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Matthew

Omaha, NE, United States | Member Since 2011

4
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 3 reviews
  • 17 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2014
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  • Inferno: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Dan Brown
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9399)
    Performance
    (8532)
    Story
    (8597)

    In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology, Robert Langdon, is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces: Dante’s Inferno. Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust...before the world is irrevocably altered.

    linda says: "Well, I don't know what I was expecting"
    "What was the point?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could Dan Brown have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Inferno is a book that has, in my view, two major problems. First of all, there is never in the entire course of the book, a good reason given for WHY this art-history scavenger hunt is even happening in the first place. The villain in the story is just a big fan of Dante's inferno. The creation of an elaborate trail of clues leading people on a wild goose chase is really just an excuse for a Robert Langdon story. It doesn't really fit at all with the villain's motivations. His objectives would have been satisfied perfectly well by sending a letter or a press release and saying "hey, go here and look at this special surprise I left you all".

    So that's problem number one. Problem number two, without divulging any spoilers as to the CONTENT of the ending, let me just say that the protagonist of the novel ultimately has NO IMPACT on the conclusion of events whatsoever. What happens at the end of the book would have happened regardless of whether Robert Langdon had been hauled out of storage for another adventure.

    I really quite enjoyed Angels and Demons and The DaVinci code. The Lost Symbol suffered from many flaws of its own, but none of those books left me feeling like "What was the point of this....why is any of this even happening?"


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The book is at least well paced, the art history elements are enjoyable and it's at least interesting to hear about the locations and works of art described, since Dan Brown does a pretty good job of remaining accurate in his descriptions of history and art, even though most of the rest of the story is basically science fiction.


    Any additional comments?

    The book digs in to the topic of population control pretty heavily. That's a contentious subject for many people. Dan Brown's view of the world seems to be that having too many people is a huge problem. And there's some truth to that. With so many people the world's resources stretch ever thinner.

    But where he's terribly, terribly wrong is that this level of population growth will not continue forever. The world population is expected to peak at approximately 9-10 billion by around 2050 and then remain there or begin to drop. The earth's carrying capacity at current technology level is estimated at around 8-10 billion, with water as the major limiting factor. However, as technology improves so will water management and desalination techniques. So the premise that world population is a major problem that needs to be solved in a drastic and dramatic fashion is pure fiction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Year Zero: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Rob Reid
    • Narrated By John Hodgman
    Overall
    (1010)
    Performance
    (923)
    Story
    (922)

    Low-level entertainment lawyer Nick Carter thinks it's a prank, not an alien encounter, when a redheaded mullah and a curvaceous nun show up at his office. But Frampton and Carly are highly advanced (if bumbling) extraterrestrials. And boy, do they have news. The entire cosmos, they tell him, has been hopelessly hooked on humanity's music ever since "Year Zero" (1977 to us), when American pop songs first reached alien ears. This addiction has driven a vast intergalactic society to commit the biggest copyright violation since the Big Bang.

    Robert says: "Fantastic Performance by Hodgman"
    "Made me an instant fan"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What other book might you compare Year Zero to and why?

    The comparisons to Hitchhiker's Guide are unavoidable. The difference is that Rob Reid's "Refined League" is actually a semi-plausible rather than strictly absurdist. It's pretty absurd, don't get me wrong, but the idea that there is a ceiling on technological development, at which point cultures focus solely on the arts actually makes a little bit of sense.


    What does John Hodgman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I was surprised at how good Hodgman was at doing voices for the characters. You're never confused about who is speaking, and he's simply the best possible personality to narrate a book like this. John Hodgman narrating is what sold me on this book.


    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Pushing Ice

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Alastair Reynolds
    • Narrated By John Lee
    Overall
    (1930)
    Performance
    (1609)
    Story
    (1623)

    2057. Humanity has raised exploiting the solar system to an art form. Bella Lind and the crew of her nuclear-powered ship, the Rockhopper, push ice. They mine comets. And they're good at it. The Rockhopper is nearing the end of its current mission cycle, and everyone is desperate for some much-needed R & R, when startling news arrives from Saturn: Janus, one of Saturn's ice moons, has inexplicably left its natural orbit and is now heading out of the solar system at high speed.

    Jesse says: "Proof that a good story doesn't require a trilogy"
    "I could listen to John Lee all day"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about this story?

    I think the performance might actually have made me like the book better than if I'd actually read the book. It's very rare that you get a narrator who can do so many distinct character voices and accents.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I definitely listened in long stretches, but at 20 hour recording is way too long for one sitting for most people. I mostly listen in the car for about an hour or two a day.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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