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Sci-Fi & Fantasy

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Robert

Robert Yamhill, OR, United States Member Since 2009

Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.

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  • "My favorite book this year."

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    When I read reviewers write, “the best book I have ever read,” I thought yeah right! ‘must not have read many books. Well, I have read a fair bit myself and this is definitely one of the best written books I have ever read. I believe it is a book that one can read and reread and enjoy over and over and find something new in each reading of it. Not to be redundant, it is also one of the most fun and funniest I have ever read. It is a scholarly and even literary work, if you will. And yet, at the same time, the book is totally enchanting, witty and charming.

    The legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table arose in the early Middle Ages, when England was just beginning to come under the influence of Christianity. When anyone retells the story, the author brings his own perspective to the tale of chivalry. Here T.H. White often appears to use the education of the young king Wart by Merlyn to educate the reader. While not in so many words, or maybe it is that: Merlin is a time-traveler. Not so much in the context of some science fiction novel but in his memory. Merlin is aware of past, present and the future. Certainly the author is aware of those times and uses those temporal events to tell his story. The book is in many ways a critique of mid-twentieth-century British culture. At first, things seem somewhat anachronistic but then we see that the narrator regularly references events and people in modern times to help tell his tale even more effectively.

    Both T.H. White’s The Once and Future King and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings were written in the shadow of World War II, and both reflect that context to some extent:

    “No. There is one fairly good reason for fighting - and that is, if the other man starts it. You see, wars are a wickedness, perhaps the greatest wickedness of a wicked species. They are so wicked that they must not be allowed. When you can be perfectly certain that the other man started them, then is the time when you might have a sort of duty to stop him.” (Merlyn)

    Not only is T.H. White’s The Once and Future King full of anachronistic references to places and events of modern times, but it also plays fast and loose with time within the framework of the novel itself. Given the references to the death of Uther Pendragon in 1216 and the appearance of Thomas Malory at the end of the story, Arthur would have lived from 1201-1485. In effect, what White does is telescope almost three hundred years of English history and social development into the backdrop of a single narrative.

    The book is long. But multiple versions of the story of King Arthur are considered within its covers so how short can it be? No, this is the best of several interpretations of the legend and it is not too long. While much of the book’s ending dwells on allegory, philosophy and social commentary, it is done with and eloquence and prose that is hard to compare with.

    One of the young reviewers of this book that I found tried to figure out the audience for for whom the author intended and concluded there were many. I agree:

    For children and young adults-
    “I have been thinking ... about Might and Right. I don’t think things ought to be done because you are able to do them. I think they should be done because you ought to do them.” (Arthur). One of the central themes of the book is War: Right and Might.

    On one level, both Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and T.H.
    White’s The Once and Future King are children’s stories, yet both novels contain very
    serious social commentary clearly intended for adults. Who could argue though that the social satire found in these novels detracts too much from the ability of children to enjoy them. Could a child appreciate all that is contained within TOaFK? Certainly not. However, there are many stories in this legend and many that target the child in all of us. One need not read this entire book though I am sure a lust will always remain to do so.

    No reviewer could possibly do justice to this book. How about some more of the author’s own words:

    On Wisdom-
    “The best thing for being sad ... is to learn something. That is the only thing that never
    fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then - to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting.” (Merlyn)

    This is a story about great compassion-
    “If I were made a knight ..., I should insist on doing my vigil by myself, a Hob does with
    his hawks, and I should pray to God to let me encounter all the evil in the world in my own person, so that if I conquered there would be none left, and, if I were defeated, I would be the one to suffer for it.” (Wart)

    The author writes a great deal about the evolution of man-
    “Here, all you embryos, come here with your beaks and whatnots to look upon Our first
    Man. He is the only one who has guessed Our riddle, out of all of you, and We have great pleasure in conferring upon him the Order of Dominion over the Fowls of the Air, and the Beasts of the Earth, and the Fishes of the Sea. Now let the rest of you get along, and love and multiply, for it is time to knock off for the weekend. As for you, Man, you will be a naked tool all your life, though a user of tools. You will look like an embryo till they bury you, but all the others will be embryos before your might. Eternally undeveloped, you will always remain potential in Our image, able to see some of Our sorrows and to feel some of Our joys. We are partly sorry for you, Man, but partly hopeful.” (Badger)

    Much is written about human morality-
    “Morals ... are a form of insanity. Give me a moral man who insists on doing the right
    things all the time, and I will show you a tangle which an angel couldn’t get out of.” (Lionel)

    This title actually includes Books 1-5 of T.H. White’s magnum opus. It is not so much about world-building per se though there is enough of that. The book is more about us as humans and our nature... our intellectual, psychological, social and even political nature. The book is philosophical, satirical with even a little theology thrown in. Not too much; just the right amount. If it is action that ye seek, knockdown, drag out fighting, best look elsewhere. This is one more about relationships and different kinds of heroes.

