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Robert

albuquerque, NM, United States | Member Since 2005

ratings
22
REVIEWS
6
FOLLOWING
8
FOLLOWERS
2
HELPFUL VOTES
19

  • The Magician: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Michael Scott
    • Narrated By Erik Singer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1301)
    Performance
    (734)
    Story
    (738)

    After fleeing Ojai, Nicholas, Sophie, Josh, and Scatty emerge in Paris, the City of Lights. Home of Nicholas Flamel. Perenell is still locked up back in Alcatraz and Paris is teeming with enemies. Niccolò Machiavelli, immortal author and art collector, is after them, and time is running. For every day spent without the Book of Abraham the Mage, they age one year, their magic becoming weaker and their bodies more frail. For Flamel, the Prophecy is becoming more and more clear.

    Robert says: "recommended though narrator was switched"
    "recommended though narrator was switched"
    Overall

    If Someone is looking into getting this book, I would go say for it as is the whole series. I am a very picky fantasy reader. I like coherent metaphysics and people you can genuinely care about or dislike. My one HUGE issue in the 2nd book is the narrator change. To be fair, I did not look to see if this was in response to any bad reactions to the first one, but I would be shocked it that was the case. Also, to be fair it can be said that the replacement is not bad. He is not even close to the other voice actor but I could listen to him. I voice my opinion because I listen to books on audio all the time and I thought book one's reader was truly gifted and he acted out all of the main parts with proper accents, adroitly. So I felt I had to posit my frustration at his loss when the series is so clearly a hit and can afford a quality voice actor. A really dumb mistake made in audio publishing all the time. I have dropped series altogether because 3 books into a series they bring on a horrible narrator. I simply find it appalling that they do not work harder to prevent such things from happening. At least in this book, you can deal with both narrators, or at least I could. So I would say if you liked book one, jump on in the water is fine. I just had to mention the switch of readers because I know that Audible knows the difference. They have made some amazing book on audio. I read "Tales of the Otori" and it was stellar and even more so on audio via audible. And my taste must be somewhat on as I am sure that "Tales of the Otori" series won several awards. Many actors truly do act out each voice and do it well. A good example is the first book in this series with Denis O'Hare. In short this is a good book well done in and it is good for older children meaning 14 and up 12 if your child is precocious There are great cultura references to real places in people that are great at stimulating interest in history.

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Swarm: Star Force, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By B. V. Larson
    • Narrated By Mark Boyett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3522)
    Performance
    (3222)
    Story
    (3228)

    Kyle Riggs is snatched by an alien spacecraft sometime after midnight. The ship is testing everyone it catches and murdering the weak. The good news is that Kyle keeps passing tests and staying alive. The bad news is the aliens who sent this ship are the nicest ones out there.

    Lamonica Johnson says: "If Micheal Bay Wrote a Sci-Fi Novel..."
    "The beginning of a rewarding odyssey, A must read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this to any science, tech or programming guy who wants to be on a fairly well written adventure about an everyman widower computer professor that starts with him fighting for his own survival in a first contact situation with some unusual artificial aliens that think as a nano collective. But what makes this book so rewarding is that it is followed on by more books that genuinely evolve and have many other big new ideas that over time really change the story and the character. I feel this first book is one of the most inventive though and it has a number of fun wish fulfillment scenarios for people who have always lived by their wits but would enjoy more adventure if it were tailored to a hero with brain and a level headed perspective first and foremost.


    What other book might you compare Swarm to and why?

    I am sure there are likely books to compare the Swarm too, but I really cannot think of any off hand. One key imaginative aspect to this book is combining the speculation of a first contact situation with the notion of very advanced and powerful Alien Nanotechnology. While I do not think it is the intention of this author to engage in super hard science fiction, never the less there is some very intelligent and imaginative work done to play out one way such an artificially intelligent alien first contact scenario might actually take place. In other words this book, while not hard science fiction is most certainly not science fantasy either. It takes more liberties with the complexity of the world socio and political reactions more than the science or the individual dynamics of its main or immediately tertiary characters.


    Which character – as performed by Mark Boyett – was your favorite?

