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MJP_MD

Emergency physician and fantasy nerd in Chicago.

Chicago, IL | Member Since 2007

ratings
65
REVIEWS
30
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
8
HELPFUL VOTES
143

  • Rainbow Six

    • UNABRIDGED (35 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Tom Clancy
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1302)
    Performance
    (1014)
    Story
    (1026)

    Ex-Navy SEAL John Clark is the newly named head of Rainbow, an international task force dedicated to combating terrorism. In a trial by fire, he must stop a terrorist group of men and women so extreme that their success could literally mean the end of life on earth as we know it.

    Brodie says: "Tom Clancy (Top Cat)"
    "Excellent action interspersed with...."
    Overall

    Let me start out by saying the action sequences in this book (especially the Theme Park) are first rate. The members of the team are believable and Clancy can certainly write a fight.

    The story is a long shot to believe, as you will see. You sort of have to suspend disbelief, any reader will recognize that even for Clancy this is pretty unlikely stuff. I'm not really spoiling the book since you'll figure this out in the first 2 hours but it's a tale of a special counter-terrorism unit that basically forms up and then immediately has tons of business. It gets explained why, but the unrealistic thing is that an outbreak of terror attacks like happen in the novel would likely cripple the Western world, whereas in the book it just trips along.

    The thing that made me really irritated is the "sleuthing" factor. All of Clancy's heroes and villains are always at the top of their game - best at everything, great shots, fluent in multiple languages, etc etc etc. But there is this stupid theme in the book where a few clues are dropped and whether it's the good guys thinking about the bad guys or the bad guys thinking about the good guys they pretty much guess right every time.

    So every time a few characters are speculating about the opposition it's like Sherlock Holmes on steroids. The next sentence is not a spoiler (as all will become apparent in the first few chapters) but an example: Hmm, this operation seemed expensive and involved money, drugs, and terrorists. Therefore it must be a rogue American pharmaceutical corporation with a former KGB spy working for them. Bingo.

    It gets a little tiresome, and you pine for Clancy's descriptions of training and operation deployments.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Emperor's Blades: Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Brian Staveley
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (970)
    Performance
    (915)
    Story
    (918)

    In The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley, the emperor of Annur is dead, slain by enemies unknown. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. But each of them also has a life-path on which their father set them, destinies entangled with both ancient enemies and inscrutable gods.

    Ethan M. says: "Of the various new fantasy series, this is... fine"
    "Phenomenal, much better than the rest"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Emperor's Blades rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top 5% It's incredible.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Emperor's Blades?

    When you find out what Hull's Trial is going to be.
    When you figure out what the evil leech's well is.


    What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

    Didn't overdo the voices, a few subtle accents but didn't go crazy.


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

    Some parts of this book are just laugh out loud funny. It's one of the only epic fantasy books that incorporates profanity really well. Instead of something fancy like "By the goddess!" or "to the seven hells!" the characters in TEB just say f***.


    Any additional comments?

    As others have noted there are a few loose ends. Motivations are not always clear and when they are not they are only sporadically set up for a later answer.

    Probably the biggest confusion is why the 2 princes are willing to be abused and nearly tortured for 8-10 years, this is particularly true for Kaiden who doesn't even understand why he's with the monks.

    It's also true for Yurl (sp?), why does he go through the entire training? Couldn't he be 90% as cruel and nasty without risking his life for 10 years?

    Lots of people compare this to Abercrombie, Rothfuss, Riyira, Kingkiller, etc, this is WAAAY better. If some of those left you a little unsatisfied this will not. I've been trying to find my next fantasy series since Mistborn and this is as good as that. Truly a "driveway" title.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Rise of Empire: Riyria Revelations, Volume 2

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Michael J. Sullivan
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3676)
    Performance
    (3355)
    Story
    (3372)

    Best-selling author Michael J. Sullivan’s mesmerizing Riyria Revelations series has found a welcome home with fans of magic, clashing swords, and daring heroes. This second volume finds Royce and Hadrian on a quest to enlist the southern Nationalists to aid the ever-weakening kingdom of Melengar. Royce suspects an ancient wizard is manipulating them all, but to find the truth he’ll have to decipher Hadrian’s past—a past Hadrian wants to keep secret.

    Adnan says: "Great continuation of the first book. Tons of fun!"
    "The best thing to say is "A-""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Rise of Empire rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    middle


    What other book might you compare Rise of Empire to and why?

    tough to say


    What about Tim Gerard Reynolds’s performance did you like?

    he does a great job with everything, doesn't over do the voices


    Any additional comments?

