Having downloaded the book a few minutes after two in the morning, the day of its release, and taking only a few hours to catch a little sleep, and do that annoying thing called work in between, I just came up for air having spent the best eighteen hours and fifty minutes that I have spent in a long time. Then, taking time only to reacquaint myself with the family again, I couldn’t wait to write this review; Kudos to those reviewers who could transcend time.
Harry’s back and he’s alive again. For those keeping up on the series he had been dead in the last book and only by the help of Mab was he able to come back to the mortal world; but now he belongs to the Queen of Winter as her white knight. Of course, this is Harry and he has every intention of defying her whenever he can.
The story begins in Artic Tor where Harry meets some new “friends,” and begins his rehab; coming back to life is not easy.
After some interesting rehab exercises, orchestrated by Mab, Harry almost feels like his old self again and then receives a surprise birthday party, thrown by some of his new winter court friends.
Having survived his birthday party Harry receives his first assignment as the new white knight.
In order to complete his assignment, and keep his island Demonreach from exploding and taking half of Chicago with it, Harry seeks out his old companions; Bob, the skull, His half-brother Thomas, Molly his apprentice, and the pizza loving faeire general Toot-Toot, to name a few.
This was a great listening experience; Jim Butcher writes a superb story and the narrator, James Marsters, is Harry Dresden and gives a fantastic performance.
Earth unaware is a prequel to the Ender series and I guess the listener/ reader could begin with this series and then move on to Ender Games; but having already listened to the entire Orson Scott Card’s series, listening to Earth Unaware gave me such an Ominous sense of foreboding; and, even though I know what was coming, it kept my ears glued to the story.
I believe it fills a void that was missing from “Ender Games.” It gives us a more detailed background story about earth and the characters that will play a major part in the war, before the Formic, or “Buggers” attack.
This is not a standalone book, of course, and there are many sub-plots left hanging for the next book in the series, but O.S.C. is such a polished and professional writer that it was a satisfying start. His character development is superior; and, as he eludes to in his authors notes, he writes each segment of the book as if it were a scene in a play making the dialogue come to life.
A word about the narration; I’m not usually a fan of an assembled cast, preferring one talented narrator, but I thought they all did a superb job.
In the last book of the Iron Druid Series, “Hunted,” Atticus O’Sullivan’s apprentice, Granuaile, finally became a full-fledged druid in her own right; she even adopted her own Irish wolfhound. After two thousand years of walking the earth alone the Iron Druid was no longer the only living druid. Then at the end of “Hunted,” Atticus discovers another druid frozen on one of the Time Islands; his old arch druid, who goes by the modern name, Owen Kennedy. Once Atticus’s “thaws” him out Owen becomes druid number three.
Now in “Shattered,” Atticus must indoctrinate his old arch druid into the modern world; but with the old man’s surly disposition it’s not an easy job.
Meanwhile Granuaile gets some distressing news about her father and must go off on her own to deal with the situation. Her journey takes her to India, where she meets an old friend, must visit some snow folk in the Himalayans, and then go back to India and due battle against a supernatural creature with the help of one of the Hindu gods.
We still get several doses of Oberon’s canine philosophy. Loki, the unstable Norse god is still around ready to start Ragnarok; and Atticus still needs to find out which one of Tuatha Dé Danann is out to get him.
Relationships seem to be the predominate theme in this latest installment; besides Granuaile, Atticus now has a sort of father figure in his arch druid Owen. Granuaile must deal with her father and later on confront her feelings about her mother; even the Tuatha Dé Danann have relationship issues.
Luke Daniels gives another great performance as usual.
James McGill and Legion Varus are off on another mission ready to piss off the Galactics and the rest of the universe while still trying to keep earth safe in B.V. Larson futuristic military world.
In the first book of this series, “Steel World,” humans found out that they were not the dominate species in the universe; in fact, as far as the Galactics are concerned, humans are about as significant as ants. Earth is considered a fringe planet with no real significance and would have simply been destroyed unless they could come up with a unique or superior trade good. With the help of some negotiated alien technology earth found its trade; undying mercenaries. In “Steel World,” the superiority of their trade good was tested but thanks to James McGill and Legion Varus earth’s viability survived.
In “Dust World,” the resolve of the human spirit is once again tested. Earth finds out there is another planet that has been colonized by humans, Separatist’s that wanted to get away from earths rules and govern themselves; but since it is against Galactic law for a planet to colonize Earth sends Legion Varus to handle the situation. Not sure exactly how his legion is supposed to “handle,” this situation Specialist James McGill has some concerns about this mission. It is a dilemma that could put him at odds with his Legion and possibly place all of earth in jeopardy if the Galactics find out about the colony, but he always seems to follow his own moral compass no matter what the possible consequences. The situation becomes more complicated when another alien species, not connected to the Galactic Empire, is discovered with plans of its own. What these aliens, the Galactics, and even some of Legion Varus’s own people for that matter, don’t seem to understand is human unwavering determination and will to survive.
