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Noel

Compulsive reader, compulsive listener.

Member Since 2005

ratings
44
REVIEWS
8
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
15

  • Blowback: Anniversary Day Saga, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Kristine Kathryn Rusch
    • Narrated By Jay Snyder
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (212)
    Performance
    (186)
    Story
    (193)

    The Moon, shaken by the Anniversary Day tragedies, deals with devastation. The Earth Alliance believes another attack imminent, but no one knows where or when it will strike. Just like no one knows who ordered the attacks in the first place. The Moon’s chief security office, Noelle DeRicci, does her best to hold the United Domes government together. But Retrieval Artist Miles Flint, dissatisfied with the investigation into the Anniversary Day events, begins an investigation of his own.

    John C. says: "Ending Missing--Call a Retrieval Artist?"
    "Very Worthy Addition to the Series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm never disappointed by Retrieval Artist novels. I love good science fiction, and Rusch has created an incredibly compelling and delightfully-researched world.

    This novel re-introduces several characters from earlier Retrieval Artist novels and traces logical development well. Characters are wonderfully, imperfectly PEOPLE, and the plotting and pacing of this particular story are especially masterful. The story is full of politics, intrigue and plain old detective work.

    Jay Snyder still does an excellent job of narration.

    This is very much what I've come to expect of and love in the Retrieval Artist series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Tai-Pan: A Novel of Hong Kong

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By James Clavell
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (716)
    Performance
    (399)
    Story
    (398)

    After the British seize Hong Kong following the first Opium War, the owners of two competing trading companies seek to destroy each other, both professionally and personally.

    Cy Judge says: "A great audio book"
    "Extraordinary Performance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Tai-Pan is an excellent story on its own -- a ripping tale of the founding of Hong Kong.

    But what impressed me about this audiobook was the performance. Because the characters come from many nations and social classes between nations, accents become very important to the appropriate rendition of the story.

    John Lee does an extraordinary job of moving from accent to accent, even managing to render the pidigin used between the Western and Eastern traders as it was intended -- a stripped down trade language, rather than something for comic effect.

    I highly recommend this, and really wish that Lee had been contracted to read Shogun.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Howard Pyle
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    In Merry England, in the time of old when good King Henry the Second ruled the land, there lived within the green glades of Sherwood Forest near Nottingham Town a famous outlaw whose name was Robin Hood. He stole from the rich and gave to the poor, and in so doing became an undying symbol of virtue.

    Noel says: "Childhood favorite brought to life"
    "Childhood favorite brought to life"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Howard Pyle's Merry Adventures of Robin Hood was a favorite of mine from a young age. The roaring, rollicking Merrie Olde England was amazing, but as an adult, I appreciate some of the commentary thrown in about the social order drawn in crayon strokes -- it IS a children's book, after all!

    It is meant to be a series of tales about Robin Hood, but Pyle did something unique (for the time) and strung together the stories so that while each one is self-contained and enjoyable, is still retains a narrative and a plot. Even though the text is over 100 years old, it has a very fresh feel to it.

    The narration was amazing, though I don't know why I bother to mention it. Simon Vance IS one of the best in the business, and I've never been disappointed by a performance of his.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tea with the Black Dragon: Black Dragon, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By R. A. MacAvoy
    • Narrated By Megan Hayes
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (16)

    Martha Macnamara knows that her daughter, Elizabeth, is in trouble; she just doesn't know what kind. Mysterious phone calls from San Francisco at odd hours of the night are the only contact she has had with Elizabeth for years. Now, Elizabeth has sent her a plane ticket and reserved a room for her at San Francisco's most luxurious hotel. Yet she has not tried to contact Martha since she arrived, leaving her lonely, confused, and a little bit worried. Into the story steps Mayland Long, a distinguished-looking and wealthy Chinese man who lives at the hotel and is drawn to Martha's good nature and ability to pinpoint the truth of a matter.

    Stephen says: "Lovely Tale, but...."
    "Underrated, but classic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Tea with the Black Dragon rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    As a story, Tea with the Black Dragon is superlative. It's a bit dated now, as a techology-driven story set in 1983, but MacAvoy gets the tech right.

    As an audiobook, it's... average. Occasionally, it is obvious that the narrator is not aware of cultural nuances and verbal tics involved in other languages to get some of the vocals right. (Mayland Long is supposed to have an old-style Oxford accent, but the narrator uses a modern, well-educated North London). Since language also drives the story, it might have been better to get a performer who understood and could simulate nuances of accent better. Though in the face of that, Hayes does read aloud quite well, and has a pleasant voice to listen to.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Well, I originally read the book in the late eighties, but yes, the twists of the plot lead to unexpected places!


