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Stephanie

Patterson, CA, United States | Member Since 2012

17
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 18 reviews
  • 49 ratings
  • 205 titles in library
  • 11 purchased in 2015
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  • Mort: Discworld #4

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Terry Pratchett
    • Narrated By Nigel Planer
    Overall
    (1595)
    Performance
    (829)
    Story
    (831)

    Jonas says: "Best so far"
    "A return to Pratchett's wit!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Death is one of my favorite characters in the Discworld series. He is second only to The Luggage. I have discovered that the reason for this is that these characters, especially The Luggage without his own dialogue or facial expressions, require Pratchett to be more creative and bring out the best in his wit. "Mort" is all about Death. And his apprentice, of course.

    Maybe I was coming off the hangover from suffering through "Equal Rites," causing me to laugh at anything remotely funny, or that was better than the third installation of the Discworld series --- but, geez was "Mort" funny! You are greeted with old characters: Death, Isabelle, and even Rincewind at one point, and new ones: Mort, Albert, the princess, and Cutwell.

    Without going into much detail, Mort becomes Death's apprentice and hilarity ensues. The young Mort struggles with suddenly being thrust into Death's "There is no justice, there is just me" world and his mistakes have grave consequences for the Discworld and for Death.

    I most enjoyed reading (hearing?) about Death's escapades while Mort took over the Deathly duties. Death desperately wanted a break from "Death-ing" and Pratchett's descriptions of Death's interactions with the world at large are unrivaled.

    If you enjoy lighthearted hilarity mixed with a strong morbid theme, combined with Pratchett's signature wit, you will love this next installment of the Discworld series. And thankfully, Nigel Planer has returned to guide us through this world in a way that only he can.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Autumn Republic

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Brian McClellan
    • Narrated By Christian Rodska
    Overall
    (517)
    Performance
    (457)
    Story
    (455)

    Field Marshal Tamas returns to his beloved country to find that for the first time in history, the capital city of Adro lies in the hands of a foreign invader. His son is missing, his allies are indistinguishable from his foes, and reinforcements are several weeks away.

    Hassan says: "Fantastic Trilogy!!!"
    "Enjoyable conclusion to an intriguing trilogy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First off, I made the mistake of not re-reading the first and second books in the Powder Mage trilogy before starting this one. I highly recommend doing that as there are so many sub-plots that are explored and completed in this book, and I think I would have enjoyed them all more if they had been fresh in my mind.

    Although not as fast-paced as the first book of the trilogy, and not as intriguing in terms of character development as the second, Autumn Republic does a fine job of rounding out a very solid trilogy. The whole trilogy is firmly rooted in the tradition of "swords and sorcery" fantasy, but it is one of the few that my brain can always distinguish from the numerous other trilogies I am constantly listening to. The reason is the unique, three-pronged magic system. Interestingly, the magic system is what made me hesitate to pick up the series, but I am so glad I did.

    The reason I docked one star for Autumn Republic was the sometimes anti-climactic endings to story arcs, when the build-up was solid and left me as a reader expecting a lot more. Nothing was bad, or disappointing, but sometimes just a little lackluster compared to what I've come to enjoy about McClellan's unique writing style and story development.

    The final point to make about this trilogy, including Autumn Republic, is the strength of McClellan's female characters. Too often in Sci-Fi/Fantasy, the women are desperate, token presences that either whine too much, or are just there to look pretty. If a writer does include a strong female character, then there is (a) only one of them; and (b) WAY too much emphasis on her, as if the writer is saying, "hey, look at me, I can write a strong female figure!" and thus distracting from what becomes an artificial storyline.
    Anyway, normally I wouldn't bring this up, as it usually bothers me when people distract from the plot of a story by focusing on the genders of the characters, but I think it deserves mentioning how well McClellan writes his characters as equals, regardless of gender. Exceptions exist, but they tend to prove the rule. This equality didn't jump out at me until Autumn Republic, likely because I have listened to so many other books since the 2nd installment of this trilogy, and was struck by the contrast. Bravo, Brian McClellan.

