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hx

I'm an astronomer. Scifi is all I ever read/watch/listen to. (with the occasional epic fantasy here and there, for diversity :)

Member Since 2010

27
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 17 reviews
  • 184 ratings
  • 394 titles in library
  • 85 purchased in 2014
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  • The Warrior's Tale: The Far Kingdoms, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Allan Cole, Chris Bunch
    • Narrated By Kris Faulkner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    Captain Rali Emilie Antero came from an illustrious family of traders, wizards, and adventurers. But Rali cared little for magic, and even less for journeying. She was a soldier, captain of the elite Maranon Guard, staunch defenders of the majestic city of Orissa. But her family legacy was about to catch up with her.

    hx says: "Horrible narrator"
    "Horrible narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Well, the narration is bothering me so much that I don't know if I can finish the book. The narrator reads with a totally weird rhythm. She hurries through most of a long sentence only to make a totally unnecessary and weird pause in the middle of nowhere. I assume it's because she ran out of breath. Or, she'll start with a weird dramatic pause but the rest of the sentence then shows that all the drama was for naught. Example: "The man [pause pause pause] tipped his hat and spat on the ground". Eh?? Why pause dramatically before a hat tipping???!!!! And then there's weird emphasis on words that don't merit emphasis in a sentence that doesn't merit emphasis either. Example: "I tried [pause] with ALL my might and then a door [pause pause] OPENED in my mind". Ok, a door opened, big deal!! I'm so frustrated with this, it's very exhausting to listen to because the narrator essentially misleads me all the time. I don't know if I'm explaining this very well.

    about the plot, I read reviews by men who complain about how all the men in the book are evil and get slaughtered by the women over and over. Also some guy complained that the sex scenes are gratuitous and intended for lesbians only. I don't understand why he would think that, I'm on hour 6 and there was one dream/memory where the sex was described in exactly 1 single, not overly long sentence. Exactly one, I counted very carefully. Maybe the remaining hours of the book will be filled with meaningless gratuitous lesbian sex, but so far there's no such thing. One thing that is kind of taxing is how often the men's disrespect for the women is described, over and over, it does feel like the authors are trying to bias the reader to sympathize with the women, but it feels a bit overdone because it's very noticeable. I feel like I'm being lectured.

    I give it 3 stars because I'm ignoring the narration. Otherwise the narration would bring this down to 1 star.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Windup Girl

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Paolo Bacigalupi
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3601)
    Performance
    (1982)
    Story
    (1994)

    Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen's Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history's lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko...Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. One of the New People, Emiko is not human; instead, she is an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman.

    Marius says: "Al Gore nightmare meets Blade Runner."
    "Frustrating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What do you think your next listen will be?

    the Empress of Mars. I hope it's much better.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    the narrator reads Very Slowly. Perhaps for dramatic effect, perhaps he was very tired, I don't know. I set the playback speed to 1.5x normal because I just couldn't take it. At 1.5x normal it sounded almost like a normal speed narration. Unbelievably, it was still occasionally too slow.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Meh. The prose is ok, the book is well-written, the author obviously has talent. Otherwise frustrating.


    Any additional comments?

    I don't understand the point of the rape scenes. At least two separate rapes, hours apart in the book. There may be more, I still have 4 hours to the end. Maybe it all ends in one big final bang, just in case we forgot the first two. Anyway, unless you're a sexual sadist the highly detailed rape scenes add nothing to your enjoyment of the book, or to your deeper understanding of the plot. This serves no purpose. What's the point, is it for shock value? That's some feeble imagination if this is the only way you can think to make an impression to an audience.

    And also, if you're raping, rape a male character, why don't you. Mix it up a little, be "brave". That would also be shocking but at least it would be new. And it would add just as much to the plot (in reality just as little) as the public gang rapes of this girl.

