World Fantasy Award-winning, best-selling author Robert McCammon makes a triumphant return to the epic horror and apocalyptic tone reminiscent of his books Swan Song and Stinger in this gripping new novel, The Border, a saga of an Earth devastated by a war between two marauding alien civilizations.
But it is not just the living ships of the monstrous Gorgons or the motion-blurred shock troops of the armored Cyphers that endanger the holdouts in the human bastion of Panther Ridge. The world itself has turned against the handful of survivors, as one by one they succumb to despair and suicide or, even worse, are transformed by otherworldly pollution into hideous Gray Men, cannibalistic mutants driven by insatiable hunger. Into these desperate circumstances comes an amnesiac teenaged boy who names himself Ethan - a boy who must overcome mistrust and suspicion to master unknowable powers that may prove to be the last hope for humanity's salvation. Those same powers make Ethan a threat to the warring aliens, long used to fearing only each other, and thrust him and his comrades into ever more perilous circumstances.
A major new novel from the unparalleled imagination of Robert McCammon, this dark epic of survival will both thrill listeners and make them fall in love with his work all over again.
©2015 The McCammon Corporation (P)2015 Audible, Inc.
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TEARS WOULD WIN NO BATTLES AND RIGHT NO WRONGS
This started out real weird and I had trouble getting into it. The main character (Ethan) has no personality. He answers every question with "I don't Know". The aliens were cool and what they could do to inanimate objects was cool. Until chapter 8 and the Rat King, I was about to bow out early. Mostly due to the lack of character development. I am a huge fan of freaks and mutants, so when the rat king happened I got interested. This was shortly before part 2, when they introduced the cookie cutter character, TV Evangelist. While his personality was cookie cutter and he was not likable, he brought some excitement and controversy to the story. I really liked his interaction with the Queen. The Grey Men were cool and the attack on the bus was exciting. They are very similar to the mutants in Gunslinger.
MAGIC EIGHT BALL
Just as we get to know the main character he is eliminated. Not that he was that exciting to begin with. The book has several chapters of nothing but introspective. It even got corny in places. Throughout all of this, there still is not any character development. It got to where I just didn't care. I almost felt insulted. I know what a great writer McCammon is. I am a fan of They Thirst and Swan Song. I liked the three or four other books of his I have read. They all had characters. I feel like he got together with his writer buddies and said, I can write a Science Fiction book and not have any characters and it will be a best seller. I will threw in a lot of mumbo jumbo, Area 51, mutants, prophesy, aliens, twilight zone, guns, bombs and lots of shoot-em ups and those idiots will be tickled pink.
Unless your Arthur C. Clarke, (who is quoted in the book) and your going to write about the wonders of space, than you must have characters we care about. With only two hours left in this sixteen hour book, I had no desire to continue. I don't believe I have ever gone that far with a book, only to bail out before the finale.
Narrator is great.
"Finally a Great Book that is NOT A TRILOGY!!"
This is McCammon at his best. The Earth is caught in the middle of two alien races at war fighting over the border on which Earth is located. During the first two days, all of Earth's armies are destroyed and after 2 years nations are gone and those few people remaining are struggling just to live, while the aliens continue to fight.
Sounds like the plot line of a B-Movie? Imagine how a caveman, would view a high-tech 21st century war - our technologies would appear as "magic". This is how the human race finds itself, caught in the crossfire between two highly advanced technologies at war, with as much ability to defend itself as a caveman with a spear. McCammon crafts a story reminiscent of the style of Swan Song, in which a 14 year-old boy, aided by an alien entity (a peacekeeper), becomes humanity's last hope for survival.
I was drawn into this book in the first chapter and I found it difficult to hit pause. The best part? The entire story is started and finished in one book! It was not dragged out over multiple volumes.
Fred Berman did an excellent job of narrating this book. He was not simply reading and applying some accents, but he was "acting" this book out. His different voices were very well delivered (not just a higher or lower pitch of the same voice). The dialog was delivered with the energy and realism that made it feel like you were there.
This was a fact-paced book with a concentrated, smaller group of characters. This afforded McCammon the opportunity to fully develop his characters without taking away from the movement of the story or by needing to drag it out across multiple books. This is classic McCammon - get it! Read it!
There are a few authors that upon hearing they have a new book coming out I don't need to read a publisher summary or any review... I'm going to get that book. In fact, I don't want to know anything about it before listening to it. I want to be surprised. Robert McCammon is one of those authors. I'm not saying I loved every book of his, but he's wowed me enough that I'm a life long fan.
With The Border I've been waiting months. I had it pre-orderd. Then the day it came out life got in the way and it was over a week before I could listen to it.
So, McCammon steps up to the plate, knocks the dirt from his cleats, raises his bat and awaits the pitch. Will he hit a single or a double? Will he strike out... Or will he knock that mother out of the park?
I think he gets tagged out at home plate.
The Border feels like a classic McCammon story only written with the skill that he has honed over the years. From the first few minutes it takes off at breakneck speed. It's exciting and descriptive in just the right way. Fred Berman does a fantastic job with the narration. I fell headlong into this book. I loved every bit of it... Until the last two chapters.
