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campbell

Grapevine, TX, United States | Member Since 2009

ratings
14
REVIEWS
10
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
26

  • Pushing Ice

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Alastair Reynolds
    • Narrated By John Lee
    Overall
    (1970)
    Performance
    (1638)
    Story
    (1653)

    2057. Humanity has raised exploiting the solar system to an art form. Bella Lind and the crew of her nuclear-powered ship, the Rockhopper, push ice. They mine comets. And they're good at it. The Rockhopper is nearing the end of its current mission cycle, and everyone is desperate for some much-needed R & R, when startling news arrives from Saturn: Janus, one of Saturn's ice moons, has inexplicably left its natural orbit and is now heading out of the solar system at high speed.

    Jesse says: "Proof that a good story doesn't require a trilogy"
    "Tedious"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Long winded with very little resolution. No strong protagonists or antagonists. The phrase "we push ice, that's what we do" is supposed to resonate strongly with the reader. Heavy emphasis on tablet-like computers called "flexies" - people are always flicking out their flexies or charging their flexies or taking photos with their flexies. Unlikable, interchangeable characters.

    5 of 6 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
    (2166)
    Performance
    (2052)
    Story
    (2049)

    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.

    JPaladin says: "Wonderful Epic! Mature and well-written."
    "Competent storytelling, well told"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Fantasy is in some ways an extremely forgiving genre; the reader is generally far more invested in enjoying the story than in critiquing its logical consistency or literary merit, and fantasy is seldom competent or compelling.

    Also, problems that hide themselves from the casual reader only become obvious when you listen to a reading. Incessant unnecessary attribution (he said, said John, Jill asked,...), repetitive phrases intended to add some kind of cultural verisimilitude but conveying no real information (God willing, Insh'Allah, ...), pseudo dialects intended to differentiate between characters etc.

    Blood Song suffers from none of these flaws.

    Having dismissed the technical issues that destroy most fantasy, we can address the substance: the fantasy itself.

    A feudal world harboring warring kings and emperors. Six (or seven) sects that train their disciples in specialized skills ranging from healing to war. A boy is trained in the harshest school (the Sixth) and comes progressively to learn of an ancient and awful enemy he must face.

    Not much on the face of it, the skeleton common to so much fantasy, but this one is different. The characters are distinct, their dance complex.

    The narrator tells the story without embellishment or artifice, and it suits the story well; it needs neither.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Warded Man

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Peter V. Brett
    • Narrated By Pete Bradbury
    Overall
    (2506)
    Performance
    (1862)
    Story
    (1874)

    Peter V. Brett has won accolades from critics, fans and fellow authors alike for this riveting debut novel. The Warded Man features a world where demons stalk the night, hunting humans who have long forgotten the magic of their ancestors. But all is not lost, as some hold out hope that a savior will release humanity from the demons' terrifying reign.

    Meloney says: "Brilliant"
    "A story that drags on"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The writing is competent and the story has some merit, but not sufficient to drag on book after book. Three books down and no closure in sight.

    I am frankly now too bored by the series to pursue it any further.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Republic of Thieves: Gentleman Bastard Series, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Scott Lynch
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1338)
    Performance
    (1248)
    Story
    (1251)

    After their adventures on the high seas, Locke and Jean are brought back to earth with a thump. Jean is mourning the loss of his lover, and Locke must live with the fallout of crossing the all-powerful magical assassins the Bonds Magi. It is a fall-out that will pit both men against Locke's own long-lost love. Sabetha is Locke's childhood sweetheart, the love of Locke's life, and now it is time for them to meet again. Employed on different sides of a vicious dispute between factions of the Bonds, Sabetha has just one goal-to destroy Locke forever.

    David says: "A transition and a preface"
    "Some merit, no closure"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Pro: The author has talent. His characters are distinctive. He crafts his plots and the timeline with skill. His invective is extremely inventive.

    Con: The main protagonists are not compelling. All lamps are "alchemical lamps" to the point of utter redundancy. There are other flaws, but the first three books have sufficient merit to bear them.

    Ultimately, where the author fails is in crafting a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. An interminable saga with no closure is not a story, it is a soap opera script.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Elseerian: The Chronicles of Lumineia, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Ben Hale
    • Narrated By Derek Perkins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (415)
    Performance
    (385)
    Story
    (386)

    The assassination of heroes was once a warning... for an invasion that nearly destroyed the world. Nations were slaughtered, cities were erased from existence, and defending armies were crushed into oblivion. In weeks, all life stood on the verge of extinction. But the end did not come. Instead the black horde vanished, leaving terrified survivors... and rumors. As the centuries passed the holocaust faded into legend, and finally myth. Across the southern sea a gifted young man is completing his training.

    Andrew Stone says: "Loved this book!"
    "Immature author who makes elementary mistakes"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There are lots of books whose main merit is that they pass the time. They are not great literature, but they entertain nevertheless. There are very few authors who can make characters come alive, can plot a storyline that entrances the reader, who can describe events or a scene so that they leave the page and enter the imagination. I know this, I accept it.

    But the writing in this book is truly awful, even by my unexacting standards. The noise to signal ratio is overwhelming. The characters are flat and interchangeable. The dialog is riddled with "shrugs" and "chuckles" and every other kind of meaningless body language that detracts from meaningful dialog. The utterly empty phrase "without hesitation" is repeated ad nauseam. The hero has every physical accomplishment but lacks everything else: libedo, intelligence, self awareness, humor, ...

    The reader does a very creditable job but the book is unsalvageable.

    10 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Helene Wecker
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2543)
    Performance
    (2343)
    Story
    (2343)

    Helene Wecker's dazzling debut novel tells the story of two supernatural creatures who appear mysteriously in 1899 New York. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York Harbor. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop.

    Tango says: "Enchanting Debut Novel - Delicious!"
    "Well-crafted, a real synergy of characters."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First off, George Guidall does an excellent job of narrating the book. He really channels the characters; a rather harder job than most narrators are faced with because Wecker has done such a fine job of crafting distinctive characters. Most narrators employ pitch and accent to differentiate characters: Guidell employs pitch, accent, timbre, intonation, pace, and emotion.

    In the book the impulsive fire of the Jinni discovers the timorous clay of the Golem and each is forced to change their outlook to accommodate the other's. This while the wide cast of supporting characters dance their parts in precise choreography to achieve (almost) full closure.

    The book has its flaws, but to dwell on them would be a gross disservice to its many merits.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Grand Sophy

    • ABRIDGED (4 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Georgette Heyer
    • Narrated By Clare Wille
    Overall
    (123)
    Performance
    (112)
    Story
    (109)

    Resourceful, adventurous and utterly indefatigable, Sophy is hardly the mild-mannered girl that the Rivenhalls expect when they agree to take her in. Kind-hearted Aunt Lizzy is shocked; stern Cousin Charles and his humourless fiancée Eugenia are disapproving. With her inimitable mixture of exuberance and grace Sophy soon sets about endearing herself to her family, but finds herself increasingly drawn to her cousin. Can she really be falling in love with him, and he with her? And what of his betrothal to Eugenia?

    Carol says: "Can we get it unabridged?"
    "Abridged, maimed."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Heyer's magic is woven in dialogue, a cast of disparate characters, and a web of events that culminates in full closure. Abridge the dialogue, characters, and events and you destroy the story.and its closure. The Grand Sophy is one of Heyer's best works: abridging it maims it.

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

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By David Baldacci
    • Narrated By Ron McLarty, Orlagh Cassidy
    Overall
    (3499)
    Performance
    (2925)
    Story
    (2943)

    Will Robie may have just made the first - and last - mistake of his career.... It begins with a hit gone wrong. Robie is dispatched to eliminate a target unusually close to home in Washington, D.C. But something about this mission doesn't seem right to Robie, and he does the unthinkable: He refuses to kill. Now, Robie becomes a target himself and must escape from his own people.

    Fleeing the scene, Robie crosses paths with a wayward teenage girl, a 14-year-old runaway from a foster home. But she isn't an ordinary runaway....

    andrea says: "I Hope There's a Sequel!!"
    "Another tedious and unlikely story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Another one of those thrillers which takes an unlikely path to achieve a tortuous but entirely predictable twist in the plot. The characters are interchangeable and the plot is irrational.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • In the Garden of Iden: A Novel of the Company, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Kage Baker
    • Narrated By Janan Raouf
    Overall
    (112)
    Performance
    (77)
    Story
    (76)

    The first novel of Kage Baker’s critically acclaimed, much-loved series, the Company, introduces us to a world where the future of commerce is the past. In the 24th century, the Company preserves works of art and extinct forms of life (for profit of course). It recruits orphans from the past, renders them all but immortal, and trains them to serve the Company, Dr. Zeus, Inc. One of these is Mendoza, the botanist. She is sent to Elizabethan England to collect samples from the garden of Sir Walter Iden.

    Ethan M. says: "Very different SF, both in performance and tone"
    "Scintillating but inconsistent"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I discovered Kage Baker looking for authors similar in style to Jack Vance. Can't say I detect the similarity.

    As for the story. The narration is superb. Raouf has a great emptional range and her diction is clear and compelling.

    The story itself is labored in places, but Baker raises some interesting points extremely well. Her premise (that immortals work amongst us mortals and that they too question the meaning of life) works well, but she gets a bit bogged down in romance and religious hysteria.

    If you enjoy this book then I recommend Jill Payton Walsh's Knowledge of Angels.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Night Circus

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Erin Morgenstern
    • Narrated By Jim Dale
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6285)
    Performance
    (5586)
    Story
    (5582)

    The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

    Pamela says: "The circus of your dreams"
    "Marketed way beyond its merit"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There are elements of creativity in this story, but those are overwhelmed by the surrealism of the magic, which soon loses its mystery through overuse, and the author's obsession with crafting meaningless vignettes that do little to carry the story forward.

    The prose was competent, but it was at the cost of pace. The book stumbles through time and an overwhelming clutter of pointless magic that hardly seems worth the effort.

    The Night Circus reminds me of Lemony Snickett - something marketed way beyond any intrinsic merit.

    11 of 15 people found this review helpful

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