Customer Reviews | Audible.com
 

You no longer follow Todd

You will no longer see updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can re-follow a user if you change your mind.

OK

You now follow Todd

You will receive updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can unfollow a user if you change your mind.

OK

Todd

Orange, Australia | Member Since 2011

12
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 38 reviews
  • 43 ratings
  • 150 titles in library
  • 9 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0

  • Violets are Blue: Alex Cross, Book 7

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By James Patterson
    • Narrated By Paul Birchard
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    The seventh novel in the Alex Cross series. The Mastermind is back - and he's hot on detective Alex Cross's trail. His cold, taunting threats leave Alex angry and deeply concerned for his family's safety. Two joggers have been found dead in San Francisco - bitten and hung by their feet to drain the blood. Further murders in California, and then on the East Coast as well, completely baffle Alex and the FBI. Is this the work of a cult, or role players, or even of modern-day vampires?

    Todd says: "Violets are meh"
    "Violets are meh"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Getting Morgan Freeman to narrate would have made this so much better. This is a very biased opinion, but ever since I saw him play Cross in the two movies made from these novels so far, I can't get past anyone else performing the story.The story was also uninteresting. The only saving grace was the climax between Cross and the Mastermind. The other central story was just not as intriguing.I know this is a Patterson thing, but I don't like how he tells the story from the killers' perspective at times. It takes away from the mystery and lowers the bar for me. If the killers remained unknown and a mystery, it would deepen the thrill of the novel.


    Has Violets are Blue turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Probably not. But I know that Patterson writes all his novels in the same manner, and this may turn me off his books.


    What didn’t you like about Paul Birchard’s performance?

    He portrayed Cross with a kind of Boston accent for most of the book. This makes no sense whatsoever, as Cross has never had anything to do with Boston. Hearing him pronounce "airport" as "eh-ya-paht" was just annoying.


    What character would you cut from Violets are Blue?

    Nana Mama. I know she is a staple of the series and Alex's conscience. But I find her annoying and any scenes where Cross is talking to her slow down the pace of an already slow novel.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Cardinal of the Kremlin: Jack Ryan, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Tom Clancy
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    In the Soviet hills of Dushanbe near the Afghanistan border, an otherworldly array of pillars and domes rises into the night. Between the USA and the Soviet Union, no contest is more urgent than the race to build the first missile defense system, and no one knows that more than the two men charged with assessing the Soviet's capabilities: Colonel Mikhail Filitov of the Soviet Union, an old-line warrior distrusted by the army's new inner circle of technocrats, and CIA analyst Jack Ryan, hero of the Red October affair. Each must use all his craft to arrive at the truth, but Filitov gets there first?

    Todd says: "A great counter-intelligence story"
    "A great counter-intelligence story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is my first foray into a Tom Clancy novel. I love the films based on his books, but until now, never thought I had the patience to sit through the written work. This one is a great read in terms of characters and story.

    The major story centres around Cardinal, a Soviet double agent working to sneak secrets out of Russia to the CIA. There is also a plot that sees the USA and the USSR racing to complete their versions of a laser defence system. There are a lot of characters in the book, but they are all fully fleshed out and realised. Surprisingly, Jack Ryan himself takes a backseat for much of the story. As the title suggests, the book focuses a lot on Cardinal, and luckily he is a very likable character.

    Now to the narration. One of the reasons I was hesitant to listen to the audio versions was that I had heard that Michael Prichard's narration was flat and boring. It is to an extent, but it wasn't bad enough that I had to stop listening. He doesn't have any range as a actor for different characters and when he does try to do different voices, he seems to just give up after about one sentence. The book would definitely have been better with an actual voice actor, but it was tolerable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bag of Bones

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Stephen King
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (51)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (26)

    When bestselling crime writer Mike Noonan's wife dies, he suffers from writer's block. Until he is drawn from Derry to his lakeside retreat, Sara Laughs, a house once inhabited by a famous singer. It's a community run by rich, tyrannical, wheelchair-bound Devore and his terrifying, skeletal, female bookkeeper. Devore is hell-bent on getting custody of his grandchild. Three-year-old Kyra and her young mother, Mattie, turn to Mike for help, and Mike, besotted by Mattie, is powerless to resist.

