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Andrew

Madison, WI, United States

ratings
25
REVIEWS
10
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
52

  • Among Others

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Jo Walton
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (708)
    Performance
    (609)
    Story
    (610)

    Startling, unusual, and yet irresistably readable, Among Others is at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood, a brilliant diary of first encounters with the great novels of modern fantasy and SF, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment.

    Eoin says: "Subtle Character Piece"
    "Great tone and voice, mediocre ending."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Don't want to get spoilery so I'll just say that I loved the narrator and thought the coming of age story was interesting, but the plot was not very satisfying. I guess I was hoping there was something more interesting going on than the actual story. The reader is amazingly good, I'm not a native but the accents seemed spot on and shifted over time as the characters changed. Still recommend it as a listen.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Red Country

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Joe Abercrombie
    • Narrated By Steven Pacey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (874)
    Performance
    (791)
    Story
    (787)

    They burned her home. They stole her brother and sister. But vengeance is following. Shy South hoped to bury her bloody past and ride away smiling, but she'll have to sharpen up some bad old ways to get her family back, and she's not a woman to flinch from what needs doing. She sets off in pursuit with only a pair of oxen and her cowardly old step father Lamb for company. But it turns out Lamb's buried a bloody past of his own. And out in the lawless Far Country the past never stays buried.

    Kristina says: "Freakin' Awesome!"
    "Abercrombie does Wagon Train"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I liked Joes First Law books and this one was decent but once I was firmly into the story I lost interest. It became apparent that this was a try to stretch the low fantasy genera towards a western theme, with a new frontier, restless natives, caravans of settlers, wide open spaces and various dastardly villains and somewhat dastardly heroes.

    But there was still something kind of British about the approach to this very traditionally American genera that I suppose was origonal but made it seem like it was written by someone who had read about or heard second hand about the American west but not been there.

    Maybe I am just not interested in westerns but this did not hold my attention though it was somewhat memorable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Consider Phlebas

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Iain M. Banks
    • Narrated By Peter Kenny
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (445)
    Performance
    (374)
    Story
    (383)

    The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction, cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender. Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of the Dead proscribed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it....

    Hyacinth says: "The Culture is a magnificent and enticing vision."
    "Good universe, crummy story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listened to this because it was included on several lists of the best sci-fi of all time. The world building was amazing, consistent and interesting space-opera setup.

    The main character was pretty interesting too, at least at the start getting into all sorts of scrapes and meeting interesting people (and killing them).

    The problems kicked in about half way through. The super-proficient cyborg mutant killer suddenly becomes plot-blind to EVERYTHING. I was thinking he might die by peeing in the fusion drive because his brain fell out. And then a suuuuuper forced plot point involving a pregnancy that I think was supposed to make the characters seem more likeable but just made them seem like simpering idiots all of a sudden. Every chance to let the antagonists continue to be antagonists it taken gleefully. Every chance for the antihero to make terrible choices is also taken. Oh, and the primary driving question for our antihero (why does he work for who he does, and is he right to do so) is dealt with vaguely and unrealistically until a postscript that basically says "Oh yeah, the right answer to that complex moral question was X because it was not actually complex I was just wasting your time".

    I don't know the rest of the authors work but based on this book I would say he can make a kick-ass worlds but can't plot/character his way out of a wet sack.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Neil Gaiman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4632)
    Performance
    (4274)
    Story
    (4288)

    A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. He is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock. Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie - magical, comforting, wise beyond her years - promised to protect him, no matter what.

    Dave says: "Oh, the Wondrous Ocean!"
    "Neil Gaiman writes a Gaimanesq book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I liked this but it has the positives and negatives of most of Gaimans work. The mythology is interesting and the childs point of view effective but the characters have a strange sort of autistic feel similar to his other books. It's not that they don't have feelings, it's just that they feel more like animatroinc puppets than people.

    But that should not dissuade you unless you are new to Gaiman, if you are then you should read American Gods (the full cast recording) first as that is stronger and more fresh than this book.

    0 of 0 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
    (10322)
    Performance
    (9613)
    Story
    (9615)

    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"
    "Nostalgia by the bucket"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book made me feel funny. Like I was being pandered to as a demographic but enjoying the pandering none the less. I guess it is possible it was a study in niche marketing wherein a lot of my youthful nostalgia as a Commodore 64 owning, D&D playing, Rush listening atheist was precisely targeted like one of those magazines that your grandma got that just talked about how things were back in the good ol' days. I'm going to assume that is not the case and the author just REALLY loves old nerdy stuff.

    And this book has it. If you are old enough to start going bald but young enough to wear cargo shorts there is probably something in here to be nostalgic about. A younger person might just be bored/confused though.

    The story is decent, post apocalyptic virtual mcguffin hunt vs. evil slave-owning megacorp. Characters are varied despite all having a baffling obsession with the 80s as the peak of human experience. A few are pretty flat, the Gandalf stand in notably though weather that is a matter of narration, characterization or lack of screen time I dunno.

    Some of the negative happenings that establish the bad guys badness lead the protagonist and others to have an almost ausbergian lack of emotional response but I think that may be a choice of tone and trying to keep things moving forward. In general the protagonists geek guy exemplar is quite believable although frustratingly shallow at points.

