Though this is listed as a sequel to Bacigalupi’s Ship Breaker, it feels more like a connected standalone novel than a true sequel. In fact, the only character to carry over is the augmented human, animal hybrid, Tool. The titular Drowned Cities are also a different setting in Bacigalupi’s post-apocalyptic water-logged world. The audio version is narrated by the same performer and he does a wonderful job of reeling the listener in to Mahlia’s story. Tool plays a more prominent role here, but the bulk of the story is Mahlia’s. It’s an engrossing book and its climax is quite riveting! The ending definitely leaves you wanting more! I hope that these characters all - not just Tool - appear in the planned third book in the series!
This YA novel, like its predecessor, crosses the line into preachy at times (though this may be more apparent in the audio format). But this does nothing to dampen the exciting plot. This sequel, too, is much darker than Ship Breaker, but this adds to the book’s overall emotional investment. It’s an enjoyable listen (read) - but its rather cliffhanger ending definitely leaves me anxious for more to the story! I hope that the wait isn’t overly long!
This audiobook is read aloud by the author himself, which I think adds quite a lot to it. As Ronson navigates madness - focusing primarily on psychopaths - he manages to include a surprising amount of humour, as well as his own varied emotions along the path of his investigation. He meets with a wide range of individuals as part of his research, and it is perhaps this wide scope that makes this both entertaining, but a bit scattered to listen to. There is an attempt to pull together the entire book in the mystery of a strange novel mailed to an international group of recipients (Being or Nothingness), but as a framework it really fails to support the meat of the novel - psychopathy.
From Scientologists to psychiatrists to psychopaths both imprisoned and free, Ronson collects a range of thoughts and opinions on the realms of mental illness. The entire industry from facilities, to patients, to doctors are tied in, The book moves along at a fast pace and it is genuinely impossible to predict what avenue Ronson will investigate next. With a narrower focus, the book would feel a lot more cohesive, but in this manner there are plenty of thought-provoking and fascinating ideas presented. All in all, it definitely made my commute a more interesting one!
This audiobook is, quite simply, a ton of fun! I can hardly imagine actually reading it - that is just how strong of a performance Scott Aiello, the narrator, gives! Like Martinez’s other novels, this is a rather mad-cap adventure full of hilarity, witty humour and some quite likable - not to mention unforgettable - characters. The novel is set primarily on Earth (or Terra as it is referred to here) and seems inspired by 1950s-60s type space dramas. The titular character, Emperor Mollusk, hails from Neptune (though they don’t care for him much back there). Mollusk has conquered Terra (without a single gunshot fired!), but has retired from the world-conquering business after some recent unpleasantness with Saturn.
When a Venutian warrior with a grudge attempts to take Mollusk under protective custody (to later try him for his crimes committed on Venus), she ends up falling in with Mollusk and his faithful ultra-pede (a centipede from Hell) as they track down the assassination plot to its perpetrator. Their adventures range from Atlantis, a Lost World type island in the Bermuda triangle, a visit to the moon and some epic battles with the radioactive brain of Madame Curie. The tale is filled with adventure, excitement and plenty of laughs.
The performance, though, really sets the book apart. The voices Aiello creates for each character are wonderful and quite distinct. He makes Mollusk sound like a cross between the Dread Pirate Roberts and Stewie Griffin. The Brain also sounds quite like Vizzini and there are many other convincing and entertaining voices throughout. Not only will I continue to follow Martinez’s work, but I will definitely be keeping an eye out for this very talented narrator as well!
Unfortunately, this audiobook was not my favorite - which perhaps explains why it was so easy to take a long break from listening to it! It is not a bad book, really, but the author chose to have this coming-of-age-story be relayed through journal entries. I think it would have perhaps been more successful in print version. Though I originally though that the accent would add to the fun of this, the narrator’s voice can be a bit distracting in the performance with some accents overly emphasized. What I like the most about the book is the obvious passion the journaler, Mor, has for reading - particularly Science Fiction novels. Though I have read quite a bit in this genre as well, this book includes her reactions to many titles that I had never even heard of! In fact, the majority of the book seems to be an outlet for discussion on SF literature - with a few classics sprinkled in. School, Mor’s fractured family life, romance and bits of magic are all rather sidelined by recountings of plots, characters, authors and a consistent dislike of maths. The climax feels rather rushed and genuinely unsatisfying - nor does it seem to mesh with the preceding pages (hours listening). Maybe it’s just that Walton too accurately captured a fifteen year old and that is why I never quite connected with the narrator...
