Wow! That was a very long listen, made longer due to my greatly diminished allocation of time set aside for reading for pleasure. I thoroughly enjoyed...moreWow! That was a very long listen, made longer due to my greatly diminished allocation of time set aside for reading for pleasure. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute.
I made the right decision when I stopped reading "The Dreaming Void" (book 1 of the Void Trilogy), to start with Hamilton's "Commonwealth" books. "Pandora's Star" is the first of the "Commonwealth" series, with "Judas Unchained" the second volume. I gather there a some scattered short stories that belong to the "Commonwealth" series, and I'm sure I'll get around to them at some point. For now, I'm going to start the "Void Trilogy", again, and dive back into "The Dreaming Void".(less)
This has been a great series of books, but I'm beginning to feel they should be treated as a single book in three volumes. I think it would be difficu...moreThis has been a great series of books, but I'm beginning to feel they should be treated as a single book in three volumes. I think it would be difficult (it was for me) to read this one (Temporal Void) or The Evolutionary Void as a stand-alone work. In fact, I found the references to the previous series (The Commonwealth Series: Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained) in The Dreaming Void so intriguing that I stopped reading midway so I could read the Commonwealth books first.
That's not to say I consider any of that as bad; it's just my opinion in case anyone happens to be contemplating one of these works. Hamilton has quickly become one of my favorite authors. I'm going to be a bit sad to finish these two series; the characters and world have become very real to me and finishing will be like saying goodbye. I'm certain that I'll revisit these books again though, just as find myself returning to Sir Terry Pratchett's Discworld, Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, and the worlds characters of a few other great authors. (less)
The story line of Polaris seemed a bit uneven compared to the first in the series (A Talent for War), though some of this may have been due to the c...moreThe story line of Polaris seemed a bit uneven compared to the first in the series (A Talent for War), though some of this may have been due to the change in narrators. The narrative in the first book is told from the perspective of Alex Benedict, the series' namesake, and is narrated by Greg Abbey, who does a wonderful job. With Polaris being told from the perspective of the female lead, Chase Kolpath, the producers chose (wisely) to change narrators, going with Jennifer Van Dyck. Ms. Van Dyck also does a wonderful job, overall, but I found a couple of little things tended to distract me from the story.
Ms. Van Dyck chose to perform the various AIs (artificial intelligences) in a mechanical monotone, that I suppose was intended to mimic current-day computer generated voices. Mr. Abbey chose to perform these characters more fluidly--think C3P0 versus the Joshua from the movie War Games. Considering these stories take place 9600 years in our future, I preferred Abbey's characterization.
Additionally, I had a difficult time reconciling the difference in the Kolpath character between the books. In A Talent for War, Chase was described as "smokey-voiced" and mysterious, and indeed performed that way by Mr. Abbey. Chase came across as more assertive, adventurous, and very much an equal to the male character. However, in Polaris, we find Chase has become the more practical and cautious of the two, though not weak. This is not to say that this is the fault of the narration--I know this was purely the author's doing--but it still made it difficult for me to remain immersed in the story.
My final issue with the audio version of Polaris is one that also caused me difficulty remaining "immersed" in the story, and frankly, I find that I feel a bit silly even mentioning it. During the reading, especially in the more dramatic parts, Ms. Van Dyck would occasionally breath deeply through her nose. While this was not entirely unexpected, nor do I begrudge her the breath, the sound it made was loud enough, and just unique sounding enough, to be quite distracting. I really do feel silly, because I always cringe when I see reviews (especially bad reviews that are based solely on anything that is beyond the author's ability to control) that mention things like this. I have always felt that some of the reviews of Jim Butcher's early Dresden Files audio books to be troubling because the low ratings were based on the way the narrator "smacked his lips" or his "heavy breathing", but I have to admit that I found it distracting in this case.
I think that I might have found Polaris a little more enjoyable had I read the book rather than listened to the audio book. That said, I still found it to be an enjoyable read, and I intend to continue on with the series. I will, necessarily, continue with the audio versions, in part due to an issue with my eyesight (which I hope to have corrected, to some extent, soon), but mostly because I simply enjoy audio books. And while I'll continue to mention any performance related issues I have, I will do my best to rate the books based on the qualities of the stories--aspects that are within the control of the author. I did enjoy this story, and I'm confident that the series only gets better from here.(less)