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Cheimon

New York, NY USA | Member Since 2007

ratings
100
REVIEWS
20
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
4
HELPFUL VOTES
58

  • A Tale of Two Cities

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Martin Jarvis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (570)
    Performance
    (208)
    Story
    (218)

    "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times"; "It is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known"; so the novel begins and ends with some of Dicken's best-known words, and between the two is every Briton's view of the worst excesses of the French Revolution.

    Kimberly says: "A Rediscovery of an Old Friend"
    "Truly exceptional"
    Overall

    This is an absolutely outstanding audiobook. The story is one of Dickens' most enthralling works, and Martin Jarvis' narration captures its essence with unmatched passion. Dickens' wit sparkles in Jarvis' voice as brightly as the darkness and helplessness loom heavily. The characters come to life in all their facets, keeping up with the lively narration. If you are looking for the right Dickens for entertainment, you can't go wrong with A Tale of Two Cities. And if you are looking for the right version of this masterpiece - you will enjoy this one tremendously.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Dog Who Knew Too Much: A Chet and Bernie Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Spencer Quinn
    • Narrated By Jim Frangione
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (616)
    Performance
    (531)
    Story
    (523)

    Combining suspense and intrigue with a wonderfully humorous take on the link between man and beast, Spencer Quinn's exceptional mystery series has captured widespread praise since its New York Times best-selling debut, Dog on It. The Dog Who Knew Too Much marks the duo's triumphant return in a tale that's full of surprises.

    LINDA says: "Mystery from the canine point of vew"
    "WARNING: Will make you want to hug your dog."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Dog Chet tells this story with so much humor and wide-eyed wonder, you can't help but love every minute of it. As he doesn't quite understand everything going on around him and can't communicate his own findings, the human hero and the reader have the perfect amount of information asymmetry to keep things suspenseful. And did I mention how ridiculously charming Chet is?

    The narrator is absolutely outstanding. Chet's confidence, his naivete, his ego and his all over adorable dogness sparke throughout the book, I couldn't tell you if I smiled more at the writing or the narration. They are a perfect combination.

    My first of the series, absolutely works as a standalone.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Casino Royale

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Ian Fleming
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1155)
    Performance
    (633)
    Story
    (636)

    Introducing James Bond: charming, sophisticated, handsome, chillingly ruthless, and licensed to kill. This, the first of Ian Fleming's tales of secret agent 007, finds Bond on a mission to neutralize a lethal, high-rolling Russian operative called "Le Chiffre" by ruining him at the Baccarat table, forcing his Soviet spymasters to "retire" him. It seems that lady luck has sided with 007 when Le Chiffre hits a losing streak. But some people just refuse to play by the rules.

    Pork C. Fish says: "Ouch!"
    "Brilliant in its simplicity"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    THE essential spy novel - no gadgets, no contrived international plots, just a cocky young spy in love with the lifestyle, keener on the gambling than on his license to kill. Until he learns the hard way that he can't have it all, and becomes the James Bond we know and love. His evolution at the very end of the book is honest and incontrovertible. We're right there with him, poised for his next adventures to start.

    This book will NOT ruin the movie for you or vice versa. It has actually heightened my appreciation of the film, which I now understand as a coherently updated version of the same coming-of-age-as-a-spy story. The original Bond is very much a 1953 spy, Daniel Craig is very much not.

    Just one note of warning, this 1953 spy novel is also unapologetically racist and misogynist. Take it as a charming time capsule, take it as terribly offensive, just know it's there.

    (And on the narration - Simon Vance is incredible! You can practically feel the martini and champagne in his soul here. By sheer coincidence I listened to another book of his right before this and can't believe that this man seems equally destined to read James Bond as Winnie the Pooh!)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Circle

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Dave Eggers
    • Narrated By Dion Graham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (624)
    Performance
    (572)
    Story
    (579)

    When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world's most powerful internet company, she feels she's been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users' personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company's modernity and activity.

