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Julius Butcher

Member Since 2011

31
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 39 reviews
  • 83 ratings
  • 211 titles in library
  • 14 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
8
FOLLOWERS
2

  • Wool: Silo, #1; Wool, #1-5

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Hugh Howey
    • Narrated By Amanda Sayle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1050)
    Performance
    (970)
    Story
    (973)

    In a ruined and toxic landscape, a community exists in a giant silo underground, hundreds of stories deep. There, men and women live in a society full of regulations they believe are meant to protect them. Sheriff Holston, who has unwaveringly upheld the silo’s rules for years, unexpectedly breaks the greatest taboo of all: He asks to go outside.

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "Post-apocalyptic life in a silo"
    "First of my Howey books"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As I write this review, there are a lot of reviews for this book, so I may not add anything new, but I couldn't resist to give my two cents.

    Some people complained in the reviews why the book titled Wool. I find it appropriate, it refers to the core principle of cleaning the lenses, keep the Silo going.

    The characterisation is good, we get enough details and backstory for the main characters, others are drawn with rough lines, but we don't need to know them deeply.

    I enjoyed the writing except that it drags time after time. Some scenes were just too long, I had to resist to skip forward.

    I had problem with the basic principle of the Silo. People were separated, so they don't conspire against the ones who rule. The fact that it was hard to climb so many steps and the expensiveness of the electronic communication was supposed to do the job. There is logic in it, I admit, but something is just not quite right. People still communicated, word had gotten to places. There were a few other details that annoyed me, for example the lack of elevators. I get that it could have been because of this idea of separating people, but can you imagine how much stuff the porters had to carry up and down? And what about the big, heavy things? And there was also the cleaning. It was all believable that Holston was tricked to clean, but what about the people who wouldn't clean the lenses because they would be angry being cast out. And what about the total jerks, who would broke the cameras out of mere revenge? Surely there would be one or two in a few hundred years. Why not having a cleaning mechanism and use another way of punishment? These simply doesn't add up for me.

    Besides that I found the plot compelling, and I enjoyed the action scenes.

    I liked the way technical details were presented. The author didn't want to lecture me in engineering or IT, he gave only those details what I needed, without using jargon.

    All in all, I enjoyed the book, and I want to know what happens in Shift and Dust.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Chopin Manuscript: A Serial Thriller

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Lee Child, David Corbett, Joseph Finder, and others
    • Narrated By Alfred Molina
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2038)
    Performance
    (421)
    Story
    (433)

    15 thriller masters. 1 masterful thriller! Former war crimes investigator Harold Middleton possesses a previously unknown score by Frederic Chopin. But he is unaware that, within it's handwritten notes, lies a secret that now threatens the lives of thousands of Americans. As he races from Poland to the U.S. to uncover the mystery of the manuscript, Middleton will be accused of murder, pursued by federal agents, and targeted by assassins.

    BSquared67 says: "A rollicking thriller"
    "Interesting collaborative work"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It was interesting to see how fifteen different authors worked together to create a novel. In general it went well.

    The novel is fast paced, full of actions. Every author did his best to create the right atmosphere and deepen the characterisation.

    I enjoyed how authors used clues of others and built on them. Sometimes they had to work hard to fit them in the story but they have managed it. It created many twists and turns.

    I had the feeling that some authors overcomplicated the plot. In some cases the events didn't fit into the story. For example I didn't like the twist that Charlie lost her baby, I found it out of plot, so to say. Later another author used it nicely, but still...

    In every chapter I could see why it's not by chance that these writers are on the top of the profession. Their style was different, like different voices in the choir, but I enjoyed all of them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mount Dragon

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1242)
    Performance
    (545)
    Story
    (556)

    Guy Carson is a brilliant scientist at GeneDyne, one of the world's foremost biochemical companies. When he is transferred to Mount Dragon, GeneDyne's high-security genetic engineering lab, his good fortune seems too good to be true.

    Carson soon finds that it is. He learns that GeneDyne geneticists are tinkering with a common virus with an eye on the enormous profit to be had from a cure for the flu. Their cure involves permanently altering DNA in humans. What's more, Mount Dragon harbors another secret that puts the world at horrifying risk.

    Kathy says: "Great grab-you-in-plot!"
    "Interesting listen after the swine flu epidemic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It was scary to listen to this book after the swine flu and the bird flu epidemic. It felt like reading a prophecy. Fortunately these epidemics didn't kill most of the Earth's population as Mount Dragon predicted it could happen.

    The story has several layers. One of them is the question: should scientists tinker with the human genome, alter our genes and change the core of our humanity for good. There are arguments pro and con, everyone should answer it for himself/herself. But the question is worth to talk about.

    Another layer is the human desire for money and power. I also would add the human desire to do good. It was satisfying to see that the top guy admitted his mistake at the end and went down with dignity.

