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Chris

ratings
123
REVIEWS
19
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
28

  • Children of Paranoia

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Trevor Shane
    • Narrated By Steven Boyer, Emma Galvin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    Since the age of 18, Joseph has been assassinating people on behalf of a cause that he believes in but doesn't fully understand. The War is ageless, hidden in the shadows, governed by a rigid set of rules, and fought by two distinct sides - one good, one evil. The only unknown is which side is which. Soldiers in the War hide in plain sight, their deeds disguised as accidents or random acts of violence amidst an unsuspecting population....

    Chris says: "Full of action, but why?"
    "Full of action, but why?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Children of Paranoia a chilling tale that could be taking place right here and now. The book is non-stop action in a world a little too similar to our own that explores themes of duty, love, fanaticism, and revenge.

    The story follows Joseph as he goes about his job as an assassin and keeps a record in his journal. He's good at his work but gets no enjoyment from killing. I enjoyed the meticulous planing and carrying out of his assignments, but the journal framework took away a lot of the suspense since Joseph had to survive in order to write his story.

    Joseph isn't the smartest or most fearless of his colleagues, and his boredom and depression really come through. He's in his 20's, and the juxtaposition between his job as a ruthless killer and his complete lack of social skills in normal life led to some funny situations. There are obvious parallels between the war Joseph is fighting and religious wars past and present, but Joseph's cult provides none of the community, philosophy, or history supplied by actual religious organizations to inspire such fervent devotion. Instead, Joseph is paranoid with no delusions he can ever be safe.

    Reading: Steven Boyer reads the majority of the book with Emma Galvin covering the prologue and epilogue. This is the first time I've listened to Steven Boyer, and I liked his reading. His voice sounds young and is well suited to express both Joseph's deliberation and his depression. Emma Galvin's direct reading style really moved along her short sections.

    Final thoughts: Full of violence and action, this dystopian portrait-of-a-life didn't provide enough information on the whys of the world to keep me engaged.

    Grade: 2.5 out of 5

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Warbreaker

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By James Yaegashi
    Overall
    (2926)
    Performance
    (2099)
    Story
    (2112)

    An author whose previous, wildly successful novels have earned him a reputation as fantasy's master of magic, Brandon Sanderson continues to dazzle audiences with this tale of princesses and gods. In this extraordinary world, those who attain glory return as gods. And those who can master the essence known as breath can perform the most wondrous miracles - or unleash the most devastating havoc.

    Robert says: "What's Your god like?"
    "Great book, great reader"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Although you can read this book on Sanderson's website, why do that when there's a great audio version?

    Some listeners may prefer Michael Kramer's reading of Sanderson's works, but James Yaegashi does a great job with this one. I found his voice and intonation similar to Wil Wheaton's reading of Ready Player One. A few errors weren't edited out, but they were not frequent enough to ruin my enjoyment. In fact, Yaegashi really got into the reading, and his characters were nice and varied.

    This book was similar in feeling to Elantris, with a pretty straight forward (for Sanderson) plot and a young-adult feeling to the story. Its 24 hour length is enough to get to know the world, characters, and new magic system really well. The worst thing about the book is the title.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Thicker Than Water: A Felix Castor Novel, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Mike Carey
    • Narrated By Damian Lynch
    Overall
    (239)
    Performance
    (209)
    Story
    (212)

    Old ghosts of different kinds come back to haunt Felix, in the fourth gripping Felix Castor novel. Names and faces he thought he'd left behind in Liverpool resurface in London, bringing Castor far more trouble than he'd anticipated. Childhood memories, family traumas, sins old and new, and a council estate that was meant to be a modern utopia until it turned into something like hell...these are just some of the sticks life uses to beat Felix Castor with as things go from bad to worse for London's favourite freelance exorcist.

    Robin says: "Why did they change the narrator with book 4?"
    "The new narrator is better!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am also a Michael Kramer fan and thoroughly enjoyed his readings of the first 3 Felix Castor books, but I have to say, I prefer Damian Lynch's performance. His involvement with books 4 and 5 make them the best so far.

    The Felix Castor books take place in London primarily, and Damian Lynch can do all of the various nuanced English accents. While I love Michael Kramer's readings (especially Way of Kings), I always felt he gave Felix a too upper-crust accent. While Felix did go to Oxford, he's from Liverpool and is slumming it in his current position.

    Damian Lynch's reading of Felix is just right, and he adds authenticity to all of the minor characters by giving each of them their own appropriate accent.

    Change is hard, but the change of narrators here is a good thing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Happy Hour in Hell: Bobby Dollar, Volume 2

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Tad Williams
    • Narrated By George Newbern
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (162)
    Performance
    (152)
    Story
    (153)

    I've been told to go to Hell more times than I can count. But this time I'm actually going. My name's Bobby Dollar, sometimes known as Doloriel, and of course, Hell isn't a great place for someone like me - I'm an angel. They don't like my kind down there, not even the slightly fallen variety. But they have my girlfriend, who happens to be a beautiful demon named Casimira, Countess of Cold Hands. Why does an angel have a demon girlfriend? Well, certainly not because it helps my career.

