Like a Mighty Army

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Like a Mighty Army audiobook

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Review #1

Like a Mighty Army audiobook free

This had fewer completely asinine plot holes than the last. I’ve read all in the series up to Hell’s Foundations. Although “read” is a bit strong. There is WAY, WAY! too much nattering insignificant detail – just pads the word count (Weber must be paid by the word, or perhaps he is under contract to deliver a manuscript with at least X number of words or pages. I hope he isn’t doing it to just annoy his audience.) OTOH, I do find some of the background info interesting, it (*some* of it) gives the action more context, when he writes about leaking valves or getting a cart through the mud, but some of it is just way too much of nothing. I’ve taken to almost completely ignoring the sections written from the pro-Temple point of view, the book is less painful to progress through that way. But even with that, there’s just too much about how many hills are on the left of the road, and whether there’s a ditch on the right, how many leaves are on the trees. This is the 7th book of the series, and I’m still with it, so it can’t be that bad. OTOH, if it was that good, I would be reading every word. This book is, imho, written a lot better than the last (which I gave one star). It still has one absolutely horrible plot element where a box is allowed to be placed within a couple of yards of a main character without being inspected. It couldn’t be any more lame than that. Guard:”Whatcha got there?” Villian:”Oh, just ignore that large box, obviously it can’t be anything dangerous” Guard: “OK, you may pass. Be sure to get a front row seat!” It’s utter rubbish. The good part is that is the only BIG hole (there are a couple of other scenes that send the plot in the direction that Weber obviously wanted it to go that made little sense, but that is by far the one that wasn’t even plausibly stupid.(note: I’ve altered the situation slightly, but not significantly, it shouldn’t be a spoiler, I hope).) I recommend skipping any pro-temple section over a couple of paragraphs. You won’t miss anything, imho. Or if you want, only read the dialogs in those sections. You also might want to skip the narrative paragraphs which contain no dialog, especially if they start describing the scenery. I got sick of them very quickly. The only other silly plot line was the sudden appearance of a female action hero. Her debut has her at 5’4″ beating the tar out of some 6′ 200 lb bully-boy in front of an audience! Yeah, no. Totally ridiculous. I will admit that young readers may accept this nonsense, since they see so much just like it on TV or in the movies now days. But it happens in the book. Is the heroine worried that her cover is blown and she’ll be regarded as a demon? Of course not! I mean, Safehold is all about the Equal Rights for Women. In a way, her beating up the thug is disrespectful of the problems that women face in the (real world) workforce. It isn’t the obvious difference in physical strength and size that forms the basis of discrimination, it is the discrimination in the actions, opinions and expectations of the woman’s co-workers, underlings, and superiors. Women don’t “fix” that by arm wrestling some guy twice their size. But I digress. Much better than Midst Toil, still isn’t up to what he used to be able to write, when he still was trying. Actually, I am amazed how much technical detail he seems to have mastered. Makes me wonder whether he’s writing this all himself. My guess is he’s had a LOT of help (discussions about firearms, steel making, etc.). Perhaps that explains some of the really weak points. Alzheimers, drug addiction are alternative possibilities. Weber still seems to be unable to create dialogs which are either not sarcastic, jokey, and bluntly honest OR angry and sadistically threatening – its one or the other. Everybody speaks that way, right? You’ll also see a continuation of the overuse of pat phrases “With all due respect, …” and “Forgive me, your Grace/Majesty/Highness” and about two dozen others and the implausible “reading of eyes” wherein character A can intuit exactly how character B is feeling by looking deeply into his/her eyes. Magic – Just ask HW about looking into Putin’s soul…Silly and the count of the times someone’s eyes “speak” in this series is about 3000% too high. And my last complaint is that without detailed topographical maps, his excessive description of the terrain and troop placements are, to me, totally useless. I’ve read some good military history which allowed the audience to understand what is happening. If that was Weber’s intent (and the only other intention I can think of is to pad the word count), then he’s failed, at least with this reader (I consider myself to have above average 3D visualization abilities (and I’ve tested highly in that), but his descriptions leave me having to ignore entire sections as meaningless blah, blah.). I guess the only other thing I’d mention is that Weber leaves characters behind. A key character (oh, say a spymaster) in one book seems to have zero contributions in following books. Oh, one more thing: it is IRONIC that supposedly Merlin is teaching Safeholdians about the scientific method and to be curious, and yet there is one character who has inexplicable abilities, and Merlin just ignores her. (You know who I mean if you’ve read the previous books). “Oh, her? Yeah, I’m astounded she could do that. What? Am I curious? No, not really. Don’t want to be impolite or suspicious (after all, I’ve looked into her eyes…).