    Another layer is that it's an action book with suspense and chase and fight. I liked that the main character is not an exaggerated super hero but a regular capable guy. OK, not so regular that you can find one at every corner, because he has a PhD and he's smart, but he has the temper and flaws that anyone of us has. By the way, the characterisation is quite good. I liked that the bad guy wasn't ultimate villain, but the authors showed the shades of his personality together with his good intentions.

    The book proves that the authors did their housework in research. The places described vividly, the science is awesome and there are so many nice details about smaller things (for example about the banjo, or the horses). However they are not overdone, they fit very well into the story and they make it more believable.

    The narration was well done except that doing female voices is not David Colacci's strength.

    This my first book from Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, but I will read / listen to more from them for sure.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Farside

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Ben Bova
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (213)
    Performance
    (193)
    Story
    (194)

    Telescopes on Earth have detected an Earth-sized planet circling a star some 30 light-years away. Now the race is on to get pictures of that distant world that show whether or not the planet is truly like Earth - and if it bears life. Farside observatory will have the largest optical telescope in the solar system and the most sensitive radio telescope, insulated from the interference of Earth’s radio chatter by a thousand kilometers of the moon’s solid body. But building Farside is a complex, dangerous task. And what they ultimately find stuns everyone, and humanity will never be the same.

    Gordon says: "Not super impressed to be honest"
    "An OK read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I liked that Farside was based on real science. There is an amount of suspense, but I missed the "chewing my nails" moments when you can hardly wait what's going to happen next. At certain point the killer was predictable.
    I liked the author's voice and the way he wrote the story. However the excerpts from the personal files irritated me. The characters' background should have been incorporated into the story.
    Farside is an OK read.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Army of One: FREE Star Force Novella

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By B.V. Larson
    • Narrated By Mark Boyett
    Overall
    (1232)
    Performance
    (1126)
    Story
    (1133)

    In BV Larson's "An Army of One" the Macros of the Star Force series invade from the skies, forcing a nanotized assassin into a deadly decision.

    Sami says: "Powerful scenario and smooth follow up"
    "Nice interlude between books"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I haven't read book 3 and 4 yet, so there was some spoilers for me, but I don't mind. This novella is a nice interlude between books, it reveals the story of Bjorn, who becomes one of the nano-guys. If you ever wondered what happened to the guys outside of the main story, now you have a chance to learn about one of them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dead Eye: A Gray Man Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Mark Greaney
    • Narrated By Jay Snyder
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1262)
    Performance
    (1134)
    Story
    (1149)

    Ex-CIA master assassin Court Gentry has always prided himself on his ability to disappear at will, to fly below the radar and exist in the shadows - to survive as the near-mythical Gray Man. But when he takes revenge upon a former employer who betrayed him, he exposes himself to something he’s never had to face before. A killer who is just like him. Code-named Dead Eye, Russell Whitlock is a graduate of the same ultra-secret Autonomous Asset Program that trained and once controlled Gentry.

    Jason says: "Great Continuation of a Great Series"
    "Fits well into the series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was hooked on the Grey man novels right from the second one. I mean I have read On Target first, actually. Then, of course I went back to read the first one.
    The figure of the Grey Man is compelling. When I was thinking about him I realized that I like a professional assassin, a serial killer, who makes hits for money. But there is something about him what makes us, readers to stand on his side. It's maybe that he kills only bad guys, which speaks about certain principles he possesses. It's maybe that he is mysterious, always slipping out of the hands of his pursuers.
    This book brings an interesting plot into play. Dead Eye is almost like the Grey Man: though, well trained, merciless killing machine. But there is a big difference: he doesn't share the same principles. When he lays out his own scheme, he draws the Grey Man into a dubious game. An assassin always is in danger, the Gray Man's life isn't different, half of the governments are after him for one reason or the other. Mostly killing somebody important. But now his troubles are augmented having Dead Eye playing games with him.
    I liked the dynamics of the story. Dead Eye tried to go trough his airtight plan, but it is not by chance that the Gray Man is considered to be the best assassin. He changed the game, and Dead Eye had to adjust.
    In this book we learn a few things from the past of the Gray Man, which adds some puzzle pieces to the his picture.
    I especially enjoyed that the final battle was played out in Belgium. I live in Overijse, where the safe-house was, I go to work on route N4 every day, and I'm familiar with Uccle and Etterbeek. It was fun to see the story to unfold in these places.
    After the fourth installment, Court Gentry is still one of my favorites, right next to Jack Reacher.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Elantris

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Jack Garrett
    Overall
    (72)
    Performance
    (70)
    Story
    (71)

    Elantris was built on magic and it thrived. But then the magic began to fade and Elantris began to rot. Now its shattered citizens face domination by a powerful Imperium. Can a young Princess unite the people of Elantris, and lead a rebellion against the imperial zealots? Brandon Sanderson's debut fantasy showed his skill as a storyteller and an imaginer of baroque magical systems to be fully developed from the start.

