After Dark: Ghost Hunters has a compelling title and summary but falls flat as a whole. My only positive note is that Joyce Bean gave an excellent performance. Unfortunately excellent narration couldn't save this book. I would recommend the Dresden Files as an enjoyable alternative.
1. Joyce Bean gives an excellent performance.
2. The audiobook was on sale.
1. The characters are cookie cutter, with some completely unnecessary.
2. The romance subplot feels awkward and forced, not built up over time.
3. The world and environment lacks substance. Instead, the author takes everyday items and puts an "alien and edgy" sounding word in front of it. So you end up hearing about Rezz Tea, Rezz'ing up a car engine, feeling so rezzed, etc.
This book shows potential but comes off much more as a fan-fiction than anything else. As there are more books in the series I can only hope that the problems of this book were corrected. Unfortunately, I won't be continuing the series.
I was surprised when I stumbled upon "The Warded Man" by Peter V. Brett as Audible seems to have this gem of a series tucked away. Here are a few thoughts if you're considering this book:
1. Voice actor Pete Bradbury provides an exceptional performance which is engaging, compelling, and entertaining. You can really feel the emotion and that a lot of time and care went into this recording.
2. The characters are vivid, compelling, and have distinct personalities.
3. Extra detail went into crafting the world that the world exists in. This includes cities, towns, townsfolk, and hopes and fears of main characters in a high fantasy setting.
4. Actions and dialogue by the characters are fluid and natural. You experience life through their eyes and what they feel, see, and think.
5. Moral conflict and questionable actions are everywhere, making you pause the book for a moment to process the story.
6. The story has a unique premise and the concept is brilliant!
7. If you like Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan, this will be your cup of tea.
1. Some characters are 'evil' just for being evil. This is to establish the collective societal state of mind, but some motive would be nice.
2. The middle of the book tends to slow down and the ending comes all to soon; you'll have to buy the other books to find out what happens next.
3. If you've read books by Sanderson or Jordan, you'll be able to easily identify what plot elements are leading where, this predictability is a touch sad.
This is a fantastic starter to a series that I'm still exploring. The first book is a greater 'primer' to get you invested into the characters. There is a good deal of action, intrigue, and other pieces that will keep you listening and engaged. If you like a bit of classic fantasy mixed with Sanderson fantasy, this will be right up your alley. I had a great run with this book and you'll probably want to learn the fiddle by the time you're done with this one as well.
After listening to so many of the great zombie audiobooks, (ie: Mark Tufo) this was a jarring and uninteresting book. Andrew McFerrin sounds like he's positively bored with the story and takes awkward pauses in the story. The characters are forgettable, the voice acting is in a dull monotone, and don't get me started on the limited vocabulary pool.
My recommendation is to look at Zombie Fallout by Mark Tufo, Ex-Purgatory by Peter Clines, or World War Z by Max Brooks. Zombies shouldn't make you feel undead, but should be engaging, exciting, and entertaining. When you have so many great options, why limit yourself?
Overall I jumped into Carniepunk looking for a smattering of short stories to cleanse the palette of novels requiring a longer time commitment (ie: Wheel of Time, Dresden Files). The swirling cavalcade of attractions, seedy individuals, and colorful tents festooned with bright lights provides an excellent atmosphere for the unexpected to happen.
1. There are many great short stories that paint the living life of the carnival in many unique ways.
2. Each story requires a short commitment of time letting you come back to Carniepunk without feeling story fatigue/burnout.
3. Candace Thaxton provides a stellar performance and a dynamic vocal range that will keep you engaged.
4. Demonic soul-sucking clowns (no further explanation required).
1. Some of the stories feel uninspired and create a polarizing difference from the stronger ones in book.
2. Several authors only give the carnival a brief mention before moving on into their own universe.
3. If you listen to other works by these authors (ie: Iron Druid Chronicles) the change in voice actor might throw a monkey wrench into a particular stories enjoyment.
Carniepunk as a whole I would give a 3.75/5. The voice acting will keep you engaged and many of the authors clearly had fun writing these stories. Regardless of where you live there is most likely a sense of fun and folly that you associate with the carnival/fair. This creates vivid moments of chilling comprehension which is fun. The only downside that holds Carniepunk back is that several uninspired and bland stories.
Brandon Sanderson has once again crafted an excellent tale of suspense, mystery, and intrigue. This was only supplemented by the skilled voice acting of Michael Kramer. The only crime of this book is the short (10 hour) length!
1. Exceptionally detailed world that you can vividly imagine.
2. Dynamic characters brought to life by the voice acting.
3. Deeply engaging elements of religion, history, and human perception.
4. A compelling threat to Joel and a great villain.
5. An unforeseen twist that goes against your post-Harry Potter expectations.
1. Just over 10 hours in length leaving the end feeling slightly rushed.
2. Untied strings of plot were left unexplained. I can only hope this means that a sequel is imminent.
3. The use of chalk as a main component of the story.
To summarize; this book is fantastic and worth the cost of admission. But prepare yourself for the ending and having to possibly wait for the conclusion of story.
The audiobook was narrated well and was an enjoyable listen.
Peter Clines created realistic and relatable characters in this novel. With that said I found the last third of the book to take me out of the enjoyment of the novel. The story feels forced towards the end in order to be "extreme."
Porter does an excellent job giving each character a distinct and memorable feel. The pacing was done well and I could easily visualize the story in vivid detail.
During the developing parts of the story where the characters were being fleshed out was enticing and fun. Towards the end of the book I had a few laughs but mainly felt compelled to finish listening to the book.
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