I really hate to say it, but I thought the ending fizzled. I'm not giving any spoilers, but for such a powerful story the ending felt weak. I don't think the ending ruined the book. However, I can't give it a full five star rating. I hope you'll feel differently when you listen to it.
I know that audible had a glitch with this book and the last few chapters were missing the first few days this book was available, but I downloaded the complete version after they fixed it. So, I did hear the whole book.
"Great narration, mediocre story"
Narrator does a great job, but it's more plodding survival-horror than sci-fi, with lackluster resolution.
"Robert McCammon never fails"
Admittedly, I am a fan of all of McCammon's work and this one is no exception. Lovable heroes and an excellent plot.
Spent my teens engrossed in McCammon and its sooooo great to venture back into his mind/world again. With The Border it's like he never left. Great characters. Great plot. Great book. What's next, Sir? Whatever it is...I'll be there.
"Did that ending feel abrupt to you?"
Then maybe, like me, you did not have the whole book.
I listened to the "end" of The Border three times, trying to figure it out. That's just not how you end a book. Even if you wanted to set up a sequel...nope.
There didn't seem to be anything missing. The Audible message played after the last ominous-sounding sentence. Then I noticed that the file I had downloaded, to both my phone and laptop, was 13 hours and 29 minutes long. But the book is *supposed* to be 15 hours and 45 minutes.
Well, now I've got the whole thing.
This does not change my review too much, except that I can now say that there is, in fact, a conclusion. It's just not very good. Deus ex machina much??
The rest of it isn't any better. Another reviewer was right: this is mostly tired rehash.
I did sort of like the character of the preacher. Yeah, he was a turd of a human being, but his character evolved the most over the course of the book. And at the end, when things were wrapping up, his story was the only one I was eager to hear about.
Ties into Area 51, everything was total scifi horror wood - great characters, stories, and a PERFECT ending that left me with tear welled eyes and a huge lump in my throat. THE BEST scifi horror alien war story Ive ever read. Couldnt have been read better - great job by Fred Berman
Shades of the dark saga of Swan Song, mixed with the emotion of A Boys Life, set upon a near-extinct and pock scorched Earth like youve never read.
Excellent reader. His voices were spot on and different without ever being annoying.
Will not disappoint McCammon fans
"Robert! What happened to you?!"
They say every writer potentially has a masterpiece in them. If that's true then every writer has a real stinker in them as well and The Border is McCammon's work of orifice disaster. Seriously, I can't believe the same person that wrote Swan Song and Boy's Life (two of my favourite books) wrote this massive pile of crap.
Don't get me wrong, the premise is a good one, but it's like McCammon came up with this great idea for a book, then handed it over to his 15 y/o nephew to write. There is ZERO character growth which is surprising for a story that's almost 16 hours long. Not only is there no character growth, you learn nothing about people in this book other than the brief intro that you'd get at a party from a friend of a friend. Now add all this to McCammon's slightly annoying writing style of head-hopping and you feel nothing for anyone in this book.
The storyline and plot points are beyond clumsy, I'm truly surprised I even finished this book. Why did I finish this book? All I can say is that Robert McCammon would have been better off retiring then releasing this book. I was looking forward to reading other books from Mr. McCammon's bookshelf, but after listening to The Border and learning how bad it can get, I'm really thinking that I'll leave it be and maintain my fond memories of Swan Song and Boy's Life.
Descriptions of where things came from were missing, and too much time was spent traveling with no achievements.
It was fun at first, but then I ended up just stopping it about 75% of the way through.
I stopped it 75% of the way through because their travel felt redundant and it was too alienish for me.
This is one of the worst audio books I have listened to. The story is just ridiculous and has no meat to it. Anything Ethan does is simply because the story needs him to do it. The writing and the way the narrator conveys it had me actually wondering if English is the authors first language so horrible was some of the writing.
"Massive storyline, told in an intimate way"
I've not read the print version but both mediums have their benefits.
The entire concept really grabbed me from the start. We've heard countless stories of aliens invading Earth to fight humans, but the idea of two different races fighting over the territory grabbed my imagination from the start. McCammon was also able to cleverly work the story so that the bigger picture could gradually become clear without the use of expositional narration.
Not sure, but he was excellent. It must've been a real challenge with the amount of characters but he handled it really well without anyone sounding a bit ambiguous.
Robert McCammon is an author with one of the best imaginations out there. Every book of his that I've read has been absolutely first class.
Over the top
It's the language that really grates. 'Hell', 'nightmare', 'alien', 'horror', etc. etc.
It's an end-of-the-world, alien-invasion, boy-who-should-be-dead, zombie, plucky-band-of-survivors mash-up. I can't help feeling it's trying to hit all the buttons, and that rarely works.
I enjoyed this novel however, I couldn't help comparing it to Swan Song, there were so many similarities I did feel a little cheated by McCammon. Saying that I did thoroughly enjoy it and even though I did guess the ending very early on, I found I couldn't stop reading it. Fred Berman was good and had a range of voices to match the characters. I would
definitely recommend it as well as Swan Song.
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