Series: Culture #1
Published by Hachette Audio on 5/6/2011
Genres: Science Fiction
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The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction, cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender.
Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of the Dead proscribed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it. It was the fate of Horza, the Changer, and his motley crew of unpredictable mercenaries, human and machine, actually to find it, and with it their own destruction.
I’ve heard good things about the Culture series so I thought I would give this a shot. The plot revolves around a war between the Culture and the Idirans… the former being a large collection of advanced humans who want for nothing and the latter being a conquering, violent, religious race. The main character is a human changer named Horza who sides with the Idirans due to their shared dislike of machine intelligences.
It took me a while to get into the book, and many of the concepts are just mentioned in passing so it is sometimes confusing on what something is or why something is the way it is. While there is a lot of entertaining action, there is also a lot of slow parts that really could have been tightened up to make a better story. Indeed, most of the middle of the book is a bit superfluous. Horza is a very interesting character, and he makes the reader want to see him succeed, even if he may make morally questionable choices and be on the same of a rather unpleasant alien race. Most of the other characters though are rather shallow and many of them end up being just cannon fodder.
Overall, this book may be pretty good as a part of the Culture series. As a standalone book, it is a bit lacking, but probably still worth reading for the story.
The narrator did a great job with no issues that I heard.