Since first reading Mary Higgins Clark’s All Around The Town, I have been fascinated by Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) and have followed its transformation (through fiction) to Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). This audiobook marks my first audio experience with the topic, as well as my first non-fiction one... Well, other than Sybil, but since that has been revealed to be a hoax, I suppose that counts amongst the fiction now. But after finishing this listen, I must admit that I am not quite certain where to shelve it either...
Chicagoan Karen Overhill’s story is certainly a grim one - abused by every single male in her life. From her father, grandfather, priest, local undertaker, police officer and work buddies of other family members, she undergoes a terrible childhood. With even just one of these abusers, it would be no surprise that her psyche crumbles. And with the variety of torment, it frankly seems a miracle that Karen has coped at all to function as an adult in any way. But, her survival lays at her own feet - within which seventeen different personalities can use.
The details of her abuse are relayed here in nauseating detail. Even more frightening is not only the fact that every single male she encounters took part of this horrific abuse, but also at the knowledge and non-intervention of many of her female relatives as well. Even more alarming is the way Baer himself does not seek any sort of legal intervention when he witnesses the after-effects of abuse in Karen’s troubled marriage. His entire relationship with Karen has hints that it is not entirely above-board, with little details like her nonpayment for treatment, and later when the appointments take place within his home. He also allows Karen to romanticize her own death at length, which adds to the darkness of the tone.
But the deeper into the story, the more unrealistic it seems. It somehow manages to drag on as each individual personality undergoes their own ceremony of transmutation and furthermore. It feels almost routine. And when after viewing the movie Primal Fear, Karen suddenly recounts her own experience with a priest - directly similar to the film. And with these hints about Baer’s own life, it seems like readers are missing the whole story - perhaps the graphic details of the abuse blindside many readers to consider this as anything other than true, but unfortunately this book has stretched my limits of credulity. It simply doesn’t seem plausible that one person underwent this much abuse, but still grows up to be married with two children and displays “textbook” DID...
As for the narrator, the female voices blur together but otherwise, it is a fine performance.
Wow! I really loved this audiobook! The premise - an event ten years before the bestows supernatural powers on some select humans turning them into Epics which leads to the downfall of society as these Epics tyrannically abuse their power - hooked me from the very start. David, the young narrator, watched the titular Steelheart kill his own father on the Epic’s rise to to power as the leader of Chicago (now dubbed Newcago). This set David upon a decade of determination to exact his revenge on this coldhearted and callous ruler.
David devoted ten years of his life to his plan - and he managed to join the elusive Reckoners, a group of non-Epics dedicated to bringing down the Epics and re-taking the world for “regular” humans. David impressed them with his knowledge and skill and finally created a new sort of family with this small group. A budding romance evan sprang up between him and the other newer member of the group. It was such a fun listen! The plot included some genuine shockers (along with some more predictable elements), but the book’s real strength was in the genuine quality to each character. David’s narration, too, added humour to all the excitement.
The strength of the story was further augmented by the very real skills of the reader, Macleod Andrews. He handled the accents with ease and gave a genuinely masterful performance. This was an incredibly fun listen and the sequel can’t come out fast enough! Hopefully the next installment will include even more of the Newcago setting!
This audiobook really is the perfect Halloween listen! Though clocking in at over 16 hours, the story is perhaps a bit overly long - but the special effects in the recording really add to the fun. The first appearance of the demonic voice in the prologue nearly made me drive off the road! It certainly adds to the spooky atmosphere! Literal goosebumps sprang up each time that scary voice came out of the speakers! The narration and even the overly detailed backstories amongst its large cast of characters really made me want to keep listening each time I arrived at my destination.