    Darwin8u says: "A solid, just not great social network dystopia"
    "Terrifying picture of Now."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you've ever taken a picture without immediately thinking about the caption you'll post it with, if you've ever taken a step back from Facebook and thought "haven't I seen this post before?", if you've ever decided not to tweet something wonderful that has happened to you - read this book. It's scary, but you'll also feel refreshingly understood and empowered.

    In literary terms, this is no 1984 or Brave New World. As a story, this is passable - the protagonist a bit annoying, her choices a bit predictable.

    BUT as a statement on social media, The Circle is as poignant as it is terrifying. There will be a lot of "OMG!" moments when you realize, this is not the future. This is a slightly exaggerated version of Now. At its core lies the creeping, painfully positive social pressure to give more and more of yourself to a system that, in the end, feeds on itself alone. It is obviously not quite where we are today - but it's close enough for this commentary to hit a nerve.

    Plus, it's incredibly well narrated. The story is told from a female narrator's perspective, but the voice of Dion Graham delivers beautifully. He captures the perfect nuances of naive, annoying, outrageous and vulnerable in this 20-something girl - not an easy feat.

    An important book to have read (and an excellent conversation starter).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Jack Weatherford
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Jack Weatherford
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3319)
    Performance
    (1954)
    Story
    (1972)

    The Mongol army led by Genghis Khan subjugated more lands and people in 25 years than the Romans did in 400. In nearly every country the Mongols conquered, they brought an unprecedented rise in cultural communication, expanded trade, and a blossoming of civilization.

    Peter says: "Brilliant, insightful, intriguing."
    "Engrossing history, great conversation piece"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    For the first half, I could not put this down. Weatherford dives deeply into Genghis Khan's past, his relationships, his fears and the prejudices of his time to paint a coherent, riveting picture of a young man evolving into one of the biggest terrors of his time and one of the biggest blessings for the future.

    Genghis Khan dies at the end of the first half, however. With an entire second half to go, I hoped to now get a more in-depth analysis of his impact, maybe comparisons with other historical leaders. Instead, we get an account of how his heirs continued and eventually destroyed the Mongol empire - historically important, but not nearly as interesting and sometimes hard to follow, especially per audiobook.

    The book is still absolutely worth it though - thanks to the excellent first half, I have been able to engage with historians and military scholars about Genghis Khan's impact and discuss the historical comparisons I was missing in the second half myself. Spirited cocktail party conversation to say the least.

    A truly enriching read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Suspect

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Robert Crais
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3652)
    Performance
    (3261)
    Story
    (3260)

    LAPD cop Scott James is not doing so well, not since a shocking nighttime assault by unidentified men killed his partner, Stephanie, nearly killed him, and left him enraged, ashamed, and ready to explode. He is unfit for duty - until he meets his new partner. Maggie is not doing so well, either. The German shepherd survived three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan sniffing explosives before she lost her handler to an IED and sniper attack, and her PTSD is as bad as Scott’s. They are each other’s last chance.

    Jacqueline says: "Gripping Page Turner!!"
    "Supenseful, adorable, fantastically narrated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Absolutely worth the time! The story is super cute in its man-and-his-best-partner, aspects while also being a very full-fledged police thriller that will keep you listening. Is it the most intricate thriller I've ever read? No. But the dog makes up for it 100%. If you're undecided, definitely go for it.

    On the narration: MacLeod Andrews knocks another one out of the park with this narration, he is playful without letting a single sinister moment get away from him, and he had me in tears with his impersonation of the dog during some of the scenes from her perspective.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Time Traveler's Wife

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Audrey Niffenegger
    • Narrated By Fred Berman, Phoebe Strole
    Overall
    (4068)
    Performance
    (1449)
    Story
    (1472)

    Clare and Henry have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was 36. They were married when Clare was 23 and Henry was 31. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing.

    Scott says: "Epic Drama & Love Story through Time Travel"
    "Not worth 17 hours - cute short story, no novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book takes a very interesting premise and turns it into evenly paced irrelevance. It is pleasant, but absolutely not worth 17 hours. It could have made a great, much shorter story, but it does not sustain this length.

