Ready Player One could be the plot of a campy 80's teen movie. The characters are flat and make predictable choices, the villain is super evil, but fairly dumb and gets his way only by cheating and various other shady shenanigans. All in all a fun and enjoyable read.
Who would like this:
If you like 80's pop culture (with a heavy emphasis on video games) you will absolutely love this. The only thing I thought detracted from the story was the strange atheist preaching at times, and the politically correct lectures on "tolerance". Other than that, it's a amusing, light listen that had me smiling and looking on the internet for free copies of Zork and Pac-man.
Card is a master, and this new series can testify to that. Card mixes sci-fi/ fantasy with philosophy and physics so neatly that you'll walk away feeling refreshingly challenged. This is no cliche adventure tale, although there *is* adventure and suspense, of course. It *is* Orson Scott Card we're talking about, here.
Say one thing about this series, say it's a buzz-kill.
I feel that I should put this review here, before the series begins, as a bit of a warning. I fairly enjoyed the first two books in this series. I think the comparisons to Jim Butcher and G.R.R.Martin are a bit over blown... Butcher is much funnier and more clever with his words, and Martin's characters are much better rounded. Even his "bad guys" are likable. (you either like them, or love to hate them, that is)
I found Abercrombie's characters here to be somewhat flat, but with good potential. His plot was interesting and you get a good idea where he's leading you. (Life is hell, and not all heroes are nice guys) His settings... meh. Unbelievable and bland.
That said, I really was enjoying this series. It wasn't a favorite, but the plot and a few of the characters, Logen and Glokta in particular, I found very intriguing. They really carried the first two books. I wanted to read more about them and couldn't wait to get to the third.
Oh, how I wish I had left off at the first two. All of the development and growth in his characters, all of the plot lines, they all collapse in on themselves. And before you think it was a failing on the author's ability, let me assure you, he did it deliberately. By the end of the series you wonder what, exactly, was the point to all of it?
I liked this well enough as I listened to it. Although, admittedly, once it was done, I moved on fairly quickly. Good for a casual read, but not much of a "makes ya think" book.
Gabriel Allon must tread delicately while learning about the history of a beautiful painting if he wants to rip apart a pretty picture of the past, painted by greedy men and countries. The better to deceive you, my dear.
Daniel Silva will break your heart while he reveals the world's past, but he will also show you beauty and healing in unexpected places. His books are at the top of my Must-Read (or listen) list.
Butcher's latest Dresden File is OUTSTANDING. Yes, totally worthy of All Caps OUTSTANDING. If you think that because you've read his past Dresden novels, you know how this one is going to end... prepare to be shocked. "Changes" is definitely an appropriate title for this book. I won't go into the plot, because anything beyond what the publishers already described would be far too spoilerish.
I also have to say something about James Marsters- the narrator. Holy Cheese Doodles is this guy good. He can make a shout sound like a shout without it hurting your eardrums, he can meld his voice so it sounds, very believably, like a female whisper. He can produce the crack of dry humor and the choke in his throat when deep sorrow is called for. He did an excellent job of narrating this book and I was left wishing he had been hired to narrate the Codex Allera books that Butcher has also written. (but that is another review.)
Can't say enough good things about this one. Definitely worth the buy.
This is the first time I have ever wished that I could get a refund for an audiobook. Previous to this book in the series, I had read the books to myself and absolutely devoured them. Butcher is a truly gifted writer. Amazing that he is able to craft his stories so quickly!
But WHY oh WHY did his publisher decide to pair Kate Reading with this book? Don't get me wrong, Reading is a terrific narrator... when the protagonist of a novel is a *woman*. This series has very few female lead characters, the majority of them are male and THE main character is a male. This book would have been absolutely fantastic with, say, Michael Kramer as the reader- a man who can do very distinct male voices and highly believable female voices as well. As talented as Kate Reading is, her male voices come off as either snobby and pretentious or low brow and dull. And at no point are they believable.
I don't have the heart to give this book less than four stars as Butcher really is a master at what he does and I do not want my poor score to reflect on his talents. I couldn't, however, listen all the way through due to the narration. I truly hope that the publisher changes it's mind about their narrator and goes in a different direction with Princep's Fury and First Lord.
I was surprised how much I liked this. Michael Kramer is, as always, brilliant as a narrator. The characters were likable and distinct. Very well crafted bit of non-standard fantasy fiction. I really appreciated that the story line was not a cardboard cut-out of every other fantasy novel out there. Looking forward to the next two in the series.
I will have to respectfully disagree with the other reviewers who did not like the narrators. This is a Japanese tale, so their voices are calm, gentle- it fits well for this tale. They are also far from "robot-like", there are definite inflections, and separate "voices" for different characters. One quality I look for in a good narrator is the ability to get lost in the telling of the story, without being distracted by inconsistencies in character voice inflection or odd noises made by the narrator. I easily got lost in this tale. So much so that I had a hard time putting down my iPod to pause from the book.
The tale itself is delightful, poetic and vivid. It is technically a fantasy, but I found it also romantic and full of political intrigue. A very well done story. I'm looking forward to listening to the second book.
If you're looking for something to take your mind off stress, Rosenfelt is a fantastic author to turn to. Andy Carpenter is hilarious, and the reader REALLY enhances his character.
If you're new to the Andy Carpenter series, of course it's preferable to start at the beginning. You may end up spoiling plots from earlier novels by starting this late. Still, Play Dead is also easily read as a first-timer, you don't need to know what happened earlier to start at this point in the series.
But I don't recommend it. Once you read one Andy Carpenter book, you'll want to read another. Trust me.
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