The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Dated March 4, 2011)
Reviews of Falling Star that were not also posted on my Amazon US Product Page (28 Reviews). In the spirit of candor, I have listed all the reviews that I received to the above date. By my count Falling Star has received 20 – Five Star, 13 – Four Star, 1 – Three Star, 1 – Two and One Half Star, 1 – Two Star, and 1-One Star reviews for a total of 38 Reviews overall. The 38 reviews do not include the very strong recommendation from book critic Alan Caruba, charter member of the prestigious National Book Critics Circle, who concluded his commentary by saying, “If you read just one novel in 2011, make it Falling Star.”
Reviews appearing on Nook and Sony have been listed on other sites, below.
**** SMASHWORDS at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/24267 ****
Barry on February 27, 2011, – 5/5 Stars
This is a great thriller from start to finish. It certainly leaves lots of scope for a follow up to clear up the unanswered questions.
Very well written, however I agree with one of the other reviewers that there is sometimes slightly too much detail. But it is the Authors great descriptions that put the meat on the stories bones.
I’ll be hoping for a sequel.
Steve Anderson on January 28, 2011, – 4/5 Stars
Originally posted at https://www.fuzzysteve.co.uk/2011/01/19/review-falling-star/
This review is given, as a thank you for a free copy. I got it through the member giveaway program on Library Thing
Falling Star – Philip Chen.
Starting in 1967, this novel runs up to 1993. I suspect it may be the first in a series, but it’s pretty much self contained.
At times, the author gets, I feel, a little hung up on specific details, but that’s a very minor complaint. It’s just sometimes, less is more. Assault rifle, rather than using Colt AR-15 repeatedly.
But getting back to the story, this is a thriller, with a sci-fi overlay. In a sequel, the sci-fi might become more overt, but for now, it’s really a McGuffin. The thing that drives the story, but doesn’t actually take part.
Fun story. The characters are defined, but with room for future growth, and with growth that shows up in story. As it’s over twenty-six years, it has plenty of room for it.
Available as an ebook, from Amazon, and Smashwords. probably some others too. While it has some flaws, they’re minor. I’d say, buy it and read it, if you like thrillers.
J A Cavell on January 26, 2011, – 4/5 Stars
Philip Chen’s first novel, Falling Star, is a winner. He has successfully combined several often disparate aspects of telling a good story that runs from 1967 to 1993! The characters are believable. The scenes are painted accurately, almost cinema-graphically. The story is believable, pulls the reader along and it is easy to read. It involves espionage, technology, mysticism and mystery woven well together. I could stop here and my critique would be complete. My only serious complaint (aside from the e-book format) was the somewhat abrupt ending that left a few strings dangling perhaps hinting at a sequel. That would be nice.
However, I must add that I read Falling Star as an e-book. As a rule, I don’t like e-books. I like reading ink on paper. Nonetheless, Chen quickly won this reader over. There are many details in the story that are very familiar or tangentially familiar to me personally. They added the air of authenticity to his story in a way few can. Mr. Chen obviously drew on his personal experience as an engineer, oceanographer, researcher, trial lawyer and investment banker.
**** AMAZON UK @ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Falling-Star-The-Watchers-ebook/dp/B003YCPK4C ****
Sea Wars, 20 February 2011, – 5/5 Stars
By momz (Chester, Cheshire)
A detailed and graphic novel which finds it’s story-base in many different secret and not so secret political groups. Falling Star (The Watchers) is based mainly within the Naval community. The story is woven with truth, half-truths and possible alien activity. Whilst some people have found the book to be too technical, I found the author to be knowledgeable in his writings making it easier for me to understand the jargon and situations which arise.
Philip Chen has come up with a first novel to be proud of and I, for one, look forward to a possible(?) sequel. Well done Philip!
Could have been better, 17 February 2011, – 2/5 Stars
So many favourable reviews, but I’m afraid I can’t agree with them.
I like Science fiction, and books with a bit of adventure and action.
Maybe I am missing something, but I prefer books that start with a situation and then progress to a culmination. I like a storyline to flow. I don’t this book achieved that.
