I didn't know what to expect from GSTQ: I bought it on the strength of its rating and the reviews. I'm happy to say those positive reviews are warranted.
There is a strong romantic element to this story, and while I am not by any means a fan of romance novels, I have to admit I enjoyed experiencing the protagonist's budding romance with another major character.
I particularly liked the main character, who although strong and tough, is somewhat naive and rather bigoted. I particularly appreciated this aspect of the character, because her (anti-human, anti-Goblin) bigotry is a big part of her character, but is handled with delicacy. Moreover, like real-life prejudices, hers are not erased in the blink of an eye.
The speculative history is fun, and the author's note at the beginning helps straighten things out before the story even starts. However, I found the appendix at the end to be dry and more information than I wanted or needed. Still, it's short, and in no way detracts from the work as a whole.
The narrator adds a sophisticated and very listenable element to the story.
It's been a while since I've been drawn so completely in to a work of non-fiction. "MCTUS" was a wonderful, informative read, and ultimately, for me, a bit of a sad one.
It's difficult for me to gague how much appeal this book will have for people who aren't comics fans or interested in publishing. It's well-written, and moves quickly, but the repeated rises and falls of a pop-culture phenomenon might not thrill casual observers.
But this book meant the world to me. I grew up reading Marvel Comics, and so many of the characters and creaters seemed almost like old friends to me. I was suprirsed at how much I didn't know about the behind-the-scenes maneurvering, marketing-driven titles, and revolving editorial mandates.
This book is a rich tapestry of Marvel history, from its derivative, pulp beginnings just before WWII to the mega-movie franchises of today.
Okay, I'll admit that I'm a sucker for a creepy setting, and an isolated, snow-bound madhouse offers plenty of that. The setting is very much a part of the story, and its effective use by the author, along with a collection of characters we can identify with (or at least recognize) and care about, contributed greatly to my enjoyment of the book.
Not all of the characters are likable, by any means, but I enjoyed them all, and often, I was a little suprised wihen some of them (no spoilers) were killed, even though I'd been expecting it.
"The Loon" is a fun, unashamedly B-movie of a read, with equal parts mad-science horror and psycological terror. This was a quick, satisfying listen.
Haviing listened to "White Plume Mountain" (the first book in this series; it's not absolutely necessary to listen to it first, but I recommend it), I knew excactly what to expect from this book, and I got it: a fast-moving and light-hearted dungeon crawl with plenty of action and humor. In addition, this book also has a fun element of court intrigue.
The trio from White Plume Mountain retuns in "Descent," with the addition of a new, unskilled team member, Private Henry. I particularly enjoyed the development of this character.
This was a fun, fairly light listen that kept my interest throughout.
Sean Duffy can't seem to catch a break. Though clever,well-read,witty and possessed of a certain broken charm, Duffy is a man constantly asking for--and receiving trouble. A catholic cop who lives in a protestant world, Duffy has never yet been able to bring a killer to justice, and all he has to show for his efforts are a lot of scars.
"Sirens" brings us to a Belfast which has been given a sliver of hope in the form of the DeLorean Motor Company. As McKinty seems to do so well, he seamlessly weaves his fictional world around the sometimes stranger-than-life events of actual history.
I can't speak highly enough of the narrator, Gerard Doyle, who hops effortlessly between accents and dialects.
'Lions of Kandahar' brings the combat close--sometimes too close for comfort. It's a gritty, valiant look at one man's experiences in the recent conflict. This unique focus has its advantages and disadvantages. The author's intimate knowledge of the subject makes for a detailed and compelling read, and because the team is so small, it's easy to keep track of the various participants in course of the battles. However, at the same time this narrow focus does not lend itself to an understanding of "the bigger picture" regarding Afghanistan, or how the events depicted in "Lions" fit in to that bigger picture.
The narration is excellent.
White Plume Mountain is a novelization of a classic Dungeons & Dragons adventure from the late 70's and early 80s. This book is full of action, with plenty of vile monsters and despicable humans to keep the story racing from point to point.
WPM manages to be well-written and well-crafted story, without ever taking itself too seriously. The characters aren't deep, but they are fun, and the reader knows exactly how to feel about them.
This is not an epic fantasy novel. If you're looking for 'The Lord of the Rings,' you won't find it here, but what you will find should be a lot of fun.
This was a pleasant surprise. Five unrelated sci-fi combat novellas which I could intersperse between other books. I enjoyed all five stories, although some much more than others. I found the stories toward the end of the collection to be the strongest, which I always appreciate.
I enjoyed the different styles and the authors' respective takes on the genre. These are good fun, not too heavy, but by no means fluff.
The narration is great.
I don't want to be too harsh in my review, because 1) there's still a lot that's done right in this book, and 2), other readers/listeners might not be put off by the same aspects of the work I was.
I liked the premise: an unspeakable evil has reawakened to victimize a small, relatively isolated community, preying on the community's most vulnerable members: children. G Wayne Miller writes well, and the book's overall outline/plot arc is entertaining, if overlong.
However, none of the characters in the book is particularly well-drawn out (in fact, two relatively minor characters are inexplicably given more detailed backgrounds than most of the principles). Moreover, I found several of the main characters to be fairly unlikable, although I don't believe that's the author's intention..The protagonist in particular seems to be kind of a jerk, waging a not-so-private war with his ex-wife (a nasty piece of work herself) at the expense of their daughter. But at the worst, their seemed to be no life to these characters.
And one VERY big complaint I have, which is no fault of either the writer or the narrator, is that the audio production is very sloppy in places. This ranges from weird buzzing sounds after chapters (tolerable), to long (maybe 45 seconds or so) periods of silence (not too cool) to the volume actually going out for a few seconds and then coming back as if a volume knob had been lowered and then raised, interrupting the text (unacceptable).
River of Darkness exceeded my expectations. I thought I was buying a detective yarn, where a brilliant detective would be paired against a wily and diabolical killer, chasing clue after clue until finally piecing together the mystery. And make no mistake, those elements are strong throughout the book, but at the same time, RoD offers quite a bit more.
Like all the best stories, this is really about living people, not murders. This is somewhat ironic, given that when we first meet him, the protagonist is a man in many respects already dead. Set just a few years after WWI, the echoes of that terrible conflict are still very much present in the world of "River." It seems to stain combatants and non-combatants alike, men and women both.
Despite the grisly subject matter and the sense of ennui that seems to surround so many of the characters when we first meet them, this is ultimately a positive, redemptive book.
If you haven't read the 4 previous "Joe Ledger" books (plus a number of short stories), you'd be well-served to check them out first. There's a reason this series has reached (so far) five volumes.
This book is the most ambitious in terms of scope, and hints at developments in future books. "Extinction Machine" is also a refreshing departure from the previous books in that, even with an omniscient narrator, we're not really sure what's going on until the end, and then only maybe.
Maberry likes to punish his characters, and in this installment especially so. "Extinction Machine" is definitely the darkest book so far in the series.
As always, Ray Porter's narration is spot-on.
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