    All in all, a well-rounded trilogy, topped off by a very enjoyable third installment that has left me wishing I had a couple more books to listen to with the same characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Scott Lynch
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4444)
    Performance
    (3630)
    Story
    (3632)

    An orphan's life is harsh---and often short---in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains---a man who is neither blind nor a priest. A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected "family" of orphans---a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards.

    Luke A. Reynolds says: "Stupendous, but be warned."
    "Clever, witty, intelligent, and riveting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's hard to call this sci-fi/fantasy. Sure, a lot of the familiar elements of the classic swords and sorcery stories are there. But this is so, so much more. It is a clever drama with rogue characters who endear themselves to the reader immediately. This is brilliantly written - and the cons are as intriguing as they are entertaining. I enjoyed the twists and turns and surprises as the story unfolded. I enjoyed the interludes (and intersects in later novels). I reveled in the way that Lynch built the tale out of small building blocks - a technique he applies throughout the subsequent novels, rewarding the reader for sticking with the characters and unveiling little secrets and mysteries as the tale is woven.

    Some of the character development reminded me of Dodger by Terry Pratchett. But without the "young adult" gentleness that Pratchett used (and naturally without any of the "historical fiction" aspect). But the characters are just as smartly written and at least as likable.

    The writing is gritty, unforgiving, and makes no apologies for cursing and crudeness. It is reminiscent of Joe Abercrombie without being as self-indulgent. The irreverence always served a purpose and never came across as excessive or unnecessary. The characters have all been written with a sharp, cynical sense of humor that makes the choice of language simply fit.

    The narration is wonderful - though there is occasional overlap in the voices used and I found that if I didn't listen closely I sometimes lost track. Lynch writes cleverly, respecting the intelligence of his readers, so there isn't a lot of "Locke said; Jean said; etc." He assumes the reader can follow the conversations and dialogue based solely on the reader's knowledge of the characters. And he writes perfectly for it. But as an audiobook, it requires a little bit more of an attention span than many other novels.

    I wish I could read this book for the first time again. It was rewarding and enriching and truly, brilliantly entertaining.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Republic of Thieves: Gentleman Bastard Series, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Scott Lynch
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2096)
    Performance
    (1923)
    Story
    (1933)

    After their adventures on the high seas, Locke and Jean are brought back to earth with a thump. Jean is mourning the loss of his lover, and Locke must live with the fallout of crossing the all-powerful magical assassins the Bonds Magi. It is a fall-out that will pit both men against Locke's own long-lost love. Sabetha is Locke's childhood sweetheart, the love of Locke's life, and now it is time for them to meet again. Employed on different sides of a vicious dispute between factions of the Bonds, Sabetha has just one goal-to destroy Locke forever.

    David says: "A transition and a preface"
    "A great follow-up, but not the best of the three"
    Overall
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    Story

    When I started listening to this third installment of the Gentleman Bastard sequence, I realized for the first time how cleverly seamless these stories are. They are truly a single tale, divided into separate novels. They flow effortlessly from one to the next and Lynch does a great job of repeating as little as possible from past novels, a great respect to his veteran readers.

    I fell in love with Locke Lamora and the Gentleman Bastards in the first tale, and that hasn't changed through this novel. I can hardly wait for the next one (and was relieved to see that many more are slated by Lynch). Yet, as the adventures of Locke and Jean go, this was the least compelling and didn't exactly keep me on the edge of my seat. This is much more a chance to give the reader insight into the true history of Locke and Sabbetha, and much more time is spent on the story of their childhood than in the prior novels. I was surprised when this tale ended as well, because there was little adventure - it felt as though the story was constantly warming up, and never reached a real crescendo. In fact, the epilogue was the most exciting part. Not to be misunderstood - this "less than spectacular" story was still far superior to much of the sci-fi/fantasy out there and was well worth the credit and the time spent listening to it. I have high hopes for the next one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hellhole

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs)
    • By Gina Damico
    • Narrated By Macleod Andrews
    Overall
    (108)
    Performance
    (97)
    Story
    (99)

    There was a time when geeky, squeaky-clean Max Kilgore would never lie or steal or even think about murder. Then he accidentally unearths a devil, and Max's choices are no longer his own. The big red guy has a penchant for couch surfing and junk food - and you should never underestimate evil on a sugar high.

    kellee says: "Best book I have read in over a year!"
    "Childish and dull."
    Overall
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    Story

    Even McLeod Andrews couldn't save this book. This came as a recommendation after I listened to the Sandman Slim series, and I love McLeod Andrews' relaxed narration style. But I quickly became aware that this was not going to be a witty, clever companion to other hellion novels I'd been reading. The whole concept is juvenile - the main character is a high school student (I think) and the story is clearly geared toward the "young adult" crowd. Maybe this was in the description, but it certainly wasn't clear to me before I bought it.

