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Miriam

Chicago, IL | Member Since 2015

15
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 362 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2015
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  • Bayou Moon: The Edge, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Ilona Andrews
    • Narrated By Renée Raudman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (900)
    Performance
    (643)
    Story
    (650)

    When her parents vanish, Cerise's clan's long-time rivals are suspects number one. But all is not as it seems. Two nations of the Weird are waging a cold war, and their conflict is about to spill over into the Edge - and Cerise's life. William, a changeling soldier who left behind the politics of the Weird, has been forced back into service to track down a rival nation's spymaster. When William's and Cerise cross paths, sparks fly - but they'll have to work together if they want to succeed…and survive.

    Angela says: "Great!!!"
    "A disappointment"
    Overall

    Maybe it was the reader, or maybe it was the writing -- or maybe it was both. Regardless of the culprit, I found this book wanting in comparison to the first Edge book and the Kate Daniels series. The Edge as described in the first book felt really real to me. It all seemed to fit together. In this book, I had difficulty picturing the world of the Mire, or believing in it. The accents the reader used didn't work for me. And the writing... the way it kept switching back and forth between different peoples' perspectives within a single scene was just poor writing form.

    Also, what is with Ilona and her characters adopting children or raising their siblings? Kate, Rose, Cerise, and William have all followed this pattern in one way or another. Also, orphans. There seem to be a lot of orphans popping up in her books. I don't mind this part of the stories, but it is starting to feel a little formulaic.

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Shattered: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 7

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Kevin Hearne
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3562)
    Performance
    (3332)
    Story
    (3329)

    For nearly 2,000 years, only one Druid has walked the Earth - Atticus O’Sullivan, the Iron Druid, whose sharp wit and sharp sword have kept him alive as he’s been pursued by a pantheon of hostile deities. Now he’s got company. Atticus’ apprentice, Granuaile, is at last a full Druid herself. What’s more, Atticus has defrosted an archdruid long ago frozen in time, a father figure (of sorts) who now goes by the modern equivalent of his old Irish name: Owen Kennedy. And Owen has some catching up to do.

    D says: "The third druid"
    "Hearne is brilliant"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a satisfying but not exceptional installment in the series. I even have some real issues with some of the way Hearne handled the POV and tenses and voice. So why did I rate the book so highly?

    Because after thinking about the events in the book, I came to a realization about what Hearne is doing with the overall plot, and it is absolutely, utterly brilliant. I won't give it away, but I will suggest that anyone who wants to try out the same 'perspective' read a little about Loki and his wife in Norse mythology, and then consider that in the light of some of the unexpected discoveries we make about some of the deities in this book. There are striking, intriguing similarities.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Magic of Recluce: Saga of Recluce, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By L. E. Modesitt Jr.
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (695)
    Performance
    (629)
    Story
    (639)

    Young Lerris is dissatisfied with his life and trade, and yearns to find a place in the world better suited to his skills and temperament. But in Recluce a change in circumstances means taking one of two options: permanent exile from Recluce or braving the dangergeld, a complex, rule-laden wanderjahr in the lands beyond Recluce, with the aim of learning how the world works and what his place in it might be. Many do not survive. Lerris chooses the dangergeld.

    Captain Skurvy says: "Epic Fantasy"
    "Onomatopeias drive me crazy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The books is good. I remember enjoying it in print when I read it years ago. The audiobook version is equally enjoyable. The only major frustration I have lies at the intersection of narration and onomatopeias. It seems that Modesitt used a lot of these in this book, and the producer (director?) of this rendition did not deign to provide sound effects. That left Kirby Heyborne trying to make the sound of horse hooves, thunder, wind, howling wind, howling ghosts, closing doors, cocking crossbows, clinking swords, and more.

    I'm most of the way through the book now, and the read onomatopeias are driving me nuts. I pray that in later books, either Modesitt used fewer of these, or the narrator is provided with sound effects to replace his own attempts at making these sounds.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Against the Light

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Dave Duncan
    • Narrated By Ralph Lister
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (20)

    The Hierarchy, high priests of the religious order the Light, rules both the magical kingdom of Albi and its religion. Worshippers in the old ways of the Earth Mother, clandestinely scattered throughout the land, are persecuted as heretics. And when missionary student Rollo Woodbridge returns to his home in Albi, he is arrested for heresy and treason, setting off a chain of events that puts everyone’s life in jeopardy and plunges the kingdom into chaos.

    Ulrika says: "Absolutely loved it!"
    "A solid but darker book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the first Duncan book I've read outside the Alchemist series. It is true that this is a darker world than that of the Alchemist series. But it has a few similar themes, such as religious persecution, as well as likeable protagonists with depth and complexity. Sometimes when you read books from another series by the same author, you end up sorely disappointed and give up. In Duncan's case, however, I am already trying to decide which series to read next. Against the Light convinced me that the Alchemist series was not a fluke, and that Duncan is a solid fantasy writer whose books I will continue to enjoy.

