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Summary

Earth arms marines with alien technology and builds its first battle fleet! Kyle Riggs is snatched by an alien spacecraft sometime after midnight. The ship is testing everyone it catches and murdering the weak. The good news is that Kyle keeps passing tests and staying alive. The bad news is the aliens who sent this ship are the nicest ones out there.

A novel of military science fiction by best-selling author B. V. Larson, Swarm is the story of Earth's annexation by an alien empire. Long considered a primitive people on a backwater planet, humanity finds itself in the middle of a war - and faced with extinction.

©2010 B.V. Larson (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Swarm

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Such a shame

Really liked the narrator and the story was well paced. Unfortunately spoiled by very dated storyline and some poor writing. It reads more like 1950s science fiction with very limited imagination. Very big plot holes (no clues where the spaceships come from or why & the science is plain silly) and a shockingly callous & 2 dimensional attitude from the professor lead character. Perving over some conveniently half naked nubile Latino student ten minutes after the violent death of his kids? Really? I would not recommend unless you are really in the mood for truly mindless entertainment.

32 people found this helpful

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Sexist and a bit dull

Larson apparently one needs female characters as the protagonist’s sex doll, sexy assassin (not even sure what that was all about) or a manipulating and calculating dumbass politician with no power. Absolutely no character development in any of them. I’ve read several of his books before and always thought them a bit chauvinistic and misogynistic, however, I am a fan of alien invasion sci-fi so I tried this one as well; but this is the absolute worst one.

The protagonist is unbearable and quite flat. Dead kids? I’m over it in a second. Half naked lady who’s dead? I’m gonna bone her. Got myself an alien ship? I’m just gonna be awesome and make loads of stupid decisions, but I don’t care cause, yeah, I’m awesome. NO DUMBASS, YOU HAVE NO CLUE WHAT YOU’RE DOING - PLEASE REALISE IT NOW!

So yeah. Not a fan. Mark does an alright job narrating this dull and sexist book though.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Flight of the Navigator for adults

Exciting within the first 5minutes and sets up a world that is gonna force me to spend all my credits til I've listened to them all. Narrator has great voice and tells it well. No two characters come across the same. To me, that is the difference between a good narrator and a great one.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Mr
  • 21-09-15

great first book

Great first book. great story. like all the bv larsons books so far. looking forward to book 2

6 people found this helpful

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Good start but needs work

This was an enjoyable listen and one that I would recommend but it is not without some flaws and quibbles which are relatively minor and don't detract too much from the main story. There are a couple of issues around the logic of the nanos and macros and with the nano ship Alamo's behaviour but nothing terrible.

The biggest weakness of the story is the character development. The main lead character generally behaves in a believable manner and is a likeable character that you can follow and get behind. Most of the other characters in the story though are quite thin with little developed between the main character and them. The main female character has some potential at the beginning when they meet on the ship and when she is recovered but this is pretty much wasted as she falls into a rather simple adoring female role that borders on the uncomfortable. And, here is where the story falters the worst, with dialog and behaviour that while possible in the situation they are in seems a bit wrong footed. There were a couple of times where I thought the author was going to go into a full blown sex scene but fortunately the author restrained themselves and didn't veer into trying to write erotica or porn.

Overall the novel moved along and you are able to develop a fondness for the lead character and a desire to read the next novel to see what happens to him and the universe he resides in. Hopefully, as the story advances so will will the writing and character development.

The narrator did a good job and was able to convey the story well and create character voices that you were able to associate with the various characters.

9 people found this helpful

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Excellent

Really good. hooked straight away. A good fast progression. brilliant sifi idea. b.v larson legend

3 people found this helpful

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Another gripping Sc-fi from Larson

Listened to Larson's Undying Mercenaries series first, and some of the broader ideas seemed to have been copied from these earlier books. But that did not subtract from the thrilling story in swarm. Hooked now!

3 people found this helpful

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Swarm - I want to join up!

Would you listen to Swarm again? Why?

I really enjoyed this introduction to the Star Force series. I'd relisten to it again but I'm just enjoying the second book at the moment!

What did you like best about this story?