The story starts quite well with alien objects being found deep at sea off the east coast of the USA, but then doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. There’s no sense of the central characters workng their way to an explaination.
I think it would have been better had it been much shorter.
IMO it was a 250 page story that had been stretched to 345 pages by adding a lot of unnecessary detail. A style that doesn’t appeal to me at all.
Excellent writing … didn’t quite do ‘it’ for me though, 1 January 2011, – 4/5 Stars
By M. Thompson “Mike Thompson” (London)
While I agree with the previous three five star reviews about the quality of the writing, and without giving anything away, I have to say that I found the two main threads difficult to put together at the end of the book. So I felt rather unsatisfied having invested my time reading the book.
**** LIBRARYTHING at http://librarything.com ****
VickieMonsell on January 16, 2011, – 5/5 Stars
Mr. Chen has a delightful mastery of the written word. Chen brings the reader through historic events, twisting the facts ever so slightly to include his interesting perspective. Anyone who paid attention to their liberal arts education will love to reminisce in this tale. Chen uses his creative imagination to elaborate on a historical clandestine government conspiracy of extraterrestrial comings and goings. In the end, where Chen really picks up the pace, would have been a good place to start this narrative. Simply put, this story leaves the reader inquisitive about the Falling Star . Keep writing Mr. Chen, this yarn is not finished…I hope.
drmellow on January 15, 2011, – 4/5 Stars
I won a copy of this eBook from a Kindle blog and dove right in as soon as I downloaded it. The story starts out good, and picks up from there. By the time I was halfway through, it was hard to put down. I just wanted to keep turning the pages. It’s a thriller, with a bit of a sci-fi bent. The story skillfully combines cold-war military espionage, underwater navel research, and UFOs. Several mysterious, probably extra-terrestrial, objects are discovered at the bottom of the ocean. The US government establishes a program to monitor these objects. After several decades of observation, the objects begin to generate activity. Throughout the book, we watch the main character, Mike, and his involvement with the objects, from their discovery to the (almost) present day. Along the way, Mike and other government agents have to deal with unknown cold-war era threats.
I really enjoyed how well this was written, both in terms of plot and character development. On the surface, several of the characters appear somewhat stereotypical, but I think their portrayal was appropriate and reasonable. Several times, the author touches on the subject of racism. He refrains from being preachy, however, and each treatment of racism is essential to either move the plot or develop a character. I was really impressed by that touch. I don’t know much about underwater exploration, but it’s obvious that the author does. His description of the underwater scenes were technical and vivid enough, without being burdensome, to clearly portray the action that takes place. He puts me right in the submersible with the characters. It was lots of fun to read.
The story told is a great stand-alone tale. It wraps itself up neatly, but also leaves a few small loose ends, which provide an obvious opportunity for a sequel, or even a series. I hope the author releases a sequel. When he does, I’ll be first in line to get a copy.
cdnshopaholic on January 16, 2011, 3/5 Stars
I got this as part of the member review program. I am torn on this one. It had lots of action and a good plot, but I got distracted by too many (IMO) unimportant details and it seemed like the book finished with no resolution. I may just not have been in the right frame of mind for this type of book, so will have to give it another read at a later date.
jltott on February 8, 2011, 2-1/2 /5 Stars
Received from member giveaway.
Really enjoyed this, although I agree with some of the other comments in particular the almost obsessive need to describe somethings in far too much detail, mainly weapons.
The story line was great (although it rang bells and I have yet to look into what it reminded me of), in general it was well told and I liked the characters, perhaps more could have been made of the central ones.
All in all a good read, linked together over the years very well and I hope there will be more. Next time though, please put in more substance and less unnecessary detail.
Thank you for the book.
**** GOODREADS at http://goodreads.com ****
Neil Bendle on January 20, 2011, 5/5 Stars
This is a great fun read. The spy/science fiction story cracks along at a fast pace making it a really enjoyable adventure.
I know Phil so seeing parallels to places he has lived makes it even more exciting.
[Disclosure: While Neil Bendle is a serious reviewer and graduate business school professor, he is also the father of my two beautiful granddaughters and husband of my lovely daughter. If I didn’t include his review in this list, people would wonder why.]