    A. Hogue says: "Mixed feelings"
    "Middle in the series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed the first Bobby Dollar book, but this one took me a long time to get through. I enjoyed Bobby on Earth, but for this book he goes to Hell, and it's not nearly as much fun. It's the middle in the series, so pretty much a treadmill book. Lots of running around and going nowhere.

    The reader did a great job. There aren't a lot of different accents, but each of the characters is distinct.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Archangel's Consort: Guild Hunter, Book #3

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Nalini Singh
    • Narrated By Justine Eyre
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (838)
    Performance
    (676)
    Story
    (671)

    Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux and her lover, the lethally beautiful archangel Raphael, have returned home to New York only to face an uncompromising new evil. A vampire has attacked a girls' school---the assault one of sheer, vicious madness---and it is only the first act. Rampant bloodlust takes vampire after vampire, threatening to make the streets run with blood.

    Selin says: "Ended way too soon"
    "Disappointed. Not as good as earlier books"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really liked the first two books in this series. The heroine was strong and made up her own mind. In this book she falls apart. When the alpha male tried to control her previously, she came up with intelligent ways to deal with him. Here they have the same boring argument over and over. The heroine seems to devolve into an insecure toddler who is constantly saying "no" for no reason. She has to do everything herself and cannot take help from anyone. This book has more minutes taken over by sex scenes than the first two, but that is instead of interesting plot or character development. If you liked the first two books, you'll probably listen to this one, Justine Eyre does an excellent reading. Just have low expectations. I was very excited but this book doesn't meet the series' standards.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Rook: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Daniel O'Malley
    • Narrated By Susan Duerden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1974)
    Performance
    (1792)
    Story
    (1791)

    Myfanwy Thomas awakes in a London park surrounded by dead bodies. With her memory gone, her only hope of survival is to trust the instructions left in her pocket by her former self. She quickly learns that she is a Rook, a high-level operative in a secret agency that protects the world from supernatural threats. But there is a mole inside the organization - and this person wants her dead.

    Ethan M. says: "Harry Dresden meets English bureaucracy"
    "Wanted to like it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book started out well with an interesting premise and characters, but then takes a turn into cartoon land and never recovers.

    I liked the first 4 or so chapters of this book (you can read them on the website. Amnesia, special powers, boarding school, I love that stuff, but then the limitations of the book start showing, and soon they've taken over.

    The book is divided into present narrative and flashback diary entries. The flashbacks are large infodumps that have little to no bearing on the present events. It's obvious the author put a lot of thought into the backstory of each minor character, but by the time I'd heard the life history of the 4th office colleague, I couldn't remember or care who any of these people were. In spite of the numerous details, the vast majority of characters have negligible roles in the present-day action, so it was hard for them to hold my attention or for me to care any about their childhoods.

    With the frequent flashbacks, the novel is series of strung-together vignettes. This works well in some books, but in this one, the main character is mostly watching other people do things, so we don't learn what is interesting about her, and she can't hold the divergent stories together. There is a lot of time spent in worldsetting, but the characters and events in the world are not enough to hold the story.

    This all would be ok if the writing style held my interest. While the beginning is intelligently written and very polished, the further into the book, the more cartoon situations and juvenile bathroom humor appear. The increasing inappropriateness turned me off completely.I can see why this book would be classed as young adult. The juvenile humor and inappropriate and cartoonish ways the characters act, along with gratuitous violence and gore, seems very young.

    I really wanted to like this book and gave it chance after chance to impress me, but it failed on all accounts.

    Note on narration: The narrator has a strange speaking style where her intonation rises at the end of every phrase making it sound like a question. This was very strange and took a while to get used to, but by the end she either gets better or I got used to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Jupiter Myth: Marcus Didius Falco Mysteries

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Lindsey Davis
    • Narrated By Christian Rodska
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (109)
    Performance
    (57)
    Story
    (55)

    Marcus was hoping for a relaxed visit to Britannia. But things turn serious at the scene of a murder. King Togidubnus has been stuffed down a bar-room well - leading to a diplomatic situation which Marcus must resolve.

    Abigail says: "My Favorite"
    "Only for those who have read all the previous."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I liked the first book in the series. It was a PI-noir set in ancient Rome. But the next few books are not in audio and instead are abridged radio dramas. I tried one, but it was difficult to listen to, so I went on to try this book because its back to the audio form. Big mistake!

    The book tries to cover the events of the earlier books, but doesn't do a good job of it. I know all the characters, but they are still impossible to keep straight. Like the first book, this is primarily a mystery with some Roman infodumps here and there. While this worked when the main character was a penniless PI, it doesn't work now that his fortunes have risen and he's supposed to be respectable. The noir elements, which were the best part of book one, have been removed and replaced with nothing. The Roman gloss is particularly glaring in this book that takes place in Briton but without any of the knowledge or sympathy found in the Ruth Downie books.

