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James

Tracy, CA, USA | Member Since 2004

20
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 2 reviews
  • 98 ratings
  • 127 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • Deep Survival: True Stories of Miraculous Endurance and Sudden Death

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Laurence Gonzales
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (558)
    Performance
    (238)
    Story
    (240)

    After her plane crashes, a 17-year-old girl spends 11 days walking through the Peruvian jungle. Against all odds, with no food, shelter, or equipment, she gets out. A better equipped group of adult survivors of the same crash sits down and dies. What makes the difference?

    Betty says: "I'm not sure it can get better than this"
    "Interesting idea, but little real insight"
    Overall

    I was somewhat torn on how to review this book. When I first read the book, I came away feeling like I had learned alot about how the mind works and what it is that makes some people able to survive these life threatening situations.

    After giving the book some time to process, I started to realize there's very little content or real information. A lot of theory (which only modest science behind it) and a lot of antecdotes.

    I participated in a 1-hour meet-and-greet with the author to discuss his book and ideas. I was not at all impressed. Very little scientific method behind his ideas. His book makes it sound like his ideas have broad-reaching applications, but it turns out that they apply only to a very specific class of person.

    Office workers, intellects, and city-dwellers need not apply. The mindset and skills he talks about only exist in survivalists, militia groups, and rural-country folk. This, more than anything else, was the most disapointing aspect of this book--learning that the author believes his book has no value to someone like me.

    5 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Hunters of Dune

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Brian Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (590)
    Performance
    (277)
    Story
    (278)

    At the end of Frank Herbert's final novel, Chapterhouse: Dune, a ship carrying a crew of refugees escapes into the uncharted galaxy, fleeing from a terrifying, mysterious Enemy. Hunters of Dune is the exotic odyssey of the crew as it is forced to elude the diabolical traps set by the ferocious, unknown Enemy.

    James says: "If only I liked Dune a little less..."
    "If only I liked Dune a little less..."
    Overall

    Hunters of Dune feels like a continuation of the Legends of Dune series rather than the original six Dune novels. The general story is fairly interesting, but the individual subplots and characters lack the important subtleties of Frank's original series. For fanatics of Dune, this is a must-read glimpse into Frank's vision for the direction of the series.

    Unfortunately, even the authors admit in the introduction they could never match his writing abilities. Personally, I wish Brian Herbert would simply publish the all of the notes and outlines that Frank and quit writing Dune books.

    There were several issues that kept me from giving this more stars. Among them include:

    * Scott Brick reads this book with a melodramatic tone (think William Shatner parody).

    * Each chapter was too short; just as the plot picked up, the authors changed to a different plot.

    * Many of the characters were underdeveloped and lacked the subtle details that really humanized the characters.

    * Too much time was spent reviewing all of the "prequels". In the first 4 hours, at least 2 hours was spent repeating material from prior books.

    * Authors go out of their way to include material from their spin-off books, even at the expense of logical or common sense.

    * The book is written to a 7th grade level. Harry Potter has a more advanced vocabulary and sophisticated plot.

    * Some sections feel "padded" to stretch the story out to fill two novels. There's a sequel due out next year.

    * Authors use bad plot devices and cliched techniques to create suspense and drama: to create a misguided sense of danger, they use a vague third-person reference like "the pit boss" or "the Reverend Mother"; that's a dead give-away that it's not who you think it is.

    * Bad analogies and too much flair in descriptions.

    * Authors lack subtleties. Compare Frank Herbert's style of refering to about axolotl tanks with Brian/Kevin's style. I feel no disgust or revulsion when listening to B/K.

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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