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Publisher's Summary

Catherine Asaro combines her diverse talents to blend hard science fiction and heartrending romance into a sweeping epic known as the Saga of the Skolian Empire. This is her trademark series. Ever since Primary Inversion, her very first novel, this series has continued to grow, receiving widespread praise.

All of Asaro's considerable talent is on display in Spherical Harmonic, the direct sequel to The Radiant Seas.

Separated for decades by circumstance and political machinations, the Ruby Dynasty, hereditary rulers of the Skolian Empire, struggle to bring together the tattered remnants of their family in the shadow of a disastrous interstellar war. Too many have died, others are presumed lost. Yet they must move quickly if they are to resume their rightful place as rulers of Skolia.

©2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc. (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Spherical Harmonic

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Love Asaro, downright embarrassing narration

Is there anything you would change about this book?

A different narrator! I have been following the whole Saga of the Skolian Empire and, like most of the other books, this one was captivating. It had an excellent story line, a nice balance of action, personal relationships and tech that is about as realistic as science fiction can get. Unfortunately, the quality of the writing was undermined by the poor narration. Kaplan would be much better off reading teen dramas than science fiction! Maybe Anna Fields didn't pronounce all the words as the author intended but at least she didn't mispronounce words that should be pretty obvious if you speak English...so apparently "Qox" is now "squawks" without the first "s"...excuse me but where is the "qu" in that word? Oh yes and Eube is now Eubie...like a society of red-eyed aristocratic sadists would have a cute little name you might give to your new puppy! I wish I could give this audiobook five stars but the poor performance mostly ruined it for me.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Liza Kaplan?

I miss Anna Fields!

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Narrator bad, weird story

I've been listening to this series in chronological order, so this is the 1st book I've heard narrated by Liza Kaplan. (And, I just checked, thankfully, the last!)
Her male voices are atrocious & made it much harder to take the characters seriously.

The book focuses on a character who has hitherto been very mysterious, who thinks in ways many can't fathom, reclusive, has lived a very long time & is the backbone of their "web," yet Liza gives her a teenage girls voice more befitting a YA novel, not someone over a 100?

The male voices are particularly horrid, the voice of Chad is exceedingly annoying & sounds like a cartoon character badly voiced.

It didn't help matters either that the book has a very slow and odd start. Between the 1st part of the book and the inappropriate/bad narration, I almost skipped this book.

Fortunately the story does pick up later on & then moves at the quicker pace I'm used to experiencing in this series.

I think this story is important to what's going on in the series, so you probably should slog through it. Or better yet, read it if you have the time, then you can hear Anna Fields in your head, who is a much better narrator., IMO.

There's a lot of weird stuff in this book, having to do with explaining Kyle space that didn't make a whole lot of sense to me & didn't seem scientific at all. That was the worst part for me, but I just had to accept that this is how things function in this fantasy universe & leave it at that.

I've never really gotten the whole web concept with the 3 different minds needed to make it happen. I see this not as science fiction but as a fantasy story that happens to be set in a futuristic world of space travel & multiple planet governments.

The whole concept of the Aristos is pretty disturbing, but sadly seems like something that could potentially come about with too much indiscriminate genetic tinkering.

To me it's more about the stories of the people and political intrigues than anything else.

If you've gotten this far in the series, book 7 chronological or 9 published order, you'll probably wade through this one hoping it gets better in the next. At least it goes back to Anna Fields as the narrator. then it bounces all over the place with a bunch of different people, so we shall see how it fares.

Basically, this is a middling series with some very unscientific concepts for space and networking. I thought reading in chronological order would be better but 7 books in I've been questioning the wisdom of that.

So far I've seen a lot of continuity issues, where characters do different things from book to book. so things just don't line up. I'll be listening & realize, hey, that's not how that happened, or that wasn't the result as told in prior books.

Basically It's free, so I'm listening. it's not as bad as a lot of the scifi I wasted a credit on or paid for, so it'll do for something to listen to as I go to sleep, until I can find the time to search for some real sci fi that's better written & more to my liking.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Hilbert space hijinx

Catherine Asaro's Spherical Harmonic is her seventh installment in her Skolian Empire saga. While the published order is not necessarily aligned with the chronological order of events, this volume occurs at roughly the same timeframe as #6, The Quantum Rose. The story concerns a descendant of the Ruby dynasty, Selei, initially trapped on a moon with traders closing in as well as trapped between dimensions. While she is critical to powering the web that forms the basis for the Skolian Empire's communications' advantage, the web is not whole. She goes head to head with Earth over her imprisoned relatives and the Skolian Assembly succeeding in re-establishing the Ruby Pharoah as ruler. The tale ends with hope of a future peace with the traders,

Asaro goes heavy on the cerebral aspects with the Kyle space dimension responsible for special abilities of the Ruby dynasty. Selei dares much and comes out on top in a largely made-for-TV affair with everyone happy on Lishriol at the end.

The narration itself is fine, but the writing structure with Selei moving back and forth between dimensions makes for a trippy repetition that raises concerns of a bad recording.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Annoying

OMG if I hear her say Ron's, So's, or key's one more time I'm going to quit this series.
it is so anoying like listening to British say schedule lol...

This chick has gotten on my ever lasting never they should make the narrator listen to previous book before switching. she kept changing the pronunciation of words so annoying...

if not for the great story I would have stopped listening...

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Loved the ending

Hated the weird repeating words.
Horrible beginning due to drugged dialog. Reader doesn’t pronounce same as prior books.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Bravisima Catherine Asaro Encore encore more more

I would like to see the Asaro books used to teach physics in grammar school

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Story good, performance not so much

The story is quite good and a good continuation of the Skolian saga. However, the female lead voice, while very good at expressing female ideas and speech patterns, suffered a great deal when trying to evoke male voices and affect. It tended to distract from the overall presentation and story.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Emily
  • 05-20-18

loved it, but...

Loved the story, though the start was a little dry, and this is not a book that adapts well to audio.