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B. R. Jones

I'm a web designer in Southern California that loves a good thick book - especially epic fantasy, sci-fi, and contemporary thrillers. My favorite authors include Stephenson, Erikson, and Sanderson.

los angeles, CA | Member Since 2005

9
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 7 ratings
  • 472 titles in library
  • 13 purchased in 2014
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  • On a Pale Horse: Incarnations of Immortality, Book One

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Piers Anthony
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    Overall
    (1015)
    Performance
    (497)
    Story
    (517)

    In this, the first novel of the best-selling Incarnations of Immortality series, Piers Anthony combines a deeply moving examination of the meaning of life and death with a gripping story of romance and loyalty, all set in a world of magic and technical wizardry.

    Jake says: "Full Series Review: 5 Stars"
    "Philosophy 101, in Fantasy Format"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to On a Pale Horse the most enjoyable?

    I didn't particularly love this book, but I'll admit that it's got some interesting things going on. The deity, "Death", is new to the job and essentially wanders around collecting souls and engaging in "episodic" internal debates over the merits of man's life here on earth and whether or not a soul should go to heaven or hell.

    Cool story bro. It reminded me of the television show Grey's Anatomy - but replace the intense personal drama with heavy philosophical arguments.

    The story just didn't really engage me in any real way, but I'll be the first to admit that I've read a lot of material like this and that, ultimately, if I'd read this when I was a bit younger, it would have become one of those cherished novels that I push on my friends and children. I suppose I'm a bit jaded by the whole heaven and hell world structure, so this felt a little stale. To be fair though, the book is 30 years old and has aged as well as any book has in the genre.

    The ideas here are great - even if you don't love the world, there's tons for a young mind to ponder over and it gave me plenty to chew on myself... I just got bored of the chewing and wanted to move onto something else. It's solid writing, has a great narrator, and is worth a listen - if only to say that you've touched on this classic.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Troupe

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Robert Jackson Bennett
    • Narrated By Luis Moreno
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (25)

    Best-selling author Robert Jackson Bennett has won widespread critical acclaim for his unique brand of darkly inventive fiction. In The Troupe, 16-year-old George Carole joins vaudeville in search of Heironomo Silenus, the man he believes to be his father. But what he discovers casts a dark pall over his world: Silenus' troupe hides a dangerous secret - one that invites death to all in its vicinity.

    Dave says: "Magic On Vaudeville"
    "A great book if you need to break a reading rut..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Troupe?

    The story, the characters, the world were all so interesting and different. I have absolutely zero interest in Vaudeville or theater, but that's really just the framework that this magnificent fabric of story is hung upon - in short, don't let that part turn you off.

    I'm a big fan of thicker fantasy & fiction writing, but this book (which is relatively short compared to my usual far) really worked like a charm to break up a "reading rut" that I'd run into where I just wasn't finding anything interesting to dig into.


    Any additional comments?

    I didn't love the ending... but I also can't really imagine a better way to close up the book. In short, I guess I was just sad to see the story come to a close when I could have read another 400 pages (or hours?) of material based in this world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Deadhouse Gates: Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (34 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Steven Erikson
    • Narrated By Ralph Lister
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (593)
    Performance
    (527)
    Story
    (535)

    In the vast dominion of Seven Cities, in the Holy Desert Raraku, the seer Sha’ik and her followers prepare for the long-prophesied uprising known as the Whirlwind. Unprecedented in size and savagery, this maelstrom of fanaticism and bloodlust will embroil the Malazan Empire in one of the bloodiest conflicts it has ever known, shaping destinies and giving birth to legends.....

    Joshua says: "An Epic Tale of War and Tragedy"
    "A monument of modern fantasy writing..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Deadhouse Gates to be better than the print version?

    I'll start by saying that this is easily in my top 3 favorite books that I've ever read (and I've read a lot). It's Erikson in his prime, and I honestly believe that he's one of the great authors of our time, even if his style tends towards the heavy handed and poetic. It's one of the few books that actually drew tears at several points, and I can't recommend it highly enough if you enjoy stuff like Game of Thrones, The Wheel of Time, The Way of Kings (Stormlight Chronicles), etc.

    Caveats: This book is heavy - we're talking George Martin heavy - 20+ POV plotlines are introduced with hundreds of relevant characters. Erikson excels at "epic" world building and this is perhaps the first book where he really lets loose on that front. So be warned - this book takes some level of engagement to follow. It's entirely worth it though... you'll find passages in this book that rival the best literature ever written, even if it's tough to catalog all of the characters, locations, factions, etc.

