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on January 28, 2003
I found this book to be very inconsistent with McCaffrey's other writing. Not only was it a much more plodding book, with a ill-defined story line, but it did not continue the series well. Some characters just dropped out of sight. A couple of new characters were introduced for no apparent reason. The characters who continued from previous books didn't have the same voices and went from interesting, unique people to flat charicatures. References to the Eosi who plagued Botany in the first books suddenly had a different name -- an inconsistency that is rather unusual for McCaffrey. I was extremely disappointed and have a hard time believing that this was written by the talented author of the other Freedom books, the Dragonrider books, and all the other wonderful books she's written. She's never told a story so poorly, that I've read.
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on September 4, 2002
Anne McCaffrey has become quite a good writer. If you look at the awkward writing in one of her early books, like "Dragonflight," and compare it with the superior writing in, say, "All the Weyrs," you can see the development. Ms. McCaffrey has always brought new ideas to her readers. But much of the pleasure for old fans has been seeing the level of writing improve.
Until now. The "Freedom" series has been interesting, but the ideas in it were not particularly new. It's plowed ground. Even the late L. Ron Hubbard has written a "defeat the evil alien invaders" book, although he didn't have the heroine sleeping with the enemy. Ms. McCaffrey brought her own style to the first three books, with some new twists and a sparer, more polished style than we had seen in earlier books. But in "Freedom's Ransom," the fourth book in the series, she seems to have run out of steam and skipped one or two rewrites. Not the least of her problems is that the series really concluded emotionally in the third book; this novel feels like an afterthought...
As other reviewers have noted, there is some sloppy research, and as an economics lesson, it's not going to cause Alan Greenspan any sleepless nights. And speaking of sleepless nights, there might be a few too many references to coffee in the course of the book.
Rumor has it her next book returns us to Pern. I'll look forward to it, and count this as an aberration.
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on July 1, 2002
I am a huge Anne McCaffrey fan starting with the first three Dragonriders of Pern books in junior high. I have marveled at her ability to create strong characters, particularly female characters. Since I am a fast reader, I re-read the Freedom books prior to Ransom's release. I felt that the story line was weak compared to others in the series. I did not feel it furthered the series arc, characters or the evolution of the Botany colony. While admittedly not a coffee drinker, I grew tired of the continual rhapsodizing about the beverage. While I understand what it is like to regain a favorite item after times without ( I was stationed in Korea where many items are rationed or not available) it seemed the continual references to coffee served as filler for the story.
Another thing that bothered me, rocksquats. They are referred to as being like chicken or avians. I even re-read their description from the first book. They seemed to be a cross between squirrels and hamsters, just furless. They squat on rocks and don't move much. This does not seem like a bird. I called my mother and that was how she remembered them too. Maybe I'm nitpicking, but instead of the joy I normally experience when reading her works I felt dissatisfied.
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on September 28, 2002
Well, this is a turn of events. I, who so enjoy reading any book by Ms. Mccaffrey is sad to say that this book was a total waste of time to read. A part for the fact that it was written by Ms. Mccaffrey, there isn't much holding me to keep it. i was rather taken aback when Ransom hit the shelves. i had thought that the freedom's series had run it's course. With the liberation of Botany and the subsequent defeat of the Eosi, i had thought that was all that needed to be said. Ransom was a slow read and at times i just wanted to not finish it, but i have learned to at least give a book a chance. the chance given was not enough to permit me to keep this book. With the poor plot line and lack of anything interesting turn of events to keep me reading to the point that i forget all else, i just wish to say that Anne probably should have stopped at Freedom's Challenge. I hope that she will look into expanding more on other series that i love so much.
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on September 1, 2002
As much as I enjoyed the previous Freedom series books (particulary the first book, Freedom's Landing), this one read like a junior high school essay of "How I Spent My Summer Vacation." Very little plot, almost no conflict or character development. Description was lacking as well-- I felt as if I were listening to a bunch of "talking heads." There wasn't even much between Zainal and Kris, which to me was one of the highlights of the previous books. And the beginning, where the characters were discussing what they were going to do-- ARRGH! It's bad enough to have to attend meetings, much less read about them! I think Ms. McCaffrey could have done with less research on coffee growing and dental procedures and spent her attention on what has made her such a great storyteller.
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on October 10, 2002
What happened? Most of Anne McCaffrey's books have been so satisfiying, especially the "Talent" series and the "Freedom" series. Something happened in this one and truthfully, I don't know what happened. The book lacked charater development,or rather the continuance of what had been good character development. There wasn't any sense of continuation of the plot or follow-up of either the relationships or the factual information left open from the last book. I was bored by the book and this both surprised and shocked me, given how much I have loved, treasured and re-read previous books until they desintegrated. This whole book could have been condensed into a chapter or two while continuing the fine work of the previous books in the series. What happened?
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on July 15, 2002
I don't know if maybe Anne McCaffrey was on medication when she wrote this book, but it is far beneath her usual standard. The characters are paper thin, the internal and external dialogue are trivial to distraction, and the plot is practically non-exist. I had to force myself to turn the page...but kept hoping it would get better. I love Anne McCaffrey's work and usually just her name is enough to recommend a book, but frankly, if this was an amateur's manuscript, it would have never been published. I kept looking at the cover to see whether the author's name had magically changed.
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on August 16, 2002
When an author uses jargon that has a history, it's use is expected to be consistent with past practice.
Specifically, I noted Ms McCaffrey's misuse of military radio procedures which are quickly found on the internet. The phonetic for the letter B has not been "Baker" since WWII. The use of "Sugar" for S was taken from thin air. The correct military phonetic letters would be Bravo and Sierra. In addition "over" and "out" are never to be used together - except maybe in an old Ronald Reagan movie.
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on September 4, 2002
I have really enjoyed reading the series but number 4 is a disappointment. There are so many other ascepts of this series that need to be explored that reading about the principal characters going out on a trading expedition for several hundred pages was not enjoyable. Hopefully number 5 and beyond will deal with things like conquered races, humans included, dropped on other Catteni worlds, are all the Eosi really gone and who are the Farmers?
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on October 30, 2003
I read the first three books in the Freedom series and while they weren't on par with the Pern or Ship series, they were solid enough to keep me moving on to the next book...up until I came to Freedom's Ransom. It was dragging along so slow that I decided to check here and see whether it picked towards the end. Unfortunately, it appears most of the reviewers agree with me -- this is not a very good book.
I've been reading all of Anne McCafferey's books for a good 15 years now, and I suppose that everyone has to eventually produce a dud. If I were to sum up the plot of the book after 204 of 287 pages, I would only need 2 words: Coffee and teeth. That's it. After everything that's happened so far in this series, that's an awful long plunge back into reality. Sure, there's going to be rebuilding, but this doesn't offer anything in the way of intrigue, excitement, interesting characters...nuthin. Thankfully I got this series at the library instead of spending money on it, but if there is a 5th book in the series I may be hard pressed to check that one out unless I hear glowing reviews first based on number four falling flat.
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