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et cetera, et cetera, etc.


  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Rae Carson
    • Narrated By Jennifer Ikeda
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. Elisa is the chosen one. But she is also the younger of two princesses. The one who has never done anything remarkable, and can't see how she ever will. Now, on her 16th birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king - a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs her to be the chosen one. And he's not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies, seething with dark magic,are hunting her.

    M. Herbert says: "A fabulously well done fantasy!"
    "Moral of the story: Heroines can't be overweight."

    This is, by far, the worst book I've encountered on Audible.

    The storytelling was weak, the dialogue was uninteresting, and the characters weren't relatable.

    I found myself unable to root for the protagonist because I couldn't like her. That's not to say she was unsympathetic. That would be giving Rae Carson too much credit. Instead, we are faced with a protagonist who never seems to display realistic human emotions (other than brief moments of teenage angst).
    My biggest complaint, however, is the way Carson addresses body image. At the beginning of the story, Elisa is overweight, lazy, apathetic, and generally useless. Apart from being the "chosen one," she has no qualities that would make a reader invest in her. She spends a great deal of her time thinking about how fat and ugly she is. A protagonist with body image issues could make for a very compelling story, but that's where Carson goes totally wrong.

    Rather than learning to accept herself for who she is, Elisa mopes around being completely useless, until she is literally forced to lose weight. And how is this accomplished? Through starvation and rigorous exercise. Yes, diet and exercise are important for one's health, but this change in her lifestyle comes from outside forces, rather than any inner strength.
    Finally, after enough starvation, and a whole bunch of walking, Elisa loses weight. Once she is no longer fat, she suddenly gains confidence, tenacity, and leadership skills.

    Remember, the target audience for this story is primarily teenage girls (many of whom have body image issues of their own). The message they are receiving seems to be "If you lose a lot of weight, your life will automatically improve. If you starve yourself, people will admire you."

    Even if this story hadn't been sub-par, the underlying message would have been enough to drive me away.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Marissa Meyer
    • Narrated By Rebecca Soler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.... Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle.

    Staaj says: "Surpised by how much I enjoyed it"
    "Exceeded My Expectations"
    What did you love best about Cinder?

    It immediately caught, and held my attention. I actually cared about the fate of the characters. Marissa Meyer created an intricate diagesis which stays internally consistant. As a result, it is easy to suspend disbelief in a world very unlike our own.

    When I first looked at this book I was skeptical. A retelling of the cinderella story? Like that hasn't been done before...

    Despite my reservations, I purchased it, and was pleasantly surprised. It was a refreshing adaptation of an overused format. Instead of the Cinderella character passively languishing in self-pity, Cinder is a strong, self-sufficient character. While it is a story of transformation, it comes in the form of self-discovery. This is not a story about a frumpy girl who is given a makeover by a benevolent character with an awesome wardrobe. Poof, you're hot. Go dance with the "prince" (see: all teen movies in the late nineties).
    Instead, she is an active participant in her story.

    What other book might you compare Cinder to and why?

    I can't think of any. I love futuristic dystopias, but this is in its own class. The world reminded me a bit of Bladerunner, although not quite as dark.

    Which character – as performed by Rebecca Soler – was your favorite?

    It's hard to say. I was impressed by how distinct each character was.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Shadow Reader: Shadow Reader, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Sandy Williams
    • Narrated By Amy Rubinate
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    A Houston college student, McKenzie Lewis, can track fae by reading the shadows they leave behind. For years she has been working for the fae king, tracking rebels who would claim the Realm. Her job isn't her only secret. She's in love with Kyol, the King's sword master-but human and fae relationships are forbidden. When McKenzie is captured by Aren, the fierce rebel leader, she learns that not everything is as she thought. And McKenzie must decide who to trust and where she stands....

    Niki Rogers says: "Incredible new series"
    "Breathtakingly horrible"
    Would you try another book from Sandy Williams and/or Amy Rubinate?


    Has The Shadow Reader turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No, I generally like this genre.

    Would you be willing to try another one of Amy Rubinate’s performances?

    I don't know. The book was so mind-numbingly awful that I can't give an objective review of her narration. I didn't HATE her. So that's something.

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

    The best part was when it was over.

    Any additional comments?

    This read like something written by a thirteen-year-old. At its best, the prose was cliche. The rest of the time I was cringing. I had no affinity with any of the characters. The protagonist was obnoxious, unrealistically oblivious, and not the least bit interesting. I found myself wondering how she had managed to live into her twenties with absolutely no survival instinct whatsoever.
    The fact that she was extremely obstinate wouldn't normally bother me if I couldn't tell that it was merely the author's lazy attempt to artificially insert conflict into the narrative.

    Epic fail.

    4 of 10 people found this review helpful

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