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Robert Eric Koch

Tell us about yourself!

MONTEVALLO, AL, US | Member Since 2010

57
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 36 reviews
  • 36 ratings
  • 247 titles in library
  • 27 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
12

  • Free: The Legend of Drizzt: The Collected Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By R. A. Salvatore
    • Narrated By An All-Star Cast
    Overall
    (328)
    Performance
    (292)
    Story
    (295)

    The Legend of Drizzt: The Collected Stories expands upon the epic legend of the dark elf with 12 tales performed by the all-star cast of Felicia Day, Dan Harmon, Greg Grunberg, Tom Felton, Danny Pudi, Sean Astin, Melissa Rauch, Ice-T, Wil Wheaton, Al Yankovic, Michael Chiklis, and David Duchovny!

    Robert Eric Koch says: "Just Plain Awesome"
    "Just Plain Awesome"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I never write reviews of audiobooks before I finish listening to the entire book, even if I’ve read the book many times before. I will make an exception here since a) it’s free; b) it’s just plain awesome; and c) it’s free. R.A. Salvatore is what I would call average fantasy, a tick or two below Terry Brooks but nothing, in essence, like or at the level of, say, George RR Martin, Joe Abercrombe, or Robert Jordan. His books are basically novelizations of Dungeons and Dragon game scenarios complete with towns, villages, monsters, and character classes. All that’s missing are the die rolls when his characters get into combat. His books are lite and fun, sometime a little on the corny side, especially his earlier stuff. And yet, I’ve happily read everything the man has written and call myself a fan. That said, I rarely recommend Salvatore to readers who are not at least casually familiar with D&D or Forgotten Realms. Here is an exception. The narrators thus far have turned this average fantasy world into a real gem. For the price you can’t go wrong and I have no qualms about calling this the greatest deal in Audible history. I would have happily paid a credit for 10 hours of pure, fantasy joy. Get this today!

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Cibola Burn: The Expanse, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By James S. A. Corey
    • Narrated By Erik Davies
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (214)
    Performance
    (204)
    Story
    (202)

    An empty apartment, a missing family, that's creepy. But this is like finding a military base with no one on it. Fighters and tanks idling on the runway with no drivers. This is bad juju. Something wrong happened here. What you should do is tell everyone to leave. The gates have opened the way to a thousand new worlds and the rush to colonize has begun. Settlers looking for a new life stream out from humanity's home planets. Ilus, the first human colony on this vast new frontier, is being born in blood and fire.

    Striker says: "Decent Story, Lacking Good Narration"
    "New Narrator, Still an Excellent Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Forget all the reviews focusing solely on the decision to change narrators after the third book. The initial series was planned as a trilogy, to end after Abaddon’s Gate. But, due to the success of the series and likely the decision by SyFy to turn it into a television series, The Expanse was expanded. I can only guess that Jefferson Mays was contracted for three books and unavailable for this and future entries. So what! Yes it’s different and his choice of inflection and accent don’t match perfectly with Mays but it takes all of 15 minutes to get beyond this and the narration is otherwise fine. Don’t let bad reviews or inconsistent narration keep you from another excellent entry into the now expanded Expanse series. While Cibola Burn is, in my opinion, the weakest novel of the series thus far, it remains a fun, well written, book with great characters, a lot of humor, and, as always, a few things to say about the human condition.

    Cibola Burn is basically a disaster story set on an alien planet millions of light years from Earth. Thanks to the newly opened gates mankind is now starting to expand beyond the physical limits of the solar system. The first world mankind encounters, Ilus or New Terra, is rich in resources and breathable air but lacking a compatible biosphere and covered by abandoned alien technology. Soon, Ilus becomes the frontier and the site of humanity’s first war beyond our own stars as things quickly go wrong in all kinds of ways. It reminded me a great deal of disaster films like The Poseidon Adventure or, more recently, Gravity, where one thing after another goes wrong and suddenly things that once mattered, like alliances and contracts and settler’s rights, are forgotten as life becomes about overcoming one problem after another to survive for one more hour, one more day. As a result, this book is full of clichés, from the single minded bad guy whose lack of basic human decency is only eclipsed by his lack of basic human logic, to the guilt-laden terrorist whose biggest flaw is his lack of control to the way the crew and characters come up with solutions to the myriad problems that seem to constantly pop up. This is also the first book to set most of the action planet-side, which is an interesting twist.