    Nothing about this story kept me interested. Not the characters. Not the storyline. Not even the otherwise entertaining narration by Andrews. Even sitting in traffic for two and a half hours, I couldn't bring myself to keep listening, despite numerous attempts.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Last Argument of Kings: The First Law: Book Three

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Joe Abercrombie
    • Narrated By Steven Pacey
    Overall
    (3681)
    Performance
    (2820)
    Story
    (2830)

    The end is coming. Logen Ninefingers might only have one more fight in him but it’s going to be a big one. Battle rages across the North, the King of the Northmen still stands firm and there’s only one man who can stop him. His oldest friend and his oldest enemy. It’s time for the Bloody-Nine to come home. With too many masters and too little time, Superior Glokta is fighting a different kind of war. A secret struggle in which no-one is safe and no-one can be trusted.

    Lore says: "You have be realistic about these things."
    "A bold conclusion to an impressive trilogy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Joe Abercrombie is a bold writer. I knew this about five minutes into "The Blade Itself" - but he proved it with his approach to ending the trilogy. I am SO glad that I persevered through the more gruesome and spine-tingling passages. It was worth every second.

    Steven Pacey is a phenomenal narrator. His narration gave so much life to these novels, it was as though they were being acted out, not merely read aloud.


    But more to Abercrombie's writing - he utilizes a couple of literary devices that I appreciated. Maybe that's the wrong term, but it's the one I shall use to describe two parts of his style:

    1. Shifts in perspective. This began in Book 1 and continued seamlessly through Book 3, further enabled by the expert narration. Each character takes on different life depending upon through whose eyes he is being viewed. Glokta becomes more or less revolting, Jazel becomes more or less whiny and annoying, Logan more or less barbaric ... I thoroughly enjoyed seeing each character through his own eyes, and through the eyes of the others. The subtle shifts between characters were very bold, anticipating the reader's ability to quickly follow along and catch the changes (though these shifts may not have been so subtle in print ...) I enjoyed catching a change in pitch in the narration of a voice, to realize that the perspective had changed. Although this style was used throughout the trilogy, it became most pronounced in this third book as the action and suspense increased.

    2. Use of themes/repeated phrases. Glokta repeats the phrase, "Body floating by the docks" to illustrate when he is in danger of reprimand, or to point out (subtly, yet not so subtly) when another is in equal danger. Logan has the "say one thing about Logan Ninefingers..." attached to his character. These repeat themes were witty and wise, yet not so over-used as to become cliche, annoying, or a vice of the author. Instead, they were just plain clever.

    Although the third novel was not my favorite of the trilogy (that prize goes to "Before They Are Hanged"), it was expertly written and concluded with such audacity that I felt not a twinge of disappointment at finishing the trilogy, though I thirsted for more of Abercrombie's refreshing style.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Way of Shadows: Night Angel Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Brent Weeks
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3135)
    Performance
    (2211)
    Story
    (2224)

    For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art---and he is the city's most accomplished artist, his talents required from alleyway to courtly boudoir. For Azoth, survival is precarious, something you never take for granted. As a guild rat, he's grown up in the slums and learned to judge people quickly---and to take risks. Risks like apprenticing himself to Durzo Blint. But to be accepted, Azoth must turn his back on his old life and embrace a new identity and name.

    Jake says: "Shockingly good."
    "Poor narration killed an already floundering tale."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have to start with the worst part about this book: The narrator. I usually can be pretty forgiving of a narrator's quirks in intonation, pronunciation, or accent, especially after listening for a few hours and growing accustomed to his or her unique approach to reading. Not so with Paul Boehmer. It sounded like he was reading to a child, stressing every word, or the wrong words, as though every thought, idea, or utterance was some grand revelation that required special emphasis. I thought this might fade as the book went on, or that I would at least grow used to it, but it distracted so severely from the story, that I'm not sure if the novel would have been so bad if I had just read it myself. I often did not know how a character was really feeling, and had to frequently guess at the intentions of a character because of the reading that was so over-emphasized that it became bland and oddly monotone. When everything is important, nothing is.

