was just too unrealistic and leaves a lot of questions unanswered. We may find the answers in the next book or we may not. This book needs more development with more information given to make the reads understand the full impact the author is trying to give us. I did think it was entertaining and at times an interesting read but was very lacking. This is just my thoughts please give it a read or listen and see what you think. It has some major <br/><br/>