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Erik

Sooke, British Columbia, Canada | Member Since 2011

71
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 133 reviews
  • 133 ratings
  • 274 titles in library
  • 3 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
5

  • EMPEROR: The Gods of War, Book 4 (Unabridged)

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Conn Iggulden
    • Narrated By Paul Blake
    Overall
    (145)
    Performance
    (113)
    Story
    (119)

    The fourth volume in the acclaimed Emperor series, in which Conn Iggulden interweaves history and adventure to recreate the astonishing life of Julius Caesar - an epic tale of ambition and rivalry, bravery and betrayal.

    Konrad says: "Interesting novel series. Bad bad Audible service!"
    "Wow!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Emperor?

    A complete package, but this narrator is excellent! Obviously classically trained, he manages all voices most expertly. The story is good, and it must be remembered this is fiction. Die hard historians should look elsewhere.


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

    The best narrator I have listened to so far. I will take notice of any other work he takes on.


    Any additional comments?

    Again, this is fiction. I love "true" Roman history as much as the next person, so I had to remind myself those times the story wandered from actual events.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Treasure Island

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Robert Louis Stevenson
    • Narrated By Jasper Britton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (399)
    Performance
    (245)
    Story
    (248)

    Treasure Island must be the most enthralling adventure book ever written. As we listen to the voice of Jim Hawkins telling his extraordinary tale, and later that of his companion Dr. Livesey, we are plunged into a world of pirates, buried treasure, mutiny, and deceit.

    Jason says: "Rousing tale"
    "A brilliant performance of a classic!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Wow! This is the quintessential pirate. It has stood the test of time and is still as accessible and entertaining as it was centuries ago.

    What made this version special was the outstanding performance by Jasper Britton. This was my first experience with this narrator, and his inflections, voices, and cadence were flawless. It really made for an exciting listen and I will definitely search out more of his performances.

    So, even if you read this years ago, give it a listen. I think you'll find this format and narrator brings the story to life like never before.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Timbuktu

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Paul Auster
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    Overall
    (272)
    Performance
    (217)
    Story
    (219)

    Mr. Bones, the canine hero of this astonishing book, is the sidekick and confidant of Willy G. Christmas, a brilliant and troubled homeless man from Brooklyn. As Willy's body slowly expires, he sets off with Mr. Bones for Baltimore in search of his high-school English teacher and a new home for his companion. Mr. Bones is our witness during their journey, and out of his thoughts, Paul Auster has spun one of the richest, most compelling tales in American fiction.

    Dubi says: "Should I Have Said Gehrig?"
    "You'll Love it or Hate it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In reading other views, and thinking about the book afterward, I realized that you must read this book and form your own opinions. I don't think many will take a middle ground on this novel. You'll either love it or hate it.

    For myself, I wasn't really into it for the first half. The book seemed more about the dog's owner Willie, than about Mr. Bones (the dog). To top it off, Willie's monologues were the rantings of a madman, which is what he was. I understood the authors intent of showcasing the mentally ill and their challenges, but it seemed to go on too long.

    For the second half, it was more about the dog, as told through his thoughts and actions. This drew me in and eventually complemented the first half.

    While not a perfect work, I thought about the story for days afterward. This, in my mind, is a hallmark of a top notch novel.

    Joe Barrett did great job with all the voices, inflections, a cadences. I'll listen to him if afforded the opportunity.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sharpe's Tiger: Book I of the Sharpe Series

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Bernard Cornwell
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    Overall
    (834)
    Performance
    (394)
    Story
    (397)

    1799. As the British Army fights its way through India toward a diabolical trap, the young and illiterate private Richard Sharpe must battle both man and beast behind enemy lines, in an attempt to push the ruthless Tippoo of Mysore from his throne and drive his French allies out of India.

    Angela says: "Believe the Hype!"
    "The start of the Sharps series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Like many, the character of Sharpe was not new to me, but I had always seen and read various stories in an order very different than the series progressed. This book is where it all starts, and it is a must read for those interested in the series and the character of Sharpe. As with most, if not all, of Cornwell's works, this is well researched and written.

    Unfortunately, this is one of the rare cases where the narrator detracted from the story. I found his cadence disjointed, with frequent pauses in areas that interrupted the flow. Inflection and modulation was also missing, no matter how urgent the action or scene. Maybe it was just me, but I found the audio version hard to listen to.

