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Ancestral Night

Written by: Elizabeth Bear
Narrated by: Nneka Okoye
Length: 16 hrs and 48 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A space salvager and her partner make the discovery of a lifetime that just might change the universe in this wild, big-ideas space opera from award-winning author Elizabeth Bear.

Halmey Dz and her partner, Connla Kurucz, are salvage operators, living just on the inside of the law...usually. Theirs is the perilous and marginal existence - with barely enough chance of striking it fantastically big - just once - to keep them coming back for more. They pilot their tiny ship into the scars left by unsuccessful White Transitions, searching for the relics of lost human and alien vessels. But when they make a shocking discovery about an alien species that has been long thought dead, it may be the thing that could tip the perilous peace mankind has found into full-out war.

Energetic and electrifying, Ancestral Night is a dazzling new space opera, sure to delight fans of Alastair Reynolds, Iain M. Banks, and Peter F. Hamilton. 

©2019 Elizabeth Bear (P)2019 Simon & Schuster

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Sharon
  • 2019-04-18

It may be worthy, but I can't take anymore.

One of my biggest pet peeve plot styles in novels is one character dominating the book with internal, in his/her head musings, worries, mulling, and generally blathering on in their head. I was ten hours into this book with seven left to go, and if there had been one hour of conversation involving more than just the central character chatting with her own head, I'd be surprised. It's almost entirely the internal mental musings of the female lead character, who, to be fair, is in a very unique and exotic position, but is put into situations where she is alone for extended periods thinking about doing something, how to do it, whether to do it, if it is societally justified to do it, how the ancients would have done it, how another person might do it, and on and on and on, all in her head droning on for literally hours. I can't take it any more. As worthy as some of the mental health related concepts, and societal observations definitely are, and I have to hand it to Elizabeth Bear for being a profound thinker, this book definitely needed an honest editor willing to tell her this book is boring, mind numbingly boring.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Lisa Davidson
  • 2019-03-09

My Favorite Elizabeth Bear Novel!

Long a fan of Bear's intricately detailed and moving short stories, I felt a new surge of intrigue and power in the plot and characters of her latest novel. In a complex and exciting universe of many alien species and AIs, Bear's most amazing accomplishment is her analysis of the deep motivations and emotions that are ultimately most human.

Despite lifelong trauma and pain, our protagonist confronts the most ancient aspects of her mind and psyche to define and redefine the current self she chooses to be. The philosophical questions are fascinating. I will definitely listen to _Ancestral Night_ again, as I was so immersed in the suspenseful execution that I need to consider the deeper societal implications with a second reading. Fascinating.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Farel
  • 2019-05-03

Science was cool but story was all over

The hard sci-fi aspects great, but story and protagonist were hard to tolerate. The author bludgeons you with her world-view, and weedles in concepts that feel out of place in the story. The story itself is everywhere, I thought it was strongest in the beginning then just lost focus. Half way through the story we start saying f*ck a lot too...no problem there it just felt weird - like what happened did Hamy learn a word other than "atavistic."

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • C. Hartmann
  • 2019-03-13

Wow ! Elizabeth Bear Sure Can Write !!!!!

She is a HIGHLY awarded science fiction author (see below) but for some reason I have not connected with her works in the past. This one is a real revelation. The writing is tight and clever -- and the plot is fine sci-fi. There is a ship, a couple of great protagonists and a fun story. It all gets very meta at points....philosophy, human/machine linked memory, personal freedom and cats--BUT the performance is so VERY fine that it works out nicely.

Her bio from Wikipedia: " She won the 2005 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, the 2008 Hugo Award for Best Short Story for "Tideline", and the 2009 Hugo Award for Best Novelette for "Shoggoths in Bloom".[1] She is one of only five writers who have gone on to win multiple Hugo Awards for fiction after winning the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (the others being C. J. Cherryh, Orson Scott Card, Spider Robinson, and Ted Chiang)."

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Ralph Isovitsch
  • 2019-05-21

"Energetic and electrifying...": Not even close

I purchased this book because of it's comparison to the work of Alastair Reynolds, and James S.A. Corey. This couldn't be farther from the truth. "Revelation Space" has modified humanity represented by Conjoiners and Ultras, while "Ancestral Night" has humans with four hands. Space-born humans in "Ancestral Night" don't compare to the intricate society and history of the Belters in the "The Expanse". Strange, god-like alien species? Nothing in "Ancestral Nights" compares to the makers of the Ring Gates in "The Expanse".

This book is long, it needs editing. It belabors too many ideas and descriptions. The dialog from the main character is distracting, it's too easy to lose track of what she is talking about. I understand the need for some internal dialog, but the musing of Haimey are just too much. As you listen, you wait and wait for the important plot points, which when they do show up, are underwhelming.

I am thinking I won't finish this book. Listen to any of the above mentioned alternatives or "The Hyperion Cantos" before you dive into the quicksand of "Ancestral Nights"

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Marcus J. Lintault
  • 2019-07-03

Too much internal chatter not enough story

It was hard to get into this book. The ratio of actual story to the internal thoughts of the main character was not in tune. At about the halfway mark, I almost stopped listening because it became so bad. Listening to the second by second thoughts of anyone is simply just too much. On top of that, I felt like I was listening to a valley girl (google it) - gag me with a spoon! It was just too much internal pontificating. You could have cut out 40% of the book and nothing would have been lost and it would have been a much better story.

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  • Jasmin
  • 2019-06-18

This lady has no business reading science fiction

There is absolutely no way I can listen to that voice for 16 hours, why in the world would you chose someone with this big of a British accent to read a science heavy book. I'm sure the material is really good but don't buy this, you wont be able to get through the lady reading it.

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  • J. Jones
  • 2019-05-19

A Little Slow Moving

Interesting characters and world building. There is a lot of back story as a part of the plot. A big problem is solved but there is more to come. A interesting story line that moved a little slow but kept my interest.

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  • Zach
  • 2019-05-04

I really enjoyed it.

This is my first book by the author. I really enjoyed it. It’s fresh and smart. I’m late to discover Elizabeth Bear but I’ll be reading more of her work.

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  • Rick Gildroy
  • 2019-04-27

Best yet from a favorite.

Most excellent! Have to hear again. Great characters great story. Elizabeth reaches deal. loved the narration.