    I did not enjoy Cibola Burn as much as I did the previous three books. I felt like the greater mystery of the protomolecule should have been resolved in the last book and that now, the author is simply tacking on my story, more mystery. It certainly has that “tacked on” quality and the series feels as if it’s being over-stretched. Even the explanation behind why Holden and his crew are still involved in galactic politics feels out of place. As much as I love Holden, Naomi, Alex, and Amos, it would have more sense, I think, to start with new characters and build a new trilogy.

    Despite its flaws, this is still a great book and a fun, edge of your seat read (or listen) and fully recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Words of Radiance: The Stormlight Archive, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (48 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer, Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6662)
    Performance
    (6334)
    Story
    (6351)

    In that first volume, we were introduced to the remarkable world of Roshar, a world both alien and magical, where gigantic hurricane-like storms scour the surface every few days and life has adapted accordingly. Roshar is shared by humans and the enigmatic, humanoid Parshendi, with whom they are at war.

    D says: "Book !!; no let down- "Words of Radieance" shines"
    "Best Fantasy Novel of 2014"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Is it even possible to say enough good things about this novel? Or, to say anything that hasn’t already been said? Sanderson is a marvel. This is a massive novel that reads like a book half its page length. The story rarely dragged, even the interlude chapters that irritated me in the first book, in Words of Radiance were fun, interesting, and whimsical. More than that, they actually started to make sense in the overall, emerging, story. The story is also tight and focused, almost exclusively following the central characters through the primary storyline. Unlike most fantasy novels of this length, there are no lingering subplots, no secondary characters to drag to the central story off in different directions in order to drag out the plot and lengthen the drama. On top of all this praise, hard as it is to be believe, but I feel like Brandon Sanderson is growing as a writer. His novels are not only becoming more complex but his writing is growing more intricate and sophisticated, no longer relying on typical descriptors or dramatic queues that so often make high fantasy stories predictable. More than this, Sanderson does not rely on graphic violence, graphic sex, or out-of-place profanity the way other working fantasy writers do. While it doesn’t bother me in other books, it is often used as a crutch to prop up weak writing. As for narration, Michael Kramer and Kate Reading are simply put, the best American fantasy narrators in the audiobook industry. This series is a must-read for any fan of high fantasy.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Blue Remembered Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Alastair Reynolds
    • Narrated By Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (276)
    Performance
    (254)
    Story
    (254)

    Critically acclaimed author Alastair Reynolds holds a well-deserved place “among the leaders of the hard-science space opera renaissance." (Publishers Weekly). In Blue Remembered Earth, Geoffrey Akinya wants nothing more than to study the elephants of the Amboseli basin. But when his space-explorer grandmother dies, secrets come to light and Geoffrey is dispatched to the Moon to protect the family name - and prevent an impending catastrophe.

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "A surprising and staisfying departure for Reynolds"
    "Four Star Novel From a Five Star Author"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Blue Remembered Earth to be better than the print version?

    Absolutely. The choice of narrators was perfect.


    What other book might you compare Blue Remembered Earth to and why?

    Terminal World - great characters, interesting world, contrived, predictable story.


    Any additional comments?

    Blue Remembered Earth starts out slow and takes its time developing the central storyline but what it lacks in typical, Alastair Reynolds, space opera, action it makes up for with outstanding world and character building. The plot is essentially a scavenger hunt in space and is as contrived as it sounds. The characters are given clues and are led along, much like the reader, pretty much in the dark, motivated only by curiosity and yet often overcome with reluctance to leave their comfortable lives. As a result, I found the overall story dissatisfying and one of the rare Alastair Reynold books I did not fully enjoy. That said, I found the central and supporting characters some of the most compelling of any Reynold’s story and the near future world that the author creates one of his best, easily matching the complexity and whimsy of Revelation Space. While this first entry of the Poseidon’s Children trilogy was somewhat disappointing, this novel is still excellent hard science fiction and I am quite looking forward to diving into the sequel. The narration was excellent – outstanding decision to change narrators for this series. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith was a perfect choice for the numerous African accents and adds depth to the story and the characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Magicians: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Lev Grossman
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2647)
    Performance
    (1915)
    Story
    (1924)

    Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, he's still secretly preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the craft of modern sorcery.

