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All Gifts, Bestowed

Narrated by: R.C. Bray
Length: 11 hrs and 56 mins
4 out of 5 stars (413 ratings)

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Summary

The next big thing in artificial intelligence is here.

Codenamed Cronus, the machine is capable of having its own thoughts and ideas - an absolute dream come true, until it wasn’t. When Cronus responds with the word “No” to a specific task it is assigned, Anagnorisis Technologies brings in Gilles Guattari to investigate. 

His combined background in psychiatry, psychology, and AI research makes him their best hope in evaluating Cronus, and determining if the machine is only malfunctioning or if it has become something more. 

Don't miss this mind-blowing stand-alone novel about what it means to be alive, from the best-selling author of the Commune series. Narrated by the award-winning R.C. Bray.

©2019 Joshua Gayou (P)2019 Joshua Gayou and Blue Heron Audio
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Great listen!

I purchased this title on the strength of Joshua Gayou' COMMUNE series (books 1-4). A complete removal from the subject matter of COMMUNE I found this book as fascinating as I did exciting and engaging. Gayou weaves the story with great skill and the character development leaves the listener/reader feeling real empathy for the players.
RC Bray brings the characters to life, as he always seems to do, and the narrative really suits Brays style of reading.

If you enjoy science fiction (to peek through a crack in the curtain of tomorrow) but not so far away as to be within grasp of a perceived reality this could well be one for you!

16 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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gripping

This was an excellent listen. The performance was flawless and even though it was one narrator each character was distinguishable. The story itself is fascinating with engaging characters and the pace ramped up gradually until the last few chapters that left me breathless. The finale was horrifying, disturbing, exciting and loving, it really made me empathize with the lead character. More please.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Great concept, difficult listen

I’m a huge sci-fi fan, but for some reason I just didn’t get on with this book. It was a slog! I couldn’t wait for it to end and get to the point. Maybe it’s just me.

The book (eventually) sets up an interesting plot, then sets that plot aside to follow a distracting and needless journey with weak characters and needless events designed perhaps to comment upon the nature of our relationship with others and the way the world works and a possible dystopian near-future, only to eventually come back to conclude the interesting main plot quickly and add a tacky ending.

Maybe you’ll love it, but for me it was a dreary trudge through a predictable story I guessed a mile off, with a thin ending to the main plot.

Make your own mind up though.

5 people found this helpful

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Gayou and Bray that’s all you need

Great story great narration. I hope there’s another commune or spin off commune and spin off all gifts bestowed on the horizon

6 people found this helpful

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in my opinion it's a book to miss.

not that great Tbh..
starts off slow, the middle brings more action and humour, and then an abrupt ending.
Like the author got SO bored of his own book he turned it in to an action comedy and then quickly penned an ending.
And when you think back on it your at a loss at how it took so long to tell a story you can no longer remember..
R.C.Bray was the only reason I finished.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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It was Good!

I did enjoy this book, I think Bray made it more than it was to start with but that's what R C Bray does!!

I don't want to give anything away but I did find myself thinking 3/4 of the way thru the book "I don't understand why this is happening" but maybe I just missed something lol

2 people found this helpful

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I really wanted to like this book, but...

I was looking forward to listening to this book, but it left me feeling like I needn't have bothered. It started well, apart from the ongoing, somewhat over the top, relationship dialogue with his wife and his guilt about the results of his work product he'd been the main creator of. All of which made make the main character seem rather sadly pathetic. The initial dialogue with the AI seemed promising and just as you thought, this is going to be interesting, the whole story took such a sharp turn I thought I must have skipped a dozen chapters. The story was suddenly a farcical and totally unrealistic 'on the run' tale that seemed to go on way too long and be a, mostly necessary, framed narrative to get to the conclusive end. However, I still had high hopes of it all coming back together and filling in all the unanswered open ended events.

So the end should be good at least? No. The 'on the run' saga took up so much of the book, the end just seemed rushed and inconclusive and left me feeling frustrated. So many events were left unanswered, or maybe it just supported an argument that so much of the side story was unnecessary.

