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Madeleine

Audiobook addict.

London, United Kingdom | Member Since 2008

802
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 90 reviews
  • 254 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 160 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
172

  • World War Z

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs)
    • By Max Brooks
    • Narrated By Christopher Ragland, Rupert Farley, Nigel Pilkington, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (274)
    Performance
    (253)
    Story
    (257)

    The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched firsthand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living - or at least the undead - hell of that dreadful time.

    RaisinGirl says: "A pity the unabridged version is inferior"
    "An Oral History (Not like the film)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It wasn't until I'd seen the film and read the reviews of how much it deviated from the original novel that I decided to take the plunge. If you're looking for a 'kicking zombie ass' post-apocalyptic action thriller, don't buy this.

    If, on the other hand, you're interested in just how craftily speculative fiction can be employed to critique modern society, this is a masterpiece.

    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
    (1624)
    Performance
    (1515)
    Story
    (1521)

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Light in August

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By William Faulkner
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    Overall
    (1676)
    Performance
    (1150)
    Story
    (1149)

    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
    (92)
    Performance
    (84)
    Story
    (83)

    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
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Third Floor

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By C. Dennis Moore
    • Narrated By Gary Tiedemann
    Overall
    (118)
    Performance
    (110)
    Story
    (110)

    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.

    11 of 15 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
    (19)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (15)

    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
    (91)
    Performance
    (84)
    Story
    (85)

    "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
  • The Last Refuge

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Craig Robertson
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (17)

    When John Callum arrives on the wild and desolate Faroe Islands, he vows to sever all ties with his previous life. He desperately wants to make a new start, and is surprised by how quickly he is welcomed into the close-knit community. But still, the terrifying, debilitating nightmares just won't stop. Then the solitude is shattered by an almost unheard of crime on the islands: murder.

    Madeleine says: "Intriguing but a little slow"
    "Intriguing but a little slow"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a very interior novel. It has some lovely literary elements to it and I did enjoy it. The atmosphere is seductive and gripping, and the character is nicely developed.

    However, I found the narration hard to cope with. The Scottish brogue is thick and unremitting and, to my ears, somewhat artificial. Reynolds does Irish and Northern English accents very well, but his Scottish burr leaves something to be desired.

    I suggest you listen to the audio sample provided to see if it works for you.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By A. J. Hartley, David Hewson
    • Narrated By Richard Armitage
    Overall
    (538)
    Performance
    (508)
    Story
    (505)

    It is a tale of ghosts, of madness, of revenge - of old alliances giving way to new intrigues. Denmark is changing, shaking off its medieval past. War with Norway is on the horizon. And Hamlet - son of the old king, nephew of the new - becomes increasingly entangled in a web of deception - and murder. Beautifully performed by actor Richard Armitage ("Thorin Oakenshield" in the Hobbit films), Hamlet, Prince of Denmark takes Shakespeare’s original into unexpected realms, reinventing a story we thought we knew.

    Madeleine says: "The Devil's In the Details"
    "The Devil's In the Details"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thoroughly enjoyed this retelling and restructuring of Hamlet. I began listening with moderate expectations, knowing the play well and expecting it would just be a fleshing out of the original, but it was so much more than that.

    The authors have done a wonderfully creative job of approaching the tale from a fresh, very lateral perspective. Lesser events and characters in the play are brought to the fore, and a wonderful layer of Machiavellian political intrigue suffuses the story. The same is true of the play's original paranormal elements. The authors have developed it into a lush political and psychological thriller.

    I didn't give the story five stars only because I found the villain of the piece (I won't tell you who it is because that would be a huge spoiler) a little underdeveloped and cardboardish. That being said, this was more than a retelling of the play. If you like historical mysteries or alternate histories, you'll love this. It's rich and atmospheric and wonderful.

    The narration was outstanding.

    28 of 28 people found this review helpful
  • The Solitary Man's Refuge

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Ron Foster
    • Narrated By Duane Sharp
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (23)

    This audiobook combines the three postapocalyptic adventure books of the Solitary Man Series. Look around. Millions of preppers are working feverishly every day to get prepared for what they fear is a disaster about to happen in America. The motivation for preparing differs for each person. Donald is getting his farmstead prepared in case a predicted solar storm takes out the electrical grid. Some folks might call what Donald is trying to create as a bug-out location. Other people consider his little rural house as an effort to become more self-sufficient, like a homesteader.

    Madeleine says: "Badly Constructed Narrative"
    "Badly Constructed Narrative"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I do owe Foster a thanks for introducing me to the world of 'preppers', and giving me something to chew over when it comes to why there are so many people looking forward to the apocalypse. However, as a novel, this is poorly constructed.

    As with many fetishists, Foster makes the common mistake of believing his readers will share his obsession with preparing for the looming apocalypse. Consequently, he offers no insight for the mainstream reader into the hows or whys of people who have caught the 'prepping' bug. There's no context to the characters. In fact, there is very little effort to examine any of the characters' motivations. The plot flits around, clumsily interrupted with recipes, hints on prepping, and long digressions on different types of ammunition. The whole novel is dripping with a curious sort of schadenfreude towards the non-prepping majority, and there is no sense that the author was even aware of this.

    Consequently, I was relieved when it was over.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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