Cibola Burn (The Expanse #4)

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Cibola Burn (The Expanse #4) audiobook

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Review #1

Cibola Burn (The Expanse #4) audiobook free

This is the fourth book in the seven book Expanse series (and did you know that the series might be a long as nine books?). Each book goes “Where no man has gone before…” farther and farther out into the universe and the ride is not without a few bumps.

This book pushes settlers (originally from Ganymede) out through the Ring into a brand new universe. They’re willing to settle on an entirely unknown planet. Things must’ve been really really, really bad where they came from (which is true if you’ve read the earlier books).

In each of the books, you have the UN/Mars/OPA, a corporation (Protogen in the early books, Mao-Kwikowski Mercantile next, and Royal Charter Energy (“RCE”) in the current book), the inhabitants of a moon (or settlers) and the crew of the Rocinante.

RCE has the “charter”, a governor, and a shipful of scientists and supplies bound for the planet the settlers call “Ilus” and RCE calls “Bering Survey Four” or “New Terra” or “24771912-F23” and it was “sitting smack dab in the middle of the Goldilocks Zone” (every planetary system has to have one of these).

RCE must’ve never watched any Sci-Fi on TV because the organization of the captain, crew, and passengers has an entirely sovereign security group led by moderately cloaked psychopath. What could go wrong?

The scientists are smart, funny, and plausible (not that I’m a scientist).

Amos in the book seems bigger and balder than the actor playing him in the TV series (but Wes Chatham is permanently Amos in my head now). Amos suggested taking some supplies with them on a reconnoiter and Holden said no. “Later,” Amos said, “when you’re wishing we had this stuff, I am going to be merciless in my mockery. And then we’ll die.”

Bobbie Draper is mentioned in the Prologue and then in the Epilogue. This is just a tease for the next book. Okay, so I’m looking forward to the next book.

“One hundred and thirteen times a second…” What’s the significance of this frequency? Just another tease like mentioning Bobbie Draper at the beginning and end of the book?

It was nice to see a return of Havelock, the Earther cop who worked with Miller back for Star Helix Security on Ceres and he has a moderately heroic role.

The Martians have a spaceship named after astronaut Sally Ride.

This book (the Kindle version) occasionally missing opening double quotes through out. Not consistently, just enough to pop the needle out of the vinyl groove about once a chapter. Too often.


Review #2

Cibola Burn (The Expanse #4) audiobook streamming online

UPDATE 3/30/2017 — Yesterday I got an update email from Amazon saying that the audio narration has been updated:

“””Dear Audible Listener, We are contacting you because you have reviewed the title Cibola Burn by James S. A. Coery (sic). The original recording has now been replaced with a new performance by Jefferson Mays. If you own this audiobook, simply re-download it from your library to access the new recording.”””

I downloaded the new narration and rejoiced in the sweet tones and characterizations we have all come to enjoy from Jefferson Mays. I almost cried. Although I am 2/3 of the way through the book, I am happy to listen to the rest via audio now because of this.

This review pertains to (mostly) the audio narration which is the worst audio narration I’ve listened to for any book in my life. I’m about 30% through this book at this point. The first three books have great audio narration and I was really looking forward to listening to this one. Where and why Amazon/Audible decided to hire this brainless and belligerent narrator is beyond me. Firstly, the narrator obviously hadn’t listened to the previous narrator’s reads of the previous books to provide any sense of continuity. Secondly, this narrator tries to ‘act’ the characters and does a really poor job. Unfortunately, he reads this book like it is a dime store Western/Romance novel. All the men have western cowboyish accents and all the women are read as either breathy or breathless voices. It is beyond distracting. And, even worse, this new dumb narrator’s acting interpretation of Christian Avasarala is a out of breath woman on the verge of hysterics rather than the appropriate biting cynical political genius with an Indian accent. Those characters he deems not of the cowboy or helpless woman type of voice he gives either a super poor australian accent or some mixture of transylvanian/slavic (seriously sounds like a bad Dracula voice for someone with a middle eastern name). Even more unfortunate is that he has decided to provide an American Indian accent to the ghostly character of Miller. WTH!!!

So, if you enjoy cheap western novels and want a book of the expanse series read to you in this way, you will have no problem with this book. If you’ve listened to the narration from the previous books and expect the same ‘feel’ of narration, skip it for this one. You’ll go stark raving mad. There is hope however, for the subsequent novel narration as it reverts back to the first narrator. From wiki: This narrator’s name is Erik Davies (you should be fired) and is only for Cibola Burn and the novellas Gods of Risk and The Churn. All the others are the narrator Jefferson Mays.

