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

Gretna, LA, USA | Member Since 2006

  • 1 reviews
  • 2 ratings
  • 629 titles in library
  • 18 purchased in 2014

  • The Garden of Stones: Echoes of Empire, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Mark T. Barnes
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Fueled by visions promising him prolonged life and political power, the dying Corajidin, leader of a millennia-old dynasty, has brought the nation of Shrian to civil war. But is his bright destiny assured, or do the events unfolding around him promise a more ignoble, and finite, future? Indris, warrior-mage of the Seq Scholars and scion of a rival Great House, is caught in the upheaval. Driven by loyalty and conscience to return to a city that haunts his past, Indris reluctantly accepts the task of finding a missing man, the only one able to steer the teetering nation toward peace.

    Michael says: "Realistic, Engaging Dialogue - Where Are You?"
    "Realistic, Engaging Dialogue - Where Are You?"

    I KNOW I'm going to take heat for this one. So, like a flu shot, let's get the darn thing over with, for God's sake.

    Let's review, shall we? A writer with skills? Seems so. His storyline? The same. Just go read the Audible short on the work. Yet, there's an issue here. If you read or, in this case, listen, to a good number of books, you'll understand where I'm headed.

    If you're a great writer, or even a GOOD one, you constantly strive for a few things in your writing. Suspension of disbelief is one. A moving and deep storyline is another. Rich characterization is important, as well.


    Without REALISTIC, ENGAGING DIALOGUE between the characters, all of the potential of the work will fall short. We've all started to read or listen to such novels, and as soon as the characters open their mouths, it's over. The message suffers. The momentum is lost.

    The book is closed, the audiobook returned.

    And in this case, it's a shame. The problem happens here - In droves. I thought of including specific text, but it's not necessary. Is the audiobook bad? No. But the work suffers, due to the dialogue. It's a soap-operatic. Over the top. in some cases, WAY over the top.

    A word to Mr. Barnes: "Do NOT get rushed by your editor to put your next effort out so quickly, that the character's dialogue suffers, as in this work. Take your time, and write great dialogue. I look forward to your next work with keen anticipation."

    Audible listeners, I don't write these reviews to cater to anyone, especially myself. I have to be true to the job at hand, to let the audiobook stand on its own merits. Or fall.

    Sorry, Mr. Barnes. Maybe next time.

    9 of 12 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

    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.

    Jim says: "Remastered into chapters from CD."
    "Lost Roman Legions...And POKEMON?"

    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.

    41 of 45 people found this review helpful

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