    Skip this series. The Roman Medicus series and medieval Mistress of the Art of Death series are much better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5796)
    Performance
    (5401)
    Story
    (5399)

    Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the facts that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces; (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations; and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

    Paige says: "Not his Wheal-house"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The first third of this book is a fun parody of Star Trek, but when it comes to the point when a plot is needed to continue, it falls apart. The "plot" is boring, the characters intentionally flat, and the many inconsistencies in the world building brushed off with "it's not supposed to make sense." What would have made a good short story is needlessly stretched, and the codas are strangely tacked-on moralizing platitudes. This book is the only thing I've read from John Scalzi, and I don't plan to read any more. As always, Wil Wheaton does a good job with the material even though most of his voices sound the same, but it doesn't compensate for the drudge of this book. Two stars for the fun parts in the beginning. If you do get it, stop listening there.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Foundation

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Isaac Asimov
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2411)
    Performance
    (1743)
    Story
    (1769)

    For 12,000 years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Sheldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future, to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last 30,000 years. To preserve knowledge and save mankind, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire, both scientists and scholars, and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the Galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for a fututre generations.

    Alexander T. McMahon says: "The Foundation Trilogy is a True Classic"
    "This one works better in visual than audio form"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love the ideas in Foundation, and I love Scott Brick's performance, but the concepts Asimov brings out need to be mulled over. That's hard to do when the audio keeps on going, plowing through revelations and on to the next section. I need to read Asimov instead of listening to him so I can stop when I need to and think about the ideas he presents. With the audiobook, it all ends up being background, so it's harder for me to get my mind around.

    That said, Scott Brick brings another great performance. Can't go wrong with him.

    Other books I have preferred the visual to the audio version include John Carter from Mars because of the great language used, Flatland because of the pictures, and some YA fluff books because it takes less time to read than to listen to them and they don't sustain interest over 8 hours.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Rosemary and Rue: An October Daye Novel, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Seanan McGuire
    • Narrated By Mary Robinette Kowal
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (769)
    Performance
    (599)
    Story
    (607)

    The world of Faerie never disappeared: it merely went into hiding, continuing to exist parallel to our own. Secrecy is the key to Faerie’s survival—but no secret can be kept forever, and when the fae and mortal worlds collide, changelings are born. Half-human, half-fae, outsiders from birth, these second-class children of Faerie spend their lives fighting for the respect of their immortal relations.

    G Reinhardt says: "Missed Matched Pair"
    "Just couldn't like it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I liked the initial set-up of the story. Toby is a private eye with some magic, kind of like a female Harry Dresden. She even has his car. But then there's a reboot before the first chapter and all the interesting bits are taken out.

    Throughout the reading, I couldn't stop comparing this book to Dresden Files, and this book kept coming up short. While the Files have their share of bad writing, I keep going back to them because Harry is so much fun. Here are some ways Toby rubbed me wrong:

    -Toby has no initiative. Everything happens to her instead of her taking charge. Then she complains.
    -Toby isn't grounded. The set up is she's half fay and half human and not home with either. This means she stays in her apartment with her cats. Not fun to read about.
    -Toby has no friends. Some names are mentioned, but she doesn't seem to like them very much. In fact, she avoids them as much as possible.
    -Toby whines about her life but doesn't do anything to improve it - for example, she complains about how expensive everything is in San Francisco, but doesn't try to get a better job, find a roommate, or move somewhere cheaper. She just likes to complain.
    -Toby has no interests. Her defining feature is she's depressed.
    -Girl has magic but can't have fun with it. What's the point of that?

    Fairies are my least favorite supernatural, and San Francisco has become my least favorite book-setting city because the book ends up being a description of SF instead of about characters or story. This one falls into that, too.

    I love the title, the cover, the name October Daye, and there are some new interpretations of the Fairie myth in here, but a girl with magic that can't figure out any way to have fun with it is not worth knowing. This is one to skip.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Railsea

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By China Mieville
    • Narrated By Jonathan Cowley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (80)
    Performance
    (73)
    Story
    (72)

    On board the moletrain Medes, Sham Yes ap Soorap watches in awe as he witnesses his first moldywarpe hunt: the giant mole bursting from the earth, the harpoonists targeting their prey, the battle resulting in one's death and the other's glory. But no matter how spectacular it is, Sham can't shake the sense that there is more to life than traveling the endless rails of the railsea - even if his captain can think only of the hunt for the ivory-coloured mole she's been chasing since it took her arm years ago.

    H James Lucas says: "Talented Mr Cowley a mismatch for Railsea"
    "Good ideas, but not engaging"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love Jonathan Cowley's narration, but Railsea isn't a very engaging story.

    It's got a lot of great concepts: an enormous continent crisscrossed by thousands of rail lines, moletrains that go out to harpoon huge burrowing animals at the risk of the lives of the captain and crew, a small boy trying to learn the moletrain life and failing miserably.

    Railsea is a steampunk retelling of Moby Dick which constantly mocks its source material. In the Railsea world, every train captain is missing at least one limb and has a "phliosophy," that one animal they're trying to track down. This distain, in conjunction with a whiny, unlikeable main character, put me off the book early on. It's been awhile since I've read Moby Dick, and it's not my favorite, but at least Queequeg was interesting. There are no interesting characters in Railsea, only steam-powered prostheses and giant moles.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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