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T. Smith

bionicgargoyle

Member Since 2010

4
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 223 ratings
  • 668 titles in library
  • 139 purchased in 2014
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  • The Handmaid's Tale

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By Margaret Atwood
    • Narrated By Claire Danes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4041)
    Performance
    (3648)
    Story
    (3676)

    Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name....

    Emily - Audible says: "My Top Pick for 2012"
    "WTF"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about The Handmaid's Tale?

    The end. It just goes no where. I understand that this is an experiment in three forms of writing, It's a journal, it's a memory and it's an historical find. But the characters were so passive that it was hard to maintain interest. Even when the historians were talking about their discovery of the Handmaid's tapes, they were so passive about their discussion that the whole thing came together as...well, nothing. Some people find this to be great literature, a genius experiment, a test of semiotics and self aware philosophy. Some may say that this an experiment i self and other or that it show's the arbitrariness of self, society, rule and or law, but there still needs to be some sort of completion. Ok, so history has no completion because we were not there and even in memory it's not complete because we only remember parts of what we were there for, I get it. But it's a book. Not reality and it just doesn't carry off the attempt at all of the above things very well to make a cohesive 'story' that most readers want.

    However, of your into the attempted pretension and the 'deeeeep' sociophilosophical stuff and the role of woman/man/society, you will probably enjoy this book greatly.


    What could Margaret Atwood have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Less passive characters. There are certain situations that we have to just live with. Offred is in one of those, but even her moments of defiance, the commanders moments, Nick's moments, they were all just so passive. Also, it was like the character was trying to make the bartering of oneself and of knowledge and of goods in said situation were self tarnishing, as if it were something that made a person less human to do these 'things' for the sake of survival or preservation of sanity. It would have been better had she made Offred acknowledge that she was in a situation that changes the perimeters of self and human and dignity. A lot of authors want to do this exploration of self in a totalitarian or dystopian future, but they forget, the only reason we have dignity and self is that we have the luxury of such ideals during times of peace and or prosperity. Rules change when there is no security. there is a bit of self, like will I kill for food or share with as many as i can that one can keep, but ultimately, body, knowledge and services become commodities.


    Have you listened to any of Claire Danes’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This was my first. She's a good voice for reading.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Handmaid's Tale?

    None, it would have been horrible if what was there was missing anything. It was already disjointed enough.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm not saying don't read this. If you like this type of genre, then by all means, you will love it. The above is just my opinion, my personal dislike of the passivity of the tale itself. Yes, those people exist, those situations exist and no one knows if they will be reactive or proactive until in said situation and there is much to be said about the rule of law and how it can tamp the spirit, but I don't think it works in literature as much as we would like it too, since we all know that in reality, of you're that passive, you dissapear and no one writes a story about you.

    2 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • The Omen Machine: A Richard and Kahlan Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs)
    • By Terry Goodkind
    • Narrated By Sam Tsoutsouvas
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1127)
    Performance
    (989)
    Story
    (994)

    An accident leads to the discovery of a mysterious machine that has rested hidden deep underground for countless millennia. The machine awakens to begin issuing a series of increasingly alarming, if minor, omens. The omens turn out to be astonishingly accurate, and ever more ominous. As Zedd tries to figure out how to destroy the sinister device, the machine issues a cataclysmic omen involving Richard and Kahlan, foretelling an impending event beyond anyone’s ability to stop. As catastrophe approaches, the machine then reveals that it is within its power to withdraw the omen....

    Alan says: "Different"
    "Yes, yes, yes"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was worried that the saga was done and I missed richard and kahlin so very much. At first I was a little lost, I didn't know where Goodkind was taking me, but wow. This is a fantastic new direction and I can't wait to see more!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Third Kingdom: Richard and Kahlan, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Terry Goodkind
    • Narrated By Sam Tsoutsouvas
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (646)
    Performance
    (592)
    Story
    (599)

    "Three knives were buried up to their brass cross guards in the man's chest. Richard recognized the knife handles. All three were the style carried by the men of the First File. He looked from those blades that should have killed the big man, up to his face. That was when he realized the true horror of the situation, and the reason for the unbearable stench of death." Sequel to the #1 New York Times best seller The Omen Machine.

