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Ourimbah, Australia | Member Since 2009

  • 5 reviews
  • 8 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 7 purchased in 2014

  • A Child Across the Sky

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Jonathan Carroll
    • Narrated By Daniel Goldstein
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Weber Gregston and Philip Strayhorn are best friends. They were at college together; they struggle as nobodies in Hollywood together. Weber soon becomes the most acclaimed director of his generation. Phil is unrecognized for years, and then makes a series of notorious horror films. He has everything; love, fame, money. Then he takes a gun and blows his head off. Why? Weber hopes the answer is on the video tapes that Phil has left him. But when he plays them, he finds messages from beyond the grave.

    Jennifer says: "A moral tale without a moral"
    "A moral tale without a moral"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Male readers who enjoy unpleasant quirks.

    Would you ever listen to anything by Jonathan Carroll again?


    Which character – as performed by Daniel Goldstein – was your favorite?

    They all seemed equally unlikeable.

    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Anger and disappointment.

    Any additional comments?

    It's a shame review boxes are so narrowly set out — I can't easily say what I felt about this odd, jumbled work. The writer clearly knows how to write. The buildup of tension is generally quite strong. However I felt no connection with the main characters, and didn't really like any of them — none stood out from the background of self-obsessed insularity and smothering middle-classness. The fetish for film work didn't appeal to me and would, I think, put off many general readers, while the moral links the novel seems to want to make (despite its obsession with amorality) between violent depiction and 'evil' are, I think, merely mundane. The punchline to this meandering, under-structured novel seems to indicate that the purpose of the book isn't to explore a moral viewpoint but to illustrate an amoral one. If narratives exist to give shape and meaning, it makes sense that the illustration of shapeless meaninglessness can be justified as a counterpoint. Alas, it doesn't make for a worthwhile novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Luck in the Shadows: Nightrunner, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Lynn Flewelling
    • Narrated By Raymond Todd

    Spy, rogue, thief, and noble, Seregil of Rhiminee is many things, none of them predictable. And when he offers to take on Alec as his apprentice, things may never be the same for either of them. Soon Alec is traveling roads he never knew existed, toward a war he never suspected was brewing. Before long he and Seregil are embroiled in a sinister plot that runs deeper than either can imagine and that may cost them far more than their lives if they fail. But fortune is as unpredictable as Alec's new mentor.

    Julie says: "Looking forward to the second book in this series"
    What would have made Luck in the Shadows better?

    Less cliche; greater attention to overarching plot, story purpose, and character development. Also, better attention to female characters, of whom there are few (and almost none interesting or developed). Oh, and just better writing overall.

    Would you recommend Luck in the Shadows to your friends? Why or why not?

    No—my friends tend to like books by women or about women or with some other recommendation such as good writing.

    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Raymond Todd?

    No idea.

    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Luck in the Shadows?

    Often in scenes where Seregil and Alec are riding along or sitting at a campfire or whatnot, the writer uses the opportunity to tell backstory in dialogue. Pages and pages are filled with this tedious form of telling, made even more tedious by the fact that none of it matters to the characters themselves during the telling. Backstory should never be delivered in great slabs like this. Furthermore there are many bland descriptions of stage elements that simply don't matter to the tale. Does it matter if a drawer is low and wide or tall and high? Does it matter if there's a brass ring? Details of curtains, fireplaces, furniture, clothes and buildings seem to occupy large parts of the novel without having the slightest bearing on events being described. The writer should have chosen which details to explore and which to brush over; my feeling is that most should have been glossed.

    Any additional comments?

    Words can't express my disappointment with this series of novels (of which I've read the first 2). More than anything it's the sheer blandness of the storytelling and the list-like description that turn what might have been a fun and blade-filled adventure into abject tedium, albeit with a few faster and more delightful moments.

    The characters aren't specifically to blame—Seregil is jaunty enough; Alec is innocent enough—but there isn't enough character development to make them really stand out. At the same time, while character non-development could have been forgiven in a book where the plot keeps emotions alight, here the plot often flounders as well. As for world-building (one of the staple crafts of fantasy), it takes more than an oft-repeated oath (Bellari's balls) to make a world live in the reader's mind, while the magic of Luck in the Shadows seems entirely derivative.

