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Don

Sunset, UT, United States | Member Since 2002

37
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 6 reviews
  • 15 ratings
  • 394 titles in library
  • 29 purchased in 2014
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  • Furies of Calderon: Codex Alera, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4370)
    Performance
    (3022)
    Story
    (3059)

    In the realm of Alera, where people bond with the furies - elementals of earth, air, fire, water, and metal - 15-year-old Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. But when his homeland erupts in chaos - when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies - Tavi's simple courage will turn the tides of war.

    Jim says: "Remastered into chapters from CD."
    "Almost Epic"
    Overall

    Those who have read Butcher (The Dresden Files) are already familiar with some of the author's narrative conventions. You'll find them all here. Maybe that's bad. But once you immerse yourself in the world of Alera, you'll easily overlook those minor issues. Where Butcher excels is in the development of characters you love with motivations you can actually understand. He has also created an unusual and compelling world for those characters to inhabit. Sure, it is not difficult to find parallels with other fantasy epics. I like to characterize this series as Lloyd Alexander meets Anne Mccaffrey ... and that works for me. The narration is about as good as it gets; as others have noted, the production feels a little off sometimes ... but not to the point where it's a problem. Kate Reading (aka Jennifer Mendenhall) is more than up to the task of handling dozens of voices. Furies of Calderon is far from perfect and sometimes predictable. Still, it is a solid, entertaining read/listen that should draw you in if are willing to let it.

    24 of 26 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Mercedes: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5639)
    Performance
    (5256)
    Story
    (5262)

    In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes. Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.

    Joyce says: "Love this style of King!!!"
    "Not Classic Stephen King, but still not bad"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a Stephen King fan from way, way back, when I used to read everything the man wrote. Honestly, most of King's recent work just isn't up to the standard he set with Christine, Carrie, The Shining, etc. Mr. Mercedes seems to be a big departure from the traditional horror genre that King has always dominated. I describe the book as more of a crime thriller with plenty of Stephen King flavor and flare; it has more in common with Misery than anything else of his I've read.

    You can read about the plot in the Publisher's Summary, so I'm not getting into that here. Suffice it to say that the story is well told, with solid characterizations (particularly of the more twisted players). In anyone else's hands, these people would be stock characters, thinly drawn and not compelling. The psychopath from the messed up family and a murderous streak; the retired copy with a messed up life and suicidal thoughts; the trusted teen sidekick ... etc. But King is able to make all of that work by giving us believable relationships and scattered moments of genuine emotion and personal insight.

    There is nothing supernatural going on here. This is about evil and psychological pathology. The central focus is on the way certain relationships can push us well over the edge or, in other cases, pull us away from the brink.

    As a straight forward crime drama, Mr. Mercedes would fall short. As a true horror novel, it doesn't come close. As a psychological thriller, it's a little thin. But as a hybrid of all the above, Mr. Mercedes works and works quite well.

    A final remark on the work of Will Patton as the narrator. His performance is simply the best thing about this audiobook. While I recognized Patton's name, it wasn't until I heard his voice that I was able to place him. The man always does good work, mostly in film. But here, he does great work, nailing every single detail to near perfection. Hyperbole? Maybe. But damn, Patton knocks this right out of the park.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Out of the Dark

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By David Weber
    • Narrated By Charles Keating
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (396)
    Performance
    (206)
    Story
    (208)

    Earth is conquered. The Shongairi have arrived in force, and humanity’s cities lie in radioactive ruins. In mere minutes, over half the human race has died. Now Master Sergeant Stephen Buchevsky, who thought he was being rotated home from his latest tour in Afghanistan, finds himself instead prowling the back country of the Balkans, dodging alien patrols and trying to organize the scattered survivors without getting killed.

