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Shawn

Barrie, Ontario, Canada | Member Since 2010

41
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 41 reviews
  • 58 ratings
  • 311 titles in library
  • 25 purchased in 2014
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  • METAtropolis: Cascadia

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Jay Lake, Mary Robinette Kowal, Elizabeth Bear, and others
    • Narrated By Rene Auberjonois, Kate Mulgrew, Wil Wheaton, and others
    Overall
    (700)
    Performance
    (450)
    Story
    (449)

    This sequel to the Hugo and Audie Award nominated METAtropolis features interconnected stories by today’s top writers of speculative fiction – performed by a galaxy of Star Trek stars. As the mid-20th century approaches, the Pacific Northwest has been transformed - politically, economically, and ecologically - into the new reality of Cascadia. Conspiracies and secrets threaten the tenuous threads of society. And the End of Days seems nearer than ever.

    Stephen says: "Some good, some bad"
    "An interesting world"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    The narration was good. The cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation characters did a good job an was a fun touch.


    Any additional comments?

    I hadn't read the original METAtropolis. I do want to go back and read those now, but I think that I would have gotten more out of these if I was read that first. Still, a solid read, interesting take on a possible future. Some stories really held back the overall impression of the collection.

    1 of 2 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
    (8584)
    Performance
    (6021)
    Story
    (6055)

    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!"
    "Not your usual fantasy cliche"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel breaks everything I thought I knew about the fantasy genre. Instead of a story of an evil despot taking over the world like Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Sword of Truth and more, this has him win 1000 years ago. The world is under his tyranny. This is what it looks like when your stereotypical evil lord wins.

    So now we need to rebel that he has been in control for a 1000 years. But this novel takes it's narrative from the standard heist movie. A guy with a plan to steal puts together a crack team of different skills to accomplish his goal.

    I really liked that the ending climax was all based on the rules we had learned before. Sometimes in fantasy things just happen at the end, because it's all just made up and the author can do anything. But I think Brandon Sanderson does everything very logically and I find that is just one of the things making this book refreshing.

    I'm certainly looking forward to reading the sequel.

    In the fantasy genre of novels and movies, you have this thing where the male lead and female lead characters always end up with each other, no matter how much they hate each other at the start. It's very cliché. And summarized in the Evil Overlord List where it says the following:

    "98. If an attractive young couple enters my realm, I will carefully monitor their activities. If I find they are happy and affectionate, I will ignore them. However if circumstance have forced them together against their will and they spend all their time bickering and criticizing each other except during the intermittent occasions when they are saving each others' lives at which point there are hints of sexual tension, I will immediately order their execution."

    Brandon Sanderson's books so far have taken as many of the fantasy clichés and turned them on their head. He has the male and female lead bicker constantly. But then, they don't get together. For any normal person this makes sense. But for people who have read a bunch of fantasy, it's actually delightfully jarring. That's just one example. He plays with the clichés and then breaks them. I like genre writing that subverts the genres own tropes.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Broken Kingdoms

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By N. K. Jemisin
    • Narrated By Casaundra Freeman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (119)
    Performance
    (89)
    Story
    (87)

    The gods have broken free after centuries of slavery, and the world holds its breath, fearing their vengeance. The saga of mortals and immortals continues in The Broken Kingdoms. In the city of Shadow, beneath the World Tree, alleyways shimmer with magic and godlings live hidden among mortalkind. Oree Shoth, a blind artist, takes in a homeless man who glows like a living sun to her strange sight. This act of kindness engulfs Oree in a nightmarish conspiracy.

    Laurene says: "Very enjoyable new epic fantasy"
    "Exciting Sequel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is full of action, interesting ideas, and further explores the world first shown to us in the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. In that book a lot of things changed, and here is a view from outside of the noble houses.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • My Soul to Lose

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 48 mins)
    • By Rachel Vincent
    • Narrated By Amanda Ronconi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1575)
    Performance
    (952)
    Story
    (954)

    It was supposed to be a fun day, shopping at the mall with her best friend. Then the panic attack started and Kaylee Cavanaugh finds herself screaming, unable to stop. Her secret fears are exposed, and it's the worst day of her life....Until she wakes up in the psychiatric unit. She tries to convince everyone she's fine--despite the shadows she sees forming around another patient and the urge to scream which comes burbling up again and again.

    brenty says: "A beautifully crafted vignette!"
    "Interesting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Not my usual. I thought it was interesting, though at times predictable. Certainly created a creepy setting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Rise of Endymion

    • UNABRIDGED (29 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Dan Simmons
    • Narrated By Victor Bevine
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1328)
    Performance
    (788)
    Story
    (795)

    In the stunning continuation of the epic adventure begun in Hyperion, Simmons returns us to a far future resplendent with drama and invention. On the world of Hyperion, the mysterious Time Tombs are opening. And the secrets they contain mean that nothing - nothing anywhere in the universe - will ever be the same.

    Chad says: "Simmons' Magnum Opus"
    "A solid conclusion to the story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel concludes with some interesting implicit themes made explicit. It had a touching (but I sometimes think cheap) ending, but was overall good.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Inheritor: Foreigner Sequence 1, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By C. J. Cherryh
    • Narrated By Daniel Thomas May
    Overall
    (198)
    Performance
    (179)
    Story
    (180)

    Six months have passed since the reappearance of the starship Phoenix - the same ship which brought humans to the world of alien atevi nearly 200 years ago, leaving a small and vulnerable colony to struggle for survival in a hostile environment. During these six months, the alien atevi have striven to reconfigure their fledgling space program in a breakneck bid to take their place in the heavens alongside humans. But the return of the Phoenix has added a third party to an already volatile situation....