    Jakob says: "Good value, slow narrator and average fantasy."
    "I want to draw Aons"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Sometimes it seems that I far behind the wave with my reading . I mean, I read books came out years ago. I don't see it as not being updated what is hot and the newest on the bestselling list, instead I consider it finding gems along the road of my reading journey.

    The latest one is Elantris by Brandon Sanderson.

    I had previous experiences with his books, I say experiences, because they weren't simple readings. The first book I started to read was the Mistborn book 1. I couldn't finish it, don't ask why. I just struggled with it, picking the book up and putting it down several times. Finally around the middle of the book I said it was not for me. It bothered me, because I'm fan of the Writing Excuses podcast, and I find those guys (among them Brandon Sanderson) funny and helpful. He seems to be a capable author to write a decent book.

    So I picked up another book of his, the Way of Kings, this time in audiobook format. Man, I was hooked from the beginning. That is a long one, and a few times it felt like flowing slowly, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

    So I purchased Elantris and I was eager to start to listen to the audiobook. And I realised again, I like fantasy pretty much.

    Elantris isn't short, and a few times I was wondering if I need all those details or whether the dialogues couldn't be shorter, but by the end these all paid back. The characters became my friends (or enemies), and they were chiselled like the fine carvings on the walls of Elantris.

    The idea itself got me hooked in. There was this city, once beautiful, shining, people with godlike powers walked on its streets. Then suddenly the heaven became hell, the glory faded and gave place to mud and slime, pain and suffer. The strange power that earlier made semi-gods from ordinary people now destroyed their humanity making them living dead.

    Of course prince Raedon finally solved the mystery of the disappearance of Elantris' power (what would've been the point of the story if he didn't?). The clues were well timed throughout the book.

    The magic system is amazing, shining signs in the air channelling power to this world and everything. I wonder how the author comes up with these ideas.

    The political system is also well drawn. The throne is weakened, the country is on the edge of collapse, the political forces plot against each other, outside power threatens the kingdom, and even religion comes into the mix. Just like in real life.

    There is an important phrase when talking about how captivating a book is: suspension of disbelief. Well, my disbelief was suspended all along the story. I enjoyed it a lot.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Human Division

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (476)
    Performance
    (428)
    Story
    (436)

    The people of Earth now know that the human Colonial Union has kept them ignorant of the dangerous universe around them. For generations the CU had defended humanity against hostile aliens, deliberately keeping Earth an ignorant backwater and a source of military recruits. Now the CU’s secrets are known to all. Other alien races have come on the scene and formed a new alliance - an alliance against the Colonial Union. And they’ve invited the people of Earth to join them. For a shaken and betrayed Earth, the choice isn't obvious or easy.

    linda says: "A Middling Position"
    "The B Team in action"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When reading a book I often was wondering what happened to the secondary characters. What they did when not helping the hero? What kind of life they lived? Now I had the possibility to get to know more about some of them.

    In The Human Division I met Harry Wilson of the Old Farts. If you haven't read the Old Man's War, you may not know who the hell I'm talking about. I can tell to you: you missed a great story, so you better go and read it. If you did, probably you remember the group of old people who signed up for the Colonial Defence Force, got a new enhanced body and became green in the process. Yes, they were the good Old Farts. They went in different ways in the CDF, Wilson became a Lieutenant in the technical service. Lately he got assigned to assist diplomats, who - well, to put it mildly - were the B Team. But don't get it wrong, in this dangerous universe even the B Team saves the ass of the Colonial Union once or twice. You may think that the most dangerous in diplomacy could be that you die of boredom during endless speeches in meetings. But rest assured: even diplomats get shot at or sucked out into vacuum from the space lock of the ship. And the assisting personnel may be beaten up by half size aliens and they may have to perform skydiving while the space station they just left is blown up. Yo know, the usual space stuff.

    The book consists of 13 seemingly separate stories, but by the end a grandiose conspiracy plot takes shape against the Colonial Union. Or the Conclave. Or both. It's not really clear who is behind the scenes, and what is their purpose exactly. This is why I can hardly wait for the next book of the Old Man's War universe.

    I really enjoyed Scalzi's sarcastic humour, it is one of the reasons he became one of my favourite authors. The narration was excellent, William Dufris got Scalzi's humour right.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Ballistic: A Gray Man Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Mark Greaney
    • Narrated By Jay Snyder
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1973)
    Performance
    (1715)
    Story
    (1723)

    Ex-CIA assassin Court Gentry thought he could find refuge living in the Amazon rain forest. But his bloody past finds him when a vengeful Russian crime lord forces him to go on the run once again. Court makes his way to one of the only men in the world he can trust - and arrives too late. His friend is dead and buried. Years before, Eddie Gamboa had saved Court's life. Now, Eddie has been murdered by the notorious Mexican drug cartel he fought to take down. And Court soon finds himself drawn into a war he never wanted.

