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Prague, Czech Republic
  • 12
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  • 13
  • helpful votes
  • 12
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Magnificent

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

Reviewed: 11-11-19

Loved this series from beginning to end - one of the best things to happen in fantasy in a long while. A richly imagined world, complex and often ambivalent characters, all what you wants it's got. My complaints are few and slight: the conclusion to this story is a little too complete and closure-y for my tastes, though others will appreciate that, and while Peter Kenny does a very good job I'd have preferred someone from a Vietnamese background as performer given the core cast of characters. Still, while this story is very much complete the world is left ready for new stories - fingers crossed that de Bodard comes back to it again.

Huge. And yet a let-down.

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

Reviewed: 01-11-19

My god it's big. In terms of value per minute it's great. But - and this is very much a personal perspective - it's profoundly frustrating as an end to previously great series. Disclaimer: I'm still 2 hours from the end and I'll delete this if the last two hours do the unexpected...! So far, though... The first half was great. More than half. But for severeal listening hours I've been close to quiiting, and would have if it hadn't been for years on prior investment in the characters. At this point it feels horribly Hollywood in finding ways to bring happy conclusions even to storylines that seemed doomed. By the end of the previous book, I was in awe of how a seemingly conventional fantasy had slid into horrifying, subtle tale with deep moral ambiguity etc. Now I think that was just a setup. This book goes pretty plainly into sanctimonious religion territory - making me think of nothing so much as the Narnia series. Don't get me wrong: it still has most of the elements that have made the series fun. It's mostly enjoyable, and if you've been on board for the whole series you're gonna finish, right? But it's very deus ex machina, and if you find religion unsatisfying, it will probably disappoint. If I was reading on dead trees, I'd say wait for the trade paperback over hardback.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

Well read but very tropy

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

Reviewed: 27-09-19

Have to admit I nearly gave up on this a hundred times and if the performance had been less good, I would have. Fairly fun and had moments of wit and even insight, but achingly cliched, no swash left unbuckled, little attempt at serious veracity and if fridging annoys you then here's your trigger warning cos uuuuuurgh (an editor should have nipped THAT in the bud). The performance is good though - sound quality has the feel of a cheap studio but is clean enough, and the characters are consistently differentiated through accent, tone, pacing etc. I'll probably seek out more work by the actor, but I'll give the inevitable sequel a miss.

Super finale to a gripping trilogy

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

Reviewed: 06-05-19

Like the books before it in this trilogy, Holy Sister is superb fun and very well-written. Less rule-subverting than Lawrence's earlier trilogies but easier to enjoy as a result. Really beautifully read on the whole, too - Helen Duff's voice is gorgeous to listen to. Sad it's over.

Trope-filled but gripping fantasy

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

Reviewed: 28-04-19

A lot of fun, and the start of a series that is gripping throughout - but in all honesty it doesn't do much that's new with the genre. It's a "comfort food" kind of book, great for fantasy readers in the mood for a rollicking yarn. Also has one of the longest battle scenes I've read if that's your thing. Nicely but not outstandingly read. The sound editor should be spanked though - the links between takes are very often mistimed, sometimes even with jarring volume changes. It's endurable and I'll probably still get the others in the series, but bloody hell does no one check these things?

Unequalled performance of a fine book

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

Reviewed: 20-04-19

I put off reading this for ages because the idea of a story (partly) narrated by a militarised engineered killer dog called Rex sounded daft. It isn't. It's a thrilling story with great character development, and while the what-is-humanity questions it explores are not new territory, it does so well and in an interesting way. More that that, though, this *performance* is remarkable, especially the deep, rumbly voice of Rex (which feels like being read to by a glass of 16-year-old Lagavulin with a 40-a-day smoking habit, in the best way possible). I loved it so much that post-prandial stroll-and-story turned into a 3-hour walk - I just didn't to stop. Magnificent.

Problems with audio quality

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

Reviewed: 05-04-19

I loved the reading. Was enjoying the story. But the audio quality was sadly unlistenable - oddly muffled. I had to push the volume way up and even then had trouble making it out. That's not a problem with the performance or the book, but with the production. Maybe some noise-reduction filter or something was run on it? Whatever, I had to give up, sadly.

A fun book for a younger audience

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

Reviewed: 25-02-19

Fun to read but not much depth, rather formulaic, and with less convincing world-building than I expect from Sanderson. It has the feel of a kids' tv series.

It's Richard Morgan, but not at his best.

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

Reviewed: 05-12-18

OK, longstanding Morgan fan here but not bowled over by this one. Were my expectations too high? Maybe. This book is set in the same universe as the earlier Black Man (Th1rteen in the US) and it delivers a lot of the same bitter, pulpy cynicism but without the depth of that book. It's... I dunno. It feels unfair to say it, but "placeholder Morgan"? If you like Morgan's style there's a lot to love, but it feels kind of superficial compared to Black Man and Altered Carbon. I also found the sex kind of gratuitous. If you're a teenager that might be a selling point not an irritant of course. Overall, I enjoyed it but I'm not sure if I'll read it again (I read Black Man, oh, at least 4 times, and will again. That's a 5-star book).

Audiobook-wise, reader Colin Mace is... well. He has a laconic, p*ssed-off, bored tone that fits the character but (and it's not the first book I've listened to that he's read, and it seems to be a Thing) he doesn't seem to track the sense of what he's saying a lot of the time. He puts. Pauses. Where they don't. Add anything. Sometimes he'll start reading a sentence, but when you think he's stopped, then you'll find it's not the end. Of the sentence. Sometimes this really gets in the way of understanding.

Overall... Damn, I love Morgan's work, I've been LONGING for this, but somehow it's pretty meh. Sorry, Richard.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Cannot recommend highly enough...

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

Reviewed: 20-11-18

...and that's both the book and the performance. Beautiful, musical, hypnotic, compelling. A wonderful experience.