    I generally really liked the narrator and I thought he did a great job with all the voices and he should be looked at as an up and coming audio reading voice talent. But if I am forced to talk about specifics I would say that he does a nice job with the main character and with the female lead. Later in the book series is does a terrific job with a number of male and female characters with specific ethnic accents and vocal temperaments. Last but not least he adds a real sense of humor when he finally is able to embody the character of an unique alien AI named Marvin. Although I need to clarify that Marvin may not show up till a later book. Which brings me back to my original point about this book as it relates to its mates. This book is merely one great complete story that then opens the door to several other great stories with new big ideas that keep the epic from becoming sterile or predictable. And a nice part about this audio book series is that Mark Boyett is used through out all of the books in the series so far. Once you get used to how a particular character is voiced, you do not have to wonder if that will change in book 3 or 5 or 6. Its also good for me to point out because if you do not like this readers voice, then be warned he is the voice in all the books that are part of the series so far. I genuinely liked him. He acts and gives unique vocalizations to each significant character and at his absolute worst his voice is not offensive or grating. All in all I consider Mark Boyett a selling point of this book and all the books he is a part of in this series.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    its been a while since I have read swarm but less than a moment and more of an overall content theme that moved me was the transition of this middle ages man who was a gentle and smart Programming professor who is still in morning over the loss of his wife and yet over time. You watch as this man who has all the advantage of a middle aged man that is educated and thoughtful and more importantly comfortable with who he is but yet is also still somewhat hung up on the loss of his wife and so therefore is a bit stuck before the novel's fantastical events give him not only challenges but also a new lease on living life in the present and not in the past.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are a person looking for a fun smart but not overly deep adventure read that will not fail to disappoint and that has a number of alluring points to it style wise. Namely that each book acts as its own discreet story that are in their own right entertaining to read or listen too. Also it is worth while to not that over time the science fiction tone definitely shapes into a much more military aspect to their stories, But the difference is that the story changes tone very organically into a more military science fiction. In fact this first book is probably one of the less military themed ones because there is so much context, character and fantastic imaginative aspects that must be introduced and explained. that said its still full of some great action. I am some times find military science fiction pretty one note and dry, but in my case, even as the later stories involve even more focus on a more military based Sci-Fi story, it does not do so at the expense of the overall motivations of the various characters that the readers meets in the story, but rather it heads toward conflict and military style fiction because of the people you meet and the evolution of those you have known since the beginning. For me that was key as it kept me caring about the action as I felt very invested in the outcomes. Further, the storytelling style never deviates from letting you see how things develop because of outside developments but also because of the ideas, goals and emotional drivers that influence the choices that are made by several of the main characters. I love it when a story teller is able to credibly tell the story of big battles and wars and simultaneously tell you the story of the peoples that have to make choices in that affect those wars. It keeps the action nailed into the personal while maintaining a great deal of insight into the action that will affect everyone. In general, if you like great speculative fiction that has some real terrifically executed story telling that tackles some neat speculative technology, one form of a First contact scenario, and some follow on struggles that address the struggle for survival, the difficulty of relating to alien intelligences, and some exploration into how much can a human being change its body and or mind physically and still be considered both human and still the same basic core person inside. And all done with a good mix of wit, fun, imagination, and a generally nice pace that keeps one from feeling bored if any of the aspects of the story might not be a hook for a particular reader. I have read all six of this series books and I have really enjoyed all of them. some are better than others, but none of them are seriously subpar. In fact as my last comment, I will leave you with a repeat of one of my earlier comments and that is that the series itself does not just stop adding big fun imaginative leaps in book one. This is a series that has a continuing stream of intriguing ideas that are introduced into the story telling so that as some aspects of the story that may have felt fun to ponder in book one but might be getting tired by book 3 or 5, well have no fear, I felt no idea was flogged to the point of being tedious and boring because the author has run out of intriguing ideas to continue a number of themes.

    All in all, while I am not going to call this series some Opus of science fiction, I am going to say that is an extremely high quality fun adventure ride that is choc full of a great number of intriguing ideas that imaginatively played with in order to service the On going endeavors of our main character, his lovers and friends, and organizations that he will eventually start. It is perfect escapism that is neither mindless nor soulless. I am reminded of a great Jim Butcher Quote when he speaks of his own sales pitch about his now very famous fantasy series, The Dresden Files. He says, We are not claiming that our stories are life altering literature but rather it is really good popcorn story telling for smart people. And if you know anything about Jim Butcher's Books, you along with me, might be willing to argue that he does not at times get pretty close to life altering literature. I know I certainly care about his characters and therefore his universe and all the fun imaginative speculations in his book. I am giving B V Larson high praise by saying that this book and the series it is a part of nearly as compelling. I know I read the first book in one sitting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Warrior's Apprentice: A Miles Vorkosigan Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Lois McMaster Bujold
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (1616)
    Performance
    (754)
    Story
    (763)

    Miles Vorkosigan makes his debut in this frenetic coming-of-age tale. At age 17, Miles is allowed to take the entrance exams to the elite military academy; he passes the written but manages, through miscalculation in a moment of anger, to break both his legs on the obstacle course, washing out before he begins. His aged grandfather dies in his sleep shortly after, for which Miles blames himself.

