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Gabriel D. Fillion

I love a good story no matter what kind it is, and to me a good story is more that just good grammar, tight structure, colorful characters, or intricate plots. A good story makes a reader care about it.

Manchester, CT | Member Since 2012

13
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 41 ratings
  • 286 titles in library
  • 22 purchased in 2014
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  • A Memory of Light: Wheel of Time, Book 14

    • UNABRIDGED (41 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer, Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4833)
    Performance
    (4394)
    Story
    (4442)

    Since 1990, when Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time® burst on the world with its first book, The Eye of the World, listeners have been anticipating the final scenes of this extraordinary saga, which has sold over 40 million copies in over 32 languages. When Robert Jordan died in 2007, all feared that these concluding scenes would never be written. But working from notes and partials left by Jordan, established fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson stepped in to complete the masterwork.

    Amazon Customer says: "End of one of my favorite fantasy series ever."
    "A most satisfying conclusion!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A Memory of Light was everything a fan of the Wheel of TIme could hope it would be. For the last two decades I have been following this series and found, for the most part, each book to take these characters and move them one step closer to becoming the powerful and worthy heroes for the Light; heroes the world needs in order to survive. In this final installment, the heroes more than live up to the promise Robert Jordan made to us so many years ago.

    The Last Battle has finally arrived and it is even more devastating than I imagined. Parts 3, 4, and 5 (maybe some of Part 2, also) was focused entirely on the battle. This was handled quite masterfully as the stakes seemingly rose with each successive engagement, yet everything was still clear and understandable. There were even some moments of respite, for the reader if not the characters, as Brandon Sanderson moved us from battlefront to battlefront. The best part was the number of twists and surprises that sprang up, strategies and accidents that occurred to keep the tension up. I particularly enjoyed the way the Forsaken Demandred was made into a terrifying force on the battlefield by the number of heroes that challenged him. Rand's struggle with the Dark One was also a pleasant surprise as it wasn't merely a test of skill against skill, it was truly a fight for the destiny of the Pattern.

    Narrators Michael Kramer and Kate Reading deserve a special acknowledgement for their work on this entire series and this book in particular. I believe their performances were a big part of the tension and suspense, joy and humor that I felt during the Wheel of Time. I have read all of the books in print as well as listening so I have a good understanding of what emotions come through from the words of the authors and what comes from the narrators. These two added layers and nuances to the characters and made the whole thing better in my opinion.

    There were a few instances of not liking the way something unfolded (the resolution of Padan Fain, for instance) but in the scheme of things those few barely stacked up against the pleasure and satisfaction I received from this. In the end, I laughed and cheered my way through the telling of this book and felt moments of true grief. And by the closing minutes I felt comfortable and ready to let the characters go. I was curious to know would happen next and I knew I would miss them, but I did't feel like I needed more. The tale of The Wheel of TIme was finished, the story complete. What more could a reader ask for?

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • City of Bones: The Mortal Instruments, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Cassandra Clare
    • Narrated By Ari Graynor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3981)
    Performance
    (2850)
    Story
    (2886)

    When 15-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder - much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing, not even a smear of blood, to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

    Teddy says: "2 Stars because it actually gets worse...."
    "A pretty good start"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have been an avid listener of urban fantasy tales for a number of years now. Harry Dresden is by far my favorite; the Twilight series....not so much. Judging this book by its cover, I would have put this in the camp of sparkly vampires. For quite a while, nothing in the story dissuaded me from that assumption. By the time I reached the second part of the Audiobook, author Cassandra Clare changed my mind.

    Some of the good things: Clare did a fine job in her world building. Everything seemed to hold up to its own logic, and behaved consistently. There is nothing quite so devastating to a fantasy story as inconsistent rules for the characters. She brought the characters to difficult crossroads and significant challenges and did not flinch away from them. That can be a very hard thing to accomplish in a Young Adult novel. As the story grew to its climax, I found it more difficult to turn it off. I wanted to know what happened next and I was satisfied with the end.

    The biggest flaws in the book are that it seemed a bit timid. The danger the characters faced did not feel especially dangerous. The emotions felt a bit superficial at times. Some of the descriptions came off a tad forced. The action scenes were short. Everything got better as the book went on, so that was good, and perhaps I am holding this up to a standard it was not meant to be compared to (Dresden). Maybe I just am not a big fan of teen angst.

    Ari Graynor did a fine job. She does not have quite the range to handle some of the male voices, but she did not force it, either. She brought a lot of life to the characters, had a good cadence, but there was nothing exceptional about the performance.

