I grabbed this audiobook as the second I had ever purchased on Audible on a whim. I had just finished watching a short documentary on Chruchill and wanted to learn a little bit more about him.
I grabbed this with one of my precious credits, figuring the extraordinary length could help me stretch that credit into a couple of months. I wasn't wrong.
However, don't let the length of this audiobook put you off, nor it subject matter, which in the wrong hand could be very dry. Manchester was the perfect man to write this biography (and at time I have a hard time calling it that.)
The reason I have a hard time calling this just a biography, is that Churchill the man was very much a product of the era he was born in and the era in which he was raised. In keeping with that, Manchester does an amazing job giving a history lesson on late Victorian England and the end of a century. It's as much a biography as a historical piece on a time period. The time period is as much a part of Churchill as Churchill is of it.
The author often leaves the subject of solely Churchill to explore the end of the Victorian era, and I often would not even notice. Manchester does an amazing job world building the past and placing Churchill within that world so that his story is so much richer.
The book follows Churchill from his early, and often troubled childhood to the end of an era and the begging of another. The rise of Nazism in post-World War I Europe.
The narration is superb. I only wish Davidson had done the other two in this trilogy. His accent is spot on and his Churchill is amazing. He ages the voice and you are able to hear the childlike innocence give way to the exuberance of a young military officer, to the strength and decisiveness of the Lord of the Admiralty.
One of my favorite things though was the different accents Davidson would affect. Especially the American. Interesting to hear an Englishman do an American accent and he did an excellent job.
If you have any interest in Churchill, the United Kingdom, World War I, or the Victorian Era and the beginning of the 20th century, I highly recommend this audiobook! You will definitely get the full value of your credit here!
I was fortunate enough to win this audio-book on a mini-contest on Mr. McClellan's twitter feed. I had read the first two novels in the series and absolutely enjoyed them, though I had not read any of the short-stories or novellas he had released, nor had I listened to any of his work on audio-book.
Servent of the Crown, is a novella that details Tamas' first meeting with his future wife and love Erika. There is a lot of back story here that is only hinted at in the novels, and it was fun getting to see Tamas as a young man. The similiarites between his younger self and his son are fairly obvious and it was nice to see, despite the butting heads between Tamas and his son in the two novels.
The only problem I had with this audio-book was the narration. I just felt like the narrator's voice did not match what I expected from a young Tamas. The narration was difficult to hear at times, and while the narrator has a ponderous voice, that I would expect to issue forth from a stereotypical older English gentleman of the Victorian Era, it was often spoken as if the narrator was himself moments from drifting off to sleep.
Still, that narration did little to detract from the storytelling that kept me listening. If you enjoyed either of the two main novels, or the other novellas, I highly recommend this one as a listen, though if I had the choice, I would have preferred to have read it myself.
Be warned. The ending to this series has seriously ticked of and bothered a lot of people. Personally, I love it. Say one thing for Joe Abercrombie, say he knows how to end a series.
All the characters I've come to know and love from the series make a return, and some have slightly happier endings than others. From what some of the other reviews said, I was expecting some charactercide on the order of GRRM, but quiet honestly it is no where near that bad.
As for the girt and darkness of this fantasy, it is there, but I find that at the same time there is quite a bit of hope and character growth. Few of the characters are inherently "evil" or "bad" and multiple times I found myself sympathetic for an antagonistic character.
As for the ending, well it did end in a bit of a cliffhanger, but I have my suspicions as to what happened.
Once again, Steven Pacey's narration was out of this world. I would listen to this man read the operating manual for a John Deere tractor. He does such a sublime job creating distinct voices for each of the characters. Wonderful wonderful job.
Overall, this is more a tale about a place and time than it is about any one character or event. It is a worldbuilding extravaganza and it gives us some perfect examples of how characters live and act in this world.
Just like in our own world, I got the sense that this was a conflict that didn't necessarily threaten the entire existence of the world, but rather was a conflict between two nations, that will soon pass into history.
If you were a teenager in the 80s, or grew up right on the fringes of the 80s, as I did, this novel will be a delightful romp down pop culture memory lane. But more than that, this one definitely plays to the geek pop culture of the 80s. Heck even the narrator is Wil Wheaton is the narrator!
Going into this, I was a little worried that it would be a fairly boring listen with several Easter egg moments to have a chuckle at. And there are those a plenty. But there is also so MUCH more.
The plot center around an Easter egg hidden inside a massive online virtual reality game by its creator before he died. This is no ordinary Easter egg. Instead, it is worth millions and gives whoever finds it control over this virtual world. Which is quite a big deal, since the virtual world, Oasis, is much more valuable than anything in the physical world.
All of the clues regarding the location of the Easter egg are hidden among references to video games, movies, and music from the 1980s. From Rush, to Pac-Man, to Wargames and Monty Python, nothing is sacred and nothing is forgotten.
And like the movies that it references, the book is fun and snarky. Imagine if Ferris Buller narrated the movie Wargames from inside a massive multiplayer online RPG. That's what this book feels like.
Despite the fact that I was not actually a teenager in the 1980s, my older cousins who I was very close to were, and I found myself roaring with laughter and "ohhh yeahhs" as I listened. I could only imagine how much fun it was for someone who actually grew up in that decade.
Wheaton does an excellent job narrating, and he captures that geeky snark oh so well. There were a couple of slips when it came to scenes that dealt with some deep emotions. For whatever reason, they came off forced, but I think that has more to do with the writer than Mr. Wheaton's narration.
Overall, this was a super fun read. I was genuinely disappointed when it ended because I wanted to continue exploring the wonderful world of Oasis. This one is definitely worth your credit!