    I do feel that this book was set up as though there might be a sequel. There aren't any cliffhangers, and only one loose ends relating to a supporting character. But the world's problems have, if anything, gotten worse. That usually means that a sequel -- or several sequels-- will be coming out to fix all that is wrong with the world.

    Unfortunately, Duncan has said that he will not be writing a sequel. I'm disappointed by that, but find it acceptable; I think we too often expect everything to be kittens and rainbows at the end of a series or book. I think there should be room for bittersweet in my library.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Gathering

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Kelley Armstrong
    • Narrated By Jennifer Ikeda
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (659)
    Performance
    (539)
    Story
    (542)

    Strange things are happening in Maya's tiny Vancouver Island town. First, her friend Serena, the captain of the swim team, drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. Then, one year later, mountain lions are spotted rather frequently around Maya's home and her reactions to them are somewhat . . . unexpected. Her best friend, Daniel, has also been experiencing unexplainable premonitions about certain people and situations.

    Amazon Customer says: "Not a full story."
    "Better but not great"
    Overall

    First, context. I'm a fan of Kelley Armstrong's adult Otherworld books. I enjoyed Armstrong's first three books in the Darkest Powers series, although I found many of the characters irritating. They were almost caricatures in many cases. Just a little too goody two-shoes too, in many cases.

    Now for the Gathering, which is the first book in the Darkness Rising trilogy. The narrator is great. I liked the characters in this book a great deal more than in Darkest Powers. They feel more realistic to me. This may be related to their age -- Darkest Powers are 9th grade students, or thereabouts, whereas Rising students are more like 11th grade. Certainly, the relationships are more sexually mature. Sure, all there's been is making out clothed lying down, but there's a lot less blushing and hand holding, and when the main couple make out, there's some real passion.

    However, the plot moves very slowly, and the book ends on a cliffhanger with nothing resolved. I don't know when the next book is scheduled to come out. But my recommendation is to seriously consider waiting until you can read the entire trilogy.

    On the other hand, I expect that with its slow start, this is one of those series that will be getting better as it goes on, and I'm looking forward to that happening.

    10 of 12 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
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (28145)
    Performance
    (21776)
    Story
    (21861)

    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"
    "Love the books, hate this narrator"
    Overall

    I cannot say enough good things about these books, or enough bad things about this narrator.

    I read this series in print back when they first came out. I loved them dearly, and was looking forward to listening to them.

    Since then I've "read" over 200 audiobooks. This is the first time I've given up on a book because of the narrator. That should tell you that I'm fairly tolerant of the wide variety of readers that are out there.

    The problem is not his characterization of the various individuals' voices. It's the cadence of his speech. I actually have trouble following the narrative because of the speed and rhythm with which he reads. I shouldn't have to concentrate to understand what the reader is saying/follow the narrative.

    I truly wish I had listened to the sample before purchasing this book. Buyer beware.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • By Heresies Distressed: Safehold Series, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By David Weber
    • Narrated By Jason Culp
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (721)
    Performance
    (491)
    Story
    (494)

    Now the battle for the soul of the planet Safehold has begun.The Kingdom of Charis and the Kingdom of Chisholm have joined together, pledged to stand against the tyranny of a corrupt Church. The youthful Queen Sharleyan of Chisholm has wed King Cayleb of Charis, forging a single dynasty, a single empire, dedicated to the defense of human freedom.

    James says: "I want Oliver Wyman back"
    "A sad waste of a great setting"
    Overall

    This novel suffers from a variety of flaws that are, sadly, fatal:

    1. The war is all too easy. You'd expect a war novel to be rife with conflict, but in reality, the antagonists in this series don't stand a chance. Nor does it ever appear that they do. While at first, I enjoyed seeing the repugnant antagonists in shock over their forces getting trounced, once you realize that the protagonists will never even be challenged, it's hard to get excited.
    2. The schism is all too easy. First of all, for me the "big reveal" when characters are told a shocking and unbelievable truth (in this case, the true history of Safehold) is my favorite moment in any story. But Weber skips over that moment every time. And then the protagonists take it completely in stride. I know the protagonists are very careful about who they choose to tell, but SOME inner conflict would be nice. Some interesting reaction beyond "that explains a lot" and "gee, I'm angry now" would be nice too.
    3. Repetitive and pedantic. The same things are explained multiple times per book in this series. Many things are also explained in far more detail than they need to be, as though they were being described to an idiot. The level of detail at which these things are explained is also unnecessary to advance the plot or character development, and slows the plot considerably. This applies to battle tactics, technological innovations, political machinations, speeches, etc.
    4. One-dimensional characters. By and large, as one reviewer of the next book suggested, there are only three character types: 1) rational good guy; 2) rational bad guy, who would be a good guy if their honor, patriotism or faith did not force them to the wrong side; and 3) irrational bad guy.

    I believe that this story could be told in half the time.

    Since it is difficult to enjoy a story when banging your head against the wall or passing out from boredom, although I finished this novel, I will not be "returning" to Safehold for the next book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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