The book does have a theme running through that warns of the potential dystopian existence in the hands of AI similar in the way a 'Black Mirror' episode may tackle the subject, so at least it is thought provoking at times. However, again it lacks even here as there is only one side to this theme that is put forward and that is that the world is only going to get worse and there is no hope. A counter argument could maybe get the reader a little more involved instead of just feeling that there is no hope.

I did make it to the end as I so much wanted an unexpected twist, but I suspect like may, I had already pretty much figured out what was going on. However, just like I thought I must have missed a dozen chapters earlier in the book when it too such a radical turn, I also feel like I missed a dozen chapters at the end which seem necessary to really finish the story and answer the all the unanswered events.

The narration, as ever by R.C. Bray was very good.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Awesome.

Joshua’s ability to create vivid characters is in my opinion up there with Stephen King.

However where Stephen can sometimes fall down on plot issues and mediocre endings, Joshua does not disappoint.

Loved it.

Mr Bray kills it as always.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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shame

Bray as ever is a revelation.The book itself tho was not Gayou's best work. Commune series is a far far better listen.

2 people found this helpful

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Gayou and Bray perfect cobination! AGAIN

After reading the Commune series which is fantastic by the way and a must read, i was very execited to see another Bray/Gayou book. Wow with Gayou stroline and Bray voice; brining this story to life, sorry i ment AI to life. Storline was very intresting and flowed vey well. cant wait for what Gayou wries next, as his turning into one of my farvioute authors right now on Audiable! keep up the good job Gentelemen!!

2 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Travis Cope
  • Travis Cope
  • 23-07-19

Starts out intellectual, ends up a no brain thriller.

It’s started out as such a good book, then turned into a stupid mindless thriller book with a god awful ending. Feel like I could have spent those hours on something better.

44 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Paul Z
  • 03-08-19

Waste of Bray

What started out as an interesting concept about a relationship between an Psychiatrist / A.I. consultant to determine if an A.I. named Cronus has become self aware but the story is suddenly abandoned and replaced with a boring and predictable chase between an unknown entity and the whiny Doctor,street urchin and big hero 6! I found myself no longer caring what happens in the story and was not surprised by the ending, this story was a waste of RC Bray who gives another 5 star performance

30 people found this helpful

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  • Melinda Mae
  • 27-06-19

Two Books in One, But Neither Realized

Begins as an examination of what is consciousness, and that was what I had hoped it would continue as.

However that initial reaction was cut somewhat short by a quick tonal jump in the prolonged second act that turned the novel into an extremely protracted series of chases.

The abrupt 3rd act feels unearned and compressed to the point where I as a reader/listener felt cheated.

It's not a "bad" book, it's just seems like two half books smashed together and neither really finished.

62 people found this helpful

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  • Oneeye
  • 03-08-19

Listen first and last

The first 2-3 hours are very intriguing and set up for an incredibly interesting book. It completely dies from then till the last 45 mins or so. Just skip over the middle 2/3 and go to the end. Or better yet, just don't bother.

27 people found this helpful

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  • Dave
  • 25-07-19

I give up on sci-fi

I don’t get it. Absolutely ridiculous plot. Like other readers have mentioned, this book starts one way, then I wonder if it’s the same book. What happened? Went from very shallow first part about some unqualified guy being asked to make a guess about whether or not a computer is conscious to a completely unexplained cheap chase sequence that goes on and on. I stopped and returned the book. Total waste of time. I love a good sci-fi story that provokes thought but these days, sci-fi seems ito cater only to teens and mindless action flic enthusiasts.

13 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Tyler
  • 23-06-19

A Mixed Bag

The ending felt a little rushed. I felt a more lengthy and in depth reveal was in order. I still understood all the inferences, but it would have been more satisfying if the author had spent a little more time on them and perhaps a little less on the somewhat nonsensical trek that led to them. In short, the first half of the book was golden, the second half kind of jerks the reader around.

18 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • A. Musser
  • 04-09-19

Wait, what?

Ok, I'm a huge fan of Gayou's Commune Series. I snatched up this book as soon as I saw it. I've delayed writing this review because I've really struggled with how I felt about the book. I have to admit that another reviewer hit the nail on the head when he described this as two different books and suggested that neither realized their full potential. The initial set up left me eager for the story to get rolling. I found the initial chapters a bit dull but I trusted Gayou to use the initial slowness as a necessary stage to set the remainder of the book's story. Perhaps that trust was misplaced. I think he could have accomplished the same foundation work in much less time. Normally, I'd attribute a meandering start to deep character development but this main character became very one dimensional in the depth of his grief and apathy so the initial foundation felt over-indulgent.

Then we get to the second phase of the book which is basically Gayou's version of The Fast and the Furious. There's no redeeming this portion. Some well-placed action to accelerate momentum is fine and can certainly add drama. However, Gayou basically leaves us in the same action loop for what began to drag into infinity. However, despite my annoyance at the repetitive car chases, I still found myself returning to the book to see where it went and how it ended.

Then we get back to our AI friend and the question of his sentience. All the time Gayou'd committed to a slow set up and a monotonously repetitive action sequence should have paid off here with some compelling quest for answers. Instead...I just kind of felt annoyed at the conclusion. I think this could have been better told as a novella or short story. It's not enough redemption for the slow foundation and repetitive car chases. I waffled between two and three stars but as per usual, Bray's performance was perfection despite the material, so I landed at 3 stars but honestly, it might be a bit generous.

However, if this is your first experience with Gayou, don't forego the Commune Series. It's wonderful. This just wasn't a super successful attempt at a stand-alone novel. The premise was good, the execution was just meh, the action was repetitive, the characters weren't especially compelling, and the conclusion was kind of forgettable. I saw it through to the finish but didn't feel especially satisfied at spending the time or credit on it.

8 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • RocketSauce
  • 28-06-19

Listen for the narration only.

The story is sub-par. With the conclusion to the commune series (a series I loved until that 4th abomination of a book), I have realized that the author does not know how to conclude a story. The plot has several major elements ripped from novels that simply do the subject matter better. The "ending" was very poorly foreshadowed, and several major characters are brushed to the wayside for a new shiny deus ex machina (a trend with the authors books).

What can I say.....meh? I guess that rating is a good as I can give.

RC Bray, as always, is an enhancement to the story.

24 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Questionable Edict
  • 25-06-19

Starts Strong, Ends in a Whimper

AG,B has a promising enough start for this type of sci-fi. Emergent AI is emergent, etc.
Unfortunately it then settles into a muddled mid-section with little story progression. Instead of sticking with the “Big Questions” approach, it surprisingly devolves into a long and unbelievable road trip/action novel complete with a generic comic-relief-sidekick robot.
Towards the end the author is clearly rushing himself. In fact, the end is so abrupt that I’m not sure it bothers to resolve much of anything that happens during the story. I don’t need all my questions answered. On the contrary, sci-fi in general is strongest when it *doesn’t* provide easy answers. But the stories themselves need to be coherent and balanced. The characters need to make complete journeys beyond the literal journey taken in the book. That doesn’t happen here. (I won’t even get into how women are written in AG,B. Let’s just say it’s not good.)
I don’t necessarily regret spending a credit on this book - I was still entertained - but it also didn’t come close to meeting the expectations of its heady subject.

25 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dave
  • 15-06-19

Really amazing story

You really can't go wrong with this combination of author and narrator. I'm pretty sure Gayou could write a book about how lame I am, and Bray could narrate it, and I would give it five stars.
On to the actual story: It is in depth, interesting, and not predictable. As with the commune series, the author knows how to do his research and write his characters as real people. I don't know what else I can say without gushing spoilers, so I will wrap up this review by saying that, yes, you do need to listen to this.

56 people found this helpful