When Kelric, a scion of the imperial family of Skolia, crash-lands his fighter on the off-limits planet of Coba, he figures it will be only a short time before he makes his way home. But he fails to account for the powerful matriarchy of Coba, the mistresses of the great estates who do not want the Empire to know about their recent cultural advances. First they take him prisoner. Then, one by one, the most powerful women on the planet fall in love with him!
The best way to listen to this series:
Primary Inversion (Unabridged)
The Radiant Seas (Unabridged)
The Last Hawk (Unabridged)
Ascendant Sun (Unabridged)
The Quantum Rose (Unabridged)
Catch the Lightning (Unabridged)
©1997 Catherine Asaro; (P)2000 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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"Reader in a bit of a hurry"
I would have enjoyed this book if I had read it in print form, but I just couldn't get past the reader. Her enunciation was clear and her natural voice was great, but at many points her lack of phrasing served to drain the dramatic tension from the scenes. There was no concept of a pause when it was needed, and as mentioned previously, the male voices were just hard to listen to. The listening experience would have been fine or even good had she just spoken the male parts in her natural voice, and slowed down the reading pace where appropriate. I will continue to enjoy this author but likely will choose those books read by others. I'd be willing to try this reader again if she's revised her technique or reads a book who's narritive style is better suited for her.
Catherine Asaro writes fantastic science. She obviously puts much thought into her story plots and expends exactly the right amount of effort developing the character population in each book. The only problem that keeps her from being a great story teller is that Asaro writes about military behavior with the experience level of a lifetime civilian; which doesn't work very well.
An example of this can be seen In "The Last Hawk," where she has a high ranking military officer disregarding even the most basic sworn oaths of office that every service member (officer and enlisted) must take. She even has him committing treason by swearing loyalty to the enemy in exchange for privileges and favored treatment. That blatant disregard for military behavior seriously flaws what would otherwise be an excellent book in an outstanding series.
Now, having said that, I must add this. If your only exposure to proper military behavior is what you see on TV or in the Movies, then you will more than likely have no problems with anything Asaro writes in that department. I'm critical of her treatment in that area because I spent the majority of my adult life in a military uniform and I expect authors to be, at least, slightly familiar with the subject when they use it in their stories. Unfortunately, very few of them are.
I enjoyed reading this book, and the series, because the science was so well thought out. I expect that most of you will as well.
I also recommend that you listen to the books in the order in which they were written, not in the order recommended by Audible.
"Kelric sleeps his way across a planet!"
On 1.5 speed, yes. Sometimes while doing other things, but occasionally engrossing.
I'm reading her entire Skolian Empire series if it is all on audio.
None in particular.
Sure, Catherine Asaro's plots are pretty entertaining. And Anna Fields, as always, makes the book worth listening too as she is good at different voices (most of the time).
As I mention in my review of Ascendant Sun, the sequel to this book, Kelric is a sex addict. He needs therapy. Yes, he's an empath, but his siblings are too and they don't jump into bed with everything that moves. Okay, admittedly, in this book, he's kinda forced too, but that just says something about the author. And in the sequel, Ascendant Sun, he does't have to sleep with everyone but somehow just ends up doing it anyway!
The culture on the planet where Kelric is stranded is strongly matriarchal, female chauvinistic, and revolves around the playing a complex dice game that is used for political purposes. By the end of the book, it is even being used to somehow discern the atomic structure of the elements and develop weapons and split atoms - all this in the space of a few years on a planet that had practically no advanced technology at the beginning! I could not suspend my disbelief about the power associated with this dice game, emphasized so heavily in the book.
But overall, the book is entertaining and a necessary read to understand Ascendant Sun and the books that follow, where Kelric becomes a more important part of the restructuring of the Skolian Empire.
"Not sure what the otheres are thinking"
I very much enjoyed this book, I can't understaqnd why most of the other reviews are so critical. This book like most of Catherine Asaro books are complex. She develops the Characters and no not every book has to be full of blood and guts to be interesting. I think this book like almost all of her books may not be as easy of a read as some but it is worth the investment. Excellent Job Catherine.
"Coulda been better told"
This plot was conceptually excellent, but the manner in which the story was told was arrogant and IMO the author missed an opportunity to explore an interesting idea. I'm a fairly bright person and I've read science fiction since I was old enough to read. But, I was clearly not in this author's intended audience.
The narrator took a little getting used to. She read well and added a nice layer of texture to the story, but something about her intensity reminded me of Captain Janeway.
This is an excellent book to use for a drinking game. The rule was more than 4 syllables take a drink. Word of caution: Since there are so many wonderful polysyllabic words in this book you can avoid a second listen if you pick just one. Dodecahedron worked well.
"Hmmmm.. just not much value"
Plot: Not bad.
Sci-Fi like concepts: Not bad
Okay, maybe this is very personal to me, but I just found the narrator’s attempt at male voices terrible. Picture a Saturday Night Live skit where a female character is pretending to be male, attempting a low voice, but doing so with a “wink wink” attitude that we all now she female, lets just make a silly low voice and call it male. It sounds as stupid as most male narrators would trying to do a 6 year old girls voice. If you don’t have a gift for imitations, just read… please. I was surprised at the frequency I found this distracting. The character was a huge muscled fighting man/machine jagernaut. Every time he spoke, he sounded like my 13 year old baby sitter imitating a “big strong man” talking. Ahhh!
Kelric, the aforementioned jagernaut, was the main character. His character was difficult to believe. Although he fought the “slavery” he was put into somewhat, he was far too accepting. Again, a cybernetically enhanced Jagernaut warrior and member of the Skolian Empire's ruling family didn’t put up enough resistance. Sure he had problems with his “systems,” but he’s a jag.. right? Look at his background, his family…
It seemed that his character was an attempt to be the perfect sensitive /macho /caring /killer /genious /partner /compassionate /warrior /mate /leader. I couldn’t buy it. Many of the other characters just didn’t become 3-d to me either.
I can’t specify large other specific items, but there are many smaller ones and I don’t feel motivated to go into them. No aspect of the story line gripped me. No character captured my attention and interest much. Overall, the negatives distracted me from the positives. I can’t recommend this book.
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