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Madeleine

Audiobook addict.

London, United Kingdom | Member Since 2015

866
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 93 reviews
  • 274 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 59 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
181

  • Reamde

    • UNABRIDGED (38 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4203)
    Performance
    (3682)
    Story
    (3718)

    Richard Forthrast created T’Rain, a multibillion-dollar, massively multiplayer online role-playing game. But T’Rain’s success has also made it a target. Hackers have struck gold by unleashing REAMDE, a virus that encrypts all of a player’s electronic files and holds them for ransom. They have also unwittingly triggered a deadly war beyond the boundaries of the game’s virtual universe - and Richard is at ground zero.

    ShySusan says: "Not perfect, but worth a listen."
    "Not Stephenson at his Imaginative Best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would recommend this book to someone who liked pretty standard thrillers. It is not up to the standard of Snowcrash or Cryptonimicon in terms of edgy techy speculative fiction. Nor does it have the immersive world-building quality of some of the Baroque Cycle books. But it's a well-constructed and engaging mainstream thriller.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Neal Stephenson? Why or why not?

    I'll always have a go at a Stephenson book. At worst, it's a decent story. At his best, he just sweeps you away.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    There is no such thing as a 'reasonably well done' Scottish or Russian accent. Readers can either do them or they can't. This one couldn't and it really made some of the book cringeworthy.


    Could you see Reamde being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Certainly. I'm afraid I'm more of a reader than a movie-watcher though, so no suggestions on the cast.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are expecting a book like Snowcrash or Cryptonomicon, then you'll be disappointed. If you're just looking for a tight, fast-paced run of the mill thriller, it's fine.

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Predator One: A Joe Ledger Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Jonathan Maberry
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    Overall
    (622)
    Performance
    (575)
    Story
    (570)

    On opening day of the new baseball season, a small model-kit airplane flies down from the stands and buzzes the mound, where a decorated veteran pilot is about to throw out the first ball. The toy plane is the exact replica of the one flown by the war hero. Everyone laughs, thinking it's a prank or a publicity stunt. Until it explodes, killing dozens.

    Emily says: "The best Ledger so far...by far. "
    "Lock'n'Load Ledger with Searing Social Commentary"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    With each Joe Ledger novel, the stakes get higher, Joe gets wittier and Maberry's brand of grade 'A' action thriller becomes more and more a metaphor for some truly deep insights on present day social and political ambiguities.

    Predator One was so good I finished it and started to listen to it again a second time. But I admit to having listened multiple times to the earlier Ledger novels too. And I usually never do that. Once is usually enough and I'm onto the next book.

    Maberry's one of the very few writers of his genre who are equally skilled at characterization, action sequences and tasty, fresh dialogue. Even his prose and descriptive writing leaves others in the genre eating his dust.

    Meanwhile, if you're one of those readers who gets enjoys a good action yarn, but gets bored by the long battle sequences, give the Ledger series a go. They really aren't like anything else in the genre. It's meaty, exciting fiction, whether you're a fan of plot or character-driven novels.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Marion Grace Woolley
    • Narrated By Emma Newman
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    It begins with a rumor, an exciting whisper. Anything to break the tedium of the harem for the shah's eldest daughter. People speak of a man with a face so vile, it would make a hangman faint, but a voice as sweet as an angel's kiss. A master of illusion and stealth. A masked performer known only as Vachon. For once the truth will outshine the tales. On her birthday the shah gifts his eldest daughter, Afsar, a circus. With the circus comes a man who will change everything.

    Madeleine says: "Delicious, Dark and Compelling"
    "Delicious, Dark and Compelling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was such a surprise. I was expecting a run of the mill YA tale of a Persian princess' adventures. This was so much more than that. It's an intimate look at power from an unexpected angle, betrayal from below, and how servitude twists the appetite.

    I highly recommend. Be prepared to be surprised. All the way through.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Elizabeth Is Missing

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Emma Healey
    • Narrated By Anna Bentinck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (42)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (35)

    Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn’t remember to drink it. She sometimes thinks her daughter Helen is a total stranger. But there’s one thing Maud is sure of: Her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, Maud will get to the bottom of it.

    Madeleine says: "Relentless, Poignant and Incredibly Insightful"
    "Relentless, Poignant and Incredibly Insightful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you require a clear narrative in your detective fiction, you will not like this. The POV of a woman suffering from dementia makes it a very compelling and radically different type of storytelling. But I loved it. I fell in love with the character. My heart went out to her, and Anna Bentinck's narration was superb.