    Barry says: "Collapses at the finish line"
    "Not his best, but not bad either"
    Overall

    If you're going to throw in the kind of twist that David Weber does in this novel, you better do it well. I'll be honest ... I think Weber could have done it a little better this time. This novel has all the Weber trademarks, so expect expansive detail ... on weapons, socio-political dynamics, and the very nature of man. If you're paying attention (to various reviews and the novel's description), and you're more of the "hard sci-fi" reader, you might want to steer clear. On the other hand, if a bit of supernatural fits comfortably enough in your own sci-fi world view, I say go for it. I get the impression (from various sci-fi sites) that this was intended as the jump-off point for a new series; given Weber's history, it's what I would expect. I hope so ... it would be an intriguing premise and certainly worth exploring. If not, the novel works well enough as a stand-alone tale. If you like Weber's previous work (particular some of his non-Honorverse novels)--and you can handle the supernatural twist--Out of the Dark is a pretty good read.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Thirteen

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Richard K. Morgan
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1090)
    Performance
    (423)
    Story
    (426)

    Marsalis is one of a new breed...literally. Genetically engineered by the U.S. government to embody the naked aggression and primal survival skills that centuries of civilization have erased from humankind, Thirteens were intended to be the ultimate military fighting force. The project was scuttled, however, when a fearful public branded the supersoldiers dangerous mutants, dooming the Thirteens to forced exile on Earth's distant, desolate Mars colony. But Marsalis found a way to slip back.

    L. says: "WOW, Morgan Does it again!"
    "Do You Feel Lucky ... Punk?"
    Overall

    Thirteen ... It's hard to know even where to begin here. I sincerely want to recommend this book ... but I will do so with a note of caution. It's not an easy read/listen. It is dense and uneven. It is often preachy to the point of distraction. It is violent and explicit. But it is also quite intriguing. It left me wanting to know a lot more about this world and the future as envisioned by Richard K. Morgan. It also left me feeling pretty exhausted. While there is certainly no lack of creativity here, there is also a lot of information overload that goes with it. I had to push a bit to make it through to the end. I'll likely read more of Morgan ... just maybe not right away. In the end, I'll say this: If your sensitive about religion, sex, and violence, keep your distance. But if you can handle those topics, if you like your sci-fi with plenty of technological pop and political chaos, and if you feel lucky, give Thirteen a shot. You could do worse.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Academ's Fury: Codex Alera, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    Overall
    (3384)
    Performance
    (2315)
    Story
    (2324)

    For 1,000 years, the people of Alera have united against the aggressive and threatening races that inhabit the world, using their unique bond with the Furies - elementals of Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Metal. But now, the unity of the Alerians hangs in precarious balance.

    Eric says: "Wonderful series"
    "Solid Follow-Up to Book 1"
    Overall

    Academ's Fury picks up about two years after the conclusion of the previous book, Furies of Calderon. Our hero, Tavi, is now a student at Hogw--oops! Um--at the Academy in Alera Imperia. Along with his new position as the High Lord's page, Tavi is making new friends and new enemies right and left. There's treason in the air and assassins around every corner. Meanwhile, back in Calderon Valley, the nastiest enemy of all is taking root. Not the strongest book in the series but not the weakest either. I love Jim Butcher and I enjoy his style--warts and all--and this book certainly does nothing to change that. It introduces some great characters who will play important roles in the books to come, so it is a must-read for that reason alone. Some events feel a bit contrived, and there are plenty of Harry Potter parallels; don't let any of that dissuade you. Lot's of fun to be had here, so I suggest you ignore the minor bumps in the road and just enjoy the ride.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Killing Time

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Caleb Carr
    • Narrated By Caleb Carr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (158)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (24)

    From master novelist Caleb Carr comes Killing Time, a gripping tale of the enormous - and terrifying - power of the Internet. Power to manipulate. Power to alter history. Power to kill. Take a glimpse into the future - if you dare.

    Also from Carr: The Alienist.

    "Killing Time is all it's good for ... if that"
    Overall

    Maybe I just expected something more ... but I had real trouble getting all the way through this book. Interesting premise, juvenile execution. Someone said the characters were "comicbook" like ... that's too much like a compliment. Comicbooks are more interesting. I really wanted to like this book, but the whole thing was just too disjointed and painful to plod through. I'm not one to worry too much about the audio stylings, effects, etc., but low marks there as well.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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