    In the end, I found this to be a good-but-not-great start to a series. I am definitely intrigued by where the story is going and I will certainly purchase more in the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 14

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Peter Clines
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10607)
    Performance
    (9627)
    Story
    (9647)

    There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment. Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn’t perfect, it’s livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don’t nag at him too much. At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbor across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment. And Xela’s apartment. And Tim’s. And Veek’s.

    Magpie says: "Super solid listen!!"
    "A good mystery with a twist I didn't expect"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I picked up this book quite some time ago during one of Audible's excellent sales because I listened to Peter Clines' other books (Ex-Heroes and Ex-Patriots) which I found to be entertaining. In the intervening time, I quite forgot the synopsis, so by the time I did actually queue it up I was going in blind. I was more than pleasantly surprised!

    "14" tells the story of an apartment building and the group of tenants who follow the trail of oddities about the structure to unravel the secrets of its origins and purpose. I found the cast of characters to be quite engaging. While none of them were particularly fleshed out none of them felt like cardboard cutouts, either. I mean, I would have loved more history on the central characters, particularly the retired "publisher" Tim, but their dialogue and motivations were apparent enough that their actions made sense and felt natural. Everything in the story was well paced and each clue pointed to the next in a believable fashion.

    Ray Porter deserves a huge round of applause for his ability to infuse the characters with so much personality. He made the interactions between the characters crackle with sarcasm and innuendo. The lazy vagueness of Eddie and the juvenile undertones of Roger help me see these characters more than the writers words alone could do. The way handled the scenes in which multiple characters bicker was just great.

    I enjoyed the plot and appreciated the deliberateness with which Clines moved the story from simple curiousness to true mystery to genuine danger to shocking sci-fi. I truly did not expect the story to go so far in the Twilight Zone as it did but as the strangeness grew deeper I was not surprised by what was happening. Clines did flirt with plenty of stereotypes and cliches but never quite crossed the line so they become distractions.

    This a good but not great story with an excellent performance. I would easily recommend this to anyone who enjoys mysteries but must also like things to get weird.

    1 of 1 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
    (6175)
    Performance
    (5486)
    Story
    (5484)

    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"
    "This magic is real"
    Overall
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    Story

    I love stories about magic. I love stories about wizards. The Harry Potter series has been an all-time favorite listen of mine for the last five or six years, and in it magic is a way of life, clever in its execution. The Dresden Files is perhaps the best urban fantasy series I read, and the magic here is impressive, overwhelming, and as varied as it is powerful. In "The Night Circus," however, magic has never been so....well, magical! It is innocent, creative, and beautiful; it is deep, mysterious, and powerful.

    To boil it down to its most basic level, the story is nothing more than a battle between two opposing forces with the innocent caught in between. But this far from a common tale and far from conventional ideas. The fight is between two masters of different styles of magic, forever dueling to see which is the best. The weapons are their two students, unknown to each other, ignorant of the rules, and unaware of the stakes. The battleground is the Night Circus itself, each contestant adding another circus attraction more elaborate and marvelous than the last in a challenge of one-upsmanship. Caught in the middle are the patrons of the Night Circus who come for an evening of entertainment but find themselves entranced by the grandeur and wonder of the magic they only secretly believed was real. The tension rises as it becomes increasingly clear how the fight must inevitably be decided and the cost of winning and losing is understood.

    There is little action to speak of. There are no epic showdowns between characters filled with the power to sunder the earth. There are no wands waved or staves whirled overhead to direct dazzling energies of destruction. But the conflict is still just as terrible and dangerous. Erin Morgenstern has created a truly enchanting world and Jim Dale's narration transported me directly into the heart of the Night Circus. Like so many who had visited the place in the book, I too wanted to wander from tent to tent and marvel at the wonders I know I would find. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well-crafted and well-told story, regardless if they like stories about magic or not.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Emperor Mollusk Versus the Sinister Brain

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By A. Lee Martinez
    • Narrated By Scott Aiello
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1091)
    Performance
    (1016)
    Story
    (1017)

    Emperor Mollusk. Intergalactic Menace. Destroyer of Worlds. Conqueror of Other Worlds. Mad Genius. Ex-Warlord of Earth. Not bad for a guy without a spine. But what's a villain to do after he's done... everything. With no new ambitions, he's happy to pitch in and solve the energy crisis or repel aliens invaders should the need arise, but if he had his way, he'd prefer to be left alone to explore the boundaries of dangerous science. Just as a hobby, of course. Retirement isn't easy though.