    As to the story: it was a cliche tale of a young boy striving to emulate the rogue hero, a man who deserves no admiration, yet receives the undying devotion of our young protagonist. Kylar (as he is ultimately called) is convinced that there must be a softer side to his master's sharp edges, and naturally he is right, as there is no rugged hero without a deep, emotional self hidden beneath the rough exterior. Blah, blah, blah. "Never fall in love" was a phrase too oft repeated to have any meaning - and it soon assumed the opposite effect making it painfully clear to the reader that the whole point was for our protagonist to fall in love (and with a young woman whom he had saved as a young child). Very little was original about this story. Brent Weeks has demonstrated wit in various writings I've seen (I actually sought out his books based on a review he wrote...), but I saw none of this in this novel.

    I won't be picking up the follow-up to this slop. I could not care less about the fate of these characters. And I certainly cannot listen to a single moment more of this narrator's awful interpretation of the text.

    I'll try another Brent Weeks novel ... I still have some hopes. Just with a different storyline and a different narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Blade Itself: The First Law: Book One

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Joe Abercrombie
    • Narrated By Steven Pacey
    Overall
    (4925)
    Performance
    (3762)
    Story
    (3775)

    Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer, is trapped in a twisted and broken body - not that he allows it to distract him from his daily routine of torturing smugglers.Nobleman, dashing officer and would-be fencing champion Captain Jezal dan Luthar is living a life of ease by cheating his friends at cards. Vain and shallow, the biggest blot on his horizon is having to get out of bed in the morning to train with obsessive and boring old men.

    Steven says: "Steven Pacey is magnificient."
    "Say one thing about Joe Abercrombie ..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    ... say he knows how to write a villain.

    I almost did not finish this book. I shocked myself when I devoured the entire trilogy and still wanted more.

    Joe Abercrombie's style is gritty, unabashed, and vivid. I knew this going into the series, and yet, it still shocked me. The shock was so severe, I almost stopped listening about an hour into the first book. But I like a challenge, and I don't like to give up, so I plowed forward. The other motivator was Abercrombie's wit. His humor is dry and sharp and subtle (though sometimes less-so).

    My first impressions were also tarnished by the voice given to Glokta. He lisps. It makes sense why ... but I found him difficult to understand and annoyed that a main character would be such a challenge to listen to. But as other characters were introduced, and Glokta's personality became clearer, I appreciated his lisp. It gave his character an extraordinary amount of depth that would have been missing based on the writing alone.

    This book (and the entire series) is character-driven. There isn't a clear plot or goal established by the end of the first book, and even after completing the series, I'd describe the plot as thin. But, oh, these characters. They are villains. All of them. There is no clear delineation of who can be trusted and who cannot, except that it seems pretty clear letting your guard down around any of them will get you killed. I found myself loving and hating each of these characters. I was intrigued by them, annoyed by them, disgusted by them and utterly fascinated to the very end.

    Some scenes were difficult to listen to. The torture scenes were tough while driving to work in the morning and I found myself cringing or closing my eyes at inopportune moments. But the battle scenes are epic and the gory details make them exciting and suspenseful.

    It's hard to give a full review of just this book, without taking into account the entire series. But, I'll say this. Many themes are started in this book that are carried throughout the series. And the humor, suspense, and action of the first novel only improve as the series continues. I think Glokta's character is the best-written and has the most depth, but they all lend something unique to the story.

    Be prepared for grittiness, irreverence, cursing, and violence. Joe Abercrombie pulls no punches and censors his characters for no man. And it would be an utter shame if he did. Anyone who appreciates multi-dimensional characters that themselves carry the story even in the absence of clear plot direction, will love The Blade Itself.

    2 of 2 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
    (11006)
    Performance
    (10300)
    Story
    (10326)

    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"
    "Riveting second installment to a great series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Much of this review overlaps with/echoes my review of "The Way of Kings." They are written so seamlessly that the same praise and criticism really applies to both.