    My final recommendation: read the book. The book itself is a "must" for fans of the series, but avoid the narration.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • George Carlin Reads to You: An Audio Collection Including Grammy Winners 'Braindroppings' and 'Napalm & Silly Putty'

    • ORIGINAL (7 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By George Carlin
    • Narrated By George Carlin
    Overall
    (1295)
    Performance
    (1168)
    Story
    (1155)

    If one George Carlin audio is funny, then two are funnier and three must be funniest, right? That's our thinking behind this new collection. t's a HighBridge library of laugh-out-loud, award-winning recordings featuring George himself performing many of his best bits.

    Rick says: "Like a Cast of Thousands"
    "Some brilliant moments, but many bad ones..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I wasn't all that familiar with George Carlin before this book, so I wasn't sure what to expect, and I certainly wasn't let down by high expectations. In the end, I didn't find this work all that funny or engaging. There were some very funny and pertinent commentaries that showed a clever brain behind the man, but the in-your-face blustering wore me down.

    It was well read by the author, but his voice enhanced the feeling I had that Mr. Carlin is a curmudgeon. I'm not sure this is a person I'd want to meet in person.

    So, if you like Howard Stern or similar comedians, then you may like this book. For me, I'm just glad I got it on sale.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Polar Star

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Martin Cruz Smith
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (698)
    Performance
    (602)
    Story
    (600)

    Ex-Chief Investigator Arkady Renko is in deep on the “slime line” - the fish-gutting station - in the Polar Star, a Soviet fish factory ship of some 250 souls, almost as many secrets, and a dangerous shipboard sub-culture that cares little for the Party, and less for human life.

    Richard Delman says: "Probably the greatest audiobook ever. Really."
    "Dated yet still engaging"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    With the cold war 20+ years past, this novel is starting to show it's age. Who knows, perhaps with the rise of Putin, we'll see a return to this type of east/west relationships.

    Old school soviet politics aside, this novel was still very entertaining. I haven't read Gorky Park nor seen the movie, but that didn't prevent this novel from being excellent on it's own accord. Frank Mullers deadpan inflection matched the somber "grey" Soviet era atmosphere created in the book, and greatly enhanced the listening experience.

    Of course, as in most thrillers, there are some incredible leaps of logic on behalf of the hero in order to solve the mystery, but these were easily overlooked and is a minor criticism. Only one other complaint, and that is that this author, like so many before, felt the need to write in a "sex scene" for no apparent reason. I'm not a prude and I understand the need for these in some story lines, but in this story it seemed placed specifically for a certain demographic, but not to enhance the story.

    So, if you like a solid thriller/mystery that is outside the standard US major city setting common to most of these stories, give this novel a try. It's worth the credit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Auschwitz Escape

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Joel C. Rosenberg
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (845)
    Performance
    (763)
    Story
    (766)

    A terrible darkness has fallen upon Jacob Weisz’s beloved Germany. The Nazi regime, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, has surged to power and now hold Germany by the throat. All non-Aryans - especially Jews like Jacob and his family - are treated like dogs. When tragedy strikes during one terrible night of violence, Jacob flees and joins rebel forces working to undermine the regime. But after a raid goes horribly wrong, Jacob finds himself in a living nightmare - trapped in a crowded, stinking car on the train to the Auschwitz death camp.

    DebaDeb says: "Amazing, horrifying, and heartwarming!"
    "Hard to remember this is fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book, for the first 90%, was very well written and, as indicated in the title, I had to keep reminding myself that this was fiction. The author did a first rate job of creating a set of characters and describing events and conditions so that the entire story seemed very real.

    My only criticism comes towards the end. It almost seems like the author was rushed to complete the story. There is a contrived coincidence that allows the hero to confront the antagonist and a quick wrap up with an escape across the border. The final few chapters deal with highlighting how insensitive the USA was to the plight of those in the death camps during the war. Not the best ending for what had been one of the best books I have read in quite a while.

    These criticisms are minor, however, when compared with the excellent work that is the majority of the novel. This work was greatly enhanced by the narrator whose inflections and accents were well acted. The cadence could have been a bit faster, but that's likely my personal preference.

    In summary, this book is highly recommended. It paints an excellent picture of life in the death camps of Nazi Germany while keeping the reader engaged from start to finish.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl with All the Gifts

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By M. R. Carey
    • Narrated By Finty Williams
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1769)
    Performance
    (1618)
    Story
    (1621)

    Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her "our little genius". Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

    Megan says: "Worth it, 10x over!"
    "A top pick of the Zombie genre"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Zombies that are sentient! That should scare you. Actually, this book really wasn't that scary. What made it so interesting were the unique concepts in this work. From the origins of the "zombie disease" through to the concept of zombies evolving and being very smart, this book kept you engaged.