    This is brilliant storytelling brilliantly read and performed. The narration by Neville Jason is as good as it gets. I could not recommend a book more highly.

    More

    The Once and Future King

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By T. H. White
    • Narrated By Neville Jason
    Overall
    (1271)
    Performance
    (1062)
    Story
    (1057)

    The complete "box set" of T. H. White's epic fantasy novel of the Arthurian legend. The novel is made up of five parts: "The Sword in the Stone", "The Witch in the Wood", "The Ill-Made Knight", "The Candle in the Wind", and "The Book of Merlyn".

    Bookoholics Anon says: "Fabulous reading, epic story and a new chapter!"
  • "A Classic"

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    While Ursula K. Le Guin wrote several novels about the fantasy world of Earthsea, A Wizard of Earthsea appears to be the first of the main cycle by that name. I found it difficult to pin down whether the series is written for children and/or adults. I concluded that while there are a number of philosophical themes that adults could appreciate, the target audience was probably that of a younger age. Let’s say YAs.

    Further, on the subject of age, this is basically the coming of age story of a young mage named Ged who is drawn to wizardry and develops into just that as the story unfolds. There’s much in the way of magic, spells and personal discovery along the way. However, as Ged learns, all of the power and might of of a wizard comes with a price. Wizardry is not for the faint-hearted nor is its magic lightly wielded by the ignorant or arrogant. Much of this is taught Ged by Ogion his primary mentor along with his own life’s little (and not so little) foibles in and around Earthsea. Does all this sound a bit familiar?

    The monster of the story we learn is… uh, not so fast. That would be a major spoiler. And I believe the book is worth reading to discover that as well as the other things Ged learns along his way through apprenticeship and personal discovery. The book is very straight forward. That appears to be Le Guin’s style. After recently reading a bunch of China Mielville prior to Earthsea, the latter was a refreshingly, relaxing read. However, we probably should not be fooled by her simplicity. Contained within the pages are a depth and breath that can be easily missed if we’re not paying attention. What can I say; it’s obviously a classic and who could not recommend that.

    More

    A Wizard of Earthsea: The Earthsea Cycle, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Ursula K. Le Guin
    • Narrated By Rob Inglis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (659)
    Performance
    (499)
    Story
    (512)

    When Sparrowhawk casts a spell that saves his village from destruction at the hands of the invading Kargs, Ogion, the Mage of Re Albi, encourages the boy to apprentice himself in the art of wizardry. So, at the age of 13, the boy receives his true name - Ged - and gives himself over to the gentle tutelage of the Master Ogion. But impatient with the slowness of his studies and infatuated with glory, Ged embarks for the Island of Roke, where the highest arts of wizardry are taught.

    Finance Guy says: "Elegant & unique fantasy, deliciously performed"
  1. The Once and Future King
  2. A Wizard of Earthsea: The...
  3. .

A Peek at Tiffany's Bookshelf

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United States 3 REVIEWS / 3 ratings Member Since 2013 0 Followers / Following 2
 
Tiffany's greatest hits:
  • Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase, Book 1

    "Fantastic - can't wait for book 2!!"

    Overall
    Performance
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    Where does Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase, Book 1 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Definitely in the top 10%. The story is so original, rich, and interesting that I was immediately swept up. The ending was so amazing that I cannot wait to learn the secrets that book 2 reveals.


    Any additional comments?

    The author did a great job explaining the magical reality and world the characters live in (so like ours just altered in one major and devastating way). I came to love the characters and rooted for them every step of the way.

Heather

Heather North Carolina 09-16-13

Buried in Books

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  • "Excellent Middle Grade Adventure se..."

    1 of 1 helpful votes
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes if they read MG fantasy. The novel takes place in India and the author really brought the story to life with details from his time spent there. I listened to it as I was cleaning and the time flew by. I hate cleaning more than anything but I spent seven hours without even thinking about it. I half expected a leopard to jump out at me from around the corner I was so immersed in the story. The narrator was great for the story. It is told from the perspective of Zoe, an 11 yr old girl and the narrator sounds just like a young girl. But she also does the voice of Zak, from Zoe's memories, very well, as well as the Indian accents of the other characters in the book. The author really got the voice of an 11 yr old girl just right. She was annoyed by Zak, exactly how 11 yr old girls are at that age. She's uptight and follows all the rules and stays true to her character until she finally has to accept the magic before her eyes. And Zak is just like an 11 yr old boy is without a parent around to keep him in check. Life is an adventure!

    I recommend the book for the story and the audio.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Ghost Leopard?

    When Zoe and Zak are hiding in the tall grass and the men realize someone has tampered with the trunk. They give chase and when they are almost on Zoe and Zak, something jumps over them and chases the men sending them fleeing.


