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J. Leon

Long Beach, CA | Member Since 2010

32
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 4 reviews
  • 9 ratings
  • 234 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2014
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  • Gardens of the Moon: The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Steven Erikson
    • Narrated By Ralph Lister
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1012)
    Performance
    (896)
    Story
    (897)

    The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting, and bloody confrontations with ancient and implacable sorcerers. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen’s rule remains absolute, enforced by her dreaded Claw assassins. For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, their lone surviving mage, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities, yet holds out.

    Adnan says: "An engrossing yet demanding high epic"
    "I tried but It just never grew on me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am a lifetime devotee to fantasy and sci-fi and I really wanted to like this. This book had wizards, fighters, thieves, assassins, fair maidens, and various sentient winged creatures. It had plots and plots within conspiracies within plots. It had all of the superficial elements the genre demands but somehow the whole never became any greater than the sum of these parts. There were too many characters and they were introduced too fast without sufficient background to "get to know" them. As a result, I spent the first 1/3 of the book a bit confused and I never fell in love with the characters in the way I have with other fantasy series. The narrator was pretty good but a few characters sounded annoyingly like leprechauns.

    It's obvious form the other reviews that plenty of other people enjoyed this book much more than I did,but all in all it just never grew on me.

    18 of 23 people found this review helpful
  • Red Country

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Joe Abercrombie
    • Narrated By Steven Pacey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (708)
    Performance
    (644)
    Story
    (638)

    They burned her home. They stole her brother and sister. But vengeance is following. Shy South hoped to bury her bloody past and ride away smiling, but she'll have to sharpen up some bad old ways to get her family back, and she's not a woman to flinch from what needs doing. She sets off in pursuit with only a pair of oxen and her cowardly old step father Lamb for company. But it turns out Lamb's buried a bloody past of his own. And out in the lawless Far Country the past never stays buried.

    Kristina says: "Freakin' Awesome!"
    "More wise and uncommon fantasy from Abercrombie"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Red Country is an existentialist fantasy western spiked with generous helpings of true wisdom. Abercrombie touches on universal themes in uncommon, surprising, and somewhat convoluted ways. Some of them are: Can a man change? The nature of violence. The nature of redemption. Can we wipe away our pasts and start again? The list goes on and one. There is no good and evil in Abercrombie's characters, just highly flawed people managing their needs, aspirations, and weaknesses as best they can. Red Country is positively gripping and you can't help but fall in love with the characters. The settings are imaginative (and just plain neat) and the battle descriptions are rich and unpredictable. This is truly uncommon fantasy. It made me look forward to my commute.

    PS. This is not orthodox fantasy. If you are looking for a chosen one and a magical sword and a quest, this may not be for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Empires of Sand

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By David Ball
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    Overall
    (121)
    Performance
    (97)
    Story
    (100)

    After four trips to the Sahara and extensive historical research, David Ball crafted this sweeping adventure novel spanning two continents and 15 years. Set against a backdrop of the crumbling French Empire’s attempts to colonize the Sahara Desert, Empires of Sand follows the lives of two cousins who are raised as brothers but destined to become enemies. It is 1870, and France is at war with Prussia.

    Pamela says: "my first review"
    "annoying "Tom sawyer" element killed it for me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from David Ball and/or George Guidall?

    Yes. Already read Ironfire, which was masterful.


    Would you be willing to try another book from David Ball? Why or why not?

    Yes. Already read Ironfire, which was masterful.


    What aspect of George Guidall???s performance would you have changed?

    The historical settings came to life for me. Ball has a rare talent for this. I am enriched for having read this. However, his descriptions in the first half of the book of the two young boys and their adventures growing up together were a bit too "Tom Sawyer-ish." These subplots seemed to go on forever and about 50% of this could have been cut out with little loss to the story. The shifts from world-altering global events to the boys trapping rats in the church basement just didn't work for me.


    Was Empires of Sand worth the listening time?

    About 2/3 of it was very worthwhile. the rest was a bit laborious.


    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Heroes

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Joe Abercrombie
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (892)
    Performance
    (694)
    Story
    (701)

    They say Black Dow has killed more men than winter and clawed his way to the throne of the North up a hill of skulls. The King of the Union, ever a jealous neighbor, is not about to stand by smiling while Black Dow claws his way any higher. The orders have been given, and the armies are toiling through the northern mud. Thousands of men are converging on a forgotten ring of stones, on a worthless hill, in an unimportant valley, and they've brought a lot of sharpened metal with them.

    Matt Carothers says: "Thank you, Joe Abercrombie!"
    "Awesome story and characters. Irritating narration"
    Overall

    I loved the way all of the characters, motivations, and decisions operated in an ambiguous gray area where there was no such thing as a pure motivation, a good man, a heroic act, or a clean decision. The fight descriptions were top notch. I found myself emotionally invested in the characters and this book took the tedium out of my Los Angeles commute. Sometimes I'd sit in my car for ten minutes after pulling into my garage waiting for a chapter to conclude. It was that good. This is why I gave it 5 stars even though the narrator was damn irritating. The publishers really need to bring back the buy who narrated the First Law series.

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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