    So, if you enjoyed "The Way of Kings," it makes no sense at all to forego reading "Words of Radiance." Everything that was awesome about the first book is compounded in the second. And I'd say the writing even improved somewhat (better editing?)


    Summary:

    Story/Plot: Epic, intriguing, fascinating, compelling ... downright riveting at times.
    Writing: OK, an improvement over prior Sanderson novels, but still not stellar.
    Character development: Very good - but the flaws of his heroes are over-emphasized.
    Narration/performance: Nothing short of excellent.


    This book has the same fluid transitions from character to character, including the interludes introduced in Way of Kings. I enjoyed the interludes more in this book as I felt they aided in plot development more than in the first book.

    Kaladin is, well, Kaladin. At one point I nearly threw my iPhone at the wall because he frustrated me so much. Luckily I wasn't driving at that point ... his reluctance seemed very exaggerated and the chip on his shoulder was bigger than ever. Once again, though, he was saved by the character transitions, so I was able to hear about someone else while I overcame my anger at Kaladin's blind and ignorant arrogance.

    Shallan was confusing to me ... she, too, became a reluctant hero of sorts. And made decisions that felt unnecessarily unwise. But the character development was so strong, that each decision ultimately seemed to make sense in the grand scope of the story.

    The supporting cast is far more developed this time around. I loved Wit. I really, really, really loved Wit. I frequently laughed out loud at his dialogue. The same was true for Rock and Lopen who were endearing in the first book, but really came into their own in this one.

    The duels were suspenseful, the battle scenes epic, and the entire story progressed very quickly, without lulls. This book relied more on "deus ex machina" it seems ... but it wasn't *so* contrived that I was distracted or any less entertained. Ultimately I rooted for the characters so much that I didn't care how they succeeded or survived, I just wanted them to succeed or survive!

    Sanderson's writing improved somewhat in this book. I was distracted less often by his juvenile choice of words, "too-modern" slang, or lazy dialogues. As I place much value on the quality of prose, this was a big deal to me. (Compare: the Mistborn series that I actually quit reading and returned because of the awful, *awful* dialogue and writing style).

    The narration was fantastic, as before. Kramer was flawless, but unfortunately Reading was required to do more work with "Pattern" who was just as annoying as before. But that is easily overlooked because of the strength of the narration in every other aspect.

    The only problem that remains? I don't want to wait for the next one to come out!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Way of Kings: Book One of The Stormlight Archive

    • UNABRIDGED (45 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Kate Reading, Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14372)
    Performance
    (11521)
    Story
    (11584)

    Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter. It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor.

    Katy Crumpton says: "Very enjoyable (but a slight warning)"
    "Epic fantasy - Epic story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In sum:

    Story/Plot: Epic, intriguing, fascinating, compelling ... downright riveting at times.
    Writing: OK, an improvement over prior Sanderson novels, but still not stellar.
    Character development: Very good - but the flaws of his heroes are over-emphasized.
    Narration/performance: Nothing short of excellent.


    I was hesitant when I selected this book. Sanderson didn't impress me with his previous novels. In fact, I was so unimpressed, I returned the Mistborn series (and I *hate* returning books). But I was determined to find out why people rave about Sanderson ...

    I love epic fantasy. That was my primary reason for doggedly pursuing Sanderson's writing, despite prior disappointments. Luckily, this was no disappointment.

    The story follows multiple characters, and does so with fluidity. Each character is well-developed, leaving me rarely disappointed to leave one because of the excitement to return to the story of another. I was riveted more than I wasn't, which is quite the feat for 40 hours of listening.

    The characters aren't without flaws. Kaladin is very much the reluctant hero. His personality and attitude seem to echo Rand from Wheel of Time in many ways, to the point that I actually became frustrated at what seemed a recycling of Sanderson's experience with that series. Luckily, Kaladin became distinct enough and was buffeted by his supporting cast so as to dispel my unease about the similarities. But Kaladin's reluctance can be obnoxious, annoying, frustrating ... that's where the shifts to other characters were appreciated. The reluctance often manifests itself in severe depression, not entirely driven by his negative life experiences. And the moodiness that results often made me wonder why anyone tolerated him, much less accepted him as a leader.

