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Marco

Fantasy geek, literature lover!

Italy | Member Since 2009

23
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 15 reviews
  • 31 ratings
  • 166 titles in library
  • 13 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
4

  • Dragons of Autumn Twilight: Dragonlance: Chronicles, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (376)
    Performance
    (347)
    Story
    (356)

    Lifelong friends, they went their separate ways. Now they are together again, though each holds secrets from the others in his heart. They speak of a world shadowed with rumors of war. They speak of tales of strange monsters, creatures of myth, creatures of legend. They do not speak of their secrets. Not then. Not until a chance encounter with a beautiful, sorrowful woman, who bears a magical crystal staff, draws the companions deeper into the shadows, forever changing their lives and shaping the fate of the world.

    Cherie says: "Dissapointing Narration of a Classic Favorite"
    "A Must... with Caution!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman and/or Ax Norman?

    Dragonlance Chronicles is one of the best fantasy series of all time, especially form a D&D player point of view. I would definitely try other novels written by Weis and Hickman. Unfortunately, narrator Ax Norman is not fully able to express the necessary flavour that should be the basis of this kind of narrative. I think he improves on a second listening, but still there's something missing. He is, of course, a professional and has a nice singing voice, but the characters (all well loved by the fantasy community) are not very well "expressed".


    Would you be willing to try another one of Ax Norman’s performances?

    Not sure. I love the series but the narrator has not done justice to it in his reading. I'll try the other books in the series but probably not the Legends.


    Any additional comments?

    There are some wonderful narrators out there, like Irene Suttcliffe reading "Pride & Prejudice" or Jonh Lee reading "The Pillars of the Earth", that has given us a taste of great perfoming a reading. I'm sure Ax Norman can get there, his voice is nice and the all the necessary pauses and paces are there. Still, he fails when he tries to evoke that magic world for us. He should work on that.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Lost Language of Cranes

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By David Leavitt
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (17)

    Set in the 1980s against the backdrop of a swiftly gentrifying Manhattan, The Lost Language of Cranes tells the story of twenty-five-year-old Philip, who realizes he must come out to his parents after falling in love for the first time with a man. Philip's parents are facing their own crisis: pressure from developers and the loss of their longtime home.

    Marco says: "Bildugsroman for a gay man"
    "Bildugsroman for a gay man"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Lost Language of Cranes in three words, what would they be?

    Hopeful, Desperate, Grey. Hopeful because at the end there's a thin veil of hope for all the characters. Desperate because fear is at the basis of many of the relationship in the novel. Grey because that's the color that comes to my mind if I think about the characters, the setting, the plot.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This is a bildungsroman for a young gay man and, at the same time, for a middle-aged man. They both have their path to follow and in the end they are on the same road.


    Have you listened to any of Jonathan Davis’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    The Windup Girl. He's a very good performer. With that book I followed along with the text and his work was very, very good.


    If you could take any character from The Lost Language of Cranes out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Jerene, of course. :-)


    Any additional comments?

    For a gay man, this is a must, Like "Maurice" by Forster. Even if you are not gay, there's plenty about relationships that makes the few hours spent reading the book well spent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Jung Chang
    • Narrated By Jolene Kim
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (30)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (24)

    At the age of 16, in a nationwide selection for royal consorts, Cixi was chosen as one of the emperor's numerous concubines. When he died in 1861, their five-year-old son succeeded to the throne. Cixi at once launched a palace coup against the regents appointed by her husband and made herself the real ruler of China - behind the throne, literally, with a silk screen separating her from her officials who were all male.

    Heidi says: "Very Important if flawed history of a leader"
    "Very Interesting Stateswoman"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Empress Dowager Cixi rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is a very interesting book, well written and well performed by the narrator. It ranks pretty high in my collection of historical biographies so far.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The author, even though certainly supportive of the empress's achievements, is not overall biased and is frank about certain decisions Cixi had to make in order to preserve her power and the Chinese empire.


    Which character – as performed by Jolene Kim – was your favorite?

    It's funny the way the narrator switches to "chinese" English pronunciation when "performing" the empress in some of her letters or alleged sentences spoken to Ministers or Grandees or other.


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

    "The Dragon Woman"


    Any additional comments?

    This book is a cohesive overview of 19th century China and establishes Cixi as the real "maker". So, it makes an interesting hearing not only for people interested in the Empress tout court but also for people interested in Chinese history. Contrary to many biographies, Ms Chang doesn't give in to gossip. The performer, Jolene Kim, does a very good job (rhythm of the narration, clarity, even "performance" of some of the personages).

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Homeland: Legend of Drizzt: Dark Elf Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By R. A. Salvatore
    • Narrated By Victor Bevine
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (978)
    Performance
    (892)
    Story
    (911)

    This stunning new release of the classic R.A. Salvatore novel recounts the origins of Salvatore's signature dark elf character, Drizzt Do'Urden. This title kicks off The Legend of Drizzt series, which will showcase the classic dark elf novels in these new audiobook editions.

    Pi says: "Among the drow, all trust is foolish."
    "Action, action and Action"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Homeland in three words, what would they be?