    Did Megan Hayes do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Yes, the differences in character were quite clear. She avoided simulating the basso profundo so many young female narrators use when reading the male dialog, only deepening subtly, but with clear differentiation between characters.


    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Number of the Beast

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Robert A. Heinlein
    • Narrated By Bernadette Dunne, Emily Durante, Malcolm Hillgartner, and others
    Overall
    (328)
    Performance
    (298)
    Story
    (299)

    The wickedest, most wonderful science fiction story ever created in our - or any - time. Anything can begin at a party in California - and everything does in this bold masterwork by a grand master of science fiction. When four supremely sensual and unspeakably cerebral humans - two male, two female - find themselves under attack from aliens who want their awesome quantum breakthrough, they take to the skies - and zoom into the cosmos on a rocket roller-coaster ride of adventure, danger, ecstasy, and peril.

    Michelle says: "I've been waiting for this book in audio format..."
    "Beloved Story, Inconsistent Performance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Number of the Beast rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I rarely hear REALLY well-done Heinlein titles. I don't think they get their best narrators for it, so I wasn't too disappointed. The one exception is Bernadette Dunne, who did an AMAZING job as Sharpie. Not surprising, as her rendition of Maureen Johnson was one of the best Heinlein audiobooks I've had the pleasure of listening to. She groks how to narrate a Heinlein woman!


    What other book might you compare The Number of the Beast to and why?

    The story itself was written for Heinlein fans who were also nostalgic about Golden Age science fiction. It's one of my favorites as a "fun" read.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    They got a poor match for Deety. While they needed a "young" voice, the character WAS a strong-willed genius. Also, her rendition of male voices really didn't work out well.


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

    It's a Heinlein novel. Of COURSE we'll screw it up.


    Any additional comments?

    If you were a fan of the book, you'll probably still enjoy the performance. As a fan of audiobooks in general, I just don't expect much of the performance for the Heinleins. Pity...

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Feed: The Newsflesh Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Mira Grant
    • Narrated By Paula Christensen, Jesse Bernstein
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (929)
    Performance
    (727)
    Story
    (717)

    The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beat the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED.

    susan says: "I laughed, I cried..."
    "Minus one star for narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    /FEED/ was flat-out my favorite book of 2010 and I am not in general a huge zombie fan. But oh my WORD is it an excellent and exciting story. It's a fairly logical extrapolation of the fear culture as posited by a zombie outbreak.

    I'd give it five stars but the audio performance does not do the text justice. Ms. Christensen's vocal characterization of Shaun was a serious turn off.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Snow Crash

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    Overall
    (5402)
    Performance
    (2738)
    Story
    (2793)

    Neal Stephenson is a blazing new force on the sci-fi scene. With the groundbreaking cyberpunk novel Snow Crash, he has "vaulted onto the literary stage." It weaves virtual reality, Sumerian myth, and just about everything in between with a cool, hip cybersensibility - in short, it is the gigathriller of the information age.

    A. Tuck says: "Classic Stephenson"
    "Classic Book/Excellent Performance"
    Overall

    Snow Crash is probably one of the best all-time science fiction books ever written. Genre-savvy enough to poke fun at itself, but packed with erudition as well. (Well, what do you expect from Neal Stephenson). The characters are interesting and engaging, and the plot appropriately-paced. As a computer professional and a language wonk, myself, it's one I always come back to.

    Johnathan Davis' performance is surprisingly good. He manages to make each character's voice memorable, and has a decent facility with a range of accents.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Anansi Boys

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Lenny Henry
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3950)
    Performance
    (1803)
    Story
    (1814)

    Returning to the territory he so brilliantly explored in his masterful New York Times best seller American Gods, the incomparable Neil Gaiman offers up a work of dazzling ingenuity, a kaleidoscopic journey deep into myth that is at once startling, terrifying, exhilarating, and fiercely funny, a true wonder of a novel that confirms Stephen King's glowing assessment of the author as "a treasure house of story, and we are lucky to have him."

    A. Hawley says: "Beautifully narrated"
    "Better in Audio"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a bibliophile and do read a lot of books in print. I'll never, EVER read this one. The combination of Lenny Henry extraordinary performance and Neil Gaiman's brilliant writing create a whole that is even better than the parts.

    The story itself is touching and funny and terrifying by turns. Don't expect an American Gods sequel. The mood and feel is equally GOOD, but it's quite a different story. (Though the Guidall performance is excellent).

    Lenny Henry's performance, though I hate to use a cliche, is just masterful. There's no other expression for it. His vocal characterizations are clear and distinct. He handles the Atlantic-jumping accents with the greatest of facility, making you almost forget it's being narrated by just one person.

    It's one of the best audiobooks I've ever heard. Treat yourself. You won't be sorry.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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