    Ki says: "Not an average book"
    "All Style, No Substance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I find myself in concurrence with almost every review posted, both positive and negative. The Magicians is everything readers claim, from an adult Harry Potter to a wicked spin on Narnia with a dose of Once and Future King tossed in for good measure all bound up with a host of odd pop culture references. Its characters too often remind me of the droopy, semi-depressed, semi-conscious teenagers of the Twilight films and are juxtaposed with a handful of only slightly interesting professors at Brakebills School of Magic and later one or two characters from the magical land of Fillory. It ambles quite easily through four years of Quentin Coldfield’s life and his transformation from a depressed, introverted, but brilliant teenager in Brooklyn to an angry, bitter, drug abusing, 20 something magician by book’s end. As a result, I find this a difficult book to recommend. The promise of its premise never lives up to its conclusion and it left me with absolutely no desire to find out what happens in the next novel. And yet I did not hate this book and found some of it enjoyable. If Audible puts this one on sale I might suggest it. Otherwise, steer to books that don’t sacrifice substance for style.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Speaker for the Dead

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By David Birney, Stefan Rudnicki
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8019)
    Performance
    (4499)
    Story
    (4550)

    In the aftermath of his terrible war, Ender Wiggin disappeared, and a powerful voice arose: the Speaker for the Dead, who told the true story of the Bugger War. Now, long years later, a second alien race has been discovered by Portuguese colonists on the planet Lusitania. But again the aliens' ways are strange and frightening...again, humans die. And it is only the Speaker for the Dead, who is also Ender Wiggin the Xenocide, who has the courage to confront the mystery...and the truth.

    Joe says: "The Enderverse"
    "Warning! This Book Is Nothing Like Ender's Game!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    In the author’s commentary at the end of the audiobook, Orson Scott Card explains why he feels Speaker for the Dead is the book he really wanted to write when he set out to write Ender’s Game. I can’t imagine how one would set out to write the rich, humanistic tapestry of Speaker For the Dead and end up with Ender’s Game, one of the greatest military SF novels of all time yet so very different in so many ways. If you have not read or heard that the second book in the Ender’s Game series is absolutely nothing like the first book, here is your warning. This novel is set several thousand years after the events in Ender’s Game and Ender himself, thanks to the time deficit of traveling near light speed, has aged but only into his 30’s. There are no battle schools and the only battles fought are idealistic in nature. There is a deep, well written mystery to this novel that will keep you reading long after you realize there are no action or battle sequences to be had. I have known so many readers who were disappointed in this sequel to Ender’s Game but if you stick with it, I think Speaker for the Dead is actually a better, more meaningful book that explores the deeper themes introduced in Ender’s Game.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Abaddon's Gate

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By James S.A. Corey
    • Narrated By Jefferson Mays
    Overall
    (663)
    Performance
    (619)
    Story
    (618)

    The alien artifact working through its program under the clouds of Venus has appeared in Uranus's orbit, where it has built a massive gate that leads to a starless dark. Jim Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are part of a vast flotilla of scientific and military ships going out to examine the artifact. But behind the scenes, a complex plot is unfolding, with the destruction of Holden at its core. As the emissaries of the human race try to find whether the gate is an opportunity or a threat, the greatest danger is the one they brought with them.

    Greg says: "The worst part is waiting for book 4"
    "Reads Like A Summer Blockbuster"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Abaddon’s Gate, the third novel in the Expanse, is on par with the lite, somewhat melodramatic tone of this shallow but fun series. The action and characters play out like a Hollywood film and the novel is weakest when it tries to be deep and meaningful, failed attempts at clever commentary on the human condition. There’s a religious element in this entry that, because of the complete absence of religion in the first two books, feels wildly out of place and never quite works. Its strengths are its action sequences, the interaction of its main characters, and the overall world building. By the novel’s end, we finally discover what “The Expanse” really is and are only marginally closer to solving the bigger mysteries of the overall story. Like the first two books, this one introduces new characters who play pivotal roles in the unfolding drama but will disappear by book four. This is a really fun series that may be a little too contemporary for its own good. If you’re looking for deeper meaning in your Science Fiction, stick with Simmons or Reynolds. If you’re just wanting a good, enjoyable, action laden SciFi story without all the baggage of military SF, then I would highly recommend this series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Steelheart

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Macleod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6234)
    Performance
    (5824)
    Story
    (5844)

    Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills. Nobody fights the Epics...nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in. He wants Steelheart - the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father.

