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kbreezy

Twin Cities, MN | Member Since 2012

24
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 13 ratings
  • 100 titles in library
  • 13 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
17

  • The Hobbit

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By J. R. R. Tolkien
    • Narrated By Rob Inglis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9350)
    Performance
    (8405)
    Story
    (8552)

    Like every other hobbit, Bilbo Baggins likes nothing better than a quiet evening in his snug hole in the ground, dining on a sumptuous dinner in front of a fire. But when a wandering wizard captivates him with tales of the unknown, Bilbo becomes restless. Soon he joins the wizard’s band of homeless dwarves in search of giant spiders, savage wolves, and other dangers. Bilbo quickly tires of the quest for adventure and longs for the security of his familiar home. But before he can return to his life of comfort, he must face the greatest threat of all.

    Darwin8u says: "Victory after all, I suppose!"
    "Almost perfect"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What can I say? The story's almost incomparable, so let me switch to commending Rob Inglis' performance. I tend to shy away from dramatizations, but Inglis' delivery is mostly narration. He does just enough variation in delivery to make the characters distinctive without resorting to silly vocal tics. It's masterfully done and a great example of how a good narrator can enhance a book just as easily as a poor one can ruin it.

    22 of 28 people found this review helpful
  • The Korean War

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Max Hastings
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    Overall
    (89)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (37)

    It was the first war we could not win. At no other time since World War II have two superpowers met in battle. Max Hastings, preeminent military historian, takes us back to the bloody, bitter struggle to restore South Korean independence after the Communist invasion of June 1950.

    David says: "Well worth it"
    "Listenable but somewhat lacking"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a decent single volume on the Korean War, though Hastings' style is a little less to my liking than some of his contemporaries. He tends towards the Stephen Ambrose "history by soldierly anecdote" method of storytelling than the John Keegan "clinical 50,000-foot view" method. But that's just a matter of preference.

    I've read one of Hastings' World War II books (Armageddon), and since I was much more familiar with that conflict I didn't notice one aspect of his writing: in some instances Hastings presupposes a knowledge of the topic prior to the reader coming to the book. That aspect comes out listening to this audiobook. If you're marginally familiar with the Korean War prior to this book, it will fill in some details nicely, but if you're looking for a one-volume introduction, there may be better alternatives.

    Lastly, Davidson's vocal characterizations seem out of place for a serious history book. If this were a novelization of the Korean War, speaking quotes from the Koreans and Chinese in bad, stereotypical Asian accents might be marginally less jarring. I'd prefer a narrator who read clearly and dispassionately. Save the drama for the Sharpe's Rifles narrations, please.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hyperion

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Dan Simmons
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor, Allyson Johnson, Kevin Pariseau, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4084)
    Performance
    (2590)
    Story
    (2619)

    On the world called Hyperion, beyond the law of the Hegemony of Man, there waits the creature called the Shrike. There are those who worship it. There are those who fear it. And there are those who have vowed to destroy it. In the Valley of the Time Tombs, where huge, brooding structures move backward through time, the Shrike waits for them all.

    aaron says: "A LESSON in How to Write Smart, Dark, ADULT SciFi"
    "Canterbury Tales...In...Spaaaaaaaaaaaace!!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Hyperion is the tale of pilgrims on a voyage to the planet Hyperion with the intention of encountering The Shrike, a being of almost godlike power who is said to grant one pilgrim in a group their heart's desire. But as with the Canterbury Tales, this is just the framework upon which to hang six tangentially related short stories - the tale of the Priest, the Soldier, the Poet, the Scholar, the Detective and The Consul.

    Each of the individual stories is told by the protagonist in their own voice. The Poet's tale is full of pompous farce, the Detective's Tale reads like a 31st-century Sam Spade mystery, and so on. Hanging over all the stories is the spectre of The Shrike and his mysterious homeworld, which have touched each of the travelers in some way.

    Some of the stories are more captivating than the others, but together they weave a mesmerizing whole. And like the Canterbury Tales, the point of the book is not the resolution awaiting the travelers at their destination, but the stories they tell as they make their way. Uniquely structured, captivating, and well worth a listen.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Final Empire: Mistborn Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8635)
    Performance
    (6066)
    Story
    (6102)

    For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the "Sliver of Infinity," reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler's most hellish prison.

