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Kamal

Brampton, Ontario, Canada | Member Since 2001

2
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 5 reviews
  • 88 ratings
  • 504 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2015
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  • Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Gregory Maguire
    • Narrated By John McDonough
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4501)
    Performance
    (2158)
    Story
    (2190)

    Heralded as an instant classic of fantasy literature, Maguire has written a wonderfully imaginative retelling of The Wizard of Oz told from the Wicked Witch's point of view. More than just a fairy tale for adults, Wicked is a meditation on the nature of good and evil.

    Kathleen says: "It's not easy being green"
    "A long slide into inevitability..."
    Overall

    A fresh concept - take a common childhood tale, and tell the story behind the story. Talk about the motivations and the story behind some of the non-core characters, and best of all, turn the concepts of good and evil upside down.

    Wicked starts off well enough, with the birth of the Wicked Witch of the West to an ordinary enough family, with a bored, unfaithful heiress as a mother, and a stiff boore of a minister as a father. The story quickly deviates from the expected with its exploration of adult themes, ribald humour, and extensive political commentary.

    Oz loses much of its magic, with the magic made mundane through its commonality and ultimate futility - in fact, magic doesn't play much of a role at all in the book.

    <spoiler warning>
    However, as the book starts to move towards the familiar plotline of the Wizard of Oz, there is a feeling of events rushing headlong to inevitability. The reckless, but lovable character of Elpheba (the witch) strangely disappears, to be replaced by an almost characterless stereotype. Many lovingly developed characters, such as Glinda and Fiuro, are essentially tossed into the trashbin.

    Ultimately, the story leaves us wondering still about the motivations of some of the characters, so fails as an expose of these events. It definitely left me scratching my head at the unresolved plot points.

    Also, there is a common theme of homosexual tension throughout the book, which felt artificially inserted unnecessarily. I certainly understood the context, but it just didn't seem to make sense.

    A good read, but disappointing in the end.

    30 of 31 people found this review helpful
  • Komarr: A Miles Vorkosigan Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Lois McMaster Bujold
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (1144)
    Performance
    (593)
    Story
    (601)

    Komarr could be a garden with 1,000 more years' work, or an uninhabitable wasteland if the terraforming fails. Now, the solar mirror vital to the terraforming of the conquered planet has been shattered by a ship hurtling off course. The emperor of Barrayar sends his newest imperial auditor, Lord Miles Vorkosigan, to find out why.

    Nathan says: "More of a set up book for the rest of the series"
    "Unlucky in love"
    Overall

    Another good read by LMB. I've been happy with every one of her Vorkosigan novels so far (well, except for the first one, the Vor Game, which was probably the weakest). Her characters are believable, and have depth of character. This chapter of the Vorkosigan saga finally takes Miles closer to his personal fulfillment, and I wish him the best of luck in his future adventures (I have only two more left to read!).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Soon I Will Be Invincible: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Austin Grossman
    • Narrated By Coleen Marlo, Paul Boehmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1022)
    Performance
    (524)
    Story
    (524)

    Doctor Impossible, evil genius and diabolical scientist, has tried to take over the world in every way imaginable, but this time is going to be different. He'll have to contend with Fatale, however, a rookie superhero on her first day with the Champions, the world's most famous superteam. She's a patchwork woman of skin and chrome, a gleaming technological marvel built for the next generation of warfare.

    Brad says: "Now that I have you at my mercy. . ."
    "Author has a hard time making up his mind"
    Overall

    The book has an interesting premise, discussing the world of superheroes and villains from the perspective of the world's greatest super-villain. He's the smartest man in the world, but he's also trite and can't help falling into the super-villain stereotypes. The book seems to waver between an almost serious and a mocking tone as the perspective switches between the two main characters, who are linked. An entertaining listen, but the ending was a little too abrupt.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Brother Odd: An Odd Thomas Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Dean Koontz
    • Narrated By David Aaron Baker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2695)
    Performance
    (1203)
    Story
    (1199)

    No one could have imagined Odd Thomas ever leaving the quirky comfort of Pico Mundo. Yet leave it he has, for a monastery. But Odd has a knack for finding trouble no matter where he goes, and a killer is stalking the ancient holy halls. Odd is about to meet an enemy who eclipses any he has yet encountered.

    Travelgirl says: "Odds are you will LOVE this book!!!"
    "Supernatural sci-fi"
    Overall

    Poor Odd Thomas. Tortured by his visions of the dead and the "bodocks", his rest and recovery is interrupted by more tragic events that require his special skills and intervention. He's a sweet, loveable hero, but I just don't see how he's equipped to succeed so many times - he should be dead by now with his lack of any type of believable training or skills. He's a fast-food diner cook for heaven's sake!

    The setup for the sequel at the end is intriguing, and it makes me hope that the author has a cool follow-up already in the works.

    Much better than the second novel, which was kind of confusing, but not as good as the first.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • False Memory

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Dean Koontz
    • Narrated By Stephen Lang
    Overall
    (881)
    Performance
    (300)
    Story
    (299)

    It's a fear more paralyzing than falling. More terrifying than absolute darkness. More horrifying than anything you can imagine. It's the one fear you cannot escape, no matter where you run...no matter where you hide. It's the fear of yourself. It's real. It can happen to you. And facing it can be deadly.

    Dohna says: "Koontz did it again......."
    "Interesting premise but ultimately peters out..."
    Overall

    An interesting story, with some clever premises. However, the main villain is revealed very early on, and seems like a very shallow character, and many of his scenes are really rather childish and gratuitous. The reason why is revealed nearer the end of the book, but there are very few redeeming characters. The ending was a bit too neatly tied together for me, kind of anticlimatic, but I guess it shows you, the best laid plans of mice and men...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Forever Odd: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Dean Koontz
    • Narrated By David Aaron Baker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3664)
    Performance
    (1310)
    Story
    (1330)

    He's the most unlikely hero you'll ever meet, an ordinary guy with a modest job you might never look at twice. But there's so much more to any of us than meets the eye, and that goes triple for Odd Thomas. For Odd lives always between two worlds in the small desert town of Pico Mundo, where the heroic and the harrowing are everyday events. Odd never asked to communicate with the dead, it's something that just happened.

    Bill says: "Great narration, disappointing story"
    "I really wanted to like this book"
    Overall

    But I just can't believe that Koontz wasted a rare visit to the land of Odd (Thomas, the protaganist) with such a shallow, and ultimately pointless story. The plot was extremely thin, there were really no surprises or twists, and the characters were trivial.

    I demand that Mr. Koontz write another, proper Odd Thomas novel, and this time, spend more than 30 minutes developing the plot!

    Since this is unlikely (its been a couple of years since the last one), get this book for a (short) light read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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