    So basically my impression is that this book lost its way with some pointlessly detailed rape scenes and acts of sexual abuse, described in a way which didn't provide a natural concrete target for the reader to channel their outrage. When there's no target provided for your righteous indignation and outrage, that implies that the author doesn't think such a target would be necessary. Perhaps because outrage is not what the reader should/would be feeling at these scenes. However, I have no idea what he expected me to feel instead. Perhaps the idea was simply to frustrate the reader.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Emperor's Blades: Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Brian Staveley
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (1393)
    Performance
    (1306)
    Story
    (1310)

    In The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley, the emperor of Annur is dead, slain by enemies unknown. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. But each of them also has a life-path on which their father set them, destinies entangled with both ancient enemies and inscrutable gods.

    Ethan M. says: "Of the various new fantasy series, this is... fine"
    "finally"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Unquestionably the first good book I've read all year! Interesting plot, lots of twists and turns, wasn't boring, not even once, not even a little bit. Every time the plot was in danger of slowing down or getting tedious, something I didn't expect happened. The characters had emotions that felt raw, powerful and non-trivial. Nice. Very nice. Too bad book 2 is a year away.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Privilege of the Sword

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Ellen Kushner
    • Narrated By Ellen Kushner, Barbara Rosenblat, Felicia Day, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (483)
    Performance
    (439)
    Story
    (442)

    Award-winning author, narrator, and screenwriter Neil Gaiman personally selected this book, and, using the tools of the Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX), cast the narrators and produced this work for his audiobook label, Neil Gaiman Presents. In this exciting new "illuminated production", the author herself reads her own work, supported by a full cast.

    Ann says: "Austen-es​que tale (with swordfight​s!)"
    "I don't get it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I don't get this book. Nothing of interest is happening. People are walking in and out of rooms, opening and closing doors, having endless conversations which lead to nothing interesting. At some point somebody got hurt and a challenge was issued, and I was overjoyed cause *finally* something was happening, something that presented tension and left you wanting to see its resolution. Still, the resolution was very quick, anti-climactic, and uninteresting. The book continued for 4-5 hours after that, with people continuing to walk into rooms, going out, coming back home, waking up with a hangover, and other such mundane crap that doesn't consitute a story.

    I suppose the book is also about the sexual awakening of a teenage girl, but that doesn't exactly top the list of things I find fascinating because teenagers are boring and have trivial thoughts which can teach you nothing if you're not a teenager yourself. This book is full of "ideas" which, if you're over 25, should be familiar to the point of being tedious. Nothing challenges your intellect here, nothing shocks you, nothing surprises you, nothing delights you, nothing takes you out of your comfort zone, nothing leaves a vivid lasting impression in your mind's eye. It's just a collection of sentences, which you've heard a million times before, all stringed together in a way which you've experienced a million times before.

    I'm getting desperate here, I feel like I've read every good scifi or fantasy book in existence.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Words of Radiance: The Stormlight Archive, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (48 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer, Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8335)
    Performance
    (7893)
    Story
    (7922)

    In that first volume, we were introduced to the remarkable world of Roshar, a world both alien and magical, where gigantic hurricane-like storms scour the surface every few days and life has adapted accordingly. Roshar is shared by humans and the enigmatic, humanoid Parshendi, with whom they are at war.

    D says: "Book !!; no let down- "Words of Radieance" shines"
    "Kaladin turned into an unsympathetic racist"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    For most of this book, Kaladin is an arrogant, ignorant, selfish racist. Stubborn to the point of stupidity. He is therefore highly unsympathetic as a character here. I get that that was supposed to be a character development arc, but he stayed an arrogant ignorant racist for too long (more precisely, for 44 out of the 48 hours of the book!!), in spite of numerous evidence that he was wrong. When he finally, and predictably, came to his senses I couldn't grasp WHY he changed his mind, since none of the evidence and the pleading of the various characters had managed to convince him for the duration of the book. I further don't understand why, after having been unworthy for 44 hours, the simple act of him changing his mind instantaneously made him worthy again, and it somehow washed away all the crap he was guilty of for the first 44 hours of the book. I mean, how do the spren know that he won't change his mind again in a day or two? Why trust him instantaneously after he behaved like a moron for almost the entire book? In the Way of Kings I was totally buying it, the bond with the spren made perfect sense because he showed a perseverance, an amazing but believable strength of character, an inherent nobility and goodness. So, of course the honor spren would trust him and bond with him. This second book completely ruined that carefully motivated bond.