    I think after listening to 3 of the books I would say that this is A-. It's definitely good, in fact it's really good. Creative, well written, compelling characters. For whatever reason it doesn't have that driveway quality to it where you want to sit in your car and let it play. I enjoy listening to Ryira but find I stray away from it for podcasts or another book. I'll probably finish the series but very slowly as I'll be constantly interrupted by other things.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Terms of Enlistment

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Marko Kloos
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (494)
    Performance
    (458)
    Story
    (453)

    The year is 2108, and the North American Commonwealth is bursting at the seams. For welfare rats like Andrew Grayson, there are only two ways out of the crime-ridden and filthy welfare tenements, where you’re restricted to 2,000 calories of badly flavored soy every day. You can hope to win the lottery and draw a ticket on a colony ship settling off-world, or you can join the service. With the colony lottery a pipe dream, Andrew chooses to enlist in the armed forces for a shot at real food, a retirement bonus, and maybe a ticket off Earth.

    DAVE says: "Solid military sci-fi."
    "Setting the stage for a series?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The plot twist in the middle is quite odd. It's almost like 2 different books.


    Would you recommend Terms of Enlistment to your friends? Why or why not?

    If they were hard-core sci-fi people.


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

    He's a good narrator.


    Do you think Terms of Enlistment needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Absolutely. This is like the Fellowship of the Ring, it doesn't stand alone very well.


    Any additional comments?

    It's a solid B+ sci-fi book. The combat is really cool. It's a little weird that the most vicious scene is the protagonist fighting people just like him and this is never really processed.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • American Assassin

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Vince Flynn
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5287)
    Performance
    (2803)
    Story
    (2811)

    Before he was considered a CIA superagent, before he was thought of as a terrorists worst nightmare, and before he was both loathed and admired by the politicians on Capitol Hill, Mitch Rapp was a gifted college athlete without a care in the world . . . and then tragedy struck.

    Lesley says: "Flynn never disappoints"
    "Pretty bad"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Not sure, someone who liked generics spy novels?


    What could Vince Flynn have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    The whole book seems to be about Hurley's temper tantrums. Also I have to say that Rapp is a completely cardboard character. I've rarely read a book with so little development of the main character.


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

    He has a great voice, but he sounds the way you'd expect Hurley to sound (gruff) and so it seems weird for him to be voicing all the other characters.


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

    A few parts are pretty fun.


    Any additional comments?

    For those who like Archer, I think the show may have been slightly influenced by this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Command Authority

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Tom Clancy, Mark Greaney
    • Narrated By Lou Diamond Phillips
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1852)
    Performance
    (1662)
    Story
    (1666)

    There's a new strong man in Russia but his rise to power is based on a dark secret hidden decades in the past. The solution to that mystery lies with a most unexpected source, President Jack Ryan.

    Marci says: "Great story with a couple of flaws"
    "Pretty fun stuff"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Command Authority rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    middle


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Didn't really have one.


    What three words best describe Lou Diamond Phillips’s performance?

    Stop doing accents.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    Given what a stickler Clancy was about details down to the material on gun stocks and things like that I think it's pretty funny that Junior and Dom can basically become Tier 1 special forces operators with like 3 years experience at the Campus. Driscoll is believable but I must have missed the part in the series where the other 2 become interchangeable with Delta.

    Final fight at the hotel is near Rainbow Six quality excitement.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Locked On

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Tom Clancy, Mark Greaney
    • Narrated By Lou Diamond Phillips
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3618)
    Performance
    (3096)
    Story
    (3079)

    Although his father had been reluctant to become a field operative, Jack Ryan Jr. wants nothing more. Privately training with a seasoned Special Forces drill instructor, he’s honing his skills to transition his work within The Campus from intelligence analysis to hunting down and eliminating terrorists wherever he can—even as Jack Ryan Sr. campaigns for re-election as President of the United States. But what neither father nor son knows is that the political and the personal have just become equally dangerous.

    Joseph says: "Give me more! Loved it!"
    "Political stuff is out of control"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    If it were an actual old school Clancy book. I understand he's a pretty conservative guy but this reads like a Sean Hannity fever dream. When I got to the part about the obese, single female lawyer who was "married to her convictions" and who actually gets a quasi-sexual frisson from defending terrorists who have attacked the country I almost had to quit. It's all just caricature. Clancy has created the Clark/Ryan universe and in that universe Fox News doesn't exist and the Democrats are literally 2 degrees of separation from the KGB. He constantly talks about the media while ignoring the fact that the most powerful media outlets around today are outspokenly conservative. The book is basically set in a world that Tea Partiers think exists: the media is all-powerful and arrayed against them, Democratic politicians will happily do anything (even let the US get attacked) to stay in power, liberal oligarchs are actively working to bring down the country, and torture works every time!

    Can't we just get back to Rainbow 6? When it was all about running, gunning, and espionage? I never cared how Ding Chavez voted....


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    No idea.


    What does Lou Diamond Phillips bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He reads them well.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment at how far into the silly right wing politics of the day a really talented author has sunk.


    Any additional comments?

