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mike

Member Since 2007

38
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 12 reviews
  • 72 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 26 purchased in 2014
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  • The Spirit Lens: A Novel of the Collegia Magica

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Carol Berg
    • Narrated By David DeVries
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (226)
    Performance
    (199)
    Story
    (202)

    For Portier de Savin-Duplais, failed student of magic, sorcery's decline into ambiguity and cheap illusion is but a culmination of life's bitter disappointments. Reduced to tending the library at Sabria's last collegia magica, he fights off despair with scholarship. But when the king of Sabria charges him to investigate an attempted murder that has disturbing magical resonances, Portier believes his dreams of a greater destiny might at last be fulfilled.

    mike says: "First Rate"
    "First Rate"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is basically a police procedural placed in a world - filled with magic - that somewhat resembles Renaissance France. It does take a bit to get to the main plot line, but Berg's world building is as good as it gets. This is a literate and finely crafted tale, peopled with intriguing characters who are as fully realized as any I've come across.

    To top it off, Mr. DeVries offers us an excellent narration. Bravo!

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • To Sail a Darkling Sea: Black Tide Rising, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By John Ringo
    • Narrated By Tristan Morris
    Overall
    (112)
    Performance
    (109)
    Story
    (109)

    With human civilization annihilated by a biological zombie plague, a ragtag fleet of yachts and freighters known as Wolf Squadron scours the Atlantic, searching for survivors. Within every abandoned liner and carrier lurks a potential horde, safety can never be taken for granted, and death and turning into one of the enemy is only a moment away. Yet every ship and town holds the flickering hope of survivors. One and two from lifeboats, a dozen from a fishing village, a few hundred wrenched by fury and fire from a ship that once housed thousands....

    Charles says: "refreshing take on the post apocalyptic world"
    "More like an annotated history than a novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about To Sail a Darkling Sea?

    The character of Faith Smith (Shewolf). She was funny and capable, not that she was a comic, but that her uncensored remarks and reactions were the high point of the story.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Eh.


    What about Tristan Morris’s performance did you like?

    Good job with voices and pacing. I enjoyed the narration.


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

    Frustration. Characters were brought in, like Rusty, then mostly ignored. There was no one main character. The story didn't feature a challenging obstacle, other than the overall hopelessness of a few people trying to save themselves and the world. That's less of a problem in the book than it would seem. Each challenge was taken in stride. There was no fighting to a climax. Success piled on success. Problems were presented as no more than routine matters. Without a main character, a main character arc couldn't show up.


    Any additional comments?

    This seemed more like a series of snapshots than a dramatic narrative.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The First Casualty: Jump Universe, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Mike Shepherd
    • Narrated By Michael McConnahie
    Overall
    (119)
    Performance
    (108)
    Story
    (110)

    Asteroid miner Mary Rodrigo and freighter owner Mattim Abeeb are green draftees of the Society of Humanity, forced to fight for Earth - a planet they’ve never even seen. Major Ray Longknife and his lover, Senior Pilot Rita Nuu, are career soldiers, invested with the cause of the Unity Party - and its ambitious new president. These four soldiers on opposing sides of the battle are about to discover the true nature of this terrible war: a quest for profit - from the high command of both sides. What they will risk is nothing less than their lives. For although truth may be the first casualty of war, it’s not going to be the last….

    john says: "It took me 2 times to start this book"
    "Good military SF"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I enjoyed the story after I got over the narrator.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The First Casualty?

    First battle.


    What aspect of Michael McConnahie’s performance would you have changed?

    He read like an AM radio announcer, overly modulated and didn't differentiate the characters well.


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

    No. I found the reader annoying and had to break up the listening until I got used to his reading.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Human Division

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (476)
    Performance
    (428)
    Story
    (436)

    The people of Earth now know that the human Colonial Union has kept them ignorant of the dangerous universe around them. For generations the CU had defended humanity against hostile aliens, deliberately keeping Earth an ignorant backwater and a source of military recruits. Now the CU’s secrets are known to all. Other alien races have come on the scene and formed a new alliance - an alliance against the Colonial Union. And they’ve invited the people of Earth to join them. For a shaken and betrayed Earth, the choice isn't obvious or easy.

    linda says: "A Middling Position"
    "Dissapointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Human Division in three words, what would they be?

