Gretna, LA, USA | Member Since 2006
Every once in a while it's good...no, essential, that you listen to an audiobook on the lighter side. Just for sanity's, and maybe optimism's, sake. I know I do. And this listen is exactly that every once in a while I need. Something fun. Crazy global domination fun.
This audiobook is an anthology of short stories that revolve around mad scientists and their "brilliant" plans to take over the world. Everyone has met one: You know, that quiet but quirky megalomaniac neighbor or office worker that's just a bit off, that stays up late in the basement creating a trans-atomic mogrification particle beam weapon that they'll power up to blackmail the governments of the world for a bazillion, quadrillion dollars. And after the get the money, they'll still turn the blasted thing on, just to watch it make pretty colors and melt the continents.
Basically, Dr. Evil.
Or Mr. Or Mrs. Or Miss.
This tongue-in-cheek group of stories is a wonderful antithesis of the superhero novels and movies that are on the shelves and screens lately, and it's a great listen. Here's why you'll want this audiobook.
Heroes are totally defined by the strength and power of their arch-enimies. Think about it. Batman and Joker, Superman and Lex Luthor, Iron Man and Mandarin. Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. You get the idea.
The villain has the more interesting story. And it PAYS. Darth Vader, for example, gets a heck of a LOT more press than Luke. And novels. And movies. And audiobooks. And sippy cups.
Why, because we love 'em! Every girl wants the bad boy, because of their power and mystique, and every guy wants to be the bad boy to whom that those girls gravitate. Now, we finally get to see what happens on the other side of the crazy tracks.
The stories are about problems and issues that Evil Geniuses face in life as well as their whacked out world domination schemes. How do I tell my wife I'm going to rule the world? Do I wear my mad scientist costume to our next therapy mixer? Now that I've built the perfect weapon to crush the puny mortals of this world, how do I get the blamed thing out of my basement? Will my mom still love me when I stand on the pinnacle of world power by turning everyone to zombies? Should I turn MOM into a zombie too? Now that I've melted Paris, should I go for London next? Hmmm. Conundrums and decisions. It's what these brilliant lunatics do to answer these and other burning questions that make the stories light up.
Again, this is not for the serious-minded listener who doesn't need a break from more somber deep thinking. It's not utter fluff, just a bit lighter than the usual listen. It's loads of fun, and makes for an enjoyable break. There are solid plots, interesting characters, and more than anything, it's intriguing. You start thinking of people you know who just might be one of the these lunatics secretly planning to take over the world. You'll see the other twisted side of the story. And THAT, Audible listener, is my favorite part. Usually, we're limited to a hero's or heroine's perspective. Here, we get to see the darker side. You'll appreciate all the trouble and hard work brilliant mad men (and women) go through to control the world. Global domination is hard work!
So, all you wannabe evil geniuses, wringing your hands, slaving over bunsen burners and home-made nuclear generators....
And get this audiobook.
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.
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