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J.

Diamond Bar, CA, United States | Member Since 2011

124
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 2 reviews
  • 11 ratings
  • 66 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2014
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4

  • Wizard's First Rule: Sword of Truth, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (34 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Terry Goodkind
    • Narrated By Sam Tsoutsouvas
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3937)
    Performance
    (2345)
    Story
    (2375)

    In the aftermath of the brutal murder of his father, Richard Cypher encounters a mysterious woman, Kahlan Amnell, in his forest sanctuary. She seeks his help...and more. His world, his very beliefs, are shattered when ancient debts come due with thundering violence.

    A User says: "Better than the show"
    "The most comically awful book I've ever read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Wow. This book was bad. Hilariously bad. Let me see if I can stop laughing and crying long enough to explain why:
    1. The writing is atrocious. The author seems to have a severely limited vocabulary and describes most things with words like "big" and "pretty important", except for an occasional passage where he suddenly decides he's a poet and spits out such gems as "the crystal formations winked back at him, their flame the only sound in the darkness." Wow. Just, wow.
    2. The characters are completely one-dimensional. The main characters are pretty lacking in personality, but the secondary characters are painfully obvious. You can tell who's good and who's bad, which people are supposed to be sympathetic and which ones you're supposed to hate because THEIR EVERY WORD AND ACTION SCREAMS IT AT YOU. Good people always agree with the main characters, bad people oppose them in every petty way imaginable. Good characters always act kindly and are nice to children, bad characters are unfailingly mean, selfish, and usually scowling. No subltety here, no shades of grey or complexity. It's really easy to spot the false friends and the traitors really early on in the book, which spoils what I guess are supposed to be shocking plot twists in the last few chapters.
    3. Repetition ad nauseum. Both the characters and author seem to have this obsessive-compulsive need to repeat the same thoughts, ideas, phrases, and pieces of plot exposition over and over, just in case they didn't get their point across the first 50 times. Really, I understand that the heroes need to STOP DARKEN RAHL, it's not necessary to keep repeating it. After sitting through all 24+ hours of this audiobook, I'm pretty sure that a good 80% of the words in this book are completely unnecessary. All in all, the level of this writing is so juvenile that it makes the next point extra-disturbing...
    4. This book is REALLY sadistic. The author really seems to delight in the torture scenes, spending pages and pages on them, during which every sentence contains at least one occurrence of the word "pain". Some of the things the heroes do are downright disturbing, too. But it's supposed to be okay, because they're the heroes and hey, they emasculated that man and forced him to eat his own genitals in the name of Justice. Yeah, that really happened.
    5. Melodrama. Seriously, everything that happens is a crisis situation. Somebody drops something and suddenly hearts are pounding, rage is flaring, and someone is sobbing uncontrollably with wracking sobs. It gets exhausting after a while, especially since none of the characters are really developed enough to pull off convincing emotion.

    In conclusion, I gave this book 2 stars because the constant stream of awful writing, one-dimentional characters, and ridiculously contrived situations was oddly entertaining, though not remotely in the way the author intended. Part of me wonders if the author wasn't somehow being intentionally ironic; surely writing that comically bad doesn't happen by accident. In any case, unless "comically bad" sounds appealing to you, I'd highly recommend that you avoid this book; it really doesn't have much else to offer, and certainly nothing rewarding enough to justify that much time spent listening to it.
    By the way, in case you were wondering about the "wizard's first rule" in the title, the highest and most secret rule of the wizard order, it consists of the following earth-shattering revelation:
    "People are stupid."
    Somehow, that seems fitting.

    123 of 176 people found this review helpful
  • Captain Blood

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Rafael Sabatini
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (180)
    Performance
    (63)
    Story
    (67)

    George MacDonald Fraser, author of the Flashman novels, praises this hearty saga as "one of the great unrecognized novels of the 20th century." Doctor Peter Blood's quiet life is shattered when he is convicted of treason for helping a wounded nobleman in the 1685 rebellion against King James II.

    Gary says: "Outstanding rendition of classic swashbuckler"
    "Classic Swashbuckler with Substance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I can't help but love the gentlemanly, impudent, and ultimately always triumphant Captain Blood, but the character that stands out to me just as much is the heroine Arabella Bishop. She is an extraordinary heroine for this genre of fiction, where you usually expect to see all the women swooning and being generally helpless. Arabella is self-posessed, intelligent, and more than a match in wits for the pirate captain. They play off of each other brilliantly, and Blood's respect and admiration for her drives many of his actions. She never straps on a sword or dives into the action, but she doesn't really need to. She manages to be a strong and intriguing female character (a rare enough occurance in fiction of all kinds) simply by virtue of being herself.


    What does Robert Whitfield bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Robert Whitfield provides a colorful range of character voices, including an impressive array of accents, which helps to bring many of the characters to life. His narration is both dryly historical and wry in just the right amounts to express Sabatini's writing to its best effect.


    Any additional comments?

    I have listened to this audiobook multiple times since buying it, and it has yet to get old. Definitely one of my favorites.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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