    Nimue says: "Good story, too much rambling"
    "Give me more"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have been a long time Goodkind fan. His characters are never one dimensional and his tales turn into something bigger by the end. This book is a continuation of his world with Richard and Kahlin and I couldn't have been more excited to read more about these heroes. If you haven't read the previous books, start with wizards first rule. I don't think you will be disappointing.

    If you have read the others, then you need to know that the magic rules have changed and it's in an amazing way that takes the whole story forward with new potential. I can't say more, I don't want to ruin the journey, but it's worth it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Eon: Dragoneye Reborn

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Alison Goodman
    • Narrated By Nancy Wu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (467)
    Performance
    (279)
    Story
    (285)

    Twelve-year-old Eon has been training for years. His intensive study of Dragon Magic, based on Oriental astrology, involves two kinds of skills: sword-work and magical aptitude. He and his master hope that he will be chosen as a Dragoneye - an apprentice to one of the 12 energy dragons of good fortune.

    But Eon has a dangerous secret. He is actually Eona, a 16-year-old girl who has been masquerading as a 12-year-old boy for the chance to become a Dragoneye.

    Levi says: "Fun, intriguing and addicting!"
    "Think Mulan, only better."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    the narration of this story was perfect, Nacy Wu has perfect timing and her ability to fluxuate her voice for the characters added depth. That said, she had an excellent story and beautiful writing to work with.

    Alison Goodman uses Eon, a crippled girl disguised as a boy, to bring forth a world of spiritual magic and political intrigue. Eon goes through struggles with personal beliefs, greater good, and the heart. She chases her desire through lies and doing what one has to while trying to form bonds and keep them.

    That's the short of the story. The long is that you just have to read it. I found myself engaged with every character, none of them stereotypical in any way. The book also doesn't rely on magic to carry it through to the end. If anything, magic is like power and money in the real world, a corrupter if sought with no regard to those around you.

    This book is magnificent for young adults, and I would argue that adults and younger children would benefit from some of the deeper emotions and thoughts within, as they read it together. It shows the up and downs to pursing a greater position in life and following your dreams. There is always a struggle and ethics are never black and white. What would you compromise in yourself to get to where you believe you need to be?

    I have also read Eona, and the two book series does not lose momentum, it builds powerfully upon itself. The language within the pages is well turned and paints some beautiful pictures when the dragon eyes bond with their dragons.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Power of Myth: Programs 1-6

    • ORIGINAL (5 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Joseph Campbell, Bill Moyers
    • Narrated By Joseph Campbell, Bill Moyers
    Overall
    (690)
    Performance
    (412)
    Story
    (411)

    An exhilarating journey into the mind and spirit of a remarkable man, a legendary teacher, and a masterful storyteller, conducted by TV journalist Bill Moyers for their acclaimed PBS series.

    Lucas says: "A series that changed my life"
    "For Mythology and Hero lovers"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was first introduced to this guy in a mythology class and I was instantly enthralled. Campbell follows yesterdays myths and points out how much many of our stories are influenced by world mythology today. Specifically he talks about heroes and themes. If you are a superhero fan, he even touches on myths that influenced characters like superman.

    The format is that of an interview, where Campbell is asked questions that lead deeper and deeper into discussion. The six parts build on the information of the previous, but the information isn't and overload to the beginners mind.

    I highly recommend this listen for anyone who has ever wondered, 'Hey, I wonder how people come up with these ideas.' It's fascinating to trace the influence on The Lord of the Rings and the graphic novel hero.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dying Bites: Bloodhound Files, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By D. D. Barant
    • Narrated By Johanna Parker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (266)
    Performance
    (232)
    Story
    (232)

    Her job description is the "tracking and apprehension of mentally-fractured killers". What this really means in FBI profiler Jace Valchek's brave new world - one in which only one percent of the population is human - is that a woman's work is never done. And real is getting stranger every day. Jace has been ripped from her reality by David Cassius, the vampire head of the NSA. He knows that she's the best there is in the business, and David needs her help in solving a series of gruesome murders of vampires and werewolves.