    What about Bailey S. Carlson’s performance did you like?

    I liked that Bailey's voice sounded like a child's voice and not an adult's voice. I was never confused about who was speaking, but mostly I liked that it sounded like the right age person was reading the novel. I hate when an older person is reading as a teenager.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Indiana Jones meets Charlie Bone? I'm not very good at this. It's high adventure meets high magic!


    Any additional comments?

    I can't wait to listen to the next book! I have some more cleaning to do!

    More

    Zoe & Zak and the Ghost Leopard (Volume 1)

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Lars Guignard
    • Narrated By Bailey S. Carlson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (26)

    Zoe Guire just talked to an elephant. Well, technically speaking, the elephant spoke to her, but either way it was weird and, as a rule, Zoe doesn't do weird. Except the thing is, when Zoe goes along on her mom's business trip to India, things get very weird, very quickly. Soon after she arrives, Zoe finds herself tagging alongside a kid named Zak, lost in a crazy city, with no money and no way home.

    Ginny - Gin's Book Notes says: "a Fun, Educational, Fantasy Adventure"

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    It's Hiccup's birthday, but that's not going to keep him from getting into trouble. To save his dragon, Toothless, from being banished, Hiccup must sneak into the Meathead Public Library and steal the Viking's most sacred book. But the Vikings see books as a dangerous influence, and keep them locked up and under heavy guard. To save his friend, Hiccup must brave the Hairy Scary Librarian and his dreadful army of Meathead Warriors and face off against the formidable Driller-Dragons.

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    Flyte: Septimus Heap, Book Two

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    A city has many lives and layers. London has more than most. A 12-year-old boy named George Chapman is about to find this out the hard way. On a school trip he's punished for something he didn't do. In a tiny act of rebellion, he lashes out at a small carving on the wall - unexpectedly breaking it off. And then something horrible does happen: a stone pterodactyl unpeels form the wall and starts chasing him. George is already running before his mind starts trying to tell him that this is impossible!

    MJ Dulmage says: "Fantastic Story, Great Narrator!"
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UNABRIDGED) by Angie Sage Narrated by Gerard Doyle

    Physik: Septimus Heap, Book Three

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Angie Sage
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    When Silas Heap unseals a forgotten room in the palace, he releases the ghost of a queen who lived 500 years earlier. Queen Etheldredda is as awful in death as she was in life, and she's still up to no good. Her diabolical plan to give herself everlasting life requires Jenna's compliance, Septimus' disappearance, and the talents of her son, Marcellus Pye, a famous alchemist and physician.

    Emiko says: "Wonderful Series"
  • Fyre: Septimus Heap, Book Seven (






UNABRIDGED) by Angie Sage Narrated by Gerard Doyle

    Fyre: Septimus Heap, Book Seven

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Angie Sage
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
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    Now that Septimus, Jenna, and Beetle are 14 years old, they have assumed larger roles in their Magykal world. Beetle is the Chief Hermetic Scribe of the Manuscriptorium and Jenna will soon be Queen, but Septimus is still battling the remnants of the Darke Domaine, which will remain until the power of the evil Two-Faced Ring is destroyed forever. To accomplish that, the ancient Alchemie Fyre must be relit - a task that sends Septimus to the very origins of Magyk and Physik.

    Emily says: "Our Family Enjoys Septimus and His Family"
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    Queste: Septimus Heap, Book Four

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Angie Sage
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
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    There's trouble at the Castle, and it's all because Merrin Meredith has returned with Darke plans for Septimus. More trouble awaits Septimus and Jenna in the form of Tertius Fume, the ghost of the very first Chief Hermetic Scribe, who is determined to send Septimus on a deadly Queste. But Septimus and Jenna have other plans - they are headed for the mysterious House of Foryx.

    Jacqueline says: "Listening to it over and over again"
  •  
  • Darke: Septimus Heap, Book Six (






UNABRIDGED) by Angie Sage Narrated by Gerard Doyle

    Darke: Septimus Heap, Book Six

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Angie Sage
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (490)
    Performance
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    In the sixth book of the Magykal series, Alther Mella has been banished, a Darke Domaine engulfs the Castle, and a Darke dragon is on the loose. Septimus Heap must use all of his skills to save the Castle and the Wizard Tower from destruction: He must enter the Darke. But he cannot do this alone....

    Melinda says: "Wonderful"
  • Syren: Septimus Heap, Book Five (






UNABRIDGED) by Angie Sage Narrated by Gerard Doyle

    Syren: Septimus Heap, Book Five

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Angie Sage
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (557)
    Performance
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    Story
    (317)

    In this fifth book in the Magykal series, Septimus ends up on a captivatingly beautiful island, one of seven set in a sparkling sea. He's stranded there with his badly injured dragon, Spit Fyre, along with Jenna and Beetle. There are some strange things about the island, including a Magykal girl named Syrah, a cat-shaped lighthouse that has lost its Light, and an eerie presence that sings to Septimus - can he escape the persistent call?

