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robk72

Member Since 2000

54
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 9 reviews
  • 9 ratings
  • 726 titles in library
  • 16 purchased in 2014
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  • Ender's Game: Special 20th Anniversary Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki, Harlan Ellison, Gabrielle de Cuir
    Overall
    (21498)
    Performance
    (12968)
    Story
    (13099)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: It’s easy to say that when it comes to sci-fi you either love it or you hate it. But with Ender’s Game, it seems to be you either love it or you love it.... The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Enter Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, the result of decades of genetic experimentation.

    Kapila says: "6 titles in the series so far"
    "One of the truly great sci-fi works!"
    Overall

    This is one of the few science fiction works that I often recommend to people who are not devoted sci-fi readers. Card does such a wonderful job of developing the characters in this book that it's worth the read even if you don't enjoy the science / futurism. This is an intense novel in which the tension--and the final impact--is heightened throughout the piece, and the technology never gets in the way of Card's terrific storytelling skills. The entire Ender series is worth reading, but Ender's Game is already a classic. On an audible note, the narration here was enjoyable and did a nice job capturing the characters.

    8 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • The Taking

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Dean Koontz
    • Narrated By Ari Meyers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (521)
    Performance
    (121)
    Story
    (125)

    On the morning that will mark the end of the world they have known, Molly and Neil Sloan awaken to the drumbeat of rain on their roof. It has haunted their sleep, invaded their dreams, and now they rise to find a luminous silvery downpour drenching their small California mountain town. A strange scent hangs faintly in the air, and the young couple cannot shake the sense of something wrong.

    Jaimie says: "And the point was...?"
    "Very subpar"
    Overall

    I read "Odd Thomas" and a few other Koontz novels and was impressed. Thought I'd try out this one--maybe something like "The Stand." Very disappointed--it almost felt like he started the book, got bored with it, and just finished it up quickly (without any original thought) in order to put something in print. Don't waste much time with this one...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Diamond: A Journey to the Heart of an Obsession

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Matthew Hart
    • Narrated By Daniel Gerroll
    Overall
    (106)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    Matthew Hart embarks on a journey into the largely hidden and fascinating world that is the diamond trade. The geology of diamonds explains how hard it is to find them. They are accidents of nature, carbon crystals compressed underground for eons. Weaving science and history, Hart follows the diamond trail from the basement where Gabi Tolkowsky, the world's greatest cutter, faced the 599-carat Centenary diamond, to Africa's Diamond Coast, to the sales rooms of De Beers.

    robk72 says: "One of the best..."
    "One of the best..."
    Overall

    A documentary with the pace and appeal of a novel, this book delves into the history and detail of the diamond industry. De Beers' control of the diamond trade remains one of the most complete monopolies in the world, yet it also remains one of the most secretive groups in the world. This work takes you on a journey, tracing some of the famous diamonds through history as well as explaining the process that creates the diamonds we see today in jewelry stores. Terrific listening material!

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Jolie Blon's Bounce

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By James Lee Burke
    • Narrated By Mark Hammer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (576)
    Performance
    (171)
    Story
    (168)

    Return to James Lee Burke's "timeless, parallel universe" with detective Dave Robicheaux, as he investigates the murders of two women, tries to prove one man's innocence, and faces an enemy unlike any he has ever known. Gothic, dense, brutal, touching, and always compelling, Jolie Blon's Bounce is classic storytelling from a writer who has been dubbed "the Faulkner of crime fiction."

    JD. says: "Sorry I was wrong"
    "A good story with only adequate narration"
    Overall

    Burke's "Jolie Blon" is a great story that relies more on the character development than on the suspense of the mystery. The author creates a terrific atmosphere and a believable, sympathetic character in this novel; after listening to this book, I will definitely look for more of Burke's works. The narration left a bit to be desired, however. Hammer's narration was adequate to the task, but was fairly monotone throughout. He managed to cover all the basics, but did not truly capture the style of the geographic and cultural setting. All in all, I really liked the story, but could have wished for a somewhat better narrator.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Dune: The Butlerian Jihad

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Brian Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (899)
    Performance
    (332)
    Story
    (332)

    Frank Herbert's Dune is one of the grandest epics in the annals of imaginative literature. Now Herbert's son, Brian, working with Kevin J. Anderson and using Frank Herbert's own notes, reveals a pivotal epoch in the history of the Dune universe: the Butlerian Jihad, the war that was fought ten thousand years before the events of Dune - the war in which humans wrested their freedom from "thinking machines."

