I originally wrote this one star review and then felt bad about it. It's often easier to be negative and critical instead of positive and helpful. Figured I would come back and soften the review and maybe give it three stars after I thought about it more. Unfortunately, the more I thought about it, the more disappointed I got. And after reading what I feel were pretty much "homer" reviews and a disregard for disappointed fans by the author, my negative feelings for the book got stronger instead of weaker.
That said, I have to stand by the positive portions I did write. Up until owners share, I really enjoyed the series. If you have not read the series yet, I would encourage you to give it a go... It's well worth it if you like good story telling and I'll try other books by the author.
But, I would humbly suggest stopping before Owners Share. This book is so out of character for both the Author (and characters) it's difficult to understand what happened. It's inexplicable and frustrating. It only gets more frustrating when you learn the author knew the book had issues from the original podcast, had YEARS to fix it and did nothing.
Owners share starts off with a totally flawed premise that is unrealistic based on previous books foundation(s) and spirals from there. Many of the low ratings have focused on the death of a character at the end, but the entire book is filled with poorly executed ideas, out of character behavior and half baked plot lines. The main character turns from a fairly humble guy with intelligence and internal fortitude (often displayed with a wonderful dry wit) into a somewhat arrogant, yet absent minded mess.
I had a long review written, but the bottom line is simple: This is a rambling story without depth or direction. The story telling and character development from previous books is missing. The plot holes are huge with some incredibly weak problem solving. Switches on the bulkheads? Really? It felt like the author was simply tired of the series and could not figure out how to tie it up.
In some ways it seems the book had a finale that was simply being written to. In others it felt like the author was trying his hand at writing a mystery novel using our familiar characters as a spring board. It simply fell short. The writing is so erratic it's hard to know what the author was trying to do. The author begins plot lines but then drops them or let's them die without follow up. Very unlike previous books in the series.
In other instances the "mystery" is tied up with something meaningless from out of left field. No foreshadow, just BAM, here you go. And these loose threads happen multiple times throughout the book. I literally went back and re-read chapters thinking I had missed something.
And of course there's the end that has so many up in arms. The death was not only un-necessary, but added nothing of value to the book or series. So many things could have been done differently. Even if the author was determined to kill off the character, the method was weak at best. I've never seen a main character in such a good series killed off with such lackluster writing. It read like a first book, not the sixth. Not only does it pretty much ruin the series, it's also very poorly written.
And the chapters after the death are broken up and difficult to follow. Poor writing, story and closing. There's nothing about it that does the series justice. It's just effortless bad writing.
So again.. If you like a good story, the first books in the series are well told and solid. I want to go back and read them again as I normally would with a series I enjoy. The series is that good.
But, after reading Owners Share, I'm not sure I'll be able to. That may be what disappoints me the most about this finale. As an avid reader of dozens of books a year, I've never had a series spoiled like this. Hopefully this review will help a few other readers avoid the same experience.