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Harold

San Antonio, TX, USA

ratings
23
REVIEWS
8
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
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HELPFUL VOTES
108

  • New Spring: The Wheel of Time Prequel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Robert Jordan
    • Narrated By Kate Reading, Michael Kramer
    Overall
    (2314)
    Performance
    (1249)
    Story
    (1266)

    For three days battle has raged in the snow around the great city of Tar Valon. In the city, a foretelling of the future is uttered. On the slopes of Dragonmount, the immense mountain that looms over the city, a child is born, an infant prophesied to change the world. That child must be found before he can be killed by the forces of the Shadow.

    Harold says: "Well done!"
    "Well done!"
    Overall

    I am a confirmed fan of the Wheel of Time series. It is easy to read, though the plots and subplots are challenging to follow. I read this prequel after finishing Book 7, and really enjoyed it. This "prequel" is really a vehicle to develop the characters of Lan, Moiraine and Siuan. Since the mystery concerning these characters and the reasons for their quest to find the Dragon Reborn helped make the first three or four volumes more interesting, I recommend a new reader read at least the first three volumes before reading this book. Jordan's prose sounds excellent when read. The readers are talented and, as a result, this is one book that might be more entertaining to listen to than to read.

    71 of 71 people found this review helpful
  • Siege Perilous: The Mongoliad Cycle, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By E. D. deBirmingham
    • Narrated By Angela Dawe
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (17)

    Ocyrhoe, a young, cunning fugitive from Rome, safeguards a chalice of subtle but great power. Finding herself in France, she allies with the persecuted, pacifist Cathar sect in their legendary mountaintop stronghold, Monts├ęgur. There she resists agents of the Roman Church and its Inquisition, fights off escalating, bloody besiegement by troops of the King of France, and shields the mysterious cup from the designs of many. Percival, the heroic Shield-Brethren knight from The Mongoliad, consumed by his mystical visions of the Holy Grail, is also drawn to Monts├ęgur - where the chalice holds the key to his destiny.

    Joseph Potts says: "Disappointed"
    "Average story--Terrible performance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Siege Perilous? What did you like least?

    The continuation of the plot. Books 1 and 2 are the best, the next two are OK. This book is average. The characters are not as interesting. The story line is boring in long stretches. I am not sure a decent narration would have made a difference.


    Would you recommend Siege Perilous to your friends? Why or why not?

    No. In fact, I'd recommend against buying this audiobook since the narration is, simply stated: poor.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Let's start with what is wrong. As the narration began, I started to wonder, "did Ms. Dawe read this book before she started narrating?" The pauses during the dialogues between characters can be longer than two seconds. Normally they are a second and a half. For example (not dialogue from the actual book).John (as spoken by Ms. Dawe): Hi, my name is John.Listener (counting to himself):: one thousand one, one thousand twoJane: Nice to meet you, my name is Jane.For you nonairborne parachute personnel out there, each thousand count is a second, we learned that so we know when the parachute was supposed to be open (we count three seconds from the instant we exit the aircraft--not open in three seconds, think about deploying the reserve chute right away). Now, I don't know about you, but a narrator should not cause me to practice my count to pass the time while I'm waiting for her narration. When a listener is straining, waiting for the next passage, then the pause is too long. Maddeningly too long.Also, her cadence and inflections when speaking are sometimes very distracting, and that may suit some books, but not this book. Her voice has a harsh edge to it at times, and that is also distracting.Improvement? Find another narrator. I'll never purchase another audiobook that she narrates. Failing that, change the tempo of the narration and moderate your voice. Understand, I have nothing against switching narrators in a series (though I find it irritating sometimes). Each narrator, even one that is new to a series that has four previous books with an excellent narrator, is judged on the merits. I've adapted to this sort of change before. I could not do this with this book. Ms. Dawe's performance is so poor that I was moved to write this review.To those who are Ms. Dawe's fans, I say listen to what others are saying in their reviews. Also, you should know that I have hundreds of audiobooks in my library, I have never criticized a narrator in a review. I have bought audiobooks that had bad reviews from a majority of listeners and found the narration just fine. So when I say in this review that the narration is bad, from my point of view it is really bad.


    Do you think Siege Perilous needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Not really, but if it is written by the authors of book one, then it would be worth listening to--if the narration is good.


    Any additional comments?

    I have a personal rule that I'll never return an audiobook since if I don't like a book, it is probably at least partially a matter of taste on my part. So I won't return this one either. But I am tempted......

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Scattered Suns: The Saga of Seven Suns, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Kevin J. Anderson
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (702)
    Performance
    (293)
    Story
    (296)

    The war between the alien hydrogues and the faeros rages, reducing suns to blackened shells - including one of the fabled seven suns of the Ildiran Empire. Instead of protecting themselves, the Ildirans engage in bloody civil war and the many factions of humanity are bitterly divided. Can mankind and Ildirans overcome their own internal fighting to face a deadly new enemy that is ready to annihilate them?

