A Mighty Fortress

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A Mighty Fortress audiobook

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Review #1

A Mighty Fortress audiobook free

I was a little surprised to see all the really hostile reviews on this book because I enjoyed it. Perhaps not as much as some of the previous books, but still… I think the criticisms that nothing happens in book 4 are a bit off the mark. Granted, there isn’t one huge sea battle that the first 80% of the book leads up to in a classic climax, but that kind of thing is a bit formulaic in Weber’s books and I for one was glad to see something a bit different. That said, there were three or four little mini-climaxes in some of the subplots that were pretty exciting, I thought. So anyhow, I thought the pacing held together pretty well and it kept me engrossed. I will admit that the book spends a lot of time building out the culture of the different countries and fleshing out characters and their backgrounds. It’s a lot to keep track of, but I personally enjoy the depth and the deep world building. My main criticisms are the similarities to the Honor books (plucky, small, underdog kingdom–that happens to own a huge monopoly on naval shipping–against the whole world). Its still a good story. And it’s different enough with the whole “humanity has lost technology and there’s a super advanced android trying to rebuild” scenario that I’m mostly overlooking it. But I really groaned when there was a second officer named “Raif” running around. 😛 Anyhow, yes, Weber gets pretty detailed about what’s going on, but it’s nothing compared to Jordan in the middle of WOT. He’ll redeem well if he picks up the pace in the next book.

Review #2

A Mighty Fortress audiobook in series Safehold

Having just read the first book in the Manticore Ascendant sequence, turning to Weber’s sole work shows once again how clearly the writer is floundering. The other with a co-writer who obviously did the lion’s share, show where Weber’s faults come out.

There were perhaps two subplots in this story that were interesting. The pacification of Corisande and the successful fleeing from the Gang of Four of the persecuted families. (There, Spoilers for the only good and complete parts of the book)

Otherwise the author uses 690 pages in Hardcover to fill a Gap Book in his series. We still have the enemy never winning. Always out gunned, though here in the few sea battles, they get in some licks and some of the named characters do die. Wait, we should discuss the named characters. Their names, family and surnames, are sounded out phonetically. The place names are spelled out as we would spell them, as is all the rest of their language. Where in the use and development of language does that occur? (Nowhere Weber. You came up with a stupid device and now we keep having to live with it)

Then there is the setup of a meeting. First we have to have the POV character fill us in on the background of the secretary that shows the guests into any meeting. Then we have to serve everyone food, drink, etc, and go through the small talk. Every word of it. Every time. At every meeting. Finally after 10 wasted pages for every meeting, they have a meeting that is much shorter in length but let me tell you how Weber will list every objection to the reason why a thing can’t be done by saying My first Point, and then adding the Second Point I have is… Etc. Every time. Ad Nauseam.

And many of these meeting are repetitive plays on meetings held elsewhere. Then there is time and distance where sometimes a message will race ahead of people faster than the people who are traveling when no one else has travelled ahead of them. Reports arriving well after the reporter should as well or before that you can see the holes in that. As well as the distance of the world sometimes being adhered to and more often not being adhered to. Why care after setting something up if it interferes with the story.

But then here what is the story. It is the time after the conquering of Corismonde, and leading to a naval battle campaign. But a campaign that doesn’t provide a finish. It is like telling about the Wars of Napoleon and discussing the period after Corunna when the British left Portugal before coming back with Wellington. That starts this book, and then you think perhaps the next book would wrap up when there was something decisive between Wellington and the French in Spain, but this work kind of ends after nothing conclusive after a few minor engagements with the French in Spain in 1810. Nearly 700 pages and still a lot more needs to be done before this war ends (and this is only book 4)

Clearly these books could be a 1/3rd the size for the story they told. That an EDITOR going through and cutting drastically all the nonessential stuff (What do you care who makes a better whiskey and how many times you need to hear those who like it) would improve this, as well as save on the cost of making the book, and perhaps save on the price people would pay for it.

Review #3

Audiobook A Mighty Fortress by David Weber

I have enjoyed most of David Weber’s books over many years. The SAFEHOLD series continues to strengthen his image as one of modern science fiction/fantasy’s great authors. This is the fourth book in the series. I have continued to read the series, in sequence, and recently (25 June 2015) read the seventh book in the series, “Like a Mighty Army.” I have preordered the next book, “Hell’s Foundation Quiver,” that is due for release 13 October 2015.

For those who may not be familiar with David Weber’s writings, I would also strongly recommend reading his HONOR HARRINGTON series. That series has been around for several years and David continues to add to the series with some regularity.

Note. I read all of both the SAFEHOLD and HONOR HARRINGTON series as they were originally published. Now, that I am retired and ebooks make purchases more affordable, I am buying the entire series and rereading them — to a great deal of satisfaction as I discover that enough time has passed that much of the content seems as if I am reading the books for the first time.

Review #4

Audio A Mighty Fortress narrated by Oliver Wyman

There are a great many things wrong with this book, starting with the cover art: it has a flying saucer zapping a sailing ship with a death ray, something that – thankfully – doesn’t happen in the book. Then there’s the length: over a thousand pages, making it thicker and heavier than my copy of the bible, although admittedly the typeface is larger. And it is at least a better story than the bible, making use of such advanced techniques as causes preceding effects, characters having believable motivations etc. Trouble is, it’s still not that good. Much of that length is taken up by lengthy internal monologues which serve to set the scene but which digress to such an extent that, when they occur in the middle of a conversation (as they almost invariably do) it’s hard to keep track and is terribly jarring when a character finally decides to say something. And there’s nothing exciting and new at all when compared to the earlier books in the series. It’s merely a small development of themes that we’re already very familiar with from the first three volumes. Add to that a cast of so many characters that the appendix listing them all covers 32 pages, and that they all have idiotic names which are based on normal names but with all the vowels hideously butchered, and it’s too easy to lose track of what’s going on.

Review #5

Free audio A Mighty Fortress – in the audio player below

I’m a big fan of David Weber. And I’m a big fan of the Safehold series. But this book…

I understand we’re dealing with rebuilding a world and a society. I understand that a good story has a proper flow and lengh, and has to be properly told. But this book is simply too *slow*! There’s simply too much going on, too many secondary characters poping up (we have a 37 page index of names, for Langhorne’s sake!), too many locations, too many descriptions. The story grinds down for the sake of too many useless details. A certain tutor’s journey to Zion, for example, could have been dealt with in just a few pages, rather than entire chapters. It’s what happens in Zion that matters, not all the ity-bity stuff on the way (a full description of a hotel? Really?…).

I like where the book leads us in the end, but getting there almost becomes a chore, rather than a pleasure. I think that, even without loosing charaters, some editing of descriptions and journeys would have chopped 10-15% off the book… and nothing of the story would be lost.

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