    Narration was pretty good. Wills range is not up to some of the real heavy hitter readers but he obviously fit the subject matter perfectly and at least for the younger characters got the nuance right.

    Still not sure how I feel about it. Guess I shouldn't worry.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Daemon

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Daniel Suarez
    • Narrated By Jeff Gurner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6960)
    Performance
    (3995)
    Story
    (4022)

    Thousands of autonomous computer programs, or daemons, make our networked world possible, running constantly in the background of our lives, trafficking e-mail, transferring money, and monitoring power grids. For the most part, daemons are benign, but the same can't always be said for the people who design them.

    Erica says: "Possibly The Best Techno-thriller Ever"
    "If you like stuff more than people"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was not terrible but it seemed like it was written by/for IT professionals (and I am one). The tech is deeply fetishised, sometimes this is interesting like when discussing hacking etc in a semi-realistic way but other times it is just name-dropping brand names of watches and cars. I think I learned more about the characters accessories than their feelings. It holds together mostly on a smaller scale but as the plot widens it goes off the rails a bit in believability and in the characters ability to carry it.

    Oh, and there are two girls in it that I can recall, one is a bitch and the other is a two dimensional love interest who gets rescued despite at least giving her an interesting job.

    I dunno, maybe I expected a good sci-fi novel and got a 'techo-thriller' instead.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • The Wise Man's Fear: Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 2

    • UNABRIDGED (42 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Patrick Rothfuss
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9793)
    Performance
    (8114)
    Story
    (8187)

    "My name is Kvothe. I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep...."

    Joe says: "Excellent, Imaginative, Beautiful, Page Turning!!!"
    "Great book, ok reading."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Both of Pats books are amazing, transcending the genera to create something that has more than earned much praise. But if you are thinking about listening to this then you have already read Name of the Wind and know that.

    It's not perfect, main issue is pacing. If it was a graph there would be big spikes of action with long troughs of slow meandering inbetween. Sometimes we get minute detail about long stretches of backstory, world building and training montage, other times huge events go by in a few pages or even happen off-screen. The good bits though, they are very very good.

    I read the first book on paper and listened to the audiobook as well and found that the audiobook glossed over some of the the most choice turns of phrase. The speaker seems young, and so is Kvothe of course but this lends an unfortunate modern cadence to the speech. Someone old and gravely would lend it a more touching, heartfelt gravitas in keeping with the writing I think.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Name of the Wind: Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 1

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Patrick Rothfuss
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11701)
    Performance
    (9379)
    Story
    (9491)

    This is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man's search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.

    Joanna says: "Wow!"
    "Greatest fantasy I have read in years"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I picked up this audiobook to re-read the tNotW in prep for the new book coming out and was somewhat disappointed in the narration, not in terms of quality but in that I felt the style was younger and more modern than the voice in my head. But the book is so good, I still listened to the whole thing and would not hesitate to suggest the book in any format, even to people (like my wife) who are not fantasy fans otherwise. She loved it btw and all her friends are now fans as well.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Judas Unchained

    • UNABRIDGED (41 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Peter F. Hamilton
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3038)
    Performance
    (1871)
    Story
    (1889)

    Robust, peaceful, and confident, the Commonwealth dispatched a ship to investigate the mystery of a disappearing star, only to inadvertently unleash a predatory alien species that turned on its liberators, striking hard, fast, and utterly without mercy.The Prime are the Commonwealth's worst nightmare. Coexistence is impossible with the technologically advanced aliens, who are genetically hardwired to exterminate all other forms of life.

    Susan says: "Exceptionally great book"
    "Excellent hard sci-fi"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a long, convoluted story spanning a large cast of characters and many worlds but it still manages to keep me sitting in my car after my commute completely enthralled. The Sci-Fi feels very plausible and the author seems to really understand how technology changes society. The reader does a great job, occasionally slipping up on an accent or doubling up several characters with the same voice but given the huge cast and great length that's not surprising.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Susanna Clarke
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    Overall
    (3278)
    Performance
    (1273)
    Story
    (1276)

    English magicians were once the wonder of the known world, with fairy servants at their beck and call; they could command winds, mountains, and woods. But by the early 1800s they have long since lost the ability to perform magic. They can only write long, dull papers about it, while fairy servants are nothing but a fading memory.

    David says: "Hang in there!"
    "Best Listen In a Long Time"
    Overall

    I never take the time to review the books I listen to off audible unless they are terrible or amazing, this one is amazing. There are other decent reviews of the plot, similar authors etc. so I will just hit two points:

    1. The narration is excellent, it is saying something when a deep voiced man can accurately portray a female character with nuance and feeling and bring tears to my hard heart.

    2. The massive detail and interesting footnotes make for a long book and for 80% of it's progress one is left interested but not knowing what it is all about. I consider this more of an asset than a defect but if you need everything spelled out for you and good and bad guys assigned clearly it may be frustraiting. It is not ADD friendly, it reads like it was written by someone who loves to read intricate books not someone who wanted a simple plot so it would make a easy screenplay (tho it is being made into a film anyway). As a result if you do not get past that 80% mark you are missing out on a real gem.

    In closing this was an excellent listen, if you like the fantasy work of Ursula K. LeGuin (the books, not the worthless tv show) chances are you will love it.

    30 of 32 people found this review helpful

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