    By far the worst aspect of this novel, however, is its complete neglect for female characters. Indeed, so indifferent was this book to its female characters (pottering wives, saucy scullery maids, the odd belligerent queen or haughty warrior princess) that I wondered whether 'Lyn Flewelling' might be a man's name. Where Swordspoint and The Privilege of the Sword (by Ellen Kushner) make great fun out of sexual and social shenanigans (homosexuality being a natural part of things), Luck in the Shadows simply seems to want to bring women readers along as an exercise in audience-expansion on the basis that there wouldn't be many gay male readers of the genre.

    I know my criticism is harsh, but the work was reviewed at 5 stars when I made the purchase, and I was recommended it after loving Swordspoint. Luck in the Shadows is basically competent for a genre-read, but absolutely not worth such a comparison.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Among Others

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Jo Walton
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Startling, unusual, and yet irresistably readable, Among Others is at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood, a brilliant diary of first encounters with the great novels of modern fantasy and SF, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment.

    Eoin says: "Subtle Character Piece"
    "Warm, heart-rending realist fantasy"
    Would you listen to Among Others again? Why?

    Yes, and again after that... It's haunting, captivating, sweet and painfully real.

    What was one of the most memorable moments of Among Others?

    When the main character reveals what happened to her sister.

    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Unfortunately, the narrator was occasionally hard to understand because of her strong accent. Once my ear became 'tuned' this was less of a problem, but it was frustrating at times very early on.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No; I wanted to stretch it out because I enjoyed it so much.

    Any additional comments?

    This amazing book can be read on two levels almost all the way through: a completely realist book about a girl's imagination compensating for tragedy and disability; or a fantasy story about ghosts and fairies. Either way, or both, it's beautifully observed, wry, whimsical and wonderful. My only qualm is that the ending felt too sudden and a little contrived, as though the writer simply decided to finish as quickly and efficiently as possible (throwing most of the ambiguity away). Still, even with that caveat, this is one of the best books I've listened to all year.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Solaris: The Definitive Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Stanislaw Lem, Bill Johnston (translator)
    • Narrated By Alessandro Juliani

    At last, one of the world’s greatest works of science fiction is available - just as author Stanislaw Lem intended it. To mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of Solaris, Audible, in cooperation with the Lem Estate, has commissioned a brand-new translation - complete for the first time, and the first ever directly from the original Polish to English. Beautifully narrated by Alessandro Juliani (Battlestar Galactica), Lem’s provocative novel comes alive for a new generation.

    Burns says: "A comment on negative reviews"
    "Beautiful, haunting, human"
    If you could sum up Solaris in three words, what would they be?

    Psychologically profound sci-fi

    Any additional comments?

    The perfection of this work lies in its integration of scientific logic with ordinary human feeling. I read this book after seeing the recent film; without expecting to love it, I found I couldn't stop listening. Unlike the film, the book dwells on the mechanics of Solaris as well as the psychology of the station inhabitants, so it's a far richer experience.

    Anyone expecting a thrills-per-minute hair-raising ride will be disappointed, but for readers who love genuine exploration, this beautiful novel works on all levels, and is the most seamless integration of the human condition (pain, loss, desire) with the scientific condition (trial, error, knowledge) I've ever found. Strange, haunting, highly recommended.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Wild Seed

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Octavia E. Butler
    • Narrated By Dion Graham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Doro is an entity who changes bodies like clothes, killing his hosts by reflexor design. He fears no one...until he meets Anyanwu. Anyanwu is a shapeshifter who can absorb bullets and heal with a kiss and savage anyone who threatens her. Together they weave a pattern of destiny unimaginable to mortals.

    Annette says: "Fairy Tale... even if it's not"
    "Well written but lacking story punch"
    Would you ever listen to anything by Octavia E. Butler again?

    Yes, possibly.

    Have you listened to any of Dion Graham’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I've never listened to this performer before, but didn't have a problem with the performance.

    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Wild Seed?

    There are countless deaths in Wild Seed, but almost none makes the reader feel more than irritated on the main character's behalf. Similarly, she has countless offspring, again with little reader feeling for her investment in them. Her relationships with others are for the most part shortlived, livened up faintly by the various mutations she encounters. These superficial elements don't hold interest for long enough to make the book's violence and the oppressive relationship at the core of it appealing.This is a parable for slavery, and on that basis alone should have been compelling and remarkable. Alas, the relationships don't matter, the main character's immortality means that violence and excess are repeated ad nauseum, and the ending could just as easily have come right after the beginning.
    It's a shame the story itself was so unsatisfying, because the writer is adept at bringing a reader into a place and time.

    0 of 4 people found this review helpful

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