Review #2

Like a Mighty Army audiobook in series Safehold

I bought all the books, in hardcover, as soon as they were released, until the 7th one. I bought that one on Kindle, and it is the last one for me. I’m now an elderly woman, I doubt I’ll live long enough to find out what happens to the people of Safehold, nor do I care any longer. I love series usually. I have the complete Wheel of Time, thanks to Brandon Sanderson completing it. And I own thirty four of the books in the “In Death” series. But in each of the series I’ve enjoyed, each book in the series contained a complete story arc and climax. This series has become like one huge book, divided up into six or seven hundred pages released once every twelve or so months. At this rate, I’m guessing it will take 40+ books or more to bring Safeholdian civilization back up to the level necessary for resolution of the war with the Gbaba. Over 15% of the last Kindle book was a glossary. If I had realized this was the author’s plan, I wouldn’t have started it. Luckily, I have never read any of his other work and won’t waste any more of my time. There are so many authors writing excellent military sci-fi, this series is no longer worth my time or money.

Review #3

Audiobook Like a Mighty Army by David Weber

There are a lot of similarities between the Safehold and the Honor Harrington series: both start out strongly and then Mr Weber doesnt really know when to end. So instead of drawing the series to a neat close, he persist on extending them well past the exhaustion of his creativity. In both series, you had bad guys that went from credible into bad, childish caricatures; in both cases, the original conflict (Solarians attacking Manticore, Church attacking Charis) made no real logical sense whatsoever; and in both cases, the plot gets shunted aside in favor of pages and pages of excruciating details about things like rates of fire, the fact that this weapon can fire so 10 rounds of 50kg shot whereas that one could fire 12 rounds of 30kg shot. If that sort of stuff, done OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER again – with naval guns, then land artillery, then rifles and now, depressingly pistols (atleast he seems to be running out of weapons), then be prepared to be thrilled beyond belief.

Ok so pop quiz. Which book is this from:
– Clyntahn twirls his mustache and acts evil, regardless of whether it makes sense or not
– Everyone who comes into contact with Cayleb/Sharleyan/Mikael Staynair just stars worshipping them and becomes their BFF
– Some random priest makes a rousing multi-page speech about God, His Duty, etc.
– The Charisians develop a new variant of some weapon and we are treated to many pages of rhapsodical prose about their rates of fire, and their barrelling, and their size – and usually ends with some Charisian or the other “smiling coldly” or “smiling thinly” at what this will do to their enemies
– Some random zealot thinks zealot-like thoughts
– Some competent general in the Bad Guy’s army grits his teeth and bravely tries to do the best he can
– All the Charisians engage in pretty much The. Exact. Same. Style. Of. Dry. Humor
– The Bad Guys are build up with more rhapsodical prose about how many mens/guns/ships they have – but then they meet the Charisians (who are smiling coldly or thinly, btw), and they get outclassed – although sometimes, they do get occasional minor wins here and there

If you said Books 3-7, congrats, you win. Because that is EXACTLY what every book is about. Rinse and repeat. Sometimes several times in the same book. We got this multiple times with ships and now it seems that we are going to get this several times for armies. Mixed in all this are detailed descriptions of supply chain logistics and carts and wagons which serve no useful purpose other than provide the author a platform to display – in mind-numbing detail – his knowledge of these things. 8-9% of one of the books was a treatise on how one of the ships handles a storm: filled with enough verbiage about jibs, and booms and mizzens to satiate even the most ardent fan of sailing – and it has NO relevance to the plot. None. You could excise that entire set of chapters and nothing would have changed.

One would hope that there would be SOME evolution but nope. After a couple of “here we go again, Charisian Navy rah rah” books, he did manage to evolve it from ships to guns. But now it seems that first we had the land campaign in Corisande where superior weapons/tactics helped snatch victory despite overwhelming odds, then we had 2 books of various land campaigns against various armies of the Church/Desnar/Dohlar where superior weapons/tactics help snatch victory despite overwhelming odds – and now it seems Book 8 is going to continue along the same lines (oh wait, now we are going to see if superior weapons/tactics can help snatch victory against overwhelming odds against the Harchong. Whoa! I am at the edge of my seats as I have no idea what will happen!).

How about adding some more political intricacies in Corisande? Or something about dealing with the Rakurai and its effects? Or perhaps some political manouvering by the Charisians? Or even some guerrilla warfare in Church Lands or Harchong? I mean ANYTHING other than the same old “using superior weaponry to overcome overwhelming odds”. That horse was beaten to death many books ago.