    Brian says: "enoyed premise but not execution"
    "Brian Herbert is no Frank Herbert..."
    Overall

    The premise is not a bad one--a prequel that provides chronological foundation for many of the references, and even the prejudices, that set the stage for Frank Herbert's Dune. The problem is that the genius of Dune lay in Frank Herbert's storytelling and plot creation. The "wheels within wheels" setup of Dune is weakly re-created here, and the authors do far too much telling rather than showing. The characters are badly drawn stereotypes that fail to draw in the reader. So much of this book is simply rehashed sci-fi from earlier novels that "The Butlerian Jihad" will only appeal to diehard Dune fans who love the plotlines so much that they will forgive the poor writing (and even they may be disappointed). When I think of the Dune series and Frank Herbert's masterwork, I prefer to exclude this piece. Also, the narrator, while adequate to the task, sounds maddeningly the same all the time. There is little true modulation or creation of mood, and he does not have a true grasp of character (or the voice differences that different motivation should create). Read this if you must, but balance out this piece of fluff with some Niven, Asimov, Clarke, Card, or other more substantial writers.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Snow Glass Apples

    • NONE (46 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Bebe Neuwirth
    Overall
    (29)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Once upon a time there lived a young princess with skin as white as snow and lips redder than blood. Don't be mislead, this is not your typical Snow White story. Bebe Neuwirth stars as the peaceful Queen who is forced to match wits with an inhuman child who has an unnatural taste for blood.

    robk72 says: "Spectacular story!"
    "Spectacular story!"
    Overall

    If you've ever read any of the Sandman comics (and especially if you are a fan), this piece will live up to all your expectations. Gaiman takes a unique twist on the Snow White fairytale to present a macabre and disturbing story. The narrator impressively manages to capture the spirit of the writing--not an easy thing for any Gaiman story. An excellent listen!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Digital Fortress

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Dan Brown
    • Narrated By Patrick Cohen
    Overall
    (195)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (29)

    Chillingly current and filled with more intelligence secrets than Tom Clancy, Digital Fortress transports readers deep within the most powerful intelligence organization on earth - the National Security Agency (NSA), an ultra-secret, multibillion-dollar agency, which (until now) less than 3 percent of Americans knew existed.

    robk72 says: "Good premise, weak characters"
    "Good premise, weak characters"
    Overall

    This piece starts off well enough, with an interesting premise and some good history to ground the suspense. But Brown's characters lack both realism and continuity. In several points during the novel, I was frankly surprised at the actions or reactions of some of the characters portrayed. The narration is adequate, but the author's inability to stay true to his characters is the book's ultimate flaw.

    28 of 28 people found this review helpful
  • Catch Me If You Can

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Frank W. Abagnale
    • Narrated By Barrett Whitener
    Overall
    (2143)
    Performance
    (910)
    Story
    (918)

    Frank W. Abagnale was one of the most daring conmen, forgers, imposters, and escape artists in history. In his brief but notorious criminal career, Abagnale donned a pilot's uniform and copiloted a Pan Am jet, masqueraded as the supervising resident of a hospital, practiced law without a license, passed himself off as a college sociology professor, and cashed over $2.5 million in forged checks, all before he was 21. His story is now a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.

    Steve says: "Really entertaining!"
    "Good entertaining story--worth a listen!"
    Overall

    Terrific story that is almost beyond belief! You truly get a sense of Frank Abagnale in the course of this book--including a fairly strong dose of both arrogance and self-aggrandizement, but that actually adds to the quality. The narrator does a terrific job, truly capturing the spirit of both Abagnale and his hapless victims. Only one complaint: Abagnale's book omits some of the best parts of his story--i.e., his release from prison and subsequent work with the FBI. For my money, the movie has a better conclusion, but the book is absolutely worth a listen!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Yellow Claw

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Sax Rohmer
    • Narrated By John Bolen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    An elusive Chinese mastermind and his henchmen have already killed one socialite and they hold a mysterious sway over many of London's elite. What is the secret of their power? Follow the trail with Sax Rohmer's famous detectives Gaston Max and Inspector Dunbar as they chase the international gang of hoodlums and their leader, the evil Dr. King.

    robk72 says: "Vintage mystery--not bad, needs a better narrator"
    "Vintage mystery--not bad, needs a better narrator"
    Overall

    The Yellow Claw is not a badly-written story, but definitely reflects the prose style of the period. If a reader prefers more modern styles--e.g., Patterson, Lehane, George, Kellerman, etc.--this mystery will likely disappoint. But it's a good trip to a previous writing era. The narrator definitely detracts from the story--lack of expressiveness, odd sense of timing & flow, very little "feel" for the characters.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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