    Readalot says: "What a great character!"
    "Coming of age story hero with physical challenges"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Warrior's Apprentice in three words, what would they be?

    Witty, clever, entertaining


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Myles, The young adult son of very talented powerful noble couple in a modern warrior culture and the main protagonist. Myles is both a smart young hero and a physically maimed person. The injury occurs because of an assassination attempt on Myles in utero because his legendary and heroic father was regent for the then newly appointed child emperor at the time. As far fetched as all this context seems, it is written believably and well. This tale is a great story in its own right but it also provides a great example of a hero who is a better, more creative person because of how he overcomes his physical differences and the deeply ingrained social predjudices his native culture hasagainst them. I want to stress that though the hero has physical difference and some negative bias he must overcome, the story is not focused on that part of the plot aspect, nor is it preachy when that facet of Myles factors in. It simply provides great backstory and impetus for Myles being a more interesting person that is believably more self aware than a character his age would be. It gives him more depth than simply explaining his good qualities as the product of his great genetics, terrific family upbringing and superior education. You are able to see that Myles was able to creatively game and ultimately excel in the very physically demanding warrior culture because he was always acutely aware of his special and separate status within it. More importantly it is an enriching factor that helps to set the stage for an extraordinary coming of age story.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Yes, the narration is good, not awesome but good. For me, it neither took away from Nor did it greatly add to the quality of story.


    Any additional comments?

    Classic soft scifi story that is a great adventure story that explores many human dilemmas in the quest setting. Great human insights into overcoming many real obstacles beyond the obvious ones that only apply to a fictional context and yet the story's are entertaining exciting and you do end up caring about the characters and get some good laughs too. Also it is worth noting that though this is a scifi story you see signs of the author's ability to write genuinely beautiful and lyrical prose not typically found in such faire. Overall this is a the fourth good book in a series of books about heroic men in a top noble family in futuristic Spartan global government, in an interstellar age. The fourth book is actually the first book that features Myles as the main protagonist in the family's saga and is as good a place to start as book one because this book reads the way Star Wars episode Three film played when it opened that saga up. Both start with a son's tale only to also have the first three books describe the full first person account of the mother and father in a very exciting fashion as well. Bottom line, the book is part of a beloved Science Fiction series and this book is one of the only other books in the series that acts as a good starting point for immersing yourself larger saga. The narrator is strong though not amazing. He is very good at delivering the humorous dialogues at points, but his voice is not like some other performances that seemed to actually elevate the material. That said, the narrator Grover Gardner certainly did not detract from the story either and is overall a good narrator. So If you're looking for a soft science fiction adventure book that's well written by an author who can both tell a good story as well as write beautiful prose, and you want that book to be a part of a much longer and strong epic narrative, then "The Warriors apprentice" by Lois McMaster Bujold, would be a very good audible book selection.

    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
    (10232)
    Performance
    (7704)
    Story
    (7747)

    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.

    Lore says: "Wow - 45 hours long and leaves you wanting more!"
    "By far Brandon Sanderson's richest world 5 stars"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Way of Kings the most enjoyable?

    first of all this this book spares no expense with two renowned book actors. Kate Reeding is terrific on her own as is Michael Kramer but it was a particular luxury to have a woman to characterize all the women's parts and a man to do all the male parts. And a terrific choice given the breadth and scope of the world this book is setting up. I have read or listened to all of Brandon Sanderson's books to date and while elantris was a nice first effort it started to lose me towards its end as it began to feel all finished but for the exposition and I never really cared as much about those characters as I did in this work. The MIstborn Series was another quantum step forward because while Mistborn;s this magic system was genuinely fresh, novel and completely believable I also found the character development and the tensions introduced between them far more visceral and compelling. Also the plot in those books was very good with many interesting reveals all the way through all of those books. Still, I would not quite put either of those efforts in the soulful category of the astonishing Patrick Rothfuss novels yet. That all changes with the opening book of


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I did not have a favorite character I liked several for different reasons. If I had to narrow it down I would say look for a certain bridge man a certain truly noble older royal person who must keep certain visions to himself, a Royal female scholar and a certain mysterious thief and assassin. I am not going to say more because I do not want to give anything away. but all of them were fun to inhabit as they traveled down their stories.


