My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Review: MAIDEN

MAIDEN MAIDEN by Charles Brass
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book: **
Performance: ***

Great Concept, Weak Execution

The premise is good if well worn. A post conflict dystopia where a group of scrappy exiles hold out against the collective/empire (aka The Brethren) where everyone mysteriously fights with archaic close combat melee weapons (aka swords/blades and electroprods) despite being part of an interstellar civilization. Enter the Last Jedi … er … Maiden who was specifically created to battle the evil Sith … er Brethren. So much potential that just didn’t hit home for me. To start, the world building was so extremely loose and haphazard that I still don’t know how it all holds together. Most confusing is how slip rings (star gates) appear to come if two sizes (person transporters and ship transit points). Then is is how the Brethren are actually organized and who (or what) is a Master, a Knight, a Drone, or a Minion. I think I figured it out towards the end, but it was pretty confusing until then. More problematic is the interaction between each estate was full of overly aggressive bluster and all around idiocy that they worn thin long before the end.

The quasi-good guys (aka Exiles) are even worse, with an irritating display of imperial arrogance and pod measuring in virtually every scene (at least among the leadership). I absolutely hated ever part they were in. Fortunately the main characters, Crystal Maiden (The title character), Builder Scrounger (who is somehow related to the Brethren) and the Smart Ship (AI) are refreshingly innocent (read juvenile) and somewhat likable. However, even that didn’t make up for the slow pacing and buildup (all the interesting action is almost at the end of the book). Unfortunately there was way too much incessant dialogue and unnecessary detail that the lack of action made the first half of the story painfully boring (where my difficulty concentrating on what was happening might be the reason I didn’t follow the world building very well). In addition, the narration, while featuring very good accents and character voices, only reinforced the issues that I had with the aggressive interactions of both the Brethren and Exiles (in most cases it felt unnatural and way over the top).

I was given this free advance review/listener copy (ARC) audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#Maiden #FreeAudiobookCodes #KindleUnlimited

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.