So far through two books this has been a good series, if you like this genre, with lots of action and futuristic technology. I liked Mark Boyett’s narration, especially the southern accent of James McGill.
When the Dresden files began with “Storm Front,” Harry was a private detective and the only openly working professional wizard in Chicago. Then he became a warden for the white council, fought all kinds of supernatural monsters, including the Red Court, and recently he was dead. Now in book 15, “Skin Game,” he is the warden of the island Demonreach, and oh yeah, also the reluctant knight of winter court. What great story progression.
From the previous book, “Cold Days,” we know Harry has a parasite in his head and its threatening to end his life. Now Mab, the queen of the winter court, and Harry’s boss, is using his infirmity as leverage to get him to do a job. She’s loaned him out to one of his most hated foes, Nicodemus Archleone and the Denarians. Having done battle with Nicodemus before Harry knows he has his hands full; but locked and loaded with his usual nonstop smartmouth commentary and banter Harry is ready to fulfill his obligation and at the same time thwart his old enemy’s plans. Harry will need the help of his friends, although Thomas and Molly do not make an appearance we get a lot of Murphy, Michael and Butters, and he must use all of his cunning to get him and his friends out of this story intact.
I did like the development of the characters, notably “Butters,” and, as usual, there are plot twists. Some loose ends from the previous books are tied up with others left hanging; but this is “The Dresden Files,” and, if you’re like me, am glad that Jim Butcher always leaves us wanting more.
A note about the narrator; if you’re wondering whether to read the book or listen to this audio, James Marsters is Harry Dresden; his voice inflections captures the clever wit and subtle nuances of the character perfectly.
In the first book, “The Way of Kings,” we were introduced to the world of Roshar. It is a world of magic and aliens where hurricane-like storms lay savage to the world every few days and all of its inhabitants must adapt their lives accordingly. It is a world at war between the human armies led by High prince Dalinar Kholin and the Parshendi, a humanoid species. We were introduced to Jasnah, who is a renowned scholar and the niece of the High Prince Dalinar Kholin, her student Shallan, and Kaladin, a slave that by the end of Way of Kings is beginning to become the world’s first Knight’s Radiance in centuries.
If you haven’t read/listened to ”The Way of Kings,” I would strongly recommend that you do before going on to this second book, “Words of Radiance.” If you have read/listened to the first book I would recommend a review of TWOK before going on since it has been over four years and the second book starts off right where “The Way of Kings,” left off.
At 48 hours and 15 minutes this is a long book, in fact Brandon Sanderson posted on his blog that he wrote the manuscript under the working title “the Book of Endless Pages.” He was referring to the endless learning set forth in his first book but it seemed appropriate given its length; but don’t let the length of this book deter you as I listened the hours seemed to fly past. This is an amazing book.
“Word of Radiance” focuses on four characters: Kaladin, Shallan, Dalinar, and Adolin. In TWOK Kaladin was the main character and is still very prevalent but this book reveals more about Shallan. Like “The Way of Kings,” Sanderson interlaces the present with the past, developing the background on the main characters’ while moving the plot forward.
This is only book two in a ten part series and even though I can’t wait for the next book I found the ending satisfactory.
I word about the narrators, I’ve always been a big fan of Michael Kramer and Kate Reading and I thought they gave another great performance.
This is hard core science fiction with the science part underlined. There were times during the story when I felt I was in an advanced Physics class listening to a lecture on Orbital Mechanics; but the overall experience was entertaining and should excite the hardcore science fiction fan.
Set in the far distant future where DNA based life forms (humans) have advanced and can now freely travel across the known universe with the exception of its galactic core which is inhabited by a species that prefer isolation and are appropriately called the “Aloof,” the story is separated into two separate plot lines which are told alternately throughout the book. In our first plot line DNA is discovered in part of the Universe controlled by the Aloof and it sends a couple to seek out its source. We learn about an inspect-like species that are trying to come to grips with their relativity in the second. These two plot lines seem destined to come together in the end, but they never really do.
Overall I found Greg Egan’s descriptions of a galaxy-spanning, post human civilization fascinating and the narrator, Paul Boehmer, gives a good performance.
From one of the leaders in the cyberspace community, Matthew Mather takes us into the world of the future; a world of nanotechnology and virtual reality.
