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I debated how to rate this book, and decided just to give it three stars. It really wasn't a bad book, but I'm torn about whether my credit could have been spent better...
The storyline follows a man who is released from prison and purchases a freighter which he arms for defense against pirates. As the story progresses, he becomes feared by the pirates and well known for his accomplishments. The Emperor of his star nation asks him to lead the fight against the pirates since he has more experience with them than the military has, and they can too easily detect and avoid military ships. He is given nearly unlimited resources in which to do this. Throughout the book, he becomes one of the Empires most brilliant tactical minds, marries into the Imperial family, finds long lost knowledge, fights space battles, makes new scientific discoveries, gets kidnapped, takes over a planet, and on, and on...
First off, I'm not too sure about that narrator. Unlike a few others, I didn't think it was horrible, it just wasn't "good" compared to some of the narrators you will find. I did find him annoying at some points, which draws you out of the story and makes you want to stop listening.
As I said, it really wasn't all that bad, but the way the story was told leaves so much more to be desired... It seems almost like this book was written as a bunch of mini stories or novellas that someone combined to make one book. The whole book doesn't flow like one cohesive story. Each sub-plot or story has its own beginning, middle, and end. I actually found this flow irritating enough that I stopped listening for a few days until my frustration subsided. It would have been a much better book if it wasn't fractured into separate yet somewhat connected stories.
Overall, if it sounds like a really great book to you, then have at it. As frustrating as it was sometimes, it actually wasn't bad. BUT, as I said in the beginning, be sure that your credit isn't better spent elsewhere first. I wish I'd put this in my list of low priority wish list to eventually listen to, but not right away.
12 of 17 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
The only other reviewer (to this point) appeared to comment primarily on chapter transitions and the narrator; being overly harsh in their criticism and doing a significant disservice to the author. Many of the points made in that review were valid - though nowhere near "earth shattering" - and it bothered me greatly that the review contained nothing about the novel itself, author's universe construction and the story.
Yes, several segues between chapters did seem somewhat rushed. On the one hand those chapters could be viewed as "stories within a story" and contributing to the whole. On the other hand, a few of those rather abrupt transitions simply jumped over intervening years - I can forgive that sort of quick shift much easier than a contrived shipboard story or subplot that started and went nowhere. I am certainly not saying the author made the best of choices in smoothing over those transitions but it was better than trudging through pages of fluff 'n stuff.
Ok, done disparaging the previous reviewer. :-)
A VERY big positive from my perspective: there were NO descriptions of sex.. There was one (and as I recall only one) "intimate" scene which was handled delicately and without describing the act itself. Throughout the novel there was no bed hopping or gratuitous sex used as a plot mechanism.
On the critical side, I frequently found myself wishing for more (or better) character development. At least the characters' personalities, once fleshed out, remained consistent, interpersonal relationships, social and familial development progressed predictably (with respect to the passage of time).
Another positive: the science and technology were eminently believable. Ships could exceed the speed of light, but the rest of Einstein's universe and laws seemed to still be in effect. Ships had to plod along until superluminal generators (or whatever they were) were engaged, combat was fought at sub-light speeds with understandable weapons. inertia could be dampened but not avoided, etc.
The previous reviewer did get one thing right: the narrator left a great deal to be desired. Personally, I thought the book, plot, action and characters made the narration bearable, but only just. Even when totally "into" the book I found myself drawn back out of the novel because of abominable pronunciation, inflection and/or emphasis.
All in all, I think the narrator took too much away from an otherwise decent novel to give it a better overall rating. I would recommend the the audible version only when nothing else was available and even then with a caveat about the narrator. Otherwise, I could only consider recommending the paperback or kindle versions.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful