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 theThe 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....more
Apparently I am not nearly as smart as I thought, and that's good to know. I already held the media in reasonably low regard when I started this book,Apparently I am not nearly as smart as I thought, and that's good to know. I already held the media in reasonably low regard when I started this book, but after reading this it seems like I might need to be even more skeptical of what we are fed by them. Also, I need a statistics review, stat! This book is well written, with a good mix of humor, snarkiness, statistics (some of which are unbelievably counter intuitive), and evidence. Anti-vaxxers, the media, big pharma, and intellectually corrupt academics are all targeted, and the evidence presented seems pretty damning. I have to admit that this book did help confirm my own suspicions of each of Dr. Goldacre's targets, so know that my enthusiasm for this book is indeed a bit tainted by my own prejudices; I now understand, more than ever, the need to state such prejudices up front.
Oh, and get your kids vaccinated, for gods' sakes......more
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 difficuThis 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. ...more
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 enjoyedWow! 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"....more
You made me chuckled at times, but not even John Hodgman's performance as your narrator could breath any life into our relationship. I really wanted tYou made me chuckled at times, but not even John Hodgman's performance as your narrator could breath any life into our relationship. I really wanted to love you, I swear. I suppose I just couldn't overlook the (irrational?) rage, bubbling just below your surface. It's my fault, really, not yours. I'm sorry I couldn't love you, but I wish you the best. I'm going to give you back to the nice folks at Audible, and say "Goodbye" now.
You might want to have that "rage" looked at, though....more
Having heard such good things about this series, I really had hoped for more from this book. The premise is interesting and there were some clever/humHaving heard such good things about this series, I really had hoped for more from this book. The premise is interesting and there were some clever/humorous bits, but I never really engaged in this book like I did with Fforde's Nursery Crime series. I'm going to give the next Thursday Next book a try and see what happens. ...more
I'm having a bit of trouble getting into this one. I'm hoping that it's due to my attention drifting as I listen, because parts have been very amusingI'm having a bit of trouble getting into this one. I'm hoping that it's due to my attention drifting as I listen, because parts have been very amusing. I think that I'll leave it for a week or so and then have a fresh go at it. I may even spring for the Kindle edition and read it "properly". ...more
This trilogy of "children's" books was quite actually quite sophisticated tackling religion, science, societies, and prejudice. Really, this is no morThis trilogy of "children's" books was quite actually quite sophisticated tackling religion, science, societies, and prejudice. Really, this is no more than you would expect from any other Pratchett book; I was just surprised to find all this, along with Sir Terry's stellar insight and humor in what I assumed to be books for young children. I'm not sure why I waited so long to finally get around to this one....more