And for the record, I dont mind details or plot development – it shows realism and i prefer that to mindless action. Steven Erikson’s books have oodles and oodles of details and complexity, but they are done right. But here? The good guys are so diabetes-inducingly sweet, the bad guys are just laughable caricatures, and there are the Stern,Stiff-Upper Lip Competent Military Types

This book just takes the good parts of the first 2 books and milks the hell out of them, conveniently falling upon deux ex machinas when convenient. Charis getting too far ahead of the Church in weapons? Just show the Church some weapons and they’ll replicate it immediately. How do you make an overwhelmingly superior army lose repeatedly? Just have a couple of fanatics in there who force bad decisions on them. That entire Siddmarck Sword of Schueler and a oh-so-convenient revolt is another: if it could have been done so easily before, why did Clyntahn wait so long? Clyntahn himself is very smart when he needs to be and amazing stupid when it suits the author’s convenience.

My point is – if you are going to write a gritty, realistic novel, write a *realistic* novel and dont rely on deux ex machinas or very convenient, superfluous reasons to guide the story where you want to. If you are going to write a complex novel covering a variety of continents, make it complex. The whole Rakurai thing came and went with astonishing poor development. The entire political situation in Corisande was easily defused by everyone falling in love with Sharleyan/Raynair. If you are going to write light fiction, then write light fiction and get the plot moving. But that isnt happening – the storyline gets bogged down on extremely prosaic details (ok occasionally, but we really dont need 3-4 chapters in each and every book talking about all the tiny details of this piece of artillery over that piece).

As it is, this eries tries to do everything and ends up being an atrocious mishmash that is neither here nor there. It just meanders along, the product of an indulgent author who seems to confuse repetitiveness with complexity and volume with quality.

Review #4

Audio Like a Mighty Army narrated by Oliver Wyman

The story plot(s) continue. As with the other books, some slow passages but not for too long. As with this whole series, a bewildering array of personae dramatis and when a new chapter mentions someone again, it’s difficult to remember if this person is a goodie or baddie! There’s a lot of detail in the plot so the progress with the long term plot (vicious aliens determined to wipe out humankind) is slow. Still enjoyable.

This continues the story of the last remaining human outpost, hidden on the obscure planet named Safehold after the genocidal attentions of the alien Gbaba. To keep the planet unnoticed and make sure that its nascent civilisation would not call attention to itself by emitting radio signals, the paranoidal group that seized violent control of it after it was settled, locked the civilisation into a pre-technical theocracy, called the “Church of God Awaiting”. They enforced their control by setting up a system of technology censoring called the Inquisition – with all that implies. Unfortunately, the ruling theocrats have become corrupt, and the Inquisition is being used to ensure that the cozy lifestyle of the Church rulers is not threatened. Religious schism and rebellion inevitably occur, assisted by the last remnants of the high technology that had founded the planet. As the book starts, the rebels are facing a huge assault in the Holy War instituted by the “Group of Four” who control the Church, and humanity’s future hangs in the balance.

The book is intricately plotted, but it is well written and the many threads of the story are interwoven without losing clarity. It majors on action, not character development, and on that, you cannot fault it. I was personally happy to discover that Hector Aplyn-Ahrmahk survived the attentions of the ungodly, and I am looking forward to the next installment.

Review #5

Free audio Like a Mighty Army – in the audio player below

The first book in this series, Off Armageddon Reef, was truly outstanding. But really Mr. Weber should have stopped there. Sadly, I’m hooked albeit I wait until the paperback price has dropped to a fiver before I buy. The series is suffering from worditis – a voluminous out-pouring of Mr. Weber’s thoughts which at times meander all over the place. In this book, he introduces pointless characters, utterly boring descriptions of the economies of Charisia in particular, detail on the finer points of how to generate an industrial revolution, the development of a military/industrial complex in a feudal society: and advances the whole story line infinitesimally.

Want to know what happens? Another avatar of Nimue is created, for no real reason other than to allow Athrawes to be in more places at the same time, there is ever increasing use of technology, despite fear of whatever is hidden beneath the Citadel; and the boys from Charisia and Chisholm start to do rather well in the war against the Faithful. Er – that’s it.

What saves the book are Mr. Weber’s always excellent battle descriptions and the overall marvellous story arc. I fear however that at this rate I’ll be long retired before we find out if humanity ever drags itself out of the 15th century in a fit shape to tackle the aliens.

Buy this book cheaply and persevere to the end: better still, borrow it from someone because you’ll never read it again. But you’ll be happy that you read it once.

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