    I've already done that in the headline. Of course, there's more, but this is a action-packed novel, suitable to anyone who's into D&D or into combat-oriented fantasy. There are of course other themes here as well, but they are just tackled with no real intention to go deeper (gender situation, friendship, family ties, etc.)


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    This novel is not a chorus of different characters, all equally important. Here there's a clear distinction between main characters and extras. Of course, the reader is strongly encouraged to like the protagonist and the mentor, that is to say his father. There are a couple of other interesting characters (the masked wizard, Drittz's sister Vierna) but they are underdeveloped.


    What about Victor Bevine’s performance did you like?

    Bevine did mostly a good job. He's a pro, so he knows his craft. Still, sometimes he reads a little too fast, even though the reason is comprehensible (an action-packed novel calls for... well, action). As in this trilogy Drittz is very young, I would have preferred a younger voice but that is a matter of personal preference, no fault with the performer.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Walking Dead: Rise of The Governor

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Robert Kirkman, Jay Bonansinga
    • Narrated By Fred Berman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (684)
    Performance
    (627)
    Story
    (632)

    Following in the footsteps of the New York Times best-selling graphic novels and the record-breaking new television show, this debut novel in a trilogy of original Walking Dead books chronicles the back story of the comic book series greatest villain, The Governor.

    David says: "Well....okay...I guess"
    "Well done, maybe sometimes too overwhelming"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I'd reccomend it to anyone who likes the TV show in particular and the comics too. The book evokes the world of despair and


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Brian, its "descent" into villainy. Philip is just a tad too crazy.


    What three words best describe Fred Berman’s performance?

    His performance as Philip was too much "cooked", if you get my meaning. He seems always on the point of breaking, it's just too much. Well done as for Nick and the Chalmer sisters. The Penny-Brian relationship too.


    Did The Walking Dead: Rise of The Governor inspire you to do anything?

    No, please... I'd be seriously worried if it had!


    Any additional comments?

    OK the southern accent: marked but still understandable for us not US residents. Berman's a professional, of course, and he does his job with a certain skill. His Philip was really annoying, sometimes too much.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Time of the Twins: Dragonlance: Legends, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman
    • Narrated By Ax Norman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (117)
    Performance
    (111)
    Story
    (114)

    Sequestered in the blackness of the dreaded Tower of High Sorcery in Palanthas, surrounded by nameless creatures of evil, Raistlin Majere weaves a plan to conquer the darkness - to bring it under his control. Crysania, a beautiful and devoted cleric of Paladine, tries to use her faith to lead Raistlin from the darkness. She is blind to his shadowed designs, and he draws her slowly into his neatly woven trap. Made aware of Raistlin’s plan, a distraught Caramon travels back in time to the doomed city of Istar in the days before the Cataclysm.

    Boris says: "Dragonlance Classic... narrator wasn't"
    "A Travel to the Past"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Time of the Twins?

    It is the first installment of the second Dragonlance trilogy, probabibly better written than the first. It's less heavily game-oriented (D&D) and, as such, give room to the authors to better explore their fictional world.


    What aspect of Ax Norman’s performance would you have changed?

    Ax Norman should have paid more attention to characters. Sometimes, it's difficult to tell Raistlin and Caramon apart. Even though I'm not overly fond of "uber" character personification, he should have paid more attention to that. Still, I like his diction and I wouldn't mind if he rerecorded the books with that goal in mind.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a great Dragonlance story, a must for every fantasy and D&D geek reader/listener.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Second Generation

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman
    • Narrated By Gabra Zackman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (16)

    Years have passed since the end of the War of the Lance. The people of Ansalon have rebuilt their lives, their houses, their families. The Companions of the Lance, too, have returned to their homes, raising children and putting the days of their heroic deeds behind them. But peace on Krynn comes at a price. The forces of darkness are ever vigilant, searching for ways to erode the balance of power and take control. When subtle changes begin to permeate the fragile peace, new lives are drawn into the web of fate woven around all the races.

    Marco says: "Good performance classic Dragonlance"
    "Good performance classic Dragonlance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Second Generation to be better than the print version?

    The performing of the stories is quite good. Ms Zackman is certainly a pro who know what she is about. Listening to audiobooks and reading a book are two such different things that I cannot compare them. In my opinion, they are two different ways to enjoy the same medium.


    What does Gabra Zackman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    It's interesting the way she portrays some of the characters: she gives them voices that fit. I like the way she goes from "narration" mode in descriptions and introductions to "interpretation" mode in dialogues and stream of consciousness.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It got me interested, which is the main objective of an audiobook.


    Any additional comments?

    In the metatags, I'd add "Dragonlance" to the titles of the book, which in fact is following "Dragons of Spring Dawning" and just before "Dragons of Summer Flame". I'd insert it between those two.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • World Without End

    • UNABRIDGED (45 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    Overall
    (126)
    Performance
    (86)
    Story
    (88)

    On the day after Halloween, in the year 1327, four children slip away from the cathedral city of Kingsbridge. They are a thief, a bully, a boy genius, and a girl who wants to be a doctor. In the forest they see two men killed. As adults, their lives will be braided together by ambition, love, greed and revenge. They will see prosperity and famine, plague and war.

