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Hawk

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Absolutely outstanding and exceeding expectations

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 17-09-2020

When I reach for a new book I always hope it to be the best book, the greatest story that I have ever encountered, and usually this ends with disappointment. Not so with 'The Trouble with Peace'. I have to admit that while I enjoyed 'A Little Hatred' it was not as fulfilling as I had hoped it to be. I accepted that as the first part of a trilogy much time was invested in creating the characters and setting up the storyline for the following books, and that initial investment has paid huge dividends throughout this second instalment. Abercrombie's writing is masterful and his characters are deep and complex, but within 'The Trouble with Peace' he has excelled himself and stunned me. The humour had me laughing, the tragedy made me sad, and the betrayals had me cold. The betrayals, the double dealings, the back stabbing.... I cannot believe or adequately express just how good this book really is, suffice it to be simply the best of his books to date. No doubt. It is obvious that the time Abercrombie has spent creating and editing his works are not wasted at all, and his plan, his vision for his world burns so very brightly. As always his characters are deep and complex (even the shallow characters have depth), but this can also be experienced throughout the minor and incidental characters. And as for the narration, Steven Pacey has always done a magnificent job voicing the unique characters throughout 'The First Law' series, but he has also excelled and achieved perfection within 'The Trouble with Peace'. If you have any doubts about this all you need do is listen to Jappo Murcatto, and reflect on the sound of his parents voices. This is voice acting at its best, have no doubts. You don't need the long-eye to know that I am eagerly awaiting Sept 2021 for the third part of this story. I just need to say masterful one more time - read it and you will know why. I wish all my book choices were this good, I truly do. Simply brilliant.

3 people found this helpful

Solid Military Fiction

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 30-08-2020

Exceptional story and very well constructed, with each chapter introducing greater levels of tactical awareness. I was hooked within the first 5 minutes. Focusing on the Captain of a US.tank company and predominately told through his POV, the author tells a ripping story of a cold war gone hot, within which a good variety of battlefield situations are covered. I wish more writers took this approach to story telling. The narration was excellent.

Lacks a central protagonist and any good guys

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 26-08-2020

As hypothetical or alternate political realities go, this book contains all the required ingredients to be a best selling thriller. It is however let down by its lack of a main protagonist, and most of the characters seem very thin and unsubstantial, and due to this the story doesnt exactly hook you in. So saying that it was enjoyable to a point but ultimately its pro American military stance sickened me. As the authors stack up their blocks of intrigue they paint a good picture of a world that has become increasingly unhappy with the current policies of the United States. Yes civil war and foreign interference is brewing. I must offer some praise to the authors for keeping this story as 'apolitical' as is possible in these modern times even if the book ignores issues of race and poverty. It is however virus free. I very much appreciate the authors efforts in pointing out that Americas seemingly dominant position in World Politics is actually decided by, at most 28% of their population at any given time. I got 70% through the 2nd book and have quit in disgust. Its way too pro american for my tastes. Not one character on either side thinks that a civil war is a bad idea or that a political solution should even be attempted. There are zero good guys in this book and every politician is a moron. The narrator does a fairly good job although he does eventually seem rather bland except for the sequences where he gets overly excited about the US military destroying the UN Forces.

Race relations and ancient magic

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 17-08-2020

This book is really a series of closely connected short stories around a central group of characters. The racism of America in the 50s (and still today) is in full display throughout these stories but is most prevalent within the first story. Indeed this racism describes the real horror with the Cthulu monsters and magic providing both a dark humour and central focus for the storyline. It is interesting to now watch the new TV series of this and compare. Highly recommended. I have been unable to do it justice within this review. I personally found the racism in this book very hard to handle and during the first story it was a challenge to continue at times. Matt Ruff does drive his point home hard and then relents (but never forgets) what a real life horror is. Although I am not well read of the Cthulu mythos / genre, I did enjoy these aspects within this book.