    Kat Hooper says: "Hilariously wacky!"
    "A fun tale about an alien squid!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I always enjoy a story told from the viewpoint of an egotistical villainous super-genius. The tone is refreshingly free of angst and worry; just cold, calculated, clever, and often overly polite, dialogue. Emperor Mollusk is just so damn intelligent - and he knows it - and yet relate-able, I could not help listening to the entire book with a smirk or a chuckle just waiting to come out. That is a credit to A Lee Martinez; straddling the line between likable and dastardly can be tricky.

    Perhaps much of my enjoyment from this book is delivered by Scott Aiello and his masterful performance. His range of voices is rather large and none of them sounded forced or out of place. And he absolutely nailed Mollusk. I felt I could actually hear the facial expressions through his performance - which is kind of ironic given the character himself states that his species' features are notoriously difficult to read.

    The story itself was good, well told, and enjoyable. It wasn't particularly original, though, so I took some points off. I thought it was interesting that, despite the fact the story takes place on Earth (known as Terra in this book), there was almost a complete lack of human characters in it. There were Neptunians, Venusians, giant robots of all sizes, pterodactyls with lazer-vision, and a rather adorable cybernetically enhanced, giant killer-centipede and all of them were well-crafted by the author. So, while I do feel like this was a rather simplistic adventure, hopping from one sinister death trap to the next, I think that is exactly what the author intended it to be. It is what it is, and the author embraced every bit of it.

    This was a funny, enjoyable, worthwhile listen and I would recommend it to anyone who likes Sci-fi.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Cold Days: The Dresden Files, Book 14

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By James Marsters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5313)
    Performance
    (4932)
    Story
    (4930)

    After being murdered by a mystery assailant, navigating his way through the realm between life and death, and being brought back to the mortal world, Harry realizes that maybe death wasn’t all that bad - because he is no longer Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard. He is now Harry Dresden, Winter Knight to Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness. After Harry had no choice but to swear his fealty, Mab wasn’t about to let something as petty as death steal away the prize she had sought for so long.

    Ethan M. says: "Thwarts Every Expectation - In a Good Way"
    "Stars and Stones, its good to be alive!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The latest installment of my favorite series did not disappoint in the least! As usual the action was excellent and I have to marvel at how well Jim Butcher lays a battle so that the reader is aware of the craziness of the situation but is not confused by it. Despite the otherworldly characters, encounters, and actions our hero, wizard Harry Dresden, must contend with, I am able to clearly see in my mind's eye what is going on. I am always saying to myself, "He just did WHAT!?" rather than "What did he just do?" I feel this is a testament to both Butcher's ability to convey his vision of the story with his words and narrator James Marsters' ability to bring them to life. Bravo to both of them.

    As for the story, it is amazing to see how far Dresden has come since that first book, Storm Front. In the beginning, he was over-matched by a single Warden of the White Council and now he regularly interacts with, and blithely threatens, the entire Winter Court. Such power has certainly come at a high cost, though. This book is a fine demonstration of Harry stretching his new-found muscles as the Winter Knight and much like the last few books of the series (excepting Ghost Story, as that felt something like an interlude) the world as Harry knows it is spun on its head in the most devastatingly delicious way possible.

    I already cannot wait to give this book another listen (I am sure I missed some of the implications he hinted at throughout the novel) and the next book simply cannot come out soon enough.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Ready Player One

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Ernest Cline
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10075)
    Performance
    (9377)
    Story
    (9379)

    At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

    Travis says: "ADD TO CART, POWER UP +10000"
    "And so, the geeks rejoiced..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved this book. It is almost as though author Ernest Cline went through my stuff at home and decided to write a story based on what he found there. I am not sure if it is possible for me to judge this book objectively because of that. Anyone who loved video games as a kid or was weened on '80s pop culture (or even still enjoys them today) will get more than a kick out of this imaginative quest-oriented adventure. Cline found a way to put the character - and by extension, the reader - right smack in the middle of some of the most iconic movies, music, and games of the era, and manages to create very intricate riddles and puzzles to rival any of those found in the games he so obviously enjoyed himself. I even enjoyed all the history and "behind-the-scenes" information Cline provided on everything, giving it all that much more of a sense of reality to a novel based almost entirely in a virtual one.

    That said, this may not be an enjoyable book for someone who has never played D&D, World of Warcraft, or watched classic '80s TV and movies, or hunted for any hidden "easter eggs" on their favorite DVDs or video games. Some people may not know what the references are that the plot hinges so desperately on and may wind up confused. This story may be geared too much toward a particular crowd and alienates the rest. Perhaps this story resonates too closely to my own personal sense of what is awesome. Either way, I have to give this book my most fervent recommendation. Cline made a grand adventure out of my nostalgia and for that I will always be grateful.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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