    Joel says: "GREAT Series....Narrator change from Book 4 on"
    "Great Book Bad Narrator"
    Overall

    I agree with the other reviewers that the narration is poor. In particular, I found the accents poorly chosen and jarring. For example, the Roamers all sound like Southerners (with really artificial accents) and several characters have exaggerated English accents. This narrator is terrible and ruined the book. In contrast,the first three books were well done. Read the book and skip the audiobook--or you will be disappointed. I have listened to almost a hundred audiobooks of all genres and with many different narrators. I often find myself disagreeing with reviews of the sort I have just written. This is the first time I have felt compelled to share my thoughts about a narrator.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Michael Pollan
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3397)
    Performance
    (1154)
    Story
    (1153)

    "What should we have for dinner?" To one degree or another, this simple question assails any creature faced with a wide choice of things to eat. Anthropologists call it the omnivore's dilemma. Choosing from among the countless potential foods nature offers, humans have had to learn what is safe, and what isn't. Today, as America confronts what can only be described as a national eating disorder, the omnivore's dilemma has returned with an atavistic vengeance.

    Stephen Redding says: "Great presentation of a moral dilemma"
    "Worth Listening to This One"
    Overall

    Any discussion of food in the context of what one should eat and why is bound to have a strong point of view behind the prose. Such is the case with this book. I was fascinated by the author's presentation, since he obviously loves food and tried very hard to remain objective as he showed how organic food has progressed from counter-culture to mainstream. The discussion of the organic food industry is one of the best I have ever seen. I highly recommend this book for that reason. The remainder of the book is also very interesting and enlightening.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Weather Makers: How Man is Changing the Climate and What it Means for Life on Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Tim Flannery
    • Narrated By Drew de Carvalho
    Overall
    (95)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (15)

    From Dr. Tim Flannery, one of the world's foremost experts on conservation and ecology, comes a book of immeasurable importance. Hailed by Kirkus Reviews as a "powerful and persuasive" work that is "sure to provoke strong reaction", The Weather Makers is among the finest examinations of climate change ever written.

    Pampa says: "The definitive book on climate crisis"
    "Not Bad, but biased"
    Overall

    Very informative and interesting discussion of this issue. His presentation of the history of the global warming theories and debate is the best part of the book because he demonstrates the theories are rooted in science that has developed over the past 100 years. The second portion of the book is not up to the high standard set by the first half of the book. While the author states that he is presenting a scientific case for global warming, his ad hominem attacks on President Bush and Australian leaders belie his bias (scientists are, after all, supposed to use dispassionate logic when presenting their point of view). Still, most will benefit from his discussion of this topic and I, for one, came away believing that something should be done now about this problem.

    5 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • 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
    (3760)
    Performance
    (2057)
    Story
    (2080)

    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"
    "WOT fans will like it"
    Overall

    Of course, since I have read the entire series, including the prequel, I liked this book. Many readers of this series are waiting for the climax, but this book merely sets the stage for it (and we may be way off stage as yet). Jordan is in no hurry and apparently needed to develop the parallel plots for the major characters (and I think this is why he released also a prequel to this series this year). I enjoy the detail and the manner in which Jordan develops his characters and plots, so I found this book very enjoyable. There is a lot happening to the characters in this book, but nothing much is resolved. What is wrong with that? If you have a relationship with this series, then this is an interesting book. Not the best book in the series, not the most exciting, but a good read. I prefer the audio version of this book to the printed version. The reader does a capable job on this book. Frankly, I think the printed book is difficult to complete. If you have not read the previous 9 books, then wait until you have and then I think you will find you'd rather listen to the audio book than read the print version.

    16 of 25 people found this review helpful
  • The Devil in the White City

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Erik Larson
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4279)
    Performance
    (1998)
    Story
    (2013)

    In a thrilling narrative showcasing his gifts as storyteller and researcher, Erik Larson recounts the spellbinding tale of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Also available abridged.

    D says: "A Rich Read!"
    "Good Book, Good Listen"
    Overall

    This was a very entertaining and informative audiobook. The reader is excellent and the prose as read very entertaining. The best characteristic of this book is the gradual and deliberate development of the parallel stories the author is telling. The plots are interesting and the author interrelates them well. There is one potential fault. The author went into considerable detail in developing the story of the Columbian Exposition and I suppose he felt he needed to add a lot of detail concerning the activities of the fiend Holmes as well. Since I can do without the gruesome details of the murders (particularly the way he dealt with the bodies), I simply tune out that part of the book. These portions are really very short and those who want to listen to those parts will probably find them interesting. I judge audiobooks as good or excellent when I look forward to continuing my listening and when I am sure that I am following the book over the period of time it takes to finish the book. This one meets those criteria and therefore it is a "5."

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Bernard Lewis
    • Narrated By Bernard Lewis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (522)
    Performance
    (57)
    Story
    (57)

    Bernard Lewis examines the historical roots of the frustrations and resentments that dominate the Islamic world today and that are increasingly being expressed in acts of terrorism. He looks at the theological origins of political Islam and tells us what the Islamic doctrine of jihad has meant at different times in history.

    Frank says: "Absolutely Worth It, HIghly Recommended!"
    "Good read"
    Overall

    I am a Bernard Lewis fan. I think he is worth reading to compare how the media handles issues with Lewis' treatment. Other writers are more cautious when dealing with issues (for whatever reason). Lewis is tough when he criticizes Arabs and equally tough on Westerners who try to deal with Islamic peoples and their govrnments without bothering to understand them and and their governmental system. His spoken prose is also entertaining.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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