    Beyond simply being a very innovative approach to narrative, it really gave me a perspective on people suffering from dementia. I'm never going to cluck my tongue at my mother again.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Lock In (Narrated by Wil Wheaton)

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3056)
    Performance
    (2851)
    Story
    (2851)

    Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever, and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent - and nearly five million souls in the United States alone - the disease causes "Lock In": Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.

    Alexis says: "Fun! Things you might want to know:"
    "Nicely Done!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am not the biggest fan of John Scalzi. I usually find him a bit of a sort of post-modern Robert Heinlein. But I really enjoyed this novel. Very cool premise, very well explored and a tremendously sympathetic, if perhaps slightly flat, main protagonist. There are enough interesting secondary characters to make it interesting.

    I'm not sure how I feel about the 2 hour novella tacked on at the end. It does give the novel context and has a bit of a post-apocalyptic aesthetic about it.

    If you enjoy social sci-fi, combined with clever detective fiction, you'll like this.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Light in August

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By William Faulkner
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    Overall
    (1828)
    Performance
    (1279)
    Story
    (1280)

    An Oprah's Book Club Selection regarded as one of Faulkner's greatest and most accessible novels, Light in August is a timeless and riveting story of determination, tragedy, and hope. In Faulkner's iconic Yoknapatawpha County, race, sex, and religion collide around three memorable characters searching desperately for human connection and their own identities.

    FanB14 says: "Perseverance in Face of Cruelty"
    "The Sweet, Caustic Syrup of the South"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I can see from some of the reviews that this book is heavy going for a lot of readers. And it is heavy going, no question about it. It's bleak and relentless but there are flashes of gold so pure and true that I felt not only was it worth it, but that without the darkness, the flashes of light would not have shone so brightly.

    The language... oh, if you love poetic language and rich, fertile descriptions, this book is so linguistically erotic there were times when I felt almost embarrassed to be listening to it in a public place.

    I can't believe it took me so long to get around to reading/listening to this. I'm so glad I did.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Secret Rooms: A True Gothic Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Catherine Bailey
    • Narrated By Stephen Rashbrook
    Overall
    (100)
    Performance
    (92)
    Story
    (92)

    In April 1940, the ninth Duke of Rutland died in mysterious circumstances in one of the rooms of his family estate, Belvoir Castle. The mystery surrounding these rooms holds the key to a tragic story that is played out on the brutal battlefields of the Western Front and in the exclusive salons of Mayfair and Belgravia in the dying years of la belle époque. Uncovered is a dark and disturbing period in the history of the Rutland family, and one which they were determined to keep hidden for over 60 years. Sixty years on, The Secret Rooms is the true story of family secrets and one man’s determination to keep the past hidden at any cost.

    EJJ says: "Well Worth A Listen"
    "A Mystery Unravelled in a Mediocre Way"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First, I have to say that the narration was superb on this audiobook and it made what was a nice little mystery with a poorly structured narrative bearable. Researchers are, understandably, in love with their own process and so they should be. But it's a mistake to believe this automatically translates into a compelling story structure.

    There were a number of ways to go about using what is a very interesting set of factual events to construct a novel: you can simply dramatize the facts and weave them into a historical novel (with either the research subject as the narrator or a secondary character as narrator); you can construct the whole piece as a collection of found documents, the way Dracula is constructed, in epistolary form; or you can take the contemporary discovery approach by having the researcher there in the story as a quasi-detective (as was done here). The mistake that researchers who try to turn their research into prose often make is to present themselves as an inert figure. No entity in a story is ever inert and attempting to present them that way is always a mistake in anything but academic writing which is why I agree with an earlier reviewer that this reads slightly like someone's PhD thesis.

    Another problem with the story is repetition. This could have used an editor with a firmer hand. Repeating research findings is perfectly acceptable in academic writing, but it's just irritating in what needs to have a more fluid approach. Trust your reader to remember what you wrote three chapters ago. They usually do.

    Finally, this this was irritating, the author telegraphs important discovery events by hyping what she's found before she tells you what it is. This really spoils the a-ha moment for a prose-reader. If anything, the opposite approach is more effective. To downplay the advent before a really surprising discovery is revealed.

    Sounds like a really unsatisfactory audiobook, but it wasn't. Admittedly, this isn't a book of startling and shocking revelations. It's a gentle, poignant and almost literary unfolding of a man's life. But the core of it is an intriguing story. And, as I said at the beginning, the narration is outstanding, and mitigates a lot of the structural flaws.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Desert Bleeds Red: A Novel of the East

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Jason S. Hornsby
    • Narrated By James Chen
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    Logan Solomon is a Southern gentleman who has lived in Beijing far too long. Aside from the shady business deals, surveillance jobs, and the often decadent lifestyle of the jaded foreigner, he has also managed to alienate his wife Li Na while associating himself with very rough characters - some who might not even be human. Following a seemingly chance encounter aboard a train, a chain of events is set in motion that will change Logan's destiny forever, and leave a trail of dead in the wake.