    AudioAddict says: "Brilliant and Imaginative"
    "Strong conclusion to Sequence 1"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the last book in Sequence 1 of the Inheritor/First Contact series. It's very much a continuation of the first book, but also sets up the plot for Sequence 2.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Invader: Foreigner Sequence 1, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By C. J. Cherryh
    • Narrated By Daniel Thomas May
    Overall
    (226)
    Performance
    (201)
    Story
    (206)

    Nearly two centuries after a human colony is abandoned on an alien planet, the two races have reached a tenacious peace agreement. But when the human ship returns unexpectedly, both governments are thrown into chaos.

    AudioAddict says: "The Art of Negotiating with Aliens"
    "Well crafted. More exciting."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a great sequel to the first book in the series. I thought the last book had interesting ideas and explored the alien relationships well. I understand why C.J. Cherryh decided to write the first book as she did. However, it just wasn't exciting as we were kept away from the action, except for the end.

    This book takes place right after the first, and there is a lot more politics and a lot more to the plot — solving my only reservations about the last book. It's a slow moving, well crafted exploration of cultures colliding and dealing with the crisis that the return of the starship created. With the foundation of the first book we can really explore these issues more.

    ∗∗∗∗ ⋅ /5 Writing style
    ∗∗∗∗ ⋅ /5 Audiobook Narration
    ∗∗∗∗∗/5 Interesting ideas
    ∗∗∗∗ ⋅ /5 Engaging story
    ∗∗∗∗ ⋅ /5 Good science/technology

    ∗∗∗∗ ⋅ /5 Overall

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Embassytown

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By China Mieville
    • Narrated By Susan Duerden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (460)
    Performance
    (340)
    Story
    (344)

    China Miéville doesn’t follow trends, he sets them. Relentlessly pushing his own boundaries as a writer—and in the process expanding the boundaries of the entire field—with Embassytown, Miéville has crafted an extraordinary novel that is not only a moving personal drama but a gripping adventure of alien contact and war. In the far future, humans have colonized a distant planet, home to sentient beings famed for a language unique in the universe, one that only a few altered human ambassadors can speak....

    D says: "must hear to fully appreciate."
    "Slow and Solid First Contact story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a solid, slow pace, well thought out novel. It deals with how language and the brain interact to produce culture, and how alien cultures will have alien languages and will have motivations and desires completely alien to us. It's a first contact novel that takes place hundreds of years later when forces conspire to tilt the careful balance of Embassytown off kilter.

    However, it is both dense with ideas and not an engaging writing style. Very interesting; many ideas that you must pay attention to. However, it's narrative didn't carry me away with it. But China Miéville paid good attention to the society and characters of the Embassytown compared to the rest of the galaxy, as well as the alienness of the Hosts and their unique language.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Nano Flower: The Greg Mandel Trilogy, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Peter F. Hamilton
    • Narrated By Toby Longworth
    Overall
    (508)
    Performance
    (449)
    Story
    (451)

    Julia Evans, billionairess owner of Event Horizon, has for 15 years been the power behind England’s economic renaissance – but now she’s in trouble. With her husband missing, and rival companies suddenly claiming to have acquired a technology impossibly superior to anything on Earth, she has no time to take notice of a single flower delivered anonymously. But this flower possesses genes millions of years in advance of any terrestrial DNA.

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "Sci-fi mastery in full bloom for the nanoflower"
    "The End of Greg Mandel's Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This interesting and action pack conclusion to the Greg Mandel story is clearly some of Peter F. Hamilton's earlier work, not as big picture as his other work. It is a fun conclusion to the career of Greg who has become a much older man than he was in the previous books. It's hard for me to call these a trilogy as there is no story connecting them. But it is the end cap of Greg's career.

    Here we see a peak of Hamilton's galaxy spanning narratives. Without spoiling much it's a first contact novel that deals with multiple human organization (government, corporate) vying for access and control in a short time frame and with almost no one knowing what's going on. Hamilton's prosaic writing I find to be clear, concise, and lets the story speak for itself.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Steven Levy
    • Narrated By L. J. Ganser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3010)
    Performance
    (2173)
    Story
    (2181)

    Few companies in history have ever been as successful and as admired as Google, the company that has transformed the Internet and become an indispensable part of our lives. How has Google done it? Veteran technology reporter Steven Levy was granted unprecedented access to the company, and in this revelatory book he takes listeners inside Google headquarters - the Googleplex - to explain how Google works.

    Lynn says: "A Rip Snorting Story"
    "A great look at how Google thinks"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was a good, clear book that showed how the company Google thinks about it's mission, works on the inside, and affects our lives, as the subtitle says. Some bits here and there delve into technical aspects but was simplified well. As a programmer and someone who follows the tech industry this book shed a little light on why Google has done the things it did.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Crystal Soldier: Liaden Universe Books of Before, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Sharon Lee, Steve Miller
    • Narrated By Kevin T. Collins
    Overall
    (174)
    Performance
    (155)
    Story
    (156)

    Centuries in the past, mankind fought a seemingly unbeatable adversary from sector to sector across the Spiral Arm until the war ground to a standstill and the Enemy withdrew. Believing that they had won, the citizens of the galaxy rebuilt. The Inner Worlds, which had escaped the worst of the war's ravages, became even more insular, while the Rim worlds adopted a free and easy way with law and order. Now, hundreds of years after their withdrawal, the Enemy is back - and this time they'll be satisfied with nothing less than the extinction of the galaxy.

    Shawn says: "A good introduction to Lianden"
    "A good introduction to Lianden"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've never a Liaden book or a book from the authors. This far future sci-fi tale was interesting, the pace was constant, and the universe interesting. While this novel didn't excite me terribly, but it kept my attention and there are some interesting ideas that are in the background that will clearly be major elements of future books as this book was written after but takes place before the main series of books. I will look forward to reading them.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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