    Nigel says: "Great audio book"
    "Unfortunately not what was expected"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this book under the impression that it was about a troubled widower with writer's block who moves to his lakeside retreat, only to find it haunted by malicious ghosts. While this is partly true, the story focuses more on the main character's interaction with a single mother trying to protect her daughter from her evil custody-seeking father-in-law. The ghost stuff takes more of a backseat to this other storyline. Eventually the two parts unite to show that they were all part of the same story anyway, but it still felt like a cop out.

    I wasn't looking forward to Stephen King's narration. After listening to him speak in the afterword of his other books, he sounded too much like he was reading from the page. Not natural enough. However I enjoyed his reading of this book more than I expected to. While he is not as good as other readers (I think anyone could have done a better job), I found I wasn't as distracted as I thought I would be. He lends good nuances to some of the characters and isn't too bad.

    The book is a mediocre read in the grand scheme of King's other work. If you're planning to listen, make sure you know what you're getting into.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Doctor Sleep

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    Overall
    (55)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (55)

    Stephen King says he wanted to know what happened to Danny Torrance, the boy at the heart of The Shining, after his terrible experience in the Overlook Hotel. The instantly riveting Doctor Sleep picks up the story of the now middle-aged Dan, working at a hospice in rural New Hampshire, and the very special 12-year old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

    Ian says: "King By The Numbers"
    "The Shining returns"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Doctor Sleep’s story follows Danny Torrance – the special boy who survived his father’s murderous possession by the Overlook Hotel twenty years ago – living a nomad’s life as he moves from place to place, wrestling with an alcohol problem that he uses to dull the effects of the Shining. His ability has become more powerful over the years and the demons from his childhood still haunt his waking hours and his nightmares.

    King has managed to take the idea of the Shining and develop it in ways not before thought of. We encounter characters who have a fair bit of “shine” that manifests itself as different abilities. Some of these characters are good, some are evil. The latter includes the True Knot; semi-immortals who were once human, but are no longer. They survive by feeding off the “Steam” that children with the Shining produce when they are tortured to death. Of course, Danny inevitably crosses paths with them as he seeks to save a powerful child from their insane obsession. It’s a good story. Nothing wrong with it at all. It just doesn’t stand out from King’s earlier works.

    As to the narration, I’ve only ever seen Will Patton in movies and was a little sceptical as to his selection as the story’s narrator. I haven’t ever seen much acting range from the man. I was wrong. Patton brings each character to life in a performance that I wouldn’t have believed possible from the understated actor. He is brilliant.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ned Kelly: The Story of Australia's Most Notorious Legend

    • UNABRIDGED (29 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Peter FitzSimons
    • Narrated By Richard Aspel
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (5)

    Love him or loathe him, Ned Kelly has been at the heart of Australian culture and identity since he and his gang were tracked down in bushland by the Victorian police and came out fighting, dressed in bulletproof iron armour made from farmers' ploughs. Historians still disagree over virtually every aspect of the eldest Kelly boy's brushes with the law. Did he or did he not shoot Constable Fitzpatrick at their family home?

    Todd says: "A detailed account of the outlaw's life"
    "A detailed account of the outlaw's life"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The majority of books detailing Ned Kelly’s exploits usually present a sympathetic view of the man. Even people who know the major history behind the Kelly Gang see him as an Australian hero. While this book seems to start as yet another of those, it gradually evens out to a neutral stance. This is good, for make no mistake, Ned Kelly was a killer and relished being an outlaw. Fitzsimons presents all the well-detailed facts, supported by multiple testimonies of Kelly himself and the people who encountered him.