    I just really wish the Clark/Ryan universe could go on as a fun, readable, thriller series.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Remaining: Fractured

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By D. J. Molles
    • Narrated By Christian Rummel
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (944)
    Performance
    (890)
    Story
    (885)

    The Camp Ryder Hub is broken. Lee is nowhere to be found, and his allies are scattered across the state, each of them learning that their missions will not be as easy as they thought. Inside the walls of Camp Ryder, a silent war is brewing, between those few that still support Lee's vision of rebuilding, and the majority that support Jerry's desire for isolation. But this war will not remain silent for long.

    Mike Naka says: "incredible continuation of a great series"
    "Story gets deeper and deeper"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Remaining: Fractured?

    Harper, Larouche (sp?), and Jim are really believable as they develop. All are trying to do their best and aspects of who they were in their past lives are in tension with who they have to be now. It's actually really excellent character development. Most readers will probably find themselves identifying strongly with one or the other. They are all sort of neither good nor bad exactly, just surviving.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I would have to say Larouche's story.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    #whereiscaptainhardin?


    Any additional comments?

    These books are REALLY violent. Like down to the level of what anatomy is getting severed/destroyed/crushed. Doesn't really bother me but if you are someone who gets queasy some of the fight scenes will turn you off.

    I like the way that the strike teams don't automatically become special forces. We are constantly reminded that they are not trained, are disorganized etc.

    The fact that the Camp Ryder citizens become like a chorus in a Greek drama starts to strain believability. They almost behave like a part of zombie video game where you have to make sure your camp is fed, watered, satisfied etc.

    Jerry is not a very compelling character. The author clearly doesn't like politicians but the idea that Jerry could take over just by modulating his voice and playing to the crowd is kind of thin, see above.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dead or Alive

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Tom Clancy, Grant Blackwood
    • Narrated By Lou Diamond Phillips
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4846)
    Performance
    (2626)
    Story
    (2643)

    Jack Ryan, the former president of the United States, is out of office, but not out of the loop about his brainchild, the “Campus” - a highly effective, counter-terrorism organization that operates outside the Washington hierarchy. But what Ryan doesn’t know is that his son, Jack Ryan, Jr., has joined his cousins, Brian and Dominic Caruso, at the shadowy Campus. While a highly effective analyst, young Ryan hungers for the action of a field agent.

    Robert B. Wales says: "Same great Clancey - Great narration"
    "Thrilling and better than the older ones"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Dead or Alive?

    It doesn't have the same old Clancy super powers where every single step is pitch perfect and Clark/Ryan/Chavez always figure things out on the first try.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Dead or Alive?

    Rangers in the cave.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Rangers in the cave.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Remaining: Aftermath

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By D. J. Molles
    • Narrated By Christian Rummel
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1116)
    Performance
    (1050)
    Story
    (1051)

    To Captain Lee Harden, Project Hometown feels like a distant dream and the completion of his mission seems unattainable. Wounded and weaponless, he has stumbled upon a group of survivors that seems willing to help. But a tragedy in the group causes a deep rift to come to light and forces him into action. In the chaos of the world outside, Lee is pursued by a new threat: someone who will stop at nothing to get what he has.

    K says: "Giving up; can't take the idiocy."
    "Better than the first."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Remaining: Aftermath rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    middle 1/3


    What did you like best about this story?

    Combat scenes and still the search for resources.


    Any additional comments?

    Just really fun reads. Lead character is becoming more compelling. The dynamic between Lee, Bus, and Harper is really believable.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Remaining

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By D. J. Molles
    • Narrated By Christian Rummel
    Overall
    (1709)
    Performance
    (1607)
    Story
    (1614)

    In a steel-and-lead-encased bunker 20 feet below the basement level of his house, a soldier waits for his final orders. On the surface, a plague ravages the planet, infecting over 90% of the populace. The bacterium burrows through the brain, destroying all signs of humanity and leaving behind little more than base, prehistoric instincts. The infected turn into hyper-aggressive predators, with an insatiable desire to kill and feed. Someday soon, the soldier will have to open the hatch to his bunker, and step out into this new wasteland, to complete his mission....

    Mike Naka says: "top notch! highly recommended!"
    "Solid, never really disappoints"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Remaining rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Middle 1/3


    What other book might you compare The Remaining to and why?

    Lots of post-apocalypse books. Lots of military books. One interesting thing is that the zombies are quite a bit smarter in this book.


    Which character – as performed by Christian Rummel – was your favorite?

    There's really only one major character...


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

    I think the author does any amazing job of using place and resources in this book. It's not really a spoiler to say that Lee encounters some obstacles along the way. The author really makes you feel the times of relative safety and security, even something as simple as being in a locked car with gas in the tank. When resources are low, my heart rate defniitely went up.


    Any additional comments?

    This reads almost like a military thriller in parts. The first action sequence is so incredibly satisfying that you're smiling as you read it. Mild but predictable spoiler: bad guys who meet Lee don't always do so hot.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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