    A TV show.


    Would you recommend The Human Division to your friends? Why or why not?

    Probably not. See below for why.


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

    Mr. Dufris is a competent and consistent narrator. He does a good job with Human Division.


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

    No


    Any additional comments?

    I loved Scalzi's Old Man's War and the next two books in the series. I laughed at Agent to the Stars. I'm having a hard time finishing this story. I've met the primary character before. He's the same sarcastic, wise cracking guy we saw in Agent to the Stars, Red Shirts and Fuzzy Nation. The name has been changed, but not the voice. I want new characters in a new book.

    A small but irritating point is that Scalzi almost never omits the "he said - she said" after dialog. This intrudes into the narration. Wilson said. Schmitt said. Wilson said. Schmitt said. Wilson said. Schmitt said. Wilson said. Schmitt said. Wilson said. Schmitt said. That works fine for written work, but with more and more books getting made into audiobooks there should be a class for writers that brings home the point that not every utterance needs a he said after it to keep the conversation clear.

    Another minor point is that this, strictly speaking, isn't a novel. It reads like a series of TV shows that loosely revolves around a theme and cast. Honestly, it isn't working to hold my interest, and I've read or listened to every novel that Scalzi has had published.

    12 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Honor Among Enemies: Honor Harrington, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By David Weber
    • Narrated By Allyson Johnson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (856)
    Performance
    (599)
    Story
    (607)

    Despite political foes, professional jealousies, and the scandal which drove her into exile, Capt. Honor Harrington has been offered a chance to reclaim her career as an officer of the Royal Manticoran Navy. But there's a catch. She must assume command of a "squadron" of jury-rigged armed merchantmen with crew drawn from the dregs of her service and somehow stop the pirates who have taken advantage of the Havenite War to plunder the Star Kingdom's commerce.

    Readalot says: "I like honorable heroes!"
    "Dependable Harrington fare"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Honor Among Enemies rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Above average.


    Any additional comments?

    This is the third book that ends with Harrington winning the day in personal combat. The plot device is a bit old by now.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Midnight Riot: Peter Grant, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Ben Aaronovitch
    • Narrated By Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (963)
    Performance
    (867)
    Story
    (869)

    Probationary constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London's Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he'll face is a paper cut. But Peter's prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter's ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale....

    Nancy J says: "I LOVE this Book!"
    "Decent urban fantasy debut"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's nice to find a competently written urban fantasy that isn't paranormal romance. Sorry, I have the wrong chromosomes to appreciate that kind of stuff.

    We get a combination of wizard apprentice story combined with police procedural. It pretty much works. The main character has a well fleshed out personality and the supporting cast are good also. Plotting is a little uneven but competent. Street level London is wonderfully diverse and ethnic. So are some of the supernatural characters. Good job.

    The narration is competent. The narrator does a mostly good job.His ethnic voices are the best part of his performance. He does tend to run his sentences in a predictable pattern with not a lot of inflection, ending on a lower note and somewhat drawing out the last syllable. It's a minor point but does draw my attention at times from the story to the narration. It's not enough to keep me from enjoying the audiobook.

    I assume that this will be the first in a series. I hope so.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lost Things: The Order of the Air

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Melissa Scott, Jo Graham
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    In 1929 archeologists began draining Lake Nemi in search of the mysterious ships that have been glimpsed beneath its waters since the reign of Claudius. What they awakened had been drowned for two thousand years. For a very good reason. Veteran aviator Lewis Segura has been drifting since the Great War ended, fetched up at last at the small company run by fellow veterans and pilots Alma Gilchrist and Mitchell Sorley, assisted by their old friend Dr. Jerry Ballard, an archeologist who lost his career when he lost part of his leg.