    I've also recommended to a number of my friends that they start the "Malazon Book of the Fallen" series with this book, not Gardens of the Moon, since it's riveting and fleshed out in a way taht GOTM never really was.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Oh geez. Kruppe & Kalam are my favorites and they aren't really even central characters in this part of the series... Kruppe for his ridiculously entertaining narrative style and Kalam for his badassitude; but there are just so many others that are a close second.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I won't ruin the ending... but damn. Did someone cut a whole bag of onions? WTF man. Best ending to a book I've read since Ender's Game.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Gate Thief: Mithermages, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki, Emily Rankin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2102)
    Performance
    (1906)
    Story
    (1916)

    Here on Earth, Danny North is still in high school, yet he holds in his heart and mind all the stolen outselves of 13 centuries of gatemages. The Families still want to kill him if they can’t control him - and they can’t control him; he is far too powerful. On Westil, Wad is now nearly powerless - he lost everything to Danny in their struggle. Even if he can survive the revenge of his enemies, he must still somehow make peace with the Gatemage Daniel North, for when Danny took that power from Loki, he also took responsibility for the Great Gates.

    Benjamin says: "Flashes of Great, Ok, and Bad. Overall: Meh."
    "A Building Block. Sets up well for Book 3."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about The Gate Thief? What did you like least?

    So I loved the first book in this series - it was full of action, was set in a really interesting world, and the plotline moved at a quick clip - which is perhaps why I was so disappointed as I read this one. The plot just moved so... slow. And so much of it felt like artificial setup for something that happens later in the book, but that just didn't feel like it had the crescendo that the first book had.

    To be fair, after listening to the post-book message by Orson Scott Card himself, I fully understand WHY he wrote this book the way that he did - he's setting up for an epic Book 3 where all of the setup will pay off. I fully intend to pick up that book, but that still doesn't make me like this one any more. The teenage angst, sexual frustration, and laggard pace almost turned me to deleting the book from my phone... but plow through it, as I think we'll all rewarded in the next book of this series.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Magic Casement: A Man of His Word, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Dave Duncan
    • Narrated By Mil Nicholson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (131)
    Performance
    (122)
    Story
    (125)

    Princess Inos lived an idyllic life in her fathers' sleepy, backwater kingdom, and she was best friends with her childhood companion, the stableboy, Rap. But when a prophecy seemed to say Inos should be married, she was exiled to the Impire to learn to be a lady. She was far away when Rap's magical talents began to emerge, and it was he who told her of the fate awaiting them both.

    Sean Dustman says: "One of my favorite Fantasy Series"
    "Supposed to be a classic... it just didn't grab me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I'm not really sure what it was about this book - it's been recommended to me by several people, but after reading through about half of it, it just dragged on and on without anything of substance ever happening that warranted enough interest for me to keep reading.

    I might come back to this one, but there just didn't seem to be an engaging plotline; In several hours of listening, nothing happens besides following an adolescent girl through an exceedingly boring court life, listening to her whine about how boring it is, and then following the plot line of an unremarkable stable boy that was gaining magical powers (although they very well may be the more dull magical powers ever to grace the written page).


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Something more modern...


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    The narrator was fine, really. No complaints there.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Magic Casement?

    The entire first half of the book.


    Any additional comments?

    Nope. This isn't bad writing, it just wasn't my preference. Perhaps I'm just desensitized by more modern fantasy writing that includes more structure, world building, and conflict.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Way of Kings: Book One of The Stormlight Archive

    • UNABRIDGED (45 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Kate Reading, Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10205)
    Performance
    (7676)
    Story
    (7721)

    Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter. It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor.

    Lore says: "Wow - 45 hours long and leaves you wanting more!"
    "Outstanding"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Way of Kings to be better than the print version?

    I just wish this guy would quit writing other books and work on this series alone!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Stolen Child

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Keith Donohue
    • Narrated By Andy Paris, Jeff Woodman
    Overall
    (436)
    Performance
    (83)
    Story
    (84)

    Seven-year-old Henry Day is kidnapped and renamed "Aniday" by changelings, ageless beings who inhabit the woods near his home. The changelings also leave behind one of their own, who flawlessly impersonates Henry except for one noteworthy detail: the new Henry is a prodigiously talented pianist.

    Jon says: "Not Anything Close to the Hype"
    "Excellent Listen"
    Overall

    This is one of those... if you could only download one audio book... books.

    It's important to note that this book seems to transcend genres... in a way crossing elements of the book "Peter Pan" and many other pseudo-fantasy novels with strong notes of Americana like the film "Stand By Me" or the Wonder Years... it truly is a great summer read, or listen in this case.

    The narration is nothing short of excellence; Unlike some downloads that I've found here where the narration is awkward or the story ill suited to be read aloud, this book seems to have been written for the spoken word, much like Orson Scott Card's book "Ender's Game"... and naturally the dual narration is perfect for the dual narrative form of the story.

    The Stolen Child was an easy, yet engaging listen that you'll probably breeze through over the course of a week, as it's a "pageturner" and you'll want to sneak in every minute of the day that you can to listen to it... I don't listen or read to many books more than once, but I'm sure that I'll be returning to this one in a year or so and will definitely pass it on to my kids when they're old enough and adult friends alike.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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