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Oakland Park, FL, United States

  • 5 reviews
  • 29 ratings
  • 66 titles in library
  • 1 purchased in 2015

  • Beowulf

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Seamus Heaney
    • Narrated By Seamus Heaney

    New York Times best seller and Whitebread Book of the Year, Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney's new translation of Beowulf comes to life in this gripping audio. Heaney's performance reminds us that Beowulf, written near the turn of another millennium, was intended to be heard not read.

    Gail says: "Would like the whole thing!"
    "A shame it is abridged"

    I'll be brief, for what else remains to be said about Beowolf? There is a reason this tale is so long enduring and considered a defining example of early literature. In addition to this audiobook I also have the full print version of Seamus Heaney's translation. I am a huge fan of this translation. It is particularly easy to follow, but uses strong imagery and hard, masculine language to maintain a suitably macho and epic tone throughout.

    Heaney narrates his own work here, and while his delivery is a little on the dry side, I still appreciate being able to hear the artist himself. It's a shame this was abridged - and heavily at that.

    4 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

    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.

    Paige says: "Not his Wheal-house"
    ""Is this typical of Scalzi?", the reviewer said."
    What would have made Redshirts better?

    This is my first Scalzi book, and I thought his dialog was atrocious - a crime against literature. This is a huge problem since it's a very dialog-heavy story. He really needed a strong editor to tell him, "No, you cannot end every single line of dialog in the entire book with 'he/she said'."

    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    I can't really discuss the story without spoiling it, but it had a strong hook and twist. Good concept executed well, terrible dialog notwithstanding. Likeable protagonist and supporting characters.

    The least interesting aspect was the three codas that followed the main story. I just didn't care.

    What didn’t you like about Wil Wheaton’s performance?

    Wheaton did not provide a performance, he provided a reading. His clipped monotone was not engaging.

    Any additional comments?

    I had hoped this would be my gateway into a new author, but this audiobook experience was so tedious I don't think there's any chance I'll be reading any more Scalzi. I was not being hyperbolic above, he ends literally every line of dialog with "so-and-so said." Every. Single. Time. I noticed it about 3 minutes into the book, and it grated on me like nails on a chalkboard for the rest of the book. Combined with Wheaton's zero-effort narration, it took me about 3 months to make it through this 13-ish hour audiobook. I'm not really sure how or why I finished at all, honestly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Halo: Contact Harvest

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Joseph Staten
    • Narrated By Holter Graham, Jennifer Taylor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    It is the year 2524. Harvest is a peaceful, prosperous farming colony on the very edge of human-controlled space. But we have trespassed on holy ground, strayed into the path of an aggressive alien empire known as the Covenant. What begins as a chance encounter between an alien privateer and a human freighter catapults mankind into a struggle for its very existence.

    WT Wizard says: "READ ORDER"
    "Better than expected"

    When I was a teen, I would plow through Star Trek and Star Wars novels, and loved them. Now in my 30's, I shy away from novelizations of established film and game series, because looking back honestly, a lot of them tended to be embarrassingly "fan fiction-ish". I gave this a shot though, since I had a credit to burn and was genuinely curious about humanity's first contact with the Covenant.

    That said, I am actually very glad I got this book. It was well written, and served as a good prologue to the coming tragedies of the human-Covenant war. Kind of sad how the whole war could have been avoided but for a dash of random chance, coupled with an overly ambitious Brute and a couple power-hungry Prophets.

    While I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the story, I was a let down by the narration. Jen Taylor voices Cortana in the games, how on earth is she such a terrible narrator? She over-enunciates and over-sells nearly every word and line. Think of a first grade teacher reading aloud to her class, and you'll have the idea.

    Holter Graham was a little better, but still not a great performance. I loved his over-the-top brogue for SSGT Byrne, and his SSGT Johnson was good enough. Problem is, he only had one other voice for all other humans, and one voice for every Covie, regardless of character or species. Made conversations between Covenant characters harder to follow than necessary. The nasally, halting, unsure tone is fine for Grunts - they are supposed to be morons. Makes a lot less sense coming from a Brute or an Engineer.

    One last comment. Johnson seems like a capable leader - how the heck is he still a Staff Sergeant for 20+ years. This book takes place just after the year 2500 rollover. He's a SSGT. Halo 1 takes place in, I believe, 2525. You're telling me he hasn't had a single promotion in over 20 years?!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Star Wars: Death Troopers

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Joe Schreiber
    • Narrated By Sean Kenin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    When the Imperial prison barge Purge - temporary home to 500 of the galaxy's most ruthless killers, rebels, scoundrels, and thieves - breaks down in a distant, uninhabited part of space, its only hope appears to lie with a star destroyer found drifting, derelict, and seemingly abandoned. But when a boarding party from the Purge is sent to scavenge for parts, only half of them come back - bringing with them a horrific disease so lethal that within hours nearly all aboard the Purge die in ways too hideous to imagine.

    Morelos says: "Awesome atmospheric Star Wars horror"
    "Has its moments. Not many, but it does have them."

    I've never heard any other narrations by Sean Kenin, but he is stellar here. He uses an array of different voices, accents, and speech patterns so you always know which character is speaking. His natural reading voice is clear and pleasant. I will have to look for more of his work. Strong audio design continues beyond the narration, with licensed Star Wars music and sound effects used throughout for great ambiance.

    Unfortunately, the story itself is uneven. While truly good at some points, it is often goofy and always predictable. In addition to being predictable, the author errs, in my opinion, by not providing enough survivors. The initial outbreak claims all but six characters, and two of them are protected by Hero Death Immunity - two canonical characters in a very questionable cameo. No matter how grim things seem for our survivors, there is very little dramatic tension since we know that, at worst, only four of them can possibly suffer any permanent consequences. A larger cast with no "untouchables" would have helped the story considerably.

    I would recommend this book to a friend, but only on the condition they were a huge fan of both Star Wars AND zombies.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present

    • UNABRIDGED (34 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Howard Zinn
    • Narrated By Jeff Zinn

    A classic since its original landmark publication in 1980, Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States is the first scholarly work to tell America's story from the bottom up - from the point of view of, and in the words of, America's women, factory workers, African-Americans, Native Americans, the working poor, and immigrant laborers.

    Gavin St. Ours says: "Horrible Editing Ruins Experience"
    "Amateur hour in the production booth"

    This has to be the most poorly produced audiobook of all time. With a work of this length - roughly 35 hours - I understand there are several challenges in putting everything together, but here it's like whoever was doing the recording wasn't even trying. Consider. 1) Starting sometime between the 90 minute and 2 hour mark, a number of obvious and jarring cuts, with the narrator dropping out suddenly, and then resuming speech in the middle of a different sentence. This issue seems to settle down after roughly the 5 hour mark. 2) Different audio levels for different recording sessions. After a cut, the narrator returns notably louder or quieter, and with a different level of white noise in the background. 3) At the 5 hour and 46 minute mark, the narrator says "hold on", and then engages in a conversation with the recording engineer, and this was never edited out of the final product. This means the publishers didn't listen to this audiobook even one time for quality control before putting it out in the wild. Shameful, and this is a product of unacceptably low quality. 2 stars for the wealth of content and Jeff Zinn's effort in recording well over 30 hours of speech, but minus 3 stars for a final product that could have been put together better by a motivated middle schooler.

    125 of 133 people found this review helpful

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