    Madeleine says: "Really Fresh, Very Strange"
    "Really Fresh, Very Strange"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a very compelling story and I think I'm going to have to listen to it again because there's more to be gotten out of it. Although not set in the future, it reminded me in terms of cross-cultural speculative fiction, of Bachigalupi's Wind Up Girl.

    The writing is excellent and the non-linear storyline, which can sometimes be a little hard to cope with in audiobook form, works fluidly and well. The characters are well fleshed out, especially the main character who is flawed and juicy.

    There is a lot of very graphic violence in the novel, and it is painstakingly and viscerally described, so if you have a problem with that, you might want to steer clear of it, but I felt it was right for the story, and served it well.

    The performance is good, although I found that the male voices, with southern accents, got a tiny bit muddled. But not enough to spoil the experience of the book.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Third Floor

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By C. Dennis Moore
    • Narrated By Gary Tiedemann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (140)
    Performance
    (132)
    Story
    (132)

    Welcome to Angel Hill, Missouri, a town that shot blood from the ground at its own groundbreaking. There are only two roads in or out of town, and everything within those borders is subject to the whims of reality. Those who grew up here are immune to the town's peculiarities. But Jack and Liz have just moved here, and for their young son, Joey, it's almost like coming home again.

    J. Dugan says: "Great Scary Story"
    "Not Again!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's not that this was a terrible story, it just wasn't a very good one and certainly not a particularly fresh or well-told one.

    I can see that other people loved it, but I felt it dragged, pace-wise. And if I read another horror story where the conflict centers around a couple where the husband keeps flatly denying there is anything supernatural going on, for 5 hours, I'm going to scream.

    That particular plot device has worn very thin with me.

    13 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • To the Lighthouse

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Virginia Woolf
    • Narrated By Nicole Kidman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (16)

    To the Lighthouse is Virginia Woolf’s arresting analysis of domestic family life, centering on the Ramseys and their visits to the Isle of Skye in Scotland in the early 1900s. Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge, Eyes Wide Shut), who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Woolf in the film adaptation of Michael Cunningham’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Hours, brings the impressionistic prose of this classic to vibrant life.

    ESK says: "Stream of consciousness interpreted differently"
    "Hard to find fault with this reading"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    You need to have some patience to listen to this novella. The language is exquisite, the sense of place and time and mood are engrossing. If you listen to audiobooks for plot and excitement, this is not the book for you.

    But as a novel that explores character, relationships, the extreme subjectivity of human perception and how time acts upon those things, then this may be one of the most eloquent examinations of those things ever written.

    Although I did not give Kidman's narration a full five stars, there is nothing wrong with it. However, two things bothered me. Her pace of reading is quite fast, and this is a problem when the point of view changes from one character to another within a scene. I'm assuming there are scene breaks in the original text version which make clear whose point of view is being used, but in audio form, a slightly slower read, with more pauses between scenes would have been helpful. Secondly, I found her Aussie accent slightly jarring for this particular novel. I think it might have suited a more neutral English or American accent better - just because I have a better capacity for overlooking those accents. It's an entirely culturally subjective view, but then narrators affect us at that level.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Zodiac Station

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Tom Harper
    • Narrated By Piers Wehener
    Overall
    (97)
    Performance
    (89)
    Story
    (90)

    "An extraordinary thriller set at the frozen edge of the world, perfect for fans of Kate Mosse, Michael Crichton and Dan Brown.In the Arctic Ocean, the US Coast Guard icebreaker Terra Nova batters its way through the pack ice. There shouldn't be anyone near them for hundreds of miles. But then a lone skier, half-dead with cold, emerges out of the snow. His name is Tom Anderson, and he is the only survivor of a disaster at Zodiac Station, a scientific research base deep in the Arctic Circle.

    Christopher says: "surprised at how good this was"
    "Good plot, interestingly told"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed the story. It's got a very twisty plot with a bit of an homage to one of literature's greatest horror novels (I won't say which, because that will give away the story). The setting is well described, eerie and tension-filled. It's a tale narrated through a number of different character's POVs and documents, which makes the pacing slightly odd, but helps to keep you on the edge of your seat and guessing.

    The one part of the story I thought was a big of a let-down was the rather superficial, convenient characterizations. There are some really intriguing characters in the story and I thought they could have been better fleshed out. I got the feeling they were left tenuous in order to allow the plot more flexibility. When I can see that in a story, it bothers me a little.

    Nonetheless, as a thriller/murder mystery, it makes for good listening.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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