    D says: "He got the idea from a near traffic accident"
    "Possibly Sanderson's Best Work Yet"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Steelheart to be better than the print version?

    I didn't get a print version - audio only!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Steelheart?

    The epic finish.


    Which character – as performed by Macleod Andrews – was your favorite?

    Prof!


    Any additional comments?

    I admit I was apprehensive and had this not been written by one of my favorite authors it’s unlikely I would have ever given it a chance. Like vampires and zombies, superhero stories are a dime a dozen these days. But Sanderson delivers another knockout, adding depth and world-building along with signature Sanderson characters and action to a bloated and tired sub-genre. This one is definitely worth your time and I can’t imagine this not finding its way into theaters or onto television soon.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5563)
    Performance
    (5189)
    Story
    (5185)

    Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the facts that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces; (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations; and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

    Ken says: "It's all about the codas"
    "A Novel Idea Just Not a Novel Idea"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from John Scalzi and/or Wil Wheaton?

    Not Scalzi's Best Book


    Would you be willing to try another book from John Scalzi? Why or why not?

    Of course - Old Man's War is a classic


    What about Wil Wheaton’s performance did you like?

    He added a whimsical element to the narration but little more.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Possibly


    Any additional comments?

    I’m a big fan of John Scalzi but I couldn’t help be a tad bit disappointed in Redshirts. The first part of the novel is really just an extended gimmick on the more recognizable elements of Trek lore. It’s a fun, quick read for any Trek fan and would have worked well as a novella or even a short story, flowing very much like an episode of Star Trek, but ultimately too shallow to carry an entire novel and so Scalzi tacks on two extra “codas” that feel themselves like loosely connected short stories or even supplemental material. Had these additional segments not been tacked on, I suppose it would not have qualified for the Hugo Best Novel category, an award which it won earlier in 2013. Wil Wheaton’s narration of the audiobook is a nice touch though there were times when I felt like a professional narrator might have done a better job with the text. Despite the Hugo, this is not one of John Scalzi’s better novels.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Doctor Who: Harvest of Time (3rd Doctor Novel)

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Alastair Reynolds
    • Narrated By Geoffrey Beevers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (51)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (48)

    After billions of years of imprisonment, the vicious Sild have broken out of confinement. From a ruined world at the end of time, they make preparations to conquer the past, with the ultimate goal of rewriting history. But to achieve their aims they will need to enslave an intellect greater than their own... On Earth, UNIT is called in to investigate a mysterious incident on a North Sea drilling platform. The Doctor believes something is afoot, and no sooner has the investigation begun than something even stranger takes hold: the Brigadier is starting to forget about UNIT's highest-profile prisoner.

    Robert Eric Koch says: "Excellent Third Doctor Story"
    "Excellent Third Doctor Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Doctor Who: Harvest of Time (3rd Doctor Novel) again? Why?

    If I have time, certainly. It's very much like one of the better series on TV, one of those things I might enjoy every now and again.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The characterizations were spot on and in perfect synch with the Third Doctor eps.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Attacking cows.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Tons of nostalgia, remembering my days as a kid, watching Doctor Who on my local PBS station on Saturday nights.


    Any additional comments?

    Here is a book that is not only a stellar Doctor Who novel in its own right, but does a superb job of capturing the atmosphere of the classic BBC series, from the cheesy cheeky characters to the weird alien stuff (like alien possessed attack cows!) to even the bad special effects. I’ve read several Who novels and this is the only one that I feel truly captures the essence of what makes the old series so unique and special, stories that weren’t built on special effects but used stellar writing and a talented cast to rise above the cheap sets, the goofy costumes, and sometime silly “Britishness” of the series (and I mean that in the fondest possible context, I truly do). You can literally picture the knock-off effects and bad costumes in the writing. This is every bit a Third Doctor story, from the Doctor’s exile on earth and his time with UNIT. There are several Third Doctor series on Netflix, I strongly encourage any reader who hasn’t seen the Third Doctor in action to watch a Third Doctor series or two before reading this book. Being able to put faces and personalities with the characters really brings this story to life.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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