    The book is broken up into four parts: Ned’s early life, his early crimes and the Stringybark Creek murders, the last stand at the siege of Glenrowan, and his trial and final days in prison. The story is paced well, embellished with Fitzsimons’ usual flair and narrated fairly by Aspel. The siege of Glenrowan is particularly fascinating and even Ned’s final days in prison are foreboding and poignant.

    The book’s accounts allow the reader to make up their own mind about what kind of man Ned Kelly was. But no one can deny he was a victim of the harsh times and circumstances within which he grew up. It was a time that pitted rich squatters against the poor selectors (the Kellys among many others). The rich got richer and the poor struggled to put food on the table. These conditions led Kelly to early thievery and eventually onto bigger crimes. This doesn’t excuse his deeds, but it does make you understand why he did the things he did.

    Such is life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dracula [Audible Edition]

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Bram Stoker
    • Narrated By Alan Cumming, Tim Curry, Simon Vance, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1932)
    Performance
    (1770)
    Story
    (1792)

    The modern audience hasn't had a chance to truly appreciate the unknowing dread that readers would have felt when reading Bram Stoker's original 1897 manuscript. Most modern productions employ campiness or sound effects to try to bring back that gothic tension, but we've tried something different. By returning to Stoker's original storytelling structure - a series of letters and journal entries voiced by Jonathan Harker, Dr. Van Helsing, and other characters - with an all-star cast of narrators, we've sought to recapture its originally intended horror and power.

    N. Houghton says: "Gothic Horror Never Sounded So Good"
    "Superbly narrated, but drags on a bit"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The original story of Transylvanian Count Dracula starts off great, but slows down as the story moves forward. Since the story is told in the form of correspondence and journal entries (which is a fantastic approach), the characters tend to be a bit long-winded at times. They use seven words, where two will do. They also go off onto tangents that are completely irrelevant to the story (Mina and the old man for example). This is the reason the pace suffers. Van Helsing is also hard to understand at times. Whilst I understand English is supposed to be his second language and his mispronounced words add more authenticity, it can be trying at times.

    The narration cannot be faulted though. Each cast member brings their own unique personality to the characters. Having several narrators also breaks up the monotony of listening to just one person, as most other books do.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By George Orwell
    • Narrated By Samuel West
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (59)
    Performance
    (42)
    Story
    (41)

    Newspeak, Doublethink, Big Brother, the Thought Police - the vocabulary of George Orwell's classic political satire, 'Nineteen Eighty-Four', has passed into the English language, symbolising the horrors of totalitarianism.

    Michael says: "I thought this was fiction"
    "Ingsoc. Newspeak. Thoughtcrime. Doublethink"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Such are the words that permeate Orwell’s dystopian novel. His depressing vision of a totalitarian society constantly under surveillance and whose very thoughts are controlled is masterfully detailed. Of particular fascination is the doctrine of “the Party” and how it is detailed in the character Emannual Goldstein’s book. The intricacies of Doublethink and the motivations for war are utterly captivating.

    Samuel West's narration is superb and has a lot of conviction. I only gave 4 stars on it because other narrators I've heard have a larger vocal range, but he can't be faulted otherwise.

    As the book goes on, it does slow in Part 2, before wrenching you back into the harsh warped reality of the book’s setting. It is at this point that harsh truths are learned and the details of how the Party creates “unpersons” is revealed in all its horror. The scariest thing is not that the party’s philosophy is insane, but that it is so twisted that when pushed far enough, an individual may come to see that in actual fact, there is no other way. It almost makes a sick sort of sense. Almost.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Lost Symbol

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Dan Brown
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (276)
    Performance
    (90)
    Story
    (90)

    Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object is discovered in the Capitol Building. The object is an ancient invitation, meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of hidden esoteric wisdom. And when Langdon's mentor is kidnapped, Langdon's only hope of saving him is to accept this invitation and follow wherever it leads him.

    tess says: "Very typical of Dan Brown. Easy brilliance."
    "Hey everyone, look how much smarter I am than you!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is only the second Dan Brown book I’ve read/listened to. I’ve avoided his books because I’ve heard his prose is terrible. Having said that, I found “Digital Fortress” to be highly enjoyable and thought I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. I know this review is long, but bear with me. I may save you some time and money.