    Jean says: "Action Packed"
    "Gray Man - my favourite bad guy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was hooked on Mark Greany's books right from the first one. He writes just the type of stories I like: fast paced action spiced with special human relations.

    In Ballistic Greaney takes us to Mexico, and shows the dark shadows of los amigos. I live in Europe, so the setting was exotic for me. The Ballistic is a work of fiction, and I'm pretty sure Greaney made up the Mafia characters, but based on the news sometimes I hear there must be some truth in the Mexican gang wars. It adds to the reliability of the story.

    The Grey man is a strange hero: he is an assassin, but he takes on only bad guys and criminals. Which makes him the good guy in the reader's eye. He isn't James Bond, sometimes he is betrayed and deceived, which makes his character more believable. In this book he has a love affair. I liked the way it was written, the Grey man remained totally in his character, with his past and fears.

    The story of Ballistic is compelling: the Grey Man finds himself between two Mafia groups trying to save the family of his respected but dead friend. Can a loner win against two armies of bad guys? Can he be smart enough to outwit them? Is the loyalty and friendship more important than his own life? Well, you can guess the answers, I suppose, I don't need to tell you.

    The book has elements of torture and inhuman treatment, so read it only if you don't mind some hard story parts. And it has a lot of shooting, fortunately most often it is the bad guys who fall.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Insurgent: Divergent, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Veronica Roth
    • Narrated By Emma Galvin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7219)
    Performance
    (6549)
    Story
    (6601)

    One choice can transform you - or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves - and herself - while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

    C. Mings says: "Oh, Tris....get over it!"
    "Enjoyable but not completely convincing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm slightly above the young adult age (around twenty five years plus), so consider my opinion taking that into account. You may ask why I read YA books then. Why not? I'm curious.

    I enjoyed Insurgent. And I didn't.

    The setting is quite compelling, the basic idea is really interesting. How could a society work if people are divided into factions based on their mental attitude? And I arrived to the first point I have problem with. I'm not a sociologist nor psychologist, but I'm sure it cannot work. Humans are not black and white. Humans are not of four clear colour, they cannot be put into boxes. It just doesn't work like that. The idea of creating a society based on this is born dead. But it still could be interesting to see how things can develop in a scenario like this, so I suspended my disbelief and I wanted to know, you know, "what if". It reminded me of religious cults suppressing general truths worshipping only one (often false one). I continued listening as it was an experiment on one possible way to solve the society's serious issues. I put my doubts aside and flowed with the story, and I did enjoy it more. By the end of the book I learned that this environment didn't evolve, but it was established artificially. That helps a little to believe the scenario. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

    In the factions individuals start to pup up as divergents, (of course they do, if they didn't the story wouldn't exist), and this society cannot handle them. They blend in pretending having one aptitude or get hunted because they cannot fit in the system. That creates a lot of tension, and gives the floor for the action.

    The action moved the story forward, and kept me listening. I really liked the action scenes, those were the best parts of the book. Unfortunately in between there were scenes when the heroin agonized over exaggerated dilemmas. Maybe I've a very simple personality, maybe it was too long time ago when I was teenager, maybe being a man I cannot understand the girls (who can? :) ). Maybe Tris had mental issues. But some of the whining should have been cut out.

    I would have enjoyed more world-building. There were some explanations about the supporting equipment like power supply, but I missed some technicalities how they could sustain the supporting services. It was a closed environment after all.

    By the way, can somebody tell me who drove the train? People died, factions fought each other, but that damn train still run no matter what.

    As I mentioned I'm not in YA age anymore, that may explain my disbelief concerning the hands off love between Four and Tris. At the age of 16-19 teenagers are much more interested in the hands on stuff of sex. It was annoying how the circumstances (or their fears or anger) "accidentally" stopped Four and Tris to get into it more deeply. I don't say there should be explicit sex scenes, not at all. But their love would have been more believable if there were scenes like "Four pulled Tris' shirt off, kissed her on the mouth and... Cut.... Tris smiled at Four and nested herself in his arms with satisfaction". Like in an old movie ;)

    The character of Tris is well drawn, we get to know her deepest secrets and fears. She had a special power, she could resist the simulation. Awesome. She is mentally off balance in my opinion, but I gather that was the author's intention. But it didn't help to like her that she made stupid decisions. I mean stupid. For example when she joined Marcus. She loved Four, she knew that Four hates Marcus, she didn't trust Marcus, and didn't have evidence that it was true what he was saying, but she went with him instead of being and fighting on Four's side.

    I'm sure my daughter enjoyed the book more, because she already told me she hardly can wait for the third one to come out. She is at the right age, I suppose.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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