    Another interesting aspect of the book was the exploration of human conduct under duress. The comparisons of the monster like actions of the researchers to the innocent demeanour of the zombie children made me cheer on the infected.

    The narrator was very good and enhanced the work. With the majority of the characters being female, the narrator was a perfect match for this book.

    To sum up, this book is very much worth your credit. Even if you aren't a fan of the zombie genre, I think you'll find this book moves beyond the stereotypes associated with the majority of these types of books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Return Man

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By V. M. Zito
    • Narrated By Bernard Clark
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (119)
    Performance
    (111)
    Story
    (114)

    The outbreak tore the US in two. The East remains a safe haven. The West has become a ravaged wilderness, known by survivors as the Evacuated States. It is here that Henry Marco makes his living. Hired by grieving relatives, he tracks down the dead and delivers peace. Now Homeland Security wants Marco for a mission unlike any other: He must return to California, where the apocalypse began. Where a secret is hidden. And where his own tragic past waits to punish him again.

    Mike Naka says: "wtf a zombie assassin? yes, but much more!"
    "Can't believe this isn't a video game!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Yet another Zombie novel. That's OK, because I like the genre when I'm in the mood for some light reading. This one fit the bill nicely.

    This book didn't revolutionize the gene in any way, but it did provide some interesting ideas on post zombie society and how one survivor continued. As with many US stories, I always cringe when the story is exclusively American. Really, an outbreak of this magnitude is contained to the USA and stops at the Mexican and Canadian borders? As I said, it's entertaining, but not brilliant.

    The narration was well done, and enhanced the story. In fact, with the narration making the story a bit better than it ought to be, I couldn't help thinking that taking it one step further and making it into a video game would make the story even better.

    I can recommend this book if you like the zombie genre and aren't expecting too much. It entertained me, but it certainly didn't give me any "wow" moments.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Selfish Gene

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Richard Dawkins
    • Narrated By Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward
    Overall
    (1793)
    Performance
    (1362)
    Story
    (1345)

    Richard Dawkins' brilliant reformulation of the theory of natural selection has the rare distinction of having provoked as much excitement and interest outside the scientific community as within it. His theories have helped change the whole nature of the study of social biology, and have forced thousands to rethink their beliefs about life.

    J. D. May says: "Better than print!"
    "Put your thinking cap on!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First published in 1976, this edition has updates that amplify or correct some of the original work. The author also explains certain challenges to his theory and counters those challenges in his precise fashion.

    I can only recommend this book if you have an interest in the origins of life and are curious as to how the sub-cellular world works. Having this curiosity is all you need, as the author does an excellent job in describing his theories in terms that even a layman like myself can understand.

    I've experienced narration duet of Dawkins and Ward in another work, so I knew what to expect, but the switch between the two very different voices can catch the new comer off guard. I does work though, and doesn't detract from the work at all.

    At 16 hours, this is by no means a quick or easy listen, but it does deliver a lot of information to think upon and does so in an easy to understand and enjoyable format. The introduction, at the end, of the "Extended Phenotype" is an excellent introduction to another of Dawkins' theories, and may wet your appetite for more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Heroes and Legends: The Most Influential Characters of Literature

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Thomas A. Shippey
    Overall
    (363)
    Performance
    (326)
    Story
    (325)

    Odysseus. Robinson Crusoe. Harry Potter. What do these memorable characters have in common? Why do we turn to certain stories again and again? And what impact have they made on world history? These 24 eye-opening lectures give fresh insight into some of the greatest heroes in world literature, from warriors such as Beowulf and Odysseus to unexpected heroes such as Uncle Tom and Sancho Panza. Professor Shippey gives you an inside glimpse into the writer's process.

    SC in SC says: "Outstanding! Myth, Legend & History Come Alive"
    "Worth Investigating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was my first "Great Courses" listen, and it was worth the credit and time. What I did like about it was that, much like a course, you could take it one chapter at a time over a few weeks without feeling like you needed to read on all the time.

    It was fun to look at the characters from the perspectives Prof. Shippley proposed. This brings me to the one recommendation I have, and that is to try this course only if you are reasonably well read in most of the classics presented within. Being closer to the grave than the cradle, I have had the time to have read almost all of the works discussed in the course.

    Prof. Shippley did indeed sound like a Professor. This was a bit disconcerting at first, as he has slightly nasal drawl and an English accent, but this distraction soon passes and enhances the illusion that you are participating in a lecture at school. This may be good or bad, depending on your perspective.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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