LISTENER

Andrew

  • 22
  • reviews
  • 9
  • helpful votes
  • 26
  • ratings

Well written, but be careful what you wish for

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

Reviewed: 2020-05-02

Before you read this book, or what comes next, ask yourself how much you value that satisfying ending from book 3 in the last trilogy. If you’re tired of stories not ending and forcing characters you love into more drama and eventual death (I assume) then my advice is to walk away before reading.

Not that the book is bad, because it’s quite good.

Any time to re-examine characters after some time, they’re going to be a little different. And if you’re attempting to do more than retread the same plot and pay fan service, you’re going to ruffle some feathers.

It’s hard to see the relatively buttoned up ending of the last book undone by the march of time and the reality of conflict.

Of course the war didn’t end with Daro on the beach, meeting his son. But to see the darkness of it, is another thing entirely. It’s not as enjoyable a read frankly, because the story isn’t about winning a war against oppression, it’s about the need for maintaining a fractured, fragile government, and pragmatic incremental change over radical revolution.

Daro, like us reading, is still in the past, fighting a different war that is no longer relevant. It’s jarring to dip back into this world, expecting to see old friends as seasoned veterans who have lived happy lives, only to discover they never got their happy endings and very well may not. As realistic as it might be to show the conflict continuing, its immensely dissatisfying.

The other key difference, particularly with an audiobook, is the change from narrator to narrator and perspective. It works, and it allows for the story to be something new, but again, it’s jarring compared to the original trilogy. Daring and necessary yes, but not perfect. The larger story runs the risk of forgetting about, or not paying enough due to Daro, who has been our eyes and ears and for all intensive purposes, the reader, through a trilogy prior to this.

I sure hope the Reaper gets his happy ending, or like Star Wars recently, these new books could undo the investment I’ve made as a reader. Based only on this book, not what comes next, I’m intrigued, but more than a little worried I’m reading a tragedy not an adventure.

Fingers crossed the title of the next book betrays some lighter moments and returns a sense of purpose.

For the recording, I still really like the voice of Daro, and I think my biggest gripes with the change of perspective are Julian Elfer feeling a bit too emotionally charged. Probably has to do with how much pain the character is dealing with, but the performance tried my patience with how one note it was. Surely SOME of these lines can be delivered without pain?

Also, I really would have liked to see and hear Mustang’s perspective if there was going to be more than Daro. That feels like a missed opportunity.

Anyway, I’m still a fan, just a slightly more cautious one now. The book is well done, but If you value a happy ending, cap it before reading on.

A decent conclusion to a fascinating experiment

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

Reviewed: 2020-02-12

Bobverse is hard to compare to other sci-fi, or other books. The scale and timeline that make it so utterly fascinating and imaginative also make it hard to connect with as deeply as most other works of this caliber. As an audiobook, it’s particularly difficult to follow which bob we are following and when, even with some effort to clarify it. The narrator is talented for sure, but there’s no way to successfully tell the story in this medium. What’s really missing from this book is missing from the previous ones. A real flaw in Bob’s character that he has to confront and grow beyond. A lesson that humanity learns, as they are often a collective character. Some purpose or meaning to it all would have been nice, and could elevate the material to greatness. I guess I could go on for hours about the creativity on display here, the nerdy, clever references and of course, the excitement building to a confrontation with the others. All I’ll add is this though. By the end, I didn’t have too many questions and I was still curious where Bob would go next, and what would happen to Howard and Bill and Will and all the uncountable rest. And that’s a win in my book.

Armchair philosophy and simple self help... in a good way

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

Reviewed: 2019-11-02

I can’t say I liked the idea of Manson reading his own book. I listened to the Subtle Art of Not Giving a F%^* and it was much more fun. This one has some good stories, a few big ideas and a lot of common sense you’ll find yourself realizing you’ve already thought about. But. Those few sections that do illuminate something profound for you, those make the rest of it well worth it. Some interesting factoids and stories mixed in.

Nearly perfect ending.

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

Reviewed: 2019-09-28

Excellent conclusion to the trilogy. Exciting, funny, twisty, powerful and satisfying. Narration remains excellent, great value, long but doesn’t feel it. I am exhausted, emotionally, in a good way. I’m gonna take a breather and try a comedy, then head back in for book 4.

Entertaining, sometimes cliche, sometimes brilliant

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

Reviewed: 2019-08-26

When I started, I felt like it was one cliche after another, with uninteresting characters and a bland world. Even the reveal of the reality was a yawn.

But once Darrow heads out to the Academy, things change. It’s more violent than other books in the young adult fantasy genre, and the depth and brilliance of HOW the caste system works is really the core of what keeps this working. You really do believe there could be a genetically superior elite class that uses technology and cruelty to maintain their way of life. It’s really not that far off from reality, with gene editing already underway. And the way the Academy removes compassion and weak links maintains it perfectly. Truly clever and the politics have real depth.

The characters get a bit better, but if the book has one failing it’s a lack of depth to the characters, including Darrow. He’s well motivated, but not terribly sympathetic or flawed. I suppose his drive is a flaw, or will become one, but I thought he was a bit overpowered too early.

And the narration wasn’t great. Too few voices made following the characters in certain scenes difficult.