The details of the life aboard the ships and how the commanders learn to control the ships. Also, although it was military sci fi, the background details were excellent, how people lived and learnt to deal with day to day life.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Some of the planning of the battles, the logic for how things were worked out.

Any additional comments?

This was an excellent introduction to a series I think I'm going to love. Depth of characters and details of battle strategies made this a brilliant choice.

7 people found this helpful

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  • se
  • 23-09-15

Took a risk!

What did you like most about Swarm?

Never been a fan of this genre before, however this was different.
I found it hard to guess what was coming next most of the time, which I enjoyed.
Going to try the next book.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Mark Boyett?

Yes

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No.

2 people found this helpful

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Good story

Good story hope the rest are as good.
Another good book by B. V. Larson 😀

2 people found this helpful

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  • Keith A Gaut
  • 18-04-17

Sorry

This is a really bad book, I like his other books but this one is just bad. Sorry

7 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 25-10-11

Finally some ORIGINAL scifi action.

I got this book on a whim, and I am very glad i did. I found the story to be very original and let you really use your imagination to decide what some things should look like. It wasnt filled with a bunch of technical fluff that i have found in other books. Its a very entertaining story that keeps you listening. Every time you start to wonder about a certain topic, or why is this happening, or why would they do that, the author fills you in. Its as if he knows just when you want an answer but makes you wait just a bit longer for it to keep the story going.

62 people found this helpful

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  • Michael G Kurilla
  • 11-11-11

Finally, an explanation for alien abductions!

Larson has crafted a novel twist on alien contact as well as solving the dilemma of advanced technology within a society temporally close to our own. In Swarm, alien vessels with alien advanced technology, but no aliens arrive on Earth and begin selecting, rather brutally, human candidates to pilot the ships in anticipation of future conflict with another alien enemy.

Our hero is a college computer scientist who is the most successful at deciphering a functional interaction with the alien artificial intelligence powering the spacecraft. The bulk of the tale revolves around bootstrapping a military response to a malevolent alien invasion by what appears to be a machine intelligence, intent on wiping out humanity in order to use Earth as a source of raw materials.

While some of the approaches to dealing with the alien invaders are contrived (and not well thought out), it's clear that Larson is setting up the opening salvo in what appears to a larger and longer story arch that will eventually introduce humanity to a more enlightened view of galactic politics (and lots of interstellar warfare as well).

The writing is tight and the reading is well done making for an overall easy listening experience.

49 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 28-09-12

Just don't care...

What disappointed you about Swarm?

Most of it. It's got some decent sci-fi in it but never really makes you care that much. So much of the action takes place inside a windowless ship. I didn't buy many of the plot twists including the very concept of "Star Force."

What do you think your next listen will be?

More Patrick Rothfuss

What about Mark Boyett’s performance did you like?

He actually did a great job.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Swarm?

***Spoiler alert****Probably would not have the kids murdered. It's just so hard to believe that someone could lose 2 kids in a brutal murder and then go on to think about getting a couch or having a new sexual partner within a few days/weeks.

Any additional comments?

Comments saying this is the best thing since Star Wars are just ridiculous.

I stopped listening with many hours to go because I just didn't care what happened to any of the characters or the story.

20 people found this helpful

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  • francois
  • 04-01-18

It's fine

The author has never been in a romantic relationship at the time of writing this novel so that explains the juvenile 'relationship' he set up for the mc and his characters reactions to trauma and loss is unrealistic. The ending was interesting though and the plot isn't bad. Just the characters

3 people found this helpful

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  • Robert M Peterson
  • 01-04-17

Wow. It's really bad.

I have rarely run into a book that I couldn't finish. Swarm is one.

If you like flat characters, terrible dialog, and misogyny, this book is for you. Seriously, I would be suprised to find out the author has had any meaningful interactions with women at all. I enjoyed some John Ringo (aldenata series) but Larson brings writing women to a new low. I quit right after the encounter with the assassin. Horrible.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Alex
  • 27-10-11

John Ringo sans the crazy politics...