Dear Amazon/Audible: If you switch narrators in a series, your quality control (I’m sure you have none) needs to require that the new narrator provide narration continuity. I wish I could get my money back for the audio purchase of this book. Please hire Jefferson Mays to record narration for Cibola Burn, Gods of Risk, and The Churn to replace the TERRIBLE narration of Erik Davies. Erik Davies should only be hired to record narration for awful cheap dime store Western novels. If the authors are reading this and have any pull, ask Amazon/Audible to fix this. You almost lost me as a reader.

As far as the novel goes, it is a slow starter and more boring and world building type of novel than the first three. So go into it with that in mind. Maybe by the end something cool will happen but I’m not there yet.

I got pulled into reading/listening to the novels by watching the TV series. Has been totally worth my time until I encountered this exceptionally poor narration.


Review #3

Audiobook Cibola Burn (The Expanse #4) by James S. A. Corey

I read book 3 of The Expanse series way back in September 2017. I promised I was going to jump into the rest of the series ASAP. I have had Cibola Burn sitting on my bookshelf since December 2017, so I obviously bought it for myself as a Christmas present of something. Did I read it? No. Despite NOT reading it I have continued to BUY the books in the series, and have bought all the way up to book 8! I can only assume at the back of my mind Im hoping to pace it out for when the last book is eventually released.

Anyway, whatever the reason, I finally picked up Cibola Burn and gave it the time it deserved. I absolutely loved being back in the world of James Holden and his crew. Given that this is essentially the start of a new trilogy it came as no surprise that outside of the crew of The Rocinante (I still havent read Don Quixote either by the way) there are very few returning characters. The new POV characters were brilliant in my opinion.

The authors (yes, its two people) work this story brilliantly and its resonance with the past is clear to see. The argument throughout is one that has plagued mankind for centuries Just because you got here first doesnt make it yours. The story plays out between the big fat corporation who says they own the land because they have paperwork and the people who just went there without asking permission. James Holden and his crew are called in to keep the peace and lets just say, things kick off from there. Despite the book being almost 600 pages, I read it in a few days (thats fast for me). I was completely sucked in, as I remember myself being with the other books in the series which reminds me

There is obvious history here from the previous books, so if you havent read the others, I would say you should go back to the beginning. They truly are excellent, and Im just kicking myself that I didnt continue reading ages ago. At least I have the books to keep me going until the last one comes out. I loved this, and I am making a promise to myself to read the next one in May (edit only now finding this incomplete post in my drafts I thought I had finished this and posted it last month apologies the thing is obviously affecting my output here).

To conclude, not just as a single book, but as a series up to this point, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Review #4

Audio Cibola Burn (The Expanse #4) narrated by Jefferson Mays

I have two problems with Cibola Burn: firstly, that I really wanted it to return us to alien antagonists over humanity being rubbish (it doesn’t); and secondly, that I’ve now read Nemesis Games (because this wasn’t SO disappointing that it stopped me picking up the next book). And while I was disappointed by Cibola Burn even while I read it, its even harder to be objective about it in the wake of the rollercoaster that follows it.

Dont get me wrong: theres the usual incendiary plot which inevitably had turning the pages at a rate of knots as I wondered what would happen next (Corey is brilliant at potboiling, after all). Some of it (related to the protomolecule and the planets past) is fascinating. But far too much focuses on people being awful to one another, and I never warmed to the new POV characters. However, I was invested enough in the series to keep reading and I am awfully glad I did.


Review #5

Free audio Cibola Burn (The Expanse #4) – in the audio player below

The fourth book in The Expanse sequence. I have read very little sci fi but this series of books has gripped me and Cibola Burn represents a slight change of gear, milieu and pace, but more generally continues with the same winning formula. The books are written to a rigid template of alternating chapters each from a characters POV. It was a nice surprise to encounter Bobbie early on and a shame that she only emerges again at the end. Overall this book is more planet bound than some and resembles a western and frontiersmen in the early wild west in parts- Chuck in the usual Holden crew as unlikely peacemakers; a psychotic corporate security man who is trigger happy and a bunch of scientists and townspeople on a newly colonised planet and theres a recipe for conflict and dirty deeds. Underpin all this with the geography of this restless planet – some killer slugs and ancient alien artefacts and structures that seem to be reawakening and this is a level of peril that mirror the space ships above – themselves at risk throughout along with their crews. The plotting is labyrinthine and still manages gripping tension whilst allowing some characters to develop and blossom . This volume both embeds recent narrative arcs in the series whilst also putting them under a more slow burn microscope- its a different pace at times and theres much to take in but cibola Burns slow burn delivery soon hots up.


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