    “The Lost Symbol” returns us to Harvard Symbologist Robert Langdon, and his search for the mythical pyramid of the Freemasons. It’s a good idea with loads of potential and the pace initially seems to be well set (it actually isn’t). As always there appears to be plenty of research put into the subject by Brown and the elements that bring the story together are very intriguing. But Brown’s greatest strength is also his most frustrating one.

    Brown appears to cast himself in the role of Langdon (the all-knowing teacher) and relishes talking down to the rest of the characters (and his students), who represent the majority of the “ignorant dumb masses” that think they know things, but are sadly mistaken i.e. us. There are many scenes involving these other characters making statements about a historic building or event, only to have Langdon correct them. There is an overwhelming sense of Brown’s pomposity and condescension present when these scenes take place that it’s almost enough to make you turn off the audiobook.

    The other frustrating thing Brown does is tiptoe around the big revelations of the story, making the characters spell out every step involved in deducing the big reveal instead of just getting to the bloody point. It’s like they forget they’re racing against the clock. ”I know Peter is about to die any minute and the future of the country is at stake, but let me spend 15 minutes giving you a dissertation on something…” It’s enough to make you gouge your eyes out!

    Add to that the fact that certain chapters end on “big” cliffhangers and we don’t return to those scenes for some time after. It’s designed to keep you “turning the pages” until you discover the next anti-climactic irrelevant plot point, but it just ends up making you want to punch Brown in the face…repeatedly...with a shovel. Oh and did I mention Langdon seems to have become a complete moron? You’d think after his DVC and A&D adventures he would be more open-minded about things, but no. The same old scepticism first, be-shocked-and-dumbfounded-after-being-proven-wrong second, still applies.

    The narrator cannot be faulted though. He sincerely gives the book his best reading and performance and does a good job of depicting the characters. But even he can’t save this train wreck.

    All that being said, I nevertheless found myself swept up in the book as it approached its climax (I know right. WTF?). The character of Mal’akh is actually quite interesting, if a little too similar to Thomas Harris’ Francis Dollarhyde and a complete cliché. The book ends up being an okay read if you can stomach the negatives and the twist that many will see coming from a continent away. The last hour of the book is also unnecessary and the final revelation of the Ancient Word is a complete “That’s it?” moment. Don't waste your time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Firm

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (550)
    Performance
    (363)
    Story
    (368)

    At the top of his class at Harvard Law, he had his choice of the best in America. But he made a deadly mistake. When Mitch McDeere signed on with Bendini, Lambert & Locke of Memphis, he thought he and his beautiful wife, Abby, were on their way. Mitch should have remembered what his brother Ray -- doing 15 years in a Tennessee jail -- already knew. "You never get nothing for nothing."

    Mark says: "One of the best thrillers ever!"
    "Today's word is "Affluent"."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you'll excuse the sarcastic headline, I'll get to the review in a moment. It's just that the word "affluent/affluence" is used so much in this book, it became a bit of a running joke to me. But I digress.

    "The Firm" was apparently Grisham's first breakout bestseller and it also happens to be the first time I've read/listened to one of his books. I was impressed. The story, whilst not groundbreaking is nevertheless engaging and full of fleshed-out characters. The pace is nicely set, starting with McDeere's recruitment, subsequent instant affluence (see what I did there?), and the eventual realisation that maybe things are too good to be true. His race against the firm is gripping and a cause for staying in my work car long after I have arrived at my destination.