    I'm not really interested in reading the continuation of the series. Things just stopped making sense in this book. It's also way too long, but that's subjective and only true because seeing Kaladin descend from being the coolest and favorite character to a character that made me cringe every time he rattled on about lighteyes was actually **painful** and that made the book seem way, way too long.



    Absolutely fantastic performances by Michael Kramer and Kate Reading, as always. These two are simply unbelievable.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Perilous Shield: The Lost Stars, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Jack Campbell
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor
    Overall
    (918)
    Performance
    (852)
    Story
    (852)

    Following a successful coup, the leaders of the rebel Midway Star System struggle to forge a government free enough to please its citizens yet strong enough to secure power. But in a world where former rulers have become new foes, an alien threat to humanity may turn old adversaries into uncertain allies. General Artur Drakon knows three words describe someone who confides in a Syndicate CEO: Stupid. Betrayed. Dead. Despite his misgivings, he partnered with another former CEO to overthrow Syndic forces.

    Joki says: "Still Great!"
    "Great until the last 1 hour"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I started listening to this book literally within a minute of having finished Tarnished Knight, and the transition is not smooth. After having the last book end on a certain note, with a certain situation and a certain conversation taking place, this book begins as if that didn't just happen, as if that conversation never took place and none of the important things were ever said, which felt rather weird. If I had known I would have given myself time to forget the last conversation of Tarnished Knight before stating this book.

    But nevermind that, it's a good, interesting book. It even made me laugh out loud once. I listened to all of it in a day and a half.


    One serious complaint though. There is a twist at the end of this book. A twist that belongs in a soap opera, not *space* opera. It is the very nature of a soap opera that most of the drama in it is due to for example unanswered feelings/inconvenient romance/unfaithfulness/unwanted pregnancy/children outside of wedlock/bla bla bla bla, and that is NOT what I want to read.

    Consequently I absolutely hated the way this book ended. It was further more unnecessary because there were numerous other things that could have served as quite effective cliff-hangers, things that have nothing to do with who slept with whom and why; things that instead deal with what the book was actually about - like fleets, and shipyards, and getting trained personel, and dealing with traitors, and maturing as a leader, and and and - all of this is awesome and is what I bought the book for. So I am very surprised that the author decided to finish with ...this. If this is indicative of things to come, I will not be buying the next book. Damn it, I was enjoying the story thoroughly before that last unfortunate hour. But if there was ever a sudden twist in a story designed to ensure I won't be sticking around for the conclusion, this was it. It was just that stupid.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Martian

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Andy Weir
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10337)
    Performance
    (9836)
    Story
    (9855)

    Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

    Brian says: "Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped"
    "Refreshing!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    The story was simple but fun! Get stranded on Mars and try to survive? Yes, please! I was impressed by how every time you think, well, ok, *now* it will get predictable, the author made some other unexpected disaster occur. It kept the plot interesting, to say the least. And the problems that the hero had to face were actually pretty scary, almost all of them had me thinking that this is it, he can't fix this, it's over. And then I was worried each time that the solution to the problem will turn out to be unbelievable or that a detailed explanation of it will be skipped because the problem is just too big! In other words I was afraid magic will happen :) But it never did, thankfully. The author created big problems, but then managed to solve them in a believable way, step by step. And I couldn't see it coming either, meaning I couldn't guess in advance what the solutions would be.

    Oh and this book is also funny. Not just the main character, but other characters, too, have some fantastic laugh-out-loud thoughts and replies. Though it did make me look deranged in the subway :( and people looked at me funny.

    Narration is good. Narrator reads the funny parts in just the right way to preserve the funny. Even to enhance it.


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

    Actually, I imagine the story in this book most likely describes some of the things the people we'll be sending to Mars in the Mars One project in 2023 will have to deal with. So, those people should read this carefully! Several times! :)


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hellhole

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Brian Herbert, Kevin J Anderson
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (366)
    Performance
    (257)
    Story
    (258)

    Only the most desperate colonists dare to make a new home on Hellhole. Reeling from a recent asteroid impact, tortured with horrific storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and churning volcanic eruptions, the planet is a dumping ground for undesirables, misfits, and charlatans…but also a haven for dreamers and independent pioneers. Against all odds, an exiled general named Adolphus has turned Hellhole into a place of real opportunity for the desperate colonists who call the planet their home.

