Set in a lethal pro football league 700 years in the future, The Rookie is a story that combines the intense gridiron action of Any Given Sunday with the space opera style of Star Wars and the criminal underworld of The Godfather. Aliens and humans alike play positions based on physiology, creating receivers that jump 25 feet into the air, linemen that bench-press 1,200 pounds, and linebackers that literally want to eat you. Organized crime runs every franchise, games are fixed, and rival players are assassinated. Follow the story of Quentin Barnes, a nineteen-year-old quarterback prodigy that has been raised all his life to hate, and kill, those aliens. Quentin must deal with his racism and learn to lead, or he'll wind up just another stat in the column marked "killed on the field."
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I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got offered to review The Rookie for Audiobookreviewer dot com. I have only heard one other story by him, HIPPO from V-Wars: Blood and Fire, and I can honestly say that I’ve never read anything like it. I’m a huge fan of football and Sci-Fi both. Galactic Football? During off season? Yes please!
Scott Sigler tells the story of Quentin Barnes, a rookie from the PNFL, a Tier 3 team…There is a really cool set up for Sigler’s 3-Tier Galactic Football League, but I think it would be better left discovered on your own… At 19 years of age he is a prodigy who can throw the ball over 80 yards, and is faster and stronger than any other human QB. He was raised in the Purist Nation, a radical religious group of humans known for their racism and fear of all other races. Quentin’s dreams start to become reality when his contract is bought out by a Tier 2 Team, the Ionath Krakens. In a league where players death is a regular occurrence, he must battle his ingrown prejudice with his need to win. In a league filled with races that can jump 3 times as high as humans and bench press over 1000 pounds, Barnes may find it better to stop thinking himself infallible, sooner rather than later, if he hopes to make it to Tier 1.
In a story self-described as “…a story that combines the intense gridiron action of Any Given Sunday with the space opera style of Star Wars and the criminal underworld of The Godfather.”, Quentin goes up against threats on his life, personal strife, and crime lords. There is so much more than great football here, and there is a lot of great football. It’s packed full of story, from death threats on the field, to crime lords running the GFL, and a trip through personal discovery that was brought to life by Scott Sigler himself.
The quality of the audio book was fantastic. I had never heard Mr. Sigler’s narration and was a little surprised, and extremely pleased. Complete with fantastic character voices, all identifiable, and sounds effects that fit the story perfectly, this is a must listen.
Audiobook provided for review by the publisher.
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- AudioBook Reviewer "All of my reviews are on my blog audiobookreviewer dot com"
So surprised that I LOVED this
Someone I know who is an internet fan of Scott Sigler suggested I read this so I checked it out and have now listened to all 5 books currently available in the series. This is not the best writing in the world and I am not a football fan, but this is so entertaining, that I was really sorry to get to the end. (More, please ASAP Audible!)
I grew up in West Texas (Friday Night Lights) and was in high school marching band. I then went off to Texas A&M (home of the Fighting Texas Aggies - Gig Em'!) so of course I was a complete football fanatic in my younger years. However, as age and a little wisdom crept into my life I was more and more disturbed by the level of violence in football on and off the field (Michael Vick) and the serious injuries that resulted and have lost my taste for the game. However, I have to admit, that if I had a chance to see a Galactic Football game (can you imagine seeing a player leap 20 feet in the air to catch a pass?), I would be there with bells on!
The basic premise is simple if a bit silly - far in the future an alien race has conquered most of colonized space which includes 5 different sentient beings (including humans). They want to find a way to unite these varied groups of sentients, many of whom hate each other, and they do it through a Galactic Football League. The story is about the League, these many types of "people", a coming threat to all the sentients, and most especially it is a great coming of age story of one boy, Quentin Barnes.
If you only like "hard" science fiction, if your religious/political views tend to be fundamentalist, or you can't handle any violence in your books, you won't like this series. If you like soft sci-fi with some great aliens, lots of action, and some great characters, you're probably going to really enjoy The Rookie. Kind of goes without saying that if you love football, you will probably get a kick out of this book, but you really don't have to be a fan to enjoy the story. (It does help a little if you know the basics of football, but that probably isn't really necessary to enjoy the story.)
I had only two problems with the series: 1. Quentin Barnes is presented with many opportunities to expand his mind and make choices. He doesn't always make the right choices, but he eventually grows in ways that make him easy to like and understand. However, I draw the line at having to accept that other people's cultures are always OK. One group of aliens in the book eats live animals - not because their biology requires that just because that's what they like. I'm NEVER going to say that it is OK to inflict pain and agony on another living being just because that's what you like to do. I think the book takes accepting other cultures maybe a step too far - some cultures include child slavery, no education for girls, caste systems and that's just not OK in my book. Our own culture encourages eating and drinking to excess along with a lot of other ugly things and that's not OK either. I just don't think open-mindedness means you have to turn a blind eye to cruelty or stupidity or discrimination.
2. The books start out saying that they are "suitable for readers 10 and up" and I TOTALLY disagree. While the value systems portrayed are mostly quite positive and most parents would be happy with "moral messages" woven into the narrative, there is a LOT of violence both on and off the field in these books. Players are maimed (a guy has his leg bit off!) and killed during the games and there are murders, torture, and executions that take place off the field. I would never recommend the books for someone as young as 10 - I think older teens would be OK.
With those two issues said, the series is extremely entertaining, really funny (some great satire on sports journalism), and the audio presentation is wonderful - totally pulls you into the story. I was surprised how much I enjoyed The Rookie and all of its sequels.