    K says: "Not a yawner!"
    "Brilliant Surprise"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was just looking for something light to take a break from the length of finishing Dune before I started Messiah. Ooops, I stumbled on to a series I can't stop listening to. In a parallel world, one of our own gets sucked into a land of Pires and Thropes and their inability to deal with the concept of serial killer/criminally insane perps. Barant is obviously very educated, or at the very least extraordinarily well read, and it shows in the development of her plots, her use of pulp fiction, her references to modern pop culture and the variety of characters she makes from classic horror fiction. Just when I thought I couldn't be delighted more, what with my inner nerd hopping and pointing at every reference I understood, I started listening to the second book. BOOM, she impressed me again with her intimate knowledge of the comic book world. Not just with the heroes and villains, but with the culture and the artists!

    She uses this alternate world of hers to take Jace (I think that's the spelling) and make an Heroin that is part stephanie plumb, part buffy sass, part dick tracy (or name your favorite dick), part lois lane (tenacity) all seasoned with some John McLaIn attitude. I'm sure there are other attributes in there, but Jace is a truly fun character.

    If you are a nerd, even a little one, you will love this series. If you like strong female characters, take a listen. If you like fantasy, alternate worlds, the non traditional use of the familiar and laughing, i recommend this series. Barant weaves these characters with extreme skill and presents information about the world with excellent narration.

    Go, spend a credit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Reckoning: Indian Hill, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Mark Tufo
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    Overall
    (755)
    Performance
    (711)
    Story
    (713)

    After escaping from the Progerian Alien vessel, Michael Talbot is now given the opportunity to hide in obscurity with the rest of the human race or rise to the occasion and once again find himself immersed in a battle that he wants nothing to do with.Mike goes home and while reconnecting with a family that believed him dead he decides to join whatever resistance force can be mustered to repel the oncoming invasion.

    Professor says: "Not as good as first book"
    "Just plain fun"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Reckoning the most enjoyable?

    I've read or listened to almost all of Marc Tufo's stuff, having more Mike Talbot, who is just a great character, is absolutely fantastic.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Mike Talbot. He's got a great wit. He's strong. He thinks beyond himself even while he's broken and in pain. In these books, he is kinda like a super hero, standing up against the aliens and those who chose to use the situation to bring out their worst. In the grans scheme, it really is the adverse moments that show humanity, not the perfect peace times.


    Have you listened to any of Sean Runnette’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Sean is consistent. His voice is great and his capturing of characters is inspired.


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

    Aliens, welcome to earth. Aliens, Meet Mike Talbot.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Dwarves

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Markus Heitz
    • Narrated By Matthew Wolf
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (230)
    Performance
    (210)
    Story
    (211)

    For countless millennia, the dwarves of the Fifthling Kingdom have defended the stone gateway into Girdlegard. Many and varied foes have hurled themselves against the portal and died attempting to breach it. No man or beast has ever succeeded. Until now... Abandoned as a child, Tungdil the blacksmith labors contentedly in the Kingdom of Fifthling the only dwarf in a kingdom of men. Although he does not want for friends, Tungdil is very much aware that he is alone - indeed, he has not so much as set eyes on another dwarf. But all that is about to change.

    Adnan says: "There and back again, a dwarve's tail"
    "Mind blown."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Dwarves rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This book moved to the top of my list due to a performance that was simply fantastic due to the writing. The narrator was great at the voices and gave the character each their own, but the writing made each character easily distinguishable and unique to each other as well as being refreshing in the land of fantasy with many Dwarven forefathers. I couldn't stop listening to this book because I didn't want to say g'night to them!


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

    I want to compare it to dragonlance as far as memorable characters, but as far as story, I think this book just blew Dragonlance away. I still love Tanis and Tas, but they seem like hand puppets in comparison to the richly made characters in this book. It's not that the story lines are different, it's a quest and there's companions ect...just, the details captured in each personality made me visualized being the fly on the wall along with them. I feel that this tops even the LOR trilogy.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    There are so many, but I loved the play within the novel. It was a brilliant way for heitz to tell us why the wizard has turned like a worm in an apple. It's rich detail allowed for a moment of doubt in the reader. At that point, I knew I didn't know exactly where the story was going. Which, with my voracious reading list, is saying a lot.


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

    No crying...yet, this is just the first book. It looks like audible doesn't have the next one yet :( but I laughed like a loon many times. The humor in here is excellent. And each character had his/her own sense of humor, rather than the group sharing all the same tastes or one being a hater of the joviality. There are times that the characters have to take a moment out figure out why something may be funny. It's great because it makes it all the more funny as you, the reader, get it before the character. I felt like I was around the campfire or in the tavern with them haha


    Any additional comments?