Mr. Larson's book reminds me a great deal of John Ringo's earlier works, those written before he began letting his politics into his writing (Read: Let the crazy out), the series has a really nice premise and the action is well thought out. In fact, My only issues with the book are:

1) Mr. Larson likes to repeat himself a great deal:
He'll say something once, then again, then spend two pages pounding it into your cranium until you want to yell "Alright! I understood you the first time now can we please see the damn thing blow up now!" I do not mind long explanations of say 'the social impacts of alien tech', but come the hell on!, it began to feel he was pushing for word count rather then advancing the story line.

2) Tactics, tactics, tactics!:
I understand the main character is a college professor but, many of the secondary characters are supposed to be military professionals and you can't tell me that a Colonel or even a Sargent with years of experience on the guy wouldn't tell the nerdy self appointed 'commander' to pack sand if he ordered them to assault a position, over open ground mind you, where a superior enemy holds the high ground. And there is a word for any officer whom takes 6 companies of Marines into battle and suffers 90% losses in a engagement and that word is 'Fired.' I don't care if your the savior of the world your would not lead men into battle after that no one would trust you to.

3) Characters:
(Deleted to brevity) (I'm talking to the author now)
STOP BUILDING CARICATURES AND START CREATING CHARACTERS.
Come on the psychopathic Latin sex bomb? NEWSFLASH! Women like that don't really exist. (No matter how much you want them to)
The dumb enlisted man and the elitist officer? Really?!?

I'm probably going to buy the next book in this series. The story is interesting despite the above drawbacks and the author seems to be getting better at his craft.

47 people found this helpful

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  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 04-08-12

The Six Million Dollar Man

The very beginning of this reminds me of the game Portal. Then it becomes kind of (early) Heinleinist. It ends with the Six Million Dollar Man.

The story concept is really good and will keep you listening, even at the times when the writing falters.

Problems: At the beginning the main characters' kids are killed and in a very gross way. His reaction is very lacking. Parts of the book sound like something Piers Anthony would write. We are given information on his wife's death, which was kind of gross and which adds nothing to the story. He is a college professor who teaches computer science and this seems to give him the ability to lead armies, design weapons, be a diplomat and be a military strategist. I believe those that have trained in the military all there life will be insulted by this.

Good: The story is creative. It kept my attention as the miles I was driving just melted by. I have never heard of the (Hope Monkey) before, but I will always remember it. The length of the book is perfect. The ending makes you want to buy the rest in the series.

The narrator was ok, but after listening to Ray Porter and Dick Hill, he was a little lack luster.

51 people found this helpful

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  • Butter Butt Butt
  • 24-12-19

If you love military stuff... this is for you

If you're coming for Sci-Fi, this book has plenty of it. Unfortunately, the bizarre, unimaginative and flat dialogue between characters makes for a rather uninteresting listen. If you're super into the whole strong-man-save-weak-woman-woman thing, you'll get that here too. Women are second thoughts at best, one dimensional sex objects at worst. To be honest, it felt more like fan fiction than a novel. There are some really fun sci-fi moments where the main character is forced to use his wits to problem solve and discover the mysteries of alien phenomenon. But for the most part, it's brawn over brains, which I find repetitive. You can only have so many lasers and robots before it gets stale.

But hey, I've never written anything longer than an email, so take my opinion for what it is. Plenty of people seem to like it. I guess I got spoiled with the Bobiverse.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Bio
  • 20-02-18

Formulaic and superficial

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

A better story. I went on and hoped it was just the fact that it was a first novel syndrome. But no. The characters are flat, cookie cutter, dialog uninspired. Each book is a copy of the next. while I like "monster of the week" kind of stuff I do expect more characterization. Riggs is just a super man at everything with no context as to how this happened. It was just flat. He gets over the death of his family way too early, he suddenly rises to be a military genius for no reason at all.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Not anything by Larson that's for sure. His books are formulaic...but that is what sells the most since it makes production easier to get multiple books a year out.

What about Mark Boyett’s performance did you like?

Brilliant. Love Mark!

What character would you cut from Swarm?

Riggs

Any additional comments?

This would be what my literature professors would call a junk food story.

2 people found this helpful