    There is hardly any arc, story or character wise - with the exception of getting older, neither Clare not Henry change very much at all during their relationship. Or if they do, we wouldn't know - there are no choices for them to make, so personal growth wouldn't be discernible. The premise of the story, though fervently denied, is predetermination. There are no difficult decisions to test them.

    Yet the book does not deal with the existential questions it poses, the way good science fiction should, but stipulates them away. Clare and Henry rebel once, early on, but pull back at the last minute. We are mysteriously warned of a huge calamity averted, but we never find out what that calamity might be. So why care?

    The novel turns out to be a series of vignettes which may be moving, funny, sometimes sad, but you don't look back and see a masterful whole. The time travel doesn't propel the story forward at all, it is random and the episodes hardly even tie into each other. So much time is spent on establishing its marvel, yet, most of the time, it is just a prop, a nuisance they live with. And that's what the book feels like - "living with it". Shrugging along.

    Even the characters' unquestioned love for each other, which is at the center of the book, seems to have no basis in their characters or personalities. It was (pre)determined by Henry's travels to Clare's childhood while he is already married to her... and this loop settles it. Their love is beautiful and convincingly written, but in its essence, it remains a random, meaningless coincidence, because there is no alternate path, but no discernable design either.

    The narration though is absolutely EXCELLENT and the split between the two voices works extremely well.

    (Minor point, the books is completely PG-13, except for a number of entirely unnecessary vulgarities. I have no problem at all with strong language, but here the author uses four letter words suddenly and without any reason, where something more poetic would have been much more appropriate and consistent with what we are to believe of their relationship.)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By L. Frank Baum
    • Narrated By Anne Hathaway
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1735)
    Performance
    (1611)
    Story
    (1605)

    One of the best-known stories in American culture, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has stirred the imagination of young and old alike for over 100 years. Best Actress nominee Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married, Alice In Wonderland), fresh from filming one of this year’s most anticipated films, The Dark Knight Rises, lends her voice to this uniquely American fairy tale.

    JT says: "Anne Hathaway Shines Throughout This Audio Edition"
    "Odd narration choices dim experience for adults"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story remains enchanting.

    This would be a lovely audiobook for young children.

    That said, from an adult perspective, Ms. Hathaway overacts and takes away from the overall experience. A lot of her character choices are very extreme or just plain odd, as though she strained to come up with something unique and new. A child will likely find the different characters fun, this audiobook really is incredibly colorful, there are no default characters. But as an adult, I found that a lot of her choices make no sense (the wizard, above all) and was a little annoyed by some of the more grating ones, like the over-affected stage English of the queen mouse, for example, the valley girl stork, or the Marge Simpson scare crow. In essence, the magic she captures in her narration is the magical range of Anne Hathaway, not that of the Wonderful Wizard.

    Other reviewers rave about this version though, so I recommend listening to a sample before you buy.

    13 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Storm Front: The Dresden Files, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By James Marsters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9787)
    Performance
    (6757)
    Story
    (6765)

    A call from a distraught wife, and another from Lt Murphy of the Chicago PD Special Investigation Unit makes Harry believe things are looking up, but they are about to get worse, much worse. Someone is harnessing immense supernatural forces to commit a series of grisly murders. Someone has violated the first law of magic: Thou Shalt Not Kill. Tracking that someone takes Harry into the dangerous underbelly of Chicago, from mobsters.

    Tom says: "Excellent Story, Distracting Sound Engineering"
    "Down and dirty wizardry, human and witty"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A great start to the series, very entertaining and suspenseful. It's definitely more detective novel than other-worldly tale, though the two are very well entwined, very believably - our world doesn't have to change much to allow for the wizards and vampires of Dresden's world. For me, who would be more likely to pick up a crime thriller than a fantasy novel, this made the book so enjoyable.

    Harry Dresden is the ideal modern protagonist - reluctant, cynical and a bit awkward, accepting what life deals him, but also a fundamentally good man who stands by his commitments and will not watch idly as injustice is done to the defenseless. There is still a lot of room for character development that I hope will be further explored in the next books.