    It's a long book and worth every minute. If you like epic fantasy, you will enjoy this. I liked the Game of Thrones, but it didn't make me laugh as much as this. I like the LOR, but it didn't make me feel the epic character development this one did. I LOVE the stone of tears, but I have to admit that this was richer. Give it a shot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Richard Paul Evans
    • Narrated By Fred Berman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (936)
    Performance
    (812)
    Story
    (811)

    To everyone at Meridian High School, Michael Vey is an ordinary 14-year-old. In fact, the only thing that seems to set him apart is the fact that he has Tourette's syndrome. But Michael is anything but ordinary. Michael has special powers. Electric powers....

    Kraig says: "Your never too old to enjoy a good story"
    "Hunger games + Percy Jackson with a twist of X-men"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25?

    Every character in this story, including the bad guys was well developed, highly visual and amazingly independent of each other's descriptions. Often in YA when there are many characters, some of them are interchangeable and their voices are weak. Not so here. As the narrator, not very versed at multiple voices, spoke for each character, it was clear who each was.

    I also loved that the characters stayed true, or found the truth in the face of loyalty, integrity and teamwork. This book really plays on those themes and not in a cheesy or forceful way. the way Michael interacts with bullies, with not powered and the way he holds true to his own beliefs despite torture is amazing. While the story is not traumatizing for YA readers, it is very clear that there is a role model in Michael for those who may be bullied in real life.

    and it's not just Michael. His friends are amazing. I love Austin. He's so funny and geeky and absolutely indispensable to Michael and Taylor. I really can't wait for the next book. Imagine my joy when I found out it was only a month away!


    What did you like best about this story?

    The language matched the premise and the characters were consistent as was the story line. That's hard to fins in YA sometimes. For example, Hunger games was a great premise and had several interesting characters, but the language and sequences did not match the premise of children being forced to kill each other for the glory of their district. It was mold and not quite believable. I think it was one of the few times the movie did a better job than the book. With Michael vay, I hope they make a movie, but I fear they can do it justice.


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

    In a time when loyalty is shocking, meet Michael Vey. (lame, but jeeze, you sprung this on me :)


    Any additional comments?

    if you liked percy jackson., you will like this book. If you didn't like percy jackson, you will like this book. If you like hunger games, you will like this book. If you like the x-me, you will like this book. If you liked the Maximum ride books, you will like this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Zombie Fallout 5: Alive in a Dead World

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Mark Tufo
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    Overall
    (1579)
    Performance
    (1483)
    Story
    (1488)

    In the latest installment of Mark Tufo's zombie fallout series, Mike Talbot and his family continue their fight for survival as Eliza plots their demise.

    Teddy says: "Feels like Tufo was Stalling"
    "Had to pause often to share the laughter"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Zombie Fallout 5 to be better than the print version?

    Yes. Sean Runnette gives good character.


    What other book might you compare Zombie Fallout 5 to and why?

    One for the Money, because of the main characters sense of humor and ability to waft through trouble that he gets into and having a strong moral compass to help him along the way. The two premises are completely different, but it's the ability for a human being to find humor in every day life, easy or tough that makes them dynamic.


    Which character – as performed by Sean Runnette – was your favorite?

    MIke talbit, the main character, but honestly, he gives such good character that you can't confuse them. And his voice is alluring in his story telling.


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

    Go ahead, eat my face. You can't stop my laugh.


    Any additional comments?

    There is too much drama in most Zombie Apocalypse books. I just don't buy, as a reader, that anyone trying to survive doesn't have the time to find the humor in the dead consuming the living. I mean, there will be body parts every where and after awhile you just have to make the jokes. The walking dead is great, but too serious. Laugh. Humans last defense in any given situation is hope, and humor is a significant signifier of hope. I love that this book realizes it's genre and incorporates a little of the spoof humor the genre can bring, like mentioning Sean of the Dead. favorite line; "Some ass hole is licking my peep hole" as he looks out the peep hole to see who's on his porch. This book made me laugh so hard I'd have to pause to share the great scene\line with co-workers and friends. It's awesome.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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