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Michael

Commodities broker, father, husband, and avid scifi/fantasy/self help fan.

Gretna, LA, USA | Member Since 2006

29
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 1 reviews
  • 2 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 25 purchased in 2014
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12

  • The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Philip Pullman
    • Narrated By Philip Pullman, full cast
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5027)
    Performance
    (1543)
    Story
    (1564)

    When Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon decide to spy on a presentation her uncle, the commanding Lord Asriel, is making to the elders of Jordan College they have no idea that they will become witnesses to an attempted murder, and even less that they are taking the first steps in a journey that will lead them into danger and adventure unlike anything Lyra's unfettered imagination has conjured up.

    Arnold says: "A Terrific Book"
    "I'll Take Heat For This Review - Bring It On..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There are times when people will like my reviews. I fully expect some of you to totally dislike some of my reviews. And that's fine. It's what makes Audible so great as a forum: We all can express our opinions, and still be part of a happy community. That being said, let's get to it.

    I tend to look at this type of book in the respect of its merit to the WHOLE series, and in doing so, the series is well written and somewhat intelligent.

    And it stops there.

    I expect this type of book to be appropriately engaging and have a strong plot that makes sense. I also expect to have characters that are better defined and have depth. The characters herein are intentionally vague, so you're not quite sure with whom or what they're ultimately aligned. Also, the story devices are shallow. And, it gets worse as you go further into the series. There's very little reward for the reader's/listener's effort.

    If this isn't enough, consider the movie that was made off the first novel - Despite the excellent actors and special effects, it fell flat. And it followed the writing.

    As they say here in the south, "Nuff said."

    Some people love this series, but I couldn't engage. That's unusual, when a series is WELL WRITTEN and SOMEWHAT INTELLIGENT. Thus, I expected so much more in DEPTH, as stated earlier.

    So, if this were a pulp type story, I'd probably give it a bit higher rating. Why? Simple. If the author clearly sets out to create a specific thing, and it happens, mission accomplished. It fulfilled what the author set out to create, and I will ALWAYS reward a win, to some degree.

    This isn't a win.

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Furies of Calderon: Codex Alera, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4000)
    Performance
    (2670)
    Story
    (2706)

    In the realm of Alera, where people bond with the furies - elementals of earth, air, fire, water, and metal - 15-year-old Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. But when his homeland erupts in chaos - when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies - Tavi's simple courage will turn the tides of war.

    Eric says: "great fantasy series"
    "Lost Roman Legions...And POKEMON?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you follow my reviews, you know that I like to roll the dice, to randomly buy a series on a whim, on the luck of the draw. Sometimes, it's a bust.

    This time, it's a definite win, but if you go by how the series was created, you'd probably run in the opposite direction.

    Here's one for the books: Jim Butcher is well-known for his "Dresden Files" series, created a fantastic fantasy series on a BET. Yep, a bet. Read on.

    To quote the Codex Alera Wiki site, "the inspiration for the series came from a bet Jim was challenged to by a member of the Delray Online Writer’s Workshop. The challenger bet that Jim could not write a good story based on a lame idea, and Jim countered that he could do it using two lame ideas of the challenger’s choosing. The “lame” ideas given were “Lost Roman Legion", and “Pokémon”.

    It DOES sound lame.

    Well, Butcher makes it work. To the nines.

    I've finished this first novel, and I'm enjoying this unique story line of humans with Roman similarities binding with elemental furies. Add unique races, backstabbing, politics, military battles, duels and an interwoven story line that pulls it all together, and you get a fantastic story that's simply put, a VERY VERY good listen.

    The whole concept of fighting alongside elemental familiars used here is wonderfully executed. It's deep, well-thought magic-based partnership of man and magical creature is a pleasure to experience.

    So, what about the writing?

    Again, if you follow my reviews, you know that I love ENGAGING fantasy or scifi writing. Anything less won't do. And this is definitely engaging. There's great characters that plot, backstab, challenge, fight for their beliefs, devour their enemies, and celebrate their victories. You're taken on a great romp of a story, and in the end, isn't that what we all want in a good listen?

    I know I do, and I so enjoyed this first audiobook in the series, that I bought the entire series. Yep. And I'm not disappointed with the decision.

    Who knew that Lost Roman Legions and Pokemon could knock it out of the park?

    Home run, Jim. Home run.

    29 of 33 people found this review helpful

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