    Sires says: "1929 Set Historical Fantasy with Good Narrator"
    "Okay but a bit flat"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was thrilled to see a new Melissa Scott book out and ordered it immediately. I had a hard time getting through the story. The premise is good: a lodge of magicians in 1929 needs to stop an evil spirit. Historical detail seems okay and the story takes includes a lot of stuff about the old airplanes, which I have an interest in. The plot follows a decent arc to a tense confrontation and has enough action throughout the story to keep things moving.

    My problem is with the characters. There are four protagonists. The point of view switches between them, but there's little to differentiate the voices, let alone the characters. It's as if we have one person broken into separate pieces and whomever is convenient comes to the front. That makes the story flat.

    The narration is adequate, but to carry the book it needed to differentiate the characters more. That wasn't there. The narrator doesn't do accents well and there is no different pacing for the different voices. Also, he would at times get into repetitive lilts when the sentences were of equal lengths. I blame this more on the writing than the narrator. Still, it was at times an intrusion into the story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Wake of the Bloody Angel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Alex Bledsoe
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (40)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (35)

    Twenty years ago, a barmaid in a harbor town fell for a young sailor who turned pirate to make his fortune. But what truly became of Black Edward Tew remains a mystery, one that has just fallen into the lap of freelance sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse. For years, Eddie has kept his office above Angelina’s tavern, so when Angelina herself asks him to find out what happened to the dashing pirate who stole her heart years ago, he can hardly say no—even though the trail is two decades old. Some say Black Edward and his ship, The Bloody Angel, went to bottom of the sea, taking with it a king’s ransom in treasure.

    Mark says: "A grand Pirate Adventure, and a bit with a dog!"
    "Goes beyond its initial gimmick."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Before listening or reading this book, do yourself a favor and listen to the song, "Brandy," by Looking Glass. It's on YouTube but worth buying a copy. Since the song came out in '72, many of you may not have heard it, even though it was the number one song of the year.

    Anyway, Eddie's client is the Brandy from the song. It sounds cheesy but it works. This isn't like Red Shirts where the gimmick is the whole story. Bledsoe makes this book as good as any in the series, which means that it's way above average. There's the mystery, some fighting and a couple of old favorite characters. Definitely worth it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Spirit Ring

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Lois McMaster Bujold
    • Narrated By Jessica Almasy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (155)
    Performance
    (129)
    Story
    (134)

    Fiametta Beneforte dreamed of making beautiful and enchanted objets d'art, but alas her magician-goldsmith father was more likely to have her scrub the kiln than study magic. After all, it was a waste to train a mere daughter beyond the needs of the moment.... Thur Ochs dreamed of escaping the icy mines of Bruinwald. But the letter from his brother Uri arranging his apprenticeship to Master Beneforte was not the only force that drew him over the mountains to the Duchy of Montefoglia.

    Becca says: "On the whole, a disappointment"
    "Nice enough story. Didn't care for the narrator."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Yes, this is early Bujold, but she still shows the talent that has made her one of the best SF/fantasy authors writing today. The story moves quickly and the characters seem like real people. The latter is rare in the genre.

    The narrator has a nasal and high pitched voice, which I never got used to. She's skilled enough, but is someone I'll avoid unless I really want to listen to a novel.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Soul Mirror: A Novel of the Collegia Magica

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Carol Berg
    • Narrated By Angele Masters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (107)
    Performance
    (103)
    Story
    (102)

    With no magic talent of her own, Anne de Vernase must take on her sister's magical legacy to unravel the secrets behind the dark sorcery besieging the royal city of Merona-and to uncover the truth behind her sister's death. For Portier de Savin-Duplais, failed student of magic, sorcery's decline into ambiguity and cheap illusion is but a culmination of life's bitter disappointments.

    Karen says: "Excellent Story!"
    "Stunningly Good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Complex with some of the most fully realized characters I've encountered in years. The world building is beyond first rate. This is one of the best fantasies that I've ever read/listened to, and it's beautifully narrated. The climax left me breathless. It you like well plotted, character driven novels, treat yourself to this one. Pass if you need testosterone driven action in every scene.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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