Some great moments, but comparatively weak

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

Reviewed: 2019-08-11

Jurassic Park is one of Crichton’s best. The follow up has some good ideas, but the characters and pace are awful, and they get worn out fast by mountains of exposition and wild theory. Especially knowing what we know now (or think we know) about dinosaur extinction, it all feels a bit dated. The movie has its problems too, but at least it’s theme is more clear, and it’s human villains more sinister. If you find yourself reading this and wondering why Malcolm and not Grant is the hero, you’re not alone. Ian Malcolm, the character in the book not the movie, is hard to like. He’s wooden and sanctimonious. Levine is at least passionate, though his motivation is tenuous. None of the characters have arcs, save maybe for the kids and villain. It’s a cash grab, but it is an entertaining one with some interesting ideas about evolution and humanities own place in the greater story of this planet.

Unique, fascinating and a bit confusing

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

Reviewed: 2019-07-14

The concept and time passage of this novel is ambitious and mostly successful. It’s an interesting thing, to read about the genesis of a sentient species so alien from our own. Star Trek fans would be impressed with that aspect of it. The cynicism about humanity though, I was not as much a fan of. The time jumps make following the story, at least listening to it, very difficult. I was often confused about time passage and by the time I caught up I felt like I’d missed important character beats. The spiders’ descendants were an interesting attempt to keep us engaged in characters with short lifespans, but because spiders are so alien, it really is difficult to empathize with them. That may be the point, but it also makes for difficult storytelling and I don’t think it’s always successful. The story on the Gilgamesh was a bit frustrating too, because for a human perspective it lacked humanity, or any kind of argument for humanities survival. As for the villain, Kern (unsure on the spelling), she doesn’t have much depth or much of an ending and her story is perhaps the most fascinating. Some really good ideas, a great reading from Hudson, but not much feeling. Hardcore science fiction fans looking for something unique might enjoy.

1 person found this helpful

Engaging, fun and smart if a bit predictable

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

Reviewed: 2019-06-25

It may be familiar pulp with a story you can sort of predict, but it’s so well told, with such likeable characters, a brisk, tight pace and lots of interesting science and engineering, similar to the Martian. It’s fun, funny and made me want more. Jazz is a great character, like Veronica Mars in space. And it made sense for Rosario Dawson to read her, a young Rosario totally fits the part, and she actually played the female lead in Pluto Nash, a sort of underrated Eddie Murphey movie from the early 2000’s. it followed a similar plot with a city on the moon, though this is much more grounded in real science. I would like to see more of this story, and it’s nice to finally be able to give an Audible Original a glowing review.

1 person found this helpful

As infuriating as it is dull... the worst of Audible

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

Reviewed: 2019-06-15

This is part two but I’m really talking about both parts, since they are one story that was likely split in two by the publisher, if we give the benefit of the doubt to the author.

Never before have I been so angry and frustrated with a story I bothered to finish. And Audible Originals has some ghastly quality control. This thing should be exciting. It blends a global conspiracy, a global pandemic, a global scavenger hunt, science fiction and a commentary on humanity’s destiny and the dangers we face as a species.

But the storytelling is truly horrendous. Just awful. A few decent characters and a great idea do not a good story make. You can’t, or shouldn’t promise a big reveal of a single idea that most every character knows already, and stretch that out over two books. It’s one thing if the big reveal is a mystery the listener discovers bit by bit with the character, but towards the mid-way point of the second part, everyone knows the truth except the listener.

The decision to keep the truth from the audience, or at least leave the truth unspoken and unverified, is purely superficial. It’s manipulation and dishonest writing in the worst way. Padding one simple story needlessly to make it two books and sell more copies.

What makes the asides and science and backstories so terrible and the storytelling that much weaker is the fact that it’s all very stupid and patronizing. The characters and author speak about common philosophy and basic scientific principals as if they are insightful or groundbreaking.

It’s Michael Crichton if a high schooler was writing fan fiction. There’s no research into how something like Rendition or Rook could work, or fascinating insight into real science that people working in VR, nano tech or biotech are really doing. It’s lazy, repetitive and it’s boring.

The resolution isn’t quite as bad as I’d feared, but it’s morally dubious at best, and again, overly simple and mindless, while framing itself as enlightened and clever. It’s offensive to the senses.

This might be the worst book on tape I’ve ever finished.

The narration isn’t great either, because 3 of 6 main characters are women, and the voices for these characters are grating.

Seriously, do yourself a massive favour and skip this series completely.

Dreadfully pompous pulp

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

Reviewed: 2019-05-31

This book feels like a poor imitation of a novel by a student. Maybe it is, in which case well done on a good first step. If this is a meant to be more than an exercise it’s a bitter disappointment. The characters are two dimensional, the dialogue feels like someone in their sixties trying to be hip and the plot lines are unconnected and the mystery is thin. It’s not solved, then it is. The one interesting plot is the best friend and his dead wife, but it doesn’t go anywhere interesting or deep. There’s no relationship to unpack or anything tying the characters together. It feels like it was written as a cash grab for a Lifetime movie of the week. There’s nothing worse than picking up a mystery novel, looking for a good story and being sold something that was clearly written in bad faith, without care or heart. That’s what this feels like. Thankfully the voiceover is okay and it’s mercifully short.