I've been an Audible subscriber since the beginning (1999). There are over 500 books in my library. This is the most compelling story I have ever heard. I seriously couldn't turn it off.
To say it is the journey of one man through the "Looking Glass" that is the People's Democratic Republic of Korea, doesn't do it justice. Johnson draws characters that make you feel the oppression of life under that regime. He's obviously done serious study of the North Korean people and culture. The people of this book will live in my thoughts for a long time.
And Johnson addresses this tale with a light touch. It's not maudlin or morose. But it is haunting.
The performances by the readers is equal to this work. The producers uses a very interesting switch at a critical point in this story that brings everything into focus. No spoiler - you'll know it when it happens. But the production makes this recording nothing short of brilliant.
Don't bother to hold the voting this year. I can tell you who wins the Audie.
I really (pause) really (pause) wanted to like this book. I absolutely adored "The Last Werewolf". Everything I loved in that book is absent in this one. The tale is told from the perspective of an oversexed, barely adult narrator. She whines about pretty much everything. She is annoyingly introspective, without much experience to look back on.
I didn't much enjoy Penelope Rawlins performance - though I don't think the author gave her much to work with. There is nothing like the lyrical prose of the first book. I trudged on to the end of this work, hoping against hope that something interesting would emerge. Alas, I did not uncover any gems.
This, my friends, is a dud.
I am not averse to listening to long books. I have made it through both "War and Peace" and "Atlas Shrugged". In the hands of good narrators even the longest books are a pleasure.
This, however, is only a fair story. And a pretty common one as science fiction goes. There's a mystery that ties together a couple of main characters. Their stories run parallel for a while then the stories intersect. In some places I could see the next scene coming a mile away. But all in all, it's not a bad story. A good editor would have made this a great story and cut down at least 30% of the text.
But the narrators really spoiled this for me. For some reason, the female character's tale is told at an excruciatingly slow pace. At times I sped this up to double speed, something I have never done, in an effort to move things along. Even at double speed I wanted to reach into the recording and shake this narrator and scream, "All right already, get on with it!" The male readers are almost as bad. Seriously...where was the production director on this one?
Can't recommend this audio. Get the print edition and skip liberally through this tale.
And I mean the book, "True Grit", you will find much to like in this story. I don't, as a rule, read in this genre. But the folks at "Books on the Nightstand" recommended this, so I listened.
First of all, the language is wonderful! Again, if you've read the book "True Grit", or watched the Coen brothers version of that tale, you will find pleasant similarity. However, this book is not for children. Sensitive adolescents may find the violence too much.
The reader is amazing! He reads each character with real style.
The story is a bit predictable. But its a western! All happens as is should, with just a few twists to keep things moving along.
I'm glad I found this little gem of an audiobook. I smiled all the way through, and I'll bet you will too.
"Like many tales of disaster, this one is a series of reasonable decisions."
When Star Trek does first contact, it always seems to go reasonably well. Despite language barriers, cultural barriers, and physical barriers, communication and understanding are generally achieved.
In this story, all the ingredients for successful first contact seem to be in place: we understand the language, we have cultural elements in common, and both cultures desperately want to communicate. So, what went so horribly wrong?
This is a story told out of time. Be patient. You must walk a mile in these people's shoes in order to truly understand. Oh, and you MUST get the sequel (Children of God) to get to the whole story. It will be well worth the time.
When people who don't generally read science fiction ask me for a "literary" science fiction book, this is where I send them. The writing is intense. The characters are beautifully drawn and deep. The issues examined will haunt you. I wish it wasn't in the Sci-Fi genre because then more people would know this amazing work.
I am SO happy to see this available on Audible. For the usual reasons releated to copywrite, this brilliant tale has been on and off the Audible menu. This is an older work, so the audio quality is not up to more modern standards. But the performance is amazing. And it's here now, so I strongly suggest you get this and "Children of God" right away before they vanish again.
This novel is a fun romp through 80s pop culture. (If you get every reference made, you win tons of "geek points!) The plot involves the ultimate video game, and the prize is a multi-bizzillion dollar gaming empire. The protagonists are likable young heroes. The plot clips along with lots of fun, twists, and turns. It's not going to win a Pulitzer, but it's a fun listen. And you can share this one with a bright young person above the age of 10. It might even spark some fun conversations!
What makes it a fun listen is Wil Wheaton. He works well with this material, and his performance enhances the writing and the plot. He's become a very accomplished narrator for audiobooks. This one is a perfect match of reader and author - a fine match indeed.
Ever since the rise of the Harry Potter books, the fantasy genre has been overrun by "Young Adult" books. Personally, I am sick to death of angst ridden teenagers, coming of age, and rising hero stories. Really. I'm a grown-up. No matter how popular the book is, if the main character is under legal drinking age, I'm probably not interested.
So when "Books on the Nightstand" featured this book, I couldn't wait for Audible to get it. Glen Duncan is an amazing writer. This is a book about growing old, finding love and a reason to live, and the pain of loss. There is mystery and intrigue, betrayal and alliance. Oh, and there are werewolves, vampires and lots and lots of sex.
Robin Sachs blends his beautiful voice and lovely accent with Duncan's amazing prose. It's a wonderful piece.
Enough already with the panic over James Marster's absence from this installment. It took a while to get used to hearing Harry with a New York accent - but I DID get used to it. John Glover does a fine job with Jim Butcher's words. After all, Harry's a ghost now - many things are different.
Like most Dresden novels, this one is a good story with many fun twists - and to say more would spoil the plot. You won't believe which character emerges as the "strong one". It's unexpected - and fun!
Jim Butcher wrote himself into a corner with "Changes", and for the most part he's gotten himself out without cheating ("then he woke up and found out it was all a dream..."). And Butcher has left me wanting to know more about what happens in this universe to all these people - not just Harry Dresden. This is the mark of a good sci-fi writer. It's taken Butcher 13 stories to get here, but patience has paid off. Harry has learned a lot over this time, and Butcher has too.
The best part of the Audible Frontiers project is that the editors know what makes a great listen. This is not John Scalzi's finest novel - but it's made infinitely better by a pairing with the best possible performer for this work - Wil Wheaton.
Other reviewers are correct - this is just plain fun. But it's also an interesting attempt at commentary on American entertainment culture. I point that out because sometimes folks need an "excuse" to spend a credit. But never mind that - this story is a hoot and this is a great listen.
Fun characters, interesting premise, satisfying conclusion. I consumed it over a weekend, and will likely listen again. I like these people. You will too.
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