    Merijane says: "Super Fun Book!!"
  • The Fairy Bell Sisters: Rosie and the Secret Friend (






UNABRIDGED) by Margaret McNamara Narrated by Jane Collingwood

    The Fairy Bell Sisters: Rosie and the Secret Friend

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 24 mins)
    • By Margaret McNamara
    • Narrated By Jane Collingwood
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    Before Tinker Bell flew to Never Land and met Peter Pan she lived on Sheepskerry Island with her fairy sisters - Clara, Lily, Rosie, Silver, and Squeak the baby. The young fairies go to fairy school and love tea parties, dressing up, and exciting adventures. It's summer time on Sheepskerry Island, which means the Summer People will arrive for their holidays. That's when the fairies must take great care not to be discovered by humans. But when Rosie the fairy meets a little girl called Louisa it's hard to stay hidden.

  • The Mall Fairies: Exile (






UNABRIDGED) by Conda V. Douglas Narrated by Michele Carpenter

    The Mall Fairies: Exile

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Conda V. Douglas
    • Narrated By Michele Carpenter
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    In The Mall Fairies: Exile, the first of the Mall Fairies trilogy, Swoop the fairy lives hidden in the attic of a shopping mall. She loves the safety and ease of living in the fairies' town of High Haven, despite the adults insisting she give up her dream of becoming a Flight Instructor. She's terrified of Outside, where fairies can and do die. Swoop discovers her best friend One Wing in the company of a human, breaking the first law: Never Let the Humans Know Fairies Exist.

  • The Secret of the Key: A Sixty-Eight Rooms Adventure, Book 4 (






UNABRIDGED) by Marianne Malone Narrated by Cassandra Campbell

    The Secret of the Key: A Sixty-Eight Rooms Adventure, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Marianne Malone
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    Chicago sixth graders Ruthie and Jack think they’ve learned everything about the magic of the Art Institute’s Thorne Rooms. But the magic starts to act strangely when Ruthie and Jack discover two rings that are out of place - and out of time - and a portal that shouldn’t be open but somehow is. Ruthie and Jack follow the clues to 17th-century England and the Brownlow house, where they meet the Brownlow’s governess, Rebecca. But Rebecca has a few secrets of her own - and she might even be in the wrong century!

  • Wishhobbler (






UNABRIDGED) by Francis O'Dowd Narrated by Lizzie Hopley

    Wishhobbler

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Francis O'Dowd
    • Narrated By Lizzie Hopley
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    Abandoned by her mother at an early age, 10-year-old Spin has been adopted by Sir Fistache mal Arthreign. The knight's habit of collecting waifs and strays has thrown together a family of rowdy headbangers. Expelled from countless towns and villages, they hope to make a fresh start in the Songwynd slums - but the decision to bring along their pet wishhobbler wrecks any chance of this.

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  • Illusive (






UNABRIDGED) by Emily Lloyd-Jones Narrated by Caitlin Davies, Kirby Heyborne

    Illusive

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Emily Lloyd-Jones
    • Narrated By Caitlin Davies, Kirby Heyborne
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    When the MK virus swept across the planet, a vaccine was created to stop the epidemic, but it came with some unexpected side effects. A small percentage of the population developed superhero-like powers. Seventeen-year-old Ciere Giba has the handy ability to change her appearance at will. She's what's known as an illusionist - she's also a thief. After a robbery goes awry, Ciere must team up with a group of fellow super-powered criminals on another job that most would consider too reckless.

  • Spellslinger: Witches of Galdorheim (






UNABRIDGED) by Marva Dasef Narrated by Lisa Baarns

    Spellslinger: Witches of Galdorheim

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 7 mins)
    • By Marva Dasef
    • Narrated By Lisa Baarns
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    What does a teenage half-warlock, half-vampire do to have fun? Why, build an old west town on a glacier in the Arctic! There, he can play at being the good-guy sheriff up against mean old Black Bart. That things will go horribly wrong is a given. But how does Rune get into and out of the predicament? This prequel story to the Witches of Galdorheim series gives the listener a chance to get to know the smart-aleck kid, Rune, before he got his magic down pat.

    Marva Dasef says: "Commendations to the Narrator"
  • The Tale of Despereaux (






UNABRIDGED) by Kate DiCamillo Narrated by Graeme Malcolm

    The Tale of Despereaux

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Kate DiCamillo
    • Narrated By Graeme Malcolm
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    From the award-winning author Kate DiCamillo comes the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse who is in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in the darkness and covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl who harbours a simple, impossible wish. These three characters embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon.