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marcus

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Good but...

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

Reviewed: 2020-01-31

The new setting was great. The alien species Spensa encounters were fun. The bigger picture view of the galaxy was compelling.

Some aspects of the plot were just a little bit too convenient though. Things just line up for Spensa in a way that pushed suspension of disbelief. It was a little too much to think she would do some of what she does, or that things would just play out for her the way they do.

This one has more politics as well. It doesn't come at the expense of action because there is plenty of that. She just has to deal with bigger picture circumstances than ever before.

Spensa also has a new team that is less fun than the old one. With a couple exceptions we don't see much of anybody else from the first book.

There is still a lot to like and it was a worthwhile listen. I just hope the rest of the series allows more consistency and less obvious plot convenience.

Ciaphas Cain does it again!

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

Reviewed: 2020-01-30

It's easy to listen to and enjoyable. The narrator adds a lot of personality to the characters with the way he reads them.
Cain is sent to organize a defence against the Orkish invasion of an ice world, and makes an unexpected discovery.
It's all pretty straightforward. The plot is fairly basic, but the simple enjoyments of the Imperial Guard facing off against orcs and other foes are still a fun time. Cain and Jurgen are a good duo. The Adeptus Mechanicus are present and add another layer to the setting.

So it's simple, but with interesting elements, and worth a shot if you like these books. I wouldn't start here. "For the Emperor" is a better starting point, but if you like that one this is worth continuing to.


many twists and turns

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

Reviewed: 2020-01-30

It's very unpredictable. The team has to adapt to numerous changing circumstances, and almost every time things seem to be going in one direction something happens to redirect everything. It keeps the pace moving and the action steady.

This one is darker and grimmer than the last one. Partially because their situation is so desperate, but also due to interlude chapters exploring character's pasts. The emotional lives of the characters, the consequences of their actions, and the weight of their choices are all part of the action. Those things are written well and make the story carry more impact.

It's a satisfying sequel and worth getting if you liked the first one.

The narrators do a good job again. It's nice to have distinct voices for each point of view.

delightful

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

Reviewed: 2020-01-30

The narration and sound do a great job bringing things to life. It is short but projects a fun sense of imagination and fantasy.

Strongly recommended for kids but also satisfies adult nostalgia for simpler times.

Not quite

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

Reviewed: 2019-11-27

It's okay. Conceptually the premise is unique. The characters are in exile and building a town and their lives up from scratch to survive. In execution it is a little predictable and too all over the place to be engaging.

The narration has distinct voices for everyone, but there was something overly earnest about it that made it hard to connect with. The main issue was a particular character who just sounds whiny and annoying all the time. The narration isn't badly done and the audio is good quality, it just wasn't for me for some reason.

There are a few scenes of action but between them it's quite slow, and the characters weren't interesting enough to make up for that. Things seems like they're about to build towards a satisfying ending at least, but then never actually amount to anything.

If you like the Pathfinder setting they touch on bits and pieces of lore from the broader world, but there are better Pathfinder books on Audible.

a great time, easy to like

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

Reviewed: 2019-10-30

Nuanced interesting characters in a well developed fantasy world written and performed with subtlety and skill? Yes to all these things. It's fast paced with lots of action and the relationships between characters do a good job developing them and giving information about the world without having to waste time stopping to over-explain something.

The main criticisms seem to be the age of the characters and having different narrators. I would disagree with both.
Sure, they are all super young but given the circumstances it makes sense these people would all be old beyond their years. And they're all well written enough I just can't understand why that in itself would break someone's immersion.

Each chapter is from a different point of view, and each point of view has a distinct narrator. I found the different narrators helpful for knowing who was speaking, and each narrator does a great job.

Some themes and circumstances in the book are quite dark. To me there were enough upbeat moments and glimpses of hope to temper that, but it is not a light or casual read per say.

a worthwhile sequel

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

Reviewed: 2019-10-30

The sequel is just as good as the first book. It is not just a formulaic repeat either. Things from the first book had consequences that have impacted all the characters, so things start from a much different status quo which was immediately intriguing.

All the strengths from the first book are back. The humour of the main character, the fast pace, and the blend of mystery and action are all written and performed just as well.
The story is tightly connected to the events from the previous book and it was satisfying to get to see the consequences play out for the main character and how he chooses to deal with them.

If you enjoyed "Planetside" chances are high you will appreciate this one as well.

elegant and awesome

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

Reviewed: 2019-10-25

I'm left in awe. Please try it. This was really great. All expectations were exceeded. The story combines power, identity, family, legacy, politics, and loss in very satisfying way. The action scenes were gripping. The characters felt understandable and relatable. The setting feels like a real place. I haven't read a setting this clearly articulated and felt in a long time. There was a ton of atmosphere.

The central concept of a type of jade that bestows heightened abilities on those who wear it was handled in a compelling and intriguingly layered way. Jade isn't just a one dimensional power booster. It can damage just as much or more than it gifts if not handled the right way. There are dangers to wearing it, and inborn senstivity as well as level or lack of training affects one's capacity to use it. It can make people godlike martial artists but also destroy their lives. It's hard to sum up in a quick way but it worked very well as a focal point for character struggles and action sequences and the way it informed the culture of the country the story happens in.

There are a lot of POV character changes from chapter to chapter. It was reminiscent of the Game of Thrones books in that way, but with a smaller cast of characters and everything feels much tighter because POV characters are dealing with connecting situations within one city.

where the series really takes off

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

Reviewed: 2019-10-24

Grave Peril contains the events setting up a major underlying conflict of much of the rest of the series going forward. It is also where the vampire courts really come into play. Normally vampires are a turn off but I like how they're done here. The author found a way to combine a lot of common pop culture conceptions of vampires in a unique and compelling way.

Harry is awesome and gets to unleash a lot of thundering angry magical vengeance. Michael is a great companion for Harry and gets some good airtime. James Marsters continues to embody these characters in a satisfying way and bring the series to life.

intro to world of urban fantasy

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

Reviewed: 2019-10-24

This sparked getting me back into reading after a long period without.

The main character is a great wisecracking know it all who doesn't really know it all...The offbeat humor and witty sarcastic remarks were enjoyable. The book pulls off showing both that aspect of Harry Dresden as well as his underlying sincerity and vulnerability. He is a good underdog type character just doing his best to get by and help others.

Epic magic in an urban setting was something I'd never considered prior to this book. It's worth giving a shot, especially if you like that kind of thing to begin with.

There is some humour attempted around the main character's "chivalrous" attitude towards women that doesn't really land. My understanding having read about the series is that the author is trying to draw on old-school noir type detective stories such as the Raymond Chandler novels and how male heroes attitudes towards women are in those types of books. It's kind of tiresome and maybe a weakness in the novel. My take is it's not a deal breaker as far as enjoying the rest of the book. I think the author gets much better in this area as the series goes on and the protagonist develops, although it never fully goes away. If that type of thing is a red flag though you'll probably notice it in this book.