    The story does not use magic gratuitously, which is crucial. Our hero is fundamentally human, magic is just a tool at his disposal, strictly regulated by the terrifying White Council. Harry is by no means all-powerful, he can't even pay his rent. He is as vulnerable, as emotional and as likely to be wrong as you and I, and he is fully comfortable with his humanity. This is what makes him so charming. Marsters' almost casual first-person narration captures him perfectly.

    What keeps the book from five stars are a few insular disappointing twists, where something fortuitous happens that the hero had nothing to do with. The author has access to magic, he shouldn't need that much luck to write his hero out of trouble. He does this excellently other junctures.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Miranda Kenneally (editor), E. Kristin Anderson (editor)
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan, MacLeod Andrews
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    Growing pains are an essential part of teenage life, for better and for worse. Some “mistakes” turn into positive, life-changing experiences, and some apparent triumphs seem, in retrospect, like low points. Some first kisses leave you feeling on top of the world, and others can make you want to hide under a rock. In Dear Teen Me, your favorite YA authors - including Lauren Oliver, Ellen Hopkins, Tom Angleberger, and Carrie Jones - revisit critical moments from their young lives....

    Cheimon says: "Wonderful little listen - but worth the time?"
    "Wonderful little listen - but worth the time?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    At times inspirational, at times cute, at times harrowing, this book will keep you company and make you smile when you are looking for that little bit of escape to somebody else's memories. No part of it is unpleasant.

    Nevertheless, a few of the stories feel a bit banal, as though the respective author received a request for a submission from the editors and responded out of politeness, not because she had anything earth-shattering to share. On the same note, many of the authors are a bit too similar, in style, in story but especially in outlook. The vehicle of a letter to one's 16-year-old self also doesn't work in every case, a few stories bend over backwards to stick with it. These capable writers deserve better.

    In the end, the book feels a bit like a pet project of two writers for which they recruited their friends, not something for which I need to give up time that could be spent listening to other inspiring stories - including works by the very authors who contributed to this book.

    5 stars for narrator MacLeod Andrews, 3 stars for Julia Whelan. There is a distinct difference in the quality of the narration. While the female authors, read by Ms. Whelan, all sound the same (and somewhat patronizing toward their youthful self), Mr. Andrews infuses every male author with a distinctive voice of his own. They thereby break free from being a generic "person who used to be 16 and has some insights", and become a very specific adult with a very personal relationship with the 16-year-old self he is writing to. His narration clearly implies the idiosyncrasy of every bit of insight delivered. It is through his narration that the audiobook fills the space the editors must have envisioned for it - one of diverse views and stories.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Hot Rock: The First Dortmunder Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Donald E. Westlake
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (151)
    Performance
    (92)
    Story
    (97)

    John Dortmunder and company are hired by an U.N. African Ambassador to steal the famed Balabomo Emerald from the hands of a rival African country. But their daring and clever burglarly goes awry, and the emerald slips through their fingers. Undaunted, Dortmunder chases the gem by plane, train and automobile in hot pursuit of the hot rock.

    William says: "Dortmunder is on his game in this fun introduction"
    "Charming story straight from 1970 - bad narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story is very charming, that it was written in 1970 adds a lovely nostalgia to it. It's not a fast paced thriller, but a cute, funny crime story (it gets funnier the farther you get, I agree with other reviewers that it's a bit bland in the beginning). Not a must-read, but definitely an enjoy-to-read.

    Surprisingly though, there aren't a lot of reviews about the narration. Woodman has a very pleasant voice, but his narration is a bit catastrophic, he leaves much of the novel's potential untapped. It's all about the characters and their interplay, but only two or three of the main characters enjoy any depth in the narration. Dortmunder himself is not among them - Woodman endows him with his regular narration voice, which is young and light. There are indications in the text that Dortmunder is actually reluctant and tired and rolling his eyes most of the time. We don't hear any of that through Woodman though. Very sad, a better narrator could have made this raucously funny.

    In addition, the African characters have Pakistani accents, which is hard to handle.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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