    Dan says: "Very Good Series Intro"
    "worst book ever"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a very poor effort. I cannot believe it got published, and I wish I had actually *read* some reviews of this book before buying it. Instead I just went with the star rating it has which seemed decently high. I don't understand how the rating can be so high, I gave it one star only because I couldn't give it negative stars, it's *that* bad.

    This book is full of literally stupid characters and so many cliches it's not even funny. The storytelling style is naive and simplistic, as if this was written for children. The characters are flat, uninteresting, stereotypical, completely unbelievable and one dimensional. They're either exaggeratedly good or exaggeratedly bad. Like I said - simplistic. But most of all it's really irritating how incredibly stupid they are. This makes the story incomprehensible at times.

    The narration doesn't help. I will avoid this narrator in the future at all cost. He's horrible. He's whining, melodramatic, and completely inadequate.

    If I could play editor I wouldn't release this book at all. Or at least I'd target a very young audience. This book is below the average adult. I have no problem with the book not having a true ending because there's no way I will subject myself to listening to the rest of this crap. I listened to 3 hours and I can't take it anymore. Enough.

    Save your credit for something else.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Name of the Wind: Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 1

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Patrick Rothfuss
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13170)
    Performance
    (10772)
    Story
    (10895)

    This is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man's search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.

    Joanna says: "Wow!"
    "it was bland"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    well, i thought it was a mediocre book. It is well-written in the sense that every now and then there are some fantastic lines delivered at the right time by the right character. But the female characters are all completely boring and wooden and unreal and did I mention boring?? And you can't have a great male character being madly in love with a boring female character because then there's something wrong with the male character. So, if they're in love they should be equally exciting and fabulous, even when they're on the opposite ends of good and evil. Exciting intoxicating people are attracted to exciting intoxicating people, it doesn't make sense otherwise. That's my biggest problem with this book. Dana was...I can't even remember what she was cause she was so bland and uninteresting.

    I only bought this because somebody reviewed it as "the only other fantasy book this year I enjoyed more than Mistborn". But this book is lightyears away from the quality and depth of story and character development that you have in Mistborn. Maybe if I wasn't expecting Mistborn-quality book I would have enjoyed this more....but nah, not with it being full of boring uninteresting bland female characters.

    Also, I don't know what makes it so, but after 14 hours of listening to this book one still has the feeling that nothing has happened yet. Weird. Many books can be summarized this way, that nothing of great import has really happened, but they are still enjoyable and fun to listen to. Not this book, for some reason. I don't care about it enough to analyze why that is.

    I also had problems with the narrator. I don't understand why half of his voices have to sound Russian. ?? it threw me off, I found it not suitable for a fantasy setting.

    I'm giving it 1 star. I would give it 2 stars if it wasn't for the weird and totally unmotivated presence of so many Russians in this narration.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Lost Fleet: Victorious

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Jack Campbell
    • Narrated By Christian Rummel, Jack Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2996)
    Performance
    (1986)
    Story
    (1999)

    As war continues to rage between the Alliance and Syndicate Worlds, Captain "Black Jack" Geary is promoted to admiral - even though the ruling council fears he may stage a military coup. His new rank gives him the authority to negotiate with the Syndics, who have suffered tremendous losses and may finally be willing to end the war. But an even greater alien threat lurks on the far side of the Syndic occupied space.

    matthew says: "A Great Book From a Great Series"
    "Very nice"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Very nice series, good narration, interesting plot. I recommend this. The very end of the very last book (Victorious) felt a bit rushed but it was still good. I gave it only 3 stars because I wasn't happy with any of the female characters in the books. Dauntless' captain Tanya D. was increasingly unbelievable as a character, too perfect, too holier than thou, and at the end she was essentially continuously disrespecting her commanding officer by yelling at him, lecturing him, speaking to him with sarcasm, etc. I didn't quite understand why that was allowed. So, the female characters were a disappointment, hence -2 stars, but the male characters were fantastic and the plot was superb.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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