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Robert Eric Koch

Tell us about yourself!

MONTEVALLO, AL, US | Member Since 2010

66
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 39 reviews
  • 39 ratings
  • 260 titles in library
  • 35 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
6
FOLLOWERS
15

  • Crossroads of Twilight: Book Ten of The Wheel of Time

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Robert Jordan
    • Narrated By Kate Reading, Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4073)
    Performance
    (2348)
    Story
    (2380)

    The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow. Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time. Crossroads of Twilight is book ten of Robert Jordan's best selling Wheel of Time series.

    Robert Eric Koch says: "The Lowest Point of the Entire Series"
    "The Lowest Point of the Entire Series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Crossroads of Twilight is a long, tedious, uninteresting entry into what has become a tired and bloated fantasy series. This is a book filled with plot threads stretched well beyond their logical breaking point. Consisting of five plot lines involving the core characters, most of which have been dragged through no fewer than four of the preceding novels, this entry fails to capture any of the excitement and wonder that made the first third of this long, LONG series so incredible. Characters are morphed beyond recognition, put into ridiculous and illogical situations in, I suppose, an effort to up the ante for the promised epic conclusion. After ten books one would think that Rand, Matt, or Perrin would finally come to accept their roles in the slowly unfolding drama but we are yet again subjected to endless exposition detailing their illogical and nonsensical reluctance. This book is boring and tedious and at times, unforgivingly silly. Unless you’ve invested countless hours in this series and, like myself, are determined to see it through to the end, I would in no way suggest this novel as any kind of standalone read. I’m not even sure it would make any kind of sense unless you’ve trudged through the previous nine. If you are a fan of the series, I suggest getting the audiobook – the stellar narration of Michael Kramer and Kate Reading make this bitter pill go down a lot easier and I assure you that the series does get better – particularly when Brandon Sanderson takes over after Jordan’s untimely death.

    17 of 18 people found this review helpful
  • FREE: Mitosis: A Reckoners Story

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 3 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    Overall
    (1052)
    Performance
    (967)
    Story
    (975)

    Epics still plague Newcago, but David and the Reckoners have vowed to fight back.

    Thomas says: "He is back!"
    "The Reckoners are Back!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I’m not sure what some of my fellow reviewers were expecting from an hour long short story but for my money this short, transitional tale packed a ton of foreshadowing and did a great deal to setup to the upcoming second novel, Firefight. It was also great fun to immerse myself once again in the world of Calamity, Epics, and Reckoners. What do we learn? For one, the war with the Epics is not even close to being over. Even the war for Newcago will continue to rage. As for our hero, his days of reckless, impulsiveness are likely coming to an end. He will definitely bear the mental and physical scars of his brief battle with Mitosis for a long, long time. This a great story with great characters set in a completely unique future world. Brandon Sanderson is the master world builder in the world of fantasy, and now Science Fiction. Can’t wait for Firefight!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blood Song: Raven's Shadow, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Anthony Ryan
    • Narrated By Steven Brand
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3131)
    Performance
    (2948)
    Story
    (2949)

    The Sixth Order wields the sword of justice and smites the enemies of the Faith and the Realm. Vaelin Al Sorna was only a child of 10 when his father left him at the iron gate of the Sixth Order. The Brothers of the Sixth Order are devoted to battle, and Vaelin will be trained and hardened to the austere, celibate, and dangerous life of a Warrior of the Faith. He has no family now save the Order.

    Ron says: "Great Epic Fantacy"
    "Move Over Game of Thrones!!!"
    Overall
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    Any additional comments?

    I read a ton of fantasy and it’s rare that I come across a debut novel as impressive as Blood Song. Anthony Ryan’s epic, coming of age fantasy is as deep, as dark, and nearly as complex as George RR Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, or Brandon Sanderson. I honestly think Blood Song is better than Game of Thrones or Name of the Wind (two of the best beginnings to epic fantasy series’ you will read). This novel was self-published before being picked up by a publisher, which in my mind makes it all the more impressive. The world Ryan creates is rich and textured, full of history and dark magic and inhabited by characters that leap off the page and are so well developed you will feel like you’ve been reading them your whole life by novel’s end. The layered plot works so well in this book. I love the way that Ryan slowly pulls back the complex layers through the eyes of Valin as he grows to become the greatest warrior in the realm. It would have been both easy and tempting to make this into another Harry Potter, off to magic/battle school story and it partially is but it is also much, much more. The pacing, the action, the way the story is framed, all are spot on perfect. I can’t recall the last time I picked up a novel on a whim and enjoyed it so much. On top of all this, the audiobook narration is first rate. This is just a great, great book and Anthony Ryan needs to get the accolades he deserves. With so much cut-rate fantasy being put on the shelves these days, this formerly self-published epic fantasy is a welcomed surprise.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Haunting of Hill House

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Shirley Jackson
    • Narrated By Bernadette Dunne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (682)
    Performance
    (599)
    Story
    (606)

    Four seekers have come to the ugly, abandoned old mansion: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of the psychic phenomenon called haunting; Theodora, his lovely and lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a lonely, homeless girl well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the adventurous future heir of Hill House.

    Mark says: "Superb Reading of Horror Classic"
    "Is It Real or Is It My Imagination?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Haunting of Hill House in three words, what would they be?

    What the heck?


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Haunting of Hill House?

    The ending blew me away.


    What does Bernadette Dunne bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Top notch narration. She does an excellent job fleshing out the different players.


    If you could take any character from The Haunting of Hill House out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Elanor with her cup of stars.


    Any additional comments?

    Horror novels, particular those written in the 20th century or beyond, are not my cup of tea. Despite my undying (see what I did there?) devotion to Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft and a smattering respect for Mary Shelly and Bram Stoker, I’ve never enjoyed anything that could be considered modern horror. So, I’m not entirely sure what prompted me to spend a few bucks on The Haunting of Hill House except perhaps that I’m a sucker for haunted houses (just not novels about haunted houses). This novel blew me away. This is how real horror should be done. True terror, after all, is about what you can’t see and the anticipation of what is just beyond the scope of your perception. The Haunting of Hill House is not only a frightening read, it delves deep into character, into history, and into numerous literary and psychological themes (such as the fine line between reality and imagination). Shirley Jackson is a master at building suspense and delivering the payoff without resolving the underlying and overarching mysteries. By novel’s end you too might find yourself lost somewhere between reality and fantasy. The audiobook presentation is top notch. Great book. Sad Shirley Jackson didn’t write more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 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
    (1367)
    Performance
    (1271)
    Story
    (1280)

    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
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    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!

    16 of 17 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
    (376)
    Performance
    (349)
    Story
    (346)

    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 1 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
    (8056)
    Performance
    (7627)
    Story
    (7652)

    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
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    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.

    3 of 4 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
    (338)
    Performance
    (307)
    Story
    (307)

    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
    (3148)
    Performance
    (2377)
    Story
    (2394)

    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.

    Kyle 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 3 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
    (8415)
    Performance
    (4856)
    Story
    (4910)

    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
    (808)
    Performance
    (751)
    Story
    (749)

    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

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