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Jonathan Byrne

Member Since 2012

6
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 3 reviews
  • 167 ratings
  • 271 titles in library
  • 3 purchased in 2015
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  • The Stars, Like Dust

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Isaac Asimov
    • Narrated By Stephen Thorne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (414)
    Performance
    (236)
    Story
    (246)

    Biron Farrell was young and naïve, but he was growing up fast. A radiation bomb planted in his dorm room changed him from an innocent student at the University of Earth to a marked man, fleeing desperately from an unknown assassin. He soon discovers that, many light-years away, his father has been murdered. Stunned, grief-stricken, and outraged, Biron is determined to uncover the reasons behind his father's death.

    Scifi says: "Classic 1950's boyhood scifi"
    "Not His Best"
    Overall

    According to Wikipedia, Asimov considered this his worst novel. I can see why. It's not aged particularly well (which isn't his fault, of course). While the story itself has its moments, two things really lowered my evaluation. First, the casual sexism on display is really hard to ignore - there's one woman in the whole book and she exists only to provide a love interest for our hero. Second, the ending is a complete howler. To be fair, it wasn't Asimov's idea, but it's still his name on the book, so he gets the blame. Thankfully, he'd go on to do much better.

    2 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Agent to the Stars

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4007)
    Performance
    (3493)
    Story
    (3495)

    The space-faring Yherajk have come to Earth to meet us and to begin humanity's first interstellar friendship. There's just one problem: They're hideously ugly and they smell like rotting fish. So getting humanity's trust is a challenge. The Yherajk need someone who can help them close the deal. Enter Thomas Stein, who knows something about closing deals. He's one of Hollywood's hottest young agents.

    C. Paget says: "excellent"
    "Fun First Effot"
    Overall

    This was the first novel Scalzi wrote, initially putting it up for free on the web. It's got a great premise and presents our hero agent with a conundrum:how to make foul smelling gelatinous aliens "sell" to humanity for first contact. It's such a conundrum, in fact, that I suspect Scalzi realized he didn't have a good answer. The last quarter of the book is preposterous and sells the premise short. But, getting to that part is pretty fun and there's lots of humor going 'round. Not a masterpiece by any means, but well worth a read/listen.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • His Majesty's Dragon: Temeraire, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs)
    • By Naomi Novik
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1569)
    Performance
    (941)
    Story
    (947)

    When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes its precious cargo - an unhatched dragon egg - fate sweeps Captain Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature. Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle.

    Janet says: "Dragon Riders of Pern meet Master and Commander"
    "Enjoyable, But Slight"
    Overall

    Although I can't say this wasn't an enjoyable read/listen, I was disappointed that Novik didn't do more with a very interesting premise. Put simply, the dragons are just too easy to deal with. They roll out of the egg able to speak with those around them, in the King's English (even if sired in China and given to the French!). For all their bulk and the fear that the non-aviators have of them, the fact is my girlfriend's cats are more dangerous and unpredictable. Some seeds are sown for the idea that huge, sentient beasts maybe shouldn't be treated like cattle, but it doesn't go very far in this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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