Action Packed Combat Drop

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-06-2020

Its a planetary assault. Combat drop into a contested landing zone. Things rapidly become a cluster F. The troops are scattered and splattered. Its all action. Go Go Go! Within the genre confines of Military Science Fiction this book is a winner, it is definitely the best combat drop I have read to date. The story is exciting and detailed, and non stop action. This book is almost a stand-alone story of a military action, however it does fit very neatly into Craig Alansons ongoing ExForce universe. Mavericks and The Legion are kickass. Highly enjoyable story well worth a few repeat listens. And chapter six is deeply hilarious, you just have to love the Dept of Compliance and Accident Investigations.

Surprising Lack of Detail

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-05-2020

The complete lack of detail within these stories is concerning within the greater context of historical fiction. No mention nor descriptive of Gladius, Pilums or Lorica Segmentata is to be found within this book, nor the size, shape, weight or colour of the shields, nor any descriptive points of difference between the Roman Legonaries and their Germanic and British opponents. In fact all the actual soldierly facts of day to day Roman warfare are missing, and for me this is problematic as it fails to paint an adequate picture of the times and situations that the series portrays. I also found the battle scenes to be tepid bloodless affairs lacking in detail and passion. However I do know that Macro is short and squat, Cato is young and tall, and that the slave girls eyes are green. Because I like historical fiction, and I currently need a series to read I will continue with these books, because the basic storyline is not too bad, but I will always be yearning for the missing details and cursing Scarrow's writing for omitting them. The narration is also quite awful, filled with mispronunciation (such as Carto and Carter instead of Cato), bad female voices, stupid out of place accents and sections of horrible over pronunciation and heavily rolling R's. At times the narration sounds like a cockney parody of a Hollywood drill sergeant. On the audible page for Under the Eagle they feature this quote - "I don't need this sort of competition." (Bernard Cornwell) And I believe that he is 100% correct, and probably quoted out of context because Cornwell requires much greater competition than Simon Scarrow's books can provide. All in all a lacklustre and extremely generic effort at writing about Roman soldiers. I started on the 2nd in the series but after finishing over 60% of the book I realised that I just don't care about the story or the characters and I feel quite disappointed by the whole process. I am well aware that people really love this series, and I am disappointed that I don't, because I could really do with a long series.

Orthodox and Average Teenage Fantasy

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 22-04-2020

Sorry Craig, but I much prefer your Ex-Force series to this stock standard fantasy. Its not that it is bad, but neither does it offer anything fresh and exciting to the genre either. I am happy to conceed that I am not the target audience for this book. I am 4 hours into this book and have very little interest in continuing with it.

1 person found this helpful

Sharpe novels are always great

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 17-03-2020

Cornwell always writes great battles and in this book he also writes the best, or is that the worst, sewer escape scene of all time. I swear I could smell the ... filth?

Its a love affair

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-03-2020

I am writing this as I have just finished the first 7 books of the Rivers of London series back to back within a month and what a wonderful month it was. There is something magical and warm in these stories, something special, something that I really enjoy. I flashed back to when I was a child in the early 70s reading the Wizard of Earthsea for the first time. While that was the first fantasy book I ever read, it was definitely not the last, and there is something in the combination of Ben Aaronovitches writing and Kobna Holdbrook-Smiths narration that transports me back to a state of mind where everything is fresh and new again. I am sure that I cannot be the only person who is affected like this. I can't say if False Value is going to be better or worse than other books in this series, I don't think I even care. What I do know is that I am going to relish every second of this experience. I believe you will too. There is real magic in these stories. And yes, it really is very good indeed.

7 people found this helpful

Comfortably familiar and wonderfully original

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-02-2020

I dont know where this has been lurking but I am overjoyed to have discovered it. This series is a brilliant post-modern mash up of The Bill meets American Gods with a touch of Pratchett thrown in. I particularly like the police prodedural aspect of the story and the dry subtle humour it contains, I am particularly fond of the sarky copper quips - they really crack me up. I am half way through book 3 and I just have to state it: Ben Aaronovitch is a funny funny man. I fully appreciate all of his pop cultural references and these just add layers of meaning and humour to his story. Aaronovitch knows his target audience very well and therefore his books really hit their mark. The narration is just excellent and fits the character and story perfectly. Well done, couldn't be better.