    What about Kate Reading and Michael Kramer ’s performance did you like?

    I answered this earlier but I will say it again, It was a real treat to have a woman for the female parts and a man for the male parts. It was a particular treat to have two such well loved narrators in the same book, both have won awards for reading other books and are generally very well received on their own but to have them both gave the book itself an added sense of reality and dimension.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Again there were several poignant parts to the book and I am not going to name any now, I will let others decide for themselves


    Any additional comments?

    This book is a sign that there are still many new masters in the making ready to come pick up the mantle that People like Tolkien, Jordan, GRRM, and Goodkind have created. fortunately some of them are still writing but clearly when they are no longer doing so Brandon will be one of the ones to carry on such a great writing genre's tradition of excellent fantasy story telling.

    1 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
    (11849)
    Performance
    (9512)
    Story
    (9628)

    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!"
    "A Star is born in book One & only rises in book 2"
    Overall

    First The Narrator. If you are like me & find the first few moments of the narrator bland, I promise you he is a terrific narrator! He deftly acts out characters of all ages & genders. In fact, he grew on me so much that he is the only person whom I can hear tell the story now. Bottom line, he is a fine fine narrator & that is doubly wonderful because this is the most complete & immersive fantasy story I have read since I read Tolkien, or George R R Martin. While I also liked The inheritance cycle very well too despite its detractors; "The KingKiller Chronicles" is on another level and clearly for adults.
    Further, if you are educated or ever thought about any of the big questions of life, then besides a tremendous story, this book will also pose some very wise & amazingly poetic commentary to address many of such matters. You might find that a Grandiose claim for a Fantasy book, but I promise you, soon there will be quotes being compiled from this book series. I do have one caution. If any one reading this review thinks of reading the second book without reading the first I can only say that you will be cheating yourself two fold. This book despite having its own drama & narrative is the foundation that gives you a deep feel for the world you are in, the cultures, the way magic works, and the temperament, skills, & flaws of all the characters. Also, the first book lays out the narrative device for the entire series as well. One that is clever enough to allow the reader to know the character in both first person present and as first person reflective as he tells the story of his life from an older and wiser time & place. It is an elegant way to get more insight on the deeds of the character and the world both at the time of the telling and while you to live the out the protagonist's life history as he is lived it in a present sense. In my humble opinion, I think this is the birth of a new Giant Fantasy literature. This is a work of profound craft and imagination!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • New Rules: Polite Musings from a Timid Observer

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Bill Maher
    • Narrated By Bill Maher
    Overall
    (715)
    Performance
    (97)
    Story
    (96)

    Bill Maher first came to national attention as the host of the hit Comedy Central and ABC-TV program Politically Incorrect, where he offered a combustible mixture of irreverence and acerbic humor that helped him to garner a loyal following, as well as a reputation for being a hilarious provocateur.

    Scott says: "Funny and true but also Annoying"
    "NEW RULES is just more ranting from Bill maher"
    Overall

    I used to like Bill Maher when he thought he was a talented comedian. Now he thinks he is the voice of not only reason but of wisdom and common sense. What is so sad is that many people are so lazy, they actually get a good deal of their news from "info-tainment shows" like the comedy channel's daily show and (which I do like after the news not in place of it) And Bill Maher First in Politically Incorrect, and now in HBO's Real TIme. The irony of the names of both his new show and this book are funny though not intentionally. Trully Bill Maher can be really funny but I am so tired of him being preachy instead. his show pretends to have real debates. In truth they are little more than folks that are on the traditional or Republican side of current issues set up as targets for the anti-bush Guests or anti-Bill maher's point of view. While every once and a while a person is allowed to make a point mostly it just Bill Maher ranting, joking, or lecturing the audience. If you agree with what he believes and love biting sarcasm in mass quantities or If you want pot legalization to be a constant issue you will like him too. If you want comedy and social satire that is fair minded and not totally cynical on every subject, his shows or this book are not for you. Do not get me wrong Bill Maher can be funny, and if you wonder why I mention his shows? It's because this book is nothing more than an written extension of a segment he does every episode on his HBO show. A compilation of "New Rules" that will reflect both the reality of his lifestyle as a hollywood favorite at the playboy mansion and a devout advocate for pot legalization. In billl's world you can be libertarian as long as you are his kind of hypocritical libertarian. But my main issue with this book is that his "New Rules" are less about humor and more about the art of entertainment as a means to demagoguery. he was better when he was focused on being funny rather than a self righteous inlfuence peddler

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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