    Scott Brick's narration is fantastic. He manages to have the cockiness of McDeere, the menace of Locke, and even the slobbish nature of Devasher down perfectly. I think I'll be looking at a few more Grisham novels to add to my list after this one. Very well done indeed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Neil Gaiman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (63)
    Performance
    (61)
    Story
    (60)

    The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a fable that reshapes modern fantasy: moving, terrifying and elegiac - as pure as a dream, as delicate as a butterfly's wing, as dangerous as a knife in the dark - from storytelling genius Neil Gaiman. It's about memory and magic and survival, about the power of stories and the darkness inside each of us. It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed.

    Jacobus says: "A dark autobiographical fairytale of weirdness"
    "Expecting "Whoa!", but got "Meh""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the first Neil Gaiman book I've listened to. In his words, though this story is short, it is very "dark". Whilst I agree it is dark-ish, it isn't what I was expecting. The seamless transition from our world to the "other world" is done very well. The Ursela character in her true form is also quite menacing. It reminds me of the abstract nature of some of Stephen King's good work.

    The story is interesting enough, but the thing that really got on my nerves was Gaiman's narration. In every scene of the book, he speaks with an upward positive-sounding naive inflection. While this fits with the personality of the protagonist (an innocent 7-year-old boy), the dark tone of the story makes it completely out of place. Even in scenes that are supposed to be terrifying, the same tone of voice is there. It doesn't fit and it takes away from the story.

    The other thing that I couldn't get over was that for a 7-year-old boy, the protagonist seems to be one of the world's great philosophers. He says and thinks things that no 7-year-old I've ever met has any understanding of. You can't even explain this by the character being an avid reader of books. The things he makes comments on would escape the understanding of someone that young. On top of this, there are times when Gaiman seems to remember that this is a young child and the character has a complete lack of understanding of a situation. Consistency is key, Neil. He's either a very smart worldly young boy, or a clueless child. You can't have it both ways.

    A bit of a letdown, considering everyone praises this author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Left Hand of God

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Paul Hoffman
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (24)

    The Sanctuary of the Redeemers is a vast and desolate place - a place without joy or hope. Most of its occupants were taken there as boys and for years have endured the brutal regime of the Lord Redeemers whose cruelty and violence have one singular purpose - to serve in the name of the One True Faith. In one of the Sanctuary's vast and twisting maze of corridors stands a boy. He is perhaps fourteen or fifteen years old - he is not sure and neither is anyone else.

    Raphael says: "Good idea, poor execution"
    "Interesting story, let down by hollow characters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    "The Left Hand of God" tells the story of Cale, one of possibly several thousand boys imprisoned within the Sanctuary, a fortress controlled by religious fanatics whose purpose is to brutally indoctrinate the boys into the faith of the Hanged Redeemer, with often-times bloody and fatal results. Cale has become disillusioned by the the constant mental and physical punishments doled out by the redeemers and seeks an escape with the help of two other similarly dispirited boys.

    The story has a lot of potential. Cale's seemingly invincible skills hint at some supernatural purpose. However we do not find out what it is until the closing chapter of the book. By that time, I had lost most of my interest in what was happening. The characters do not instill a sense of caring in the reader. Cale is particularly cold and lacking personality. Understandable given his upbringing. The other characters seem more light-hearted and I know I should care about what happens to them, but they are just as hollow. If any one of them had died, I wouldn't have felt any sense of loss.

    A hollow bleakness permeates the whole book, reinforced by Sean Barrett's depressing rattling narration. The narration does fit with the tone of the book though, and Barrett does try to liven up the characters, but it's Hoffman's writing that loses the cause. Even once outside the Sanctuary and in the bustling city of Memphis, the depressing vibe is still there. It doesn't make me want to go back and read the second book. It's just too damn bleak! I understand this is what the author intended, but there are limits. It's a shame, because the next book could very well be fantastic, as Cale realizes what he is destined for. I might even consider it if he wasn't such a callous bore of a character.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

CANCEL

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.