    Brodie says: "Astounding!"
    "John Lee does a great job"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely. The performance is excellent and the plot is engaging. Maybe this novel doesn't shine like Pillars of the Earth, but it's worthwhile to read it,


    What other book might you compare World Without End to and why?

    Its predecessor, "Pillars of the Earth". Same pacing, same kind of characters with motivations and psychological background.


    Which character – as performed by John Lee – was your favorite?

    The women in general. Gwenda, Caris, Lady Philippa, the abbess... he has a certain skill to make them alive and real while his voice is definitely male.


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

    "What Real Aristocracy Is", or something of the kind. One of the themes is the downfall of aristocrats and peasants, the ascendancy of some and the despair of others. Ralph has his own notion of what being an aristocrat is, his brother Merthin another. It's interesting to see the "new" mentality develop (and we are still struggling today with this idea that there's a "divine" right to something... people would not acknowledge this, but they behave like Ralph most of the time).


    Any additional comments?

    Great performance by John Lee. A must if into Ken Follett or historical novels.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dragons of a Fallen Sun: Dragonlance: The War of Souls, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman
    • Narrated By Marieve Herington
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (39)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (36)

    The people of Krynn have known war in past ages. Some are still alive who remember the triumph of good at the conclusion of the War of the Lance. Still more remember the devastation of the Chaos War, which ended the Fourth Age of the world. But now a new war is about to begin, more terrible than any have known. This war is one for the very heart and soul of the world itself.

    Marco says: "Well written, well read"
    "Well written, well read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Dragons of a Fallen Sun?

    There's something different in this new trilogy from the "classical" ones, the Chronicles and the Legends. The authors evidently decided that something different must be done to revitalize the brand. Herington's performance is very good, even though her portrayal of some of the elves is slightly comical (Samar for instance).


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    My favourite character is, and always will be, Laurana. Since the first trilogy, she stands apart because she grows as a person in a "believable" way. From elfmaiden to general and first class politician,


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Too long. But the performer's reading was just about right, It is a pleasure to listen to.


    Any additional comments?

    I'll certainly buy the other two titles in the series. Eagerly anticipating Ax Norman's new versions of the Chrinicles. I'm sure he's done an excellent job.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries #1: Origins

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By L. J. Smith, Kevin Williamson, Julie Plec
    • Narrated By Kevin T. Collins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (102)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (70)

    Set during the Civil War, against a backdrop of grand estates, unimaginable riches, and deadly secrets, three teenagers in Mystic Falls, Virginia, enter a torrid love triangle that will span eternity. Brothers Stefan and Damon Salvatore are inseparable, until they meet Katherine, a stunning, mysterious woman who turns their world upside down. Siblings turned rivals, the Salvatores compete for Katherine's affection....

    Heather says: "Based on TV show not the book"
    "For the fans of the TV show"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a nice listening for everyone who loves the tv show, not the novels. L. J. Smith's work is always very good: there are interesting characters and situations, descriptions are apt without being overwhelming, and the pacing is the right one for a vampire story.
    The narration though is not a great one: the performer is almost always using the same tone, his portrayal of female characters is sometimes comical (Stefan's fiancee for instance) and overall he doesn't create the same sense of foreboding and despair that Rebecca Mozo provides in her performance of the main novels.
    It's OK if you love the tv show, but for the original series reader it's rather disappointing (though not seriously so).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    Overall
    (21413)
    Performance
    (15520)
    Story
    (15573)

    In a time long forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons off balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. As the cold returns, sinister forces are massing beyond the protective wall of the kingdom of Winterfell. To the south, the king's powers are failing, with his most trusted advisor mysteriously dead and enemies emerging from the throne's shadow.

    DCinMI says: "Review of First 5 Books"
    "Fanatsy 2.0"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Game of Thrones to be better than the print version?

    No, I wouldn't. Martin has done a geat job with this series and the great success of the TV show is just a confirmation of it. The audiobook makes up for a nice listening as the performer did a great job with Matin's words. I am not overly fond of his voice, too husky in my opinion.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Game of Thrones?

    For me, the Lady moment (I won't be specific in order not to spoil the book to future readers/listeners). It's the first time that a certain "pettiness" of a certain character is shown. When I got to that part, I knew that I was reading not only a fantasy novel, but a "mature" fantasy novel as well.


    What does Roy Dotrice bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    A certain objectivity. I am not an impartial reader, I take side more often than not and it's very easy to do this with this series. Dotrice's reading is flawless this way, he doesn't give away any particular emotion unless it's expressed by the character or intended by the author.


    Any additional comments?

    Probably one of the best fantasy series so far, the world of "A Song of Ice and Fire" is brutal, unforgiving, and full of unresolved situations. Dotrice's reading of the book gives the story the correct aura, in my opinion, even though sometimes can be a little comical (the portrayal of the Imp, or Lord Varys for that matter). Still, thousands of pages, hundreds of characters... he's done an excellent job. I would have preferred a younger voice, but this is just a personal preference, nothing to do with the quality of the performance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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