This is a book I would have never listened to or read if Neil Gaiman hadn't recommended it. I am a big science fiction and fantasy fan but still had never heard of Pavane. And reading the descriptions here in Audible and on Amazon didn't really pull me in. But I tried it based on Neil's recommendation.
For the first 10 minutes I thought I had made a mistake. A few days later I came back, tried again from the beginning, and was hooked. I'm a big fan of the alternate history genre and this is not your usual alternate history novel. But in this case that is a very good thing.
My first real science fiction reading just happened to be 70's English "New Wave" like Michael Moorcock, Brian Aldiss and J.G. Ballard. Pavane reminds me a lot of the best New Wave writing I remember from my youth.
Not for everybody but fantastic for those who can appreciate it.
I thought book 3 of the series had to be the end so finding a book 4 available really surprised me. I took a quick look at some the reviews and decided to take a chance. "The Secret of Abdu El Yezdi" turned out to be my second favorite of the series (I think the first was the best overall despite some "first novel" glitches). I've always liked variations on a theme and the author was able to spin out some great ones in this book. His writing technique has improved over the years and but his ability to weave alternate history (alternate histories of alternate histories?) with steampunk remains as fresh as ever.
The narration also remained strong. I am a picky listener when it comes of hokey or overblown accents so I appreciate Gerald Doyle's expertise with them.
I would have preferred a reading of the story instead of the attempt to use various accents.
The worse by far were the chapters with the surviving free miners wives. I think the reader in this section was trying for a Academy Award for "Best 'R" Rolling". Since one of the characters was named Reina (Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreina) I almost gave up listening at this point. I understand what the narrators were trying to do, but it was too often overdone and took me out of the story.
Other than the narration, I enjoyed the story. Since the prequel series started last year, I've been going back and re-reading the original novels. And I can recommend the Audible version of "Ender's Game"
This book was on my wish list for quite a while. I was fascinated by the concept, but am not a Wil Wheaton fan at all based on his Star Trek persona. But I finished the "Old Man's War" series and I needed a new fix of Scalzi, so decided to buy "Redshirts". And am glad I did.
The concept of the story plays off the original Star Trek episodes where semi-anonymous Ensigns, wearing red shirts, were killed off while on away missions. I won't go into details so I don't ruin the surprises, but Scalzi does a great job translating this idea to an universe where this is a fact of life for a group of junior officers on a space vessel. I did wonder if he would be able to sustain the premise for an entire book and am happy to report that he could.
I also noticed that the author included three codas to the end of the books. At first, I feared they would be "alternate endings" but turned out to be enhancements to the main story.
And as much as I didn't like Wil Wheaton as Ensign Crusher (the character should have been given a red shirt and sent on a away mission early in the series), I have to admit he did a great job. Based on this performance, I went on to also purchase "Fuzzy Nation" by the same performer/author.
I joined the Game of Thrones bandwagon late after Season 1 was already available on iTunes and Season 2 was in progress, but was instantly hooked. After watching seasons 1 & 2 I wanted to read or listen to the original novels. Due to my work schedule at the time, I decided to try out the audible book version.
Although I am a Roy Dotrice fan going back to his performance in Amadeus, I couldn't connect with his reading of this book. His voice sounded far too "plummy" to me and made it hard for me to keep in the story. I found my self wishing he read it in his Leopard Mozart voice. It's a matter of taste I suppose, but after this experience I went and bought the print books to complete the series.
The original Audible version of "American Gods" was one of my first purchases in my Audible account. I loved the original and it got me addicted to Neil Gaiman. So when I saw the 10th Anniversary full cast production I was very hesitant to buy it since the original was so good. But I'm glad I bought it.
Some reviewers mention that they don't like full cast versions. I'll admit I don't usually get full cast Audible books which is probably strange since in high school and college I often listened to recordings of old classic radio dramatizations. But I decided to give it a try.
It turned out that I enjoyed this version as much as I did the original and the written book. The casting worked for me and I devoured this recording far too quickly.
Since the early 80's I've read every Stephen King novel as soon as it came out. Which means I waited a long time to get through the main Dark Tower series. But while I was happy to hear that a new novel would be coming out, I was worried it would be the "Godfather 3" of the series. Fortunately, I think the new novel fit right into the overall series and I was happy Mr. King decided to revisit his old stomping grounds.
Unlike many of the reviewers, I didn't find his narration to be all that bad. Stephen King is definitely not a professional level actor - he has proven that multiple times - but I thought he did an adequate job in this case.
A Canticle for Leibowitz has been a favorite for years. I started reading science fiction in the late sixties and this was one of the earliest ones I read. My adult son recently read this and I was going to read it again so we could discuss. Before I could read it, I saw a recommendation for the Audible book version and decided to give it a try. And was glad I did. The narrator an outstanding job bringing the novel to life.
I enjoyed this so much that I listened to it in only a couple of days. Guess I need to find a longer Audible book to listen to so my choice lasts until my next credit arrives.
It's rare that I laugh out loud to audio books, but "Year Zero" caused me to several times. But I've worked in the IT business for the last 14 years so I'm probably the target audience for this book.
I'm reluctant to discuss most of my favorite parts since I don't want to publish spoilers, but will mention that I loved the return of Clippy. I spent a lot of time early in my IT career helping end users get rid of him, so it was great to see Clippy make an appearance in the book.
John Hodgman was the perfect choice to narrate and did an outstanding job. I'm glad I took a chance on this audio book.
I've now listened to all three books in the Burton and Swinburne series. To me, this was the weakest story of the three. The narration was the same excellent quality as the others, and the author did smooth out some of his "first novel" rough spots. But the overall story was not as interesting as the other two. The storyline was necessary to transition from the first book to the third, but that doesn't necessarily make it interesting.
I started to listen to this one right after I bought it, and just couldn't get hooked. I've read several Murakami novels before and knew going it it might be one of those books that is better to read than to listen to. So after listening to about an hour of it I went on to other very good Audible books.
So several months later I was out of credits and had read everything else, so decided to give 1Q84 a second chance. And really glad I did. This time the hook set and I fell in love with the story. And with the multiple narrators.
The book chapters are broken to be from the perspective of different characters after a while you can directly relate the character to the narrator. Works fantastically with a complex novel like this. But it did lead to the only very minor complaint I had. There is a TV tax collector character in the story that originally fell into the story line of the main female character. The narrator did such a convincing job of acting the collector's lines that when the tax collector showed up in another characters storyline and narrator, I found it disappointing. But given the structure of the novel and the narration scheme, it really couldn't be avoided I guess.
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