“The Ringworld Throne”
by Larry Niven
read by Paul Michael Garcia
Produced by Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Approx 14 hours
I’m not sure what it is but with sci-fi book series there seems to be a hit and miss for each book. The first book in the series seems to always be a hit (I guess otherwise there wouldn’t be sequels) but the next books can range from being as good as the original, sometimes better, or sometimes worse. With the “Dune” series, the sequels and prequels were hit and miss but always had something to contribute to the collection. I think the same could be said about this “Ringworld” series. The first book, “Ringworld,” was phenomenal, especially in the creation of the Ringworld and the physics involved. What also made the first book so good was the mystery behind who created the ringworld and why. Now that I have just read this 3rd book in the series, I think since the mystery of who created the ringworld has been answered it lacks some of that air of mystery. Now the struggles to keep the ringworld alive seem trivial. But nonetheless, this book contains some nice sci-fi and was a nice addition to the series.
I will have to say one of the things that kept this audiobook so enjoyable, was the voicework of Paul Michael Garcia. Garcia did an excellent job of narrating the story, but the best was his ability to give a voice to the vast array of characters representing several different homonid and non-homonid races. At times I almost felt as though I was listening to a multicast performance. His ability to adjust his voice to not only clarify the different characters speaking or thinking but to also represent the sound of the alien species was phenomenal and made the listen a lot more fun.
This is the third book in the series and takes place just a few years after the events in “Ringworld Engineers.” The ringworld has been restabilized after Louis Wu uses a gas expulsion from the sun to knock the ringworld back into proper orbit. The problem with this method that weighs heavy on Louis is that millions died in the process. This book begins with showing that not as many of the ringworld’s inhabitants died as was expected. In this third book in the series the book is actually split into two separate stories that merge into one in the end of the book.
The first story tells of the different species of homonids who are out to destroy a nest of vampires who feed on the ringworld’s inhabitants. The main group is somewhat let by some of the characters Louis met in the second book. The second story continues with Louis Wu and his crew who are taken prisoner by a vampire protector. The Protectors are a race that evolve from the species they protect. The Vampire protector here, who Louis names Bram, uses Louis to regain control over the Ringworld’s defenses.
With some very interesting species and some nice science to create the sci-fi, this book is still a must read in the series, but it does lack that air of mystery that made the first book a top read.