The only detracting factor from the book lies with its length - it really is too long. A lot of the tension and eeriness dissipates as Golemon revels in the excessive details of the characters, their histories and their own conflicts unrelated to the spooky house. The eight-hour television special defies logic too - but a haunted house manor calls for a certain suspension of disbelief anyways. I think that this is perhaps more evident in the paper version - the terrific performance of the narrator in the audio version keeps it from dragging too much. And though the final resolution may offend some, it is a fun read overall and contains some genuinely frightening scenes. The book concludes with a set up for a sequel - I hope that it comes out in time for Halloween next year!
This marked the second fictional audiobook that I have listened to. At first, the narrator’s voice felt stiff, and almost computer-ish - but once the story itself became more interesting, the narrator’s voice started to sound more dynamic. Though some of Swanson’s “voices” for the dialogue blended together (causing moments of confusion), the writing itself retained its clarity so I never felt overly lost in Bacigalupi’s dystopian, flooded world.
Though this book would most likely be a one-sitting-read for me, by listening to it only at work, I really drew out the experience and I think savored it a lot more. I could easily see why comparisons were made to Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy, but this felt like a very different sort of dystopia - and one that answered a lot more of those questions concerning the transition between modern civilization to this fictional breakdown. Bacigalupi strayed a few times onto a soap box (the importance of diversity, global warming, differences between class), but the YA market often leads to those kind of PSA-feeling topics. Overall, those moments don’t detract from the strength of the overall story. A few repetitive phrases (pain always “blossomed” or “exploded”) distracted me a bit - but that might be more due to the audio version than something that I would actively notice in a printed version.
Bacigalupi created likable characters - I especially liked Tool and Nailer. Of all the characters, Tool was felt the most intriguing to me. He was enigmatic and genuinely fascinating. It is mostly due to him that I already purchased to listen the sequel, The Drowned Cities. Tool reminded me a bit of Ron Pearlman’s Beast - at least that was what he looked like in my head, anyways... And this crumbling society and land utterly captivated me, too, so I am also looking forward to hearing more about it as well. It’s dark, but age-appropriate and I think a book that would definitely interest younger, male readers.
This nonfiction audiobook is definitely an intriguing listen. The author, a prominent child psychologist, reflects upon his more high profile and memorable cases. Though Perry uses pseudonyms, each case history rings with authenticity, interspersed with the science and theories of the mind. Perry discusses a wide range of disorders and scenarios of the worst types of neglect. Sexual abuse, outright neglect, Munchausen By Proxy, children of the Branch Davidians, orphans from Eastern Europe and even juvenile delinquents all fall into this fascinating book.
The narrator’s voice convincingly sounds like the author. Although, and perhaps this isn’t as apparent if reading it silently, the author’s own hubris begins to slip through as he displays pride in his own genius and revolutionary ideas in treating these troubled children. And though this pride is certainly justifiable in the successes recounted here, it makes the book slightly off-putting at times. And though the book is certainly sad, only focusing on successful cases mitigates the book’s overall depressing nature, though it does cast the author in an occasionally negative light. It’s an interesting listen though.
I’ve been a huge fan of Rosenfelt’s since first discovering his wonderful Andy Carpenter series on the bookstore shelves in 2009. I have since purchased and read all of his mystery novels - both within the series and his standalone thrillers. This book marks not only Rosenfelt’s nonfiction debut, but also my first experience listening to one of his books rather than reading it. And what a terrific experience it was!
Morning traffic - once the bane of my commute - suddenly became a welcome thing. I became a nicer driver - waving people ahead of me, in no hurry to get to where I was going, content to listen to the smooth narration (though not read by the author, his voice certainly sounded convincing to me) alternate between relating the history of his journey into being “dog-crazy” and his cross-country move from California to Maine. Some chapters focus on one particular dog in his family and because the Rosenfelts tend to adopt only the most unadoptable of dogs (the elderly or terminally ill), these sections evoke tears. But, like in his fictional novels, Rosenfelt’s humour balances the sadness. And the books is also filled with a lot of love - not only for the dogs (golden retrievers in particular), but also the very obvious love for his wife. It is a wonderful book and I was genuinely disappointed when it ended - I wanted more stories! And though I wouldn’t want to slow down the publication of his fiction novels, I would love to read (listen) to more about Rosenfelt’s real life.
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