I knew who Genghis Khan was. At least I thought I did. I was wrong however.
Mr. Weatherford's historical book is a fantastic work on Genghis Khan and his lasting legacy.
I had assumed that this book would be an autobiography of the Great Khan and it is, but only for the first third of the book or so. In fact, Genghis plays only a minor role in the overall scope and breadth of this novel.
Rather, two-thirds focus on Genghis Khan's decedents and their impact on the world around them. His decedents may not have been as an amazing ruler as he, they still managed to apply most of his principles and in doing so changed the world.
I had no idea that Genghis Khan implemented so many progressive measures within his growing empire. My knowledge, and ignorance, of him was limited to what I had learned from popular culture. That he was a leader of a barbarian horde that managed to concur much of the Eastern European and Asia.
I knew nothing of his ideals in regards to government and that he believed in the separation of church and state, along with the introduction of paper money.
Mr. Weatherford writes in an engaging way that doesn't become bogged down with the fog of historical facts, but nor does he write in a way that removes all intellectual truths from history.
The narrator, Mr. Davis, does a wonderful job and manages to nail even the most troublesome of pronunciations.
I highly recommend this to lover's of history or to anyone who has a passing interest in this, one of the greatest of men.
Once again, I was bowled over by the second book in the "First Law" trilogy.
There is a bit more action in this one compared to "The Blade Itself", which was nice because I felt that the first book dragged on a bit in plot. In fact, were it not for Mr. Abercrombie's superb characterization and Mr. Pacey's phenomenal narration, I would have probably stopped listening from lack of plot.
That being said, the excellent characterization and narration is back, plus we get A LOT more action. There are some really great battle scenes and the characters are taken back through the wringer again. Some worse than others.
That being said, I still am not sure what is happening with the plot. There is so much going on at a micro level that I am not seeing the BIG picture. I've yet to see how all the dots connect and I am beginning to think that they may never really connect in a way I am used to in fantasy.
Which I am OKAY with. The novel is so well written and so well narrated that I can stand there to be not much of a plot or for there to be little plot resolution. I would like to see some questions answered in the third novel, but if they are not, I'll live. Joe Abercrombie has a keen understanding of humanity (if a somewhat dark view of it) and I am content to luxuriate in the world he has created even if it means we don't really go anywhere.
I love military historical fiction. I love fantasy. I really loved Django Wexler's freshman outing in "The Thousand Names".
Rather than your typical fantasy setting, this one takes place in what could easily have been a campaign during the Napoleonic Era in a far away desert locale.
The characters are very well thought out, and the POV character do not overshadow other main characters at all. In my opinion, the most interesting character isn't even a point of view character.
The "fantasy" element, other than the imaginary setting, doesn't make itself really known until two-thirds of the way through the book and even then the magic system is much more subtle and mystical than I was expecting. Don't expect to find a lot of powerful "battle" magic here.
Mr. Poe's performance leaves little wanting. He has this deep rasp that just seems to go with the musket military setting. The only complaint I have is that I wish he had done a little bit more distinctive voices for the characters, especially the male characters. After a point, they all began to have the same inflection and tone and it became difficult to distinguish who was talking.
I look forward to the next in this installment.
I had heard good things about Joe Abercrombie, but had never read nor listened to anything he had written. I picked up "The Blade Itself" on a bit of a whim, and what a fortuitous pick that turned out to be.
The writing itself is suburb and Abercrombie builds a fascinating world populated with intense characters and spicy cultures.
Book one did not have as much action as I typically prefer in fantasy novels, and spent most of the novel setting up the world and the larger storyline. Normally, this would turn me off to the novel. While I enjoy world building as much as the next, I need some big conflict to make me really care about the world. However, Abercrombie builds his world in such a way that I never became bored and never wondered when the "action" would begin.
Pacey though is where this audiobook really shines! He takes a great fantasy novel and turns it into a phenomenal story! He brings each character to life, with distinct voices and mannerism for each character. Even if there were no dialogue tags, I would be able to tell who was speaking simply by how Pacey voices these characters.
Perhaps my favorite thing he did in his performance was for one of the characters who has a speech impediment. He performs the lisp expertly, but the characters thoughts is where Pacey really shines. Pacey gives this character an entirely different voice to his thoughts, and we get to see the character's "true" self in his thoughts. What he really is and not what he seems. Just fantastic!
I highly recommend this audiobook to fans of fantasy as you will not be disappointed. I know I'm looking forward to listening to book 2!
This was my first title that I had purchased on Audible and I was blown away by how awesome it was!
I have a 50 minute one way drive to work everyday I decided to try listening to audiobooks to pass the time. Not sure why I hadn't thought of that before....
But in any case, I had read "Way of Kings" around a year and a half ago when it was first released on my kindle and had loved the story. I have always loved Brandon Sanderson and his world-building and magic systems are first class and, in my opinion, head and shoulders above everybody else. Even the "greats" like Jordan and Brooks.
However, I wanted to refresh myself on the novel since Sanderson is working on part 2 and I remembered very little of part 1 so I decided WoK would be my first foray into Audible and audiobooks.
Boy was I impressed! The readers were better than I thought they would be and I found myself sucked into the story even more than I was the first time I "read" the novel.
Kate Reading and Micheal Kramer did a superb job with giving each character their own "personality" and voice. I found myself sitting in my car for another thirty minutes once I got home just so I could finish the chapter I was listening to.
Despite the long length (approx. 45 hours) this was a fun and fantastic listen!
I have always been a reader, but I read quickly and didn't think I would enjoy listening to an audiobook. I thought I might get distracted or bored quickly. I am sure glad I was proven wrong.
I will definitely be giving this one a re-listen later on!
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