The earth is overcrowded and those with the resources flock to a corporate owned floating island called Atopia. Anything is possible in Atopia taking multi-tasking to an extreme. Thanks to nanotechnology and virtual reality people can literally be in more than two places at once.
Using his expert knowledge of cyberspace the writer gives us a very possible glimpse into the not so distant future where people seamlessly link with computers and expand their cognitive abilities; but at what cost?
The story may be a little hard to follow at first; the writer uses different characters to give their perspective of the same scene and it seems that there are separate story lines, but everything comes together in the last chapter.
The narrators do a good job and help the listener know that another character is speaking although I usually prefer one gifted narrator to an assembled cast.
I can’t wait for the second book “Dystopian. “
Cast from the mold of Star Ship Troopers and B.V. Larson’s other great space adventure, his Space Force series, Steel World; Undying Mercenaries is a high speed, high adventure, military Sci-Fi, page turner.
Having already submitted to the vast empire of the Galactics, Earth is in a struggle for survival and humanities legions of mercenaries must battle on planet Cancri-9, better known as Steel World to endure; but death is not the usual final obstacle as these mercenaries have the ability to regenerate.
It’s an interesting concept, the book has several plot twists and the characters are well developed and believable.
This is a story begging to be a series; and the narrator, Mark Boyett, gives a great performance.
Inspired by Alexandre Dumas’s historical novels of high adventure Steven Brust takes us into the past history of the world he created, called Dragaera, through the Khaavren series. “The Khaavren series is presented as historical novels written by a fictional character named Paarfi of Roundwood. Paarfi is a Dragaeran presiding in the same time frame as Vlad Taltos. In fact “Tiassa,” the thirteenth book in the Taltos series can be thought of as the sixth book in the Khaavren series. The time frame between the two series is hundreds of years apart but characters can appear in both series since Dragaerans live thousands of years.
“The Phoenix Guards” is book one of the Khaavren Romance series which follows Khaavren of Castlerock; a young Dragaeran from the House of the Tiassa. He and his friends join the Phoenix Guards and set off on a high adventure.
These series of books should be of special interest to those who follow the Taltos series as it gives more background story to some of the more prominent characters of that series. In “The Phoenix Guards” I was especially interested in learning more about Adron e'Kieron, a prominent Dragonlord and father of Aliera e’Kieron, one of the main characters in the Taltos books.
In “The Phoenix Guards,” Steven Brust truly captures the spirit of “The Three Musketeers” written by Alexandre Dumas. Brust ’use of old fashion, intricate, and highly verbose writing is overtly based on Dumas’s style as Steven Brust references in his author’s notes. I found the style of writing a little odd at first, but then really entertaining, if not poetic, once I got used to it.
“The Phoenix Guards” is a strong enough story that can be read-listened to as a stand-alone book; but I believe is much more enjoyable if all of the Taltos series is read first.
Kevin Stillwell, the narrator gives an outstanding performance.
"Doctor Sleep" is the sequel to the book; not the movie.This is an important fact that Stephen King shares in his author’s notes. Although, I am a fan of both the movie and the first book, Stephen King makes it clear that if you want the true story of the Torrance family you need to read the “Shining,” published in 1977, and then you will enjoy the sequel, “Doctor Sleep,” that much more.
Little Danny Torrance was only five when he became an iconic character in one of the scariest books ever written; and the ethereal haunted Overlook hotel, room 217, “Redrum,” and his possessed and murderous, alcoholic father, Jack, will be forever remember in literary history.
In “Doctor Sleep,” Danny is grown up; he works in a small New England town as a hospice worker and has the special ability to help patients come to terms with their deaths. Given his history its no wander, like his father, Jack, he is an alcoholic; but is trying to cope with his addiction by attending AA meetings. Alcoholism is very prevalent in this book, as it was in the first book of this series; in fact its diminished exploration in the movie, “The Shining,” by Stanley Kubrick, is one of the many reasons Stephen King was not a big fan of the movie, as he struggled with his own challenges with alcohol addiction during that time.
Danny is still psychic, although his abilities have weakened with age and its obvious when he comes in contact with Abra Stone, a girl who, at the age of twelve, has not yet fully tapped into her powers.
The young girl, is in danger, and she needs Danny’s help to keep her safe from a group, called The True Knot, that feed off of psychic powers; particularly children.
“Doctor Sleep is more than just a sequel, although it has roots to “The Shining,” this is a story that has its own wings; and boy does it fly.
If you’re wondering whether to purchase the text or the Audio version, the narrator of this audio book should make that an easy decision. Will Patton gives a spectacular performance and should not be missed.
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