    Lore says: "Book 1 of a great series that is not to be missed!"
    "Ocean's Eleven Meets Sauron"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The first book in the Mistborn saga is striking for its unique touches. It follows a lot of the standard fantasy themes - a Hero's Journey for young Vin, who appears to be the Chosen One; a band of adventurers teaming up to save the world; an evil overlord with minions of supernatural power; heroic sacrifice and powerful magic.

    But it's the way these standard themes are explored that makes the book stand out. Consider the Lord Ruler's minions, the Steel Inquisitors - robed sorcerers of incredible strength, with steel spikes hammered into their skulls where their eyes once were. Or the magic system, where Allomancers ingest and burn pure metals of various types to produce telekinetic effects, enhance their strength, or bend others to their will. Or our band of heroes - not heroes at all, but highly specialized thieves, coming together under Kelsier to pull a high risk long con on the godlike Lord Ruler himself.

    All of these are elements I haven't seen in a fantasy saga before, and it's this wealth of unique details that make the book shine. Well worth a listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gun Machine

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Warren Ellis
    • Narrated By Reg E. Cathey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (230)
    Performance
    (203)
    Story
    (204)

    After a shootout claims the life of his partner in a condemned tenement building on Pearl Street, Detective John Tallow unwittingly stumbles across an apartment stacked high with guns. When examined, each weapon leads to a different, previously unsolved murder. Someone has been killing people for 20 years or more and storing the weapons together for some inexplicable purpose. Confronted with the sudden emergence of hundreds of unsolved homicides, Tallow soon discovers that he's walked into a veritable deal with the devil.

    JunkyardMessiah says: "Perfect marriage between writer and narrator"
    "Hard-edged neo-noir"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Gun Machine is an eerie tale of serial murder over several decades, a tale that spins a web of history and police corruption around its protagonist. Warren Ellis is among the smartest and most inventive writers of the new millennium. Here he handles a new genre with his typical ease, with characteristic descriptiveness and intensity. Reg Cathey's gravelly narration is perfect for a gritty noir story like this. If the book has a fault it's that it builds to what feels like something of an abrupt stop at the end, but it'll definitely keep you listening right up to that end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ready Player One

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Ernest Cline
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11086)
    Performance
    (10335)
    Story
    (10340)

    At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

    Travis says: "ADD TO CART, POWER UP +10000"
    "Fun, nostalgia-filled ride"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Lots of fun wrapped up in a light, geeky package. Kline touches on all the obsessions of an eighties childhood - videogames, bad sci-fi movies, Dungeons & Dragons. The fact that the book is read by Wesley Crusher is just the icing on the cake. Wheaton is a good voice for the material and handles the telling with a light touch.

    If this were a movie it would be a popcorn flick, and like most good popcorn flicks it's an awful lot of fun, too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Storm of Swords: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (47 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16512)
    Performance
    (12969)
    Story
    (13047)

    As opposing forces maneuver for the final titanic showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost line of civilization. In their vanguard is a horde of mythical Others, a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords.

    Troy says: "Chapter and part breaks are incorrect"
    "Great book. Grating presentation."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Martin's books are engaging, and this is quite possibly the best of them. There's more epic twists packed into this particular story than in either of the preceding two books. I don't think it's much of a spoiler to say that once again Martin shows how willing he is to just off major characters out of thin air...though sometimes that doesn't work out the way you'd expect...

    I found the book incredibly painful to listen to, however. I'll confess to preferring straight-up readings over dramatizations, but even having said that, there were passages where Roy Dotrice made my ears bleed. Anyone who isn't a main character has an accent like a Dickens orphan. His Walder Frey bears an uncanny resemblance to the old man who "didn't want to go on the cart" in The Holy Grail. His Davos Seaworth bears an uncanny resemblance to the Sea Captain from The Simpsons. Tyrion Lannister sounds more than a little bit like the Lucky Charms leprechaun. I can't for the life of me figure out how he arrived at the pronunciations of "Brienne" of Tarth (Bry-EEEN) or "Petyr" (Pa-TIRE) Baelish. And the accents slip in and out occasionally in mid-conversation as well.

    A great book lessened by the need to suffer the narrator (hence the medium rating). I'll steer clear of Dotrice in the future unless there's something I simply have to get on audio, and for which there's no other alternative. Still, I concede that it could just be me. Listen to the samples, paying particular attention to the character voices, and know that it never gets better than that.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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