    Shallan's story had me the most intrigued, as it was the most mysterious. Her character isn't terribly likable, as most sci-fi/fantasy female characters aren't. She can be whiny and weak, yet desperately seeks to be respected due to the chip on her shoulder (that only increases in size as the story continues. She makes poor decisions, but these are acknowledged directly, and incorporated into the plotline, rather than being overlooked because the poor decision was necessary to drive the plot. I appreciated that, as too many authors expect a reader to overlook the obvious "good decision" and just accept that the character was too moronic to see the same things. Despite her flaws, I still found myself rooting for her, liking her, and intrigued by her character's path.

    What really propels this story is, well, the story... regardless of how unlikable his characters may be at times, Sanderson knows a good story. He weaves a complex tale with deep intrigue and a strong human element. And that was irresistible.

    My biggest complaint, as with his previous novels, was Sanderson's writing. Nothing ruins a great story, or an epic scene within a great story, like poor writing, indelicate choice of words, or just plain laziness. With a good editor, Sanderson's novels would go from being simply entertaining during a single read to truly epic novels that stand the test of time. I was close to making a list of the "ugly" phrases, ill-advised colloquialisms, and lazy word choices, but I listen mostly in the car, and that makes writing difficult.

    Suffice it to say, if you're not picky about a writer's prose, Sanderson won't bother you. But, in my opinion, Sanderson needs to elevate his writing style just a notch or two if he wants to truly captivate the discerning reader. I prefer fantasy that could pass for good literature, not fantasy that is worth no more than the harlequin romance novels a few shelves over. Unfortunately, Sanderson's writing sometimes crosses into the realm of the latter.

    The narration was fantastic, as I have come to expect from Michael Kramer and Kate Reading. I especially love Kramer's narration. Reading is very good, but I think she struggles with "characters" that are more unorthodox. In this case, it was "Pattern" that caused some irritation and became difficult to listen to at length. While Kramer excels with the various voices and characters, beautifully and convincingly bringing each one to life.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Unfettered: Tales By Masters of Fantasy

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Terry Brooks, Patrick Rothfuss, Robert Jordan, and others
    • Narrated By Peter Ganim, Marc Vietor, Bronson Pinchot, and others
    Overall
    (440)
    Performance
    (396)
    Story
    (402)

    You define life or it defines you. In Shawn Speakman’s case, it was both. Lacking health insurance and diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2011, Shawn quickly accrued a massive medical debt that he did not have the ability to pay. That’s when New York Times best-selling author Terry Brooks offered to donate a short story that Shawn could sell to help alleviate those bills—and suggested he ask the same of his other writer friends. Unfettered is the result: An anthology built in order to relieve that debt, featuring short stories by some of the best fantasy writers in the genre.

    gerry says: "Great Crash Course on Fantasy Writers"
    "Mixed feelings"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I wanted to love this compilation of short stories. It was written for a pure, altruistic purpose. The contributors included some of my favorite authors, and many more about whom I had been curious for some time. Some of the stories were engaging, but many were not. Many were downright sad and left me not knowing how to feel, what to think, or what the author was even trying to convey with his or her words.

    The compilation receives three stars because of those gems hidden inside. I enjoyed Rothfuss' quirky tale. A couple more - one about a viola, another about saving a library from war (I don't recall the authors) - were interesting despite the deep sadness in the tale.

    I took away two stars because of the lack of consistency. Maybe I was expecting too much. Maybe it was unfair to expect to be entertained by every story in such an eclectic compilation. But I wasn't expecting entertainment, so much as I was hoping to be inspired, to have my curiosity piqued, or to just hear stories that I could appreciate (at the very least) for their literary value, if not for the tale itself.

    I understand the sadness that permeates many (most?) of these short stories. It was moving at times - leaving me shaken and changed - but I also found myself often pausing the book and stepping away because it was just too much.

    The narrators are fantastic. They were well-selected for each story and each performs beautifully. I think only one story stood out as "less-well-narrated" - but it was near the end and not significant enough to recall specifically. With so many stories, and so many narrators, that is a job well done in my eyes.

    This book is certainly worth the one credit. I'd buy it again, and I'm tempted to buy the hard copy, if only for those special stories tucked amid the less-inspiring.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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