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Lore

Fantasy/Sci-Fi Fan

SAN JOSE, CA, United States | Member Since 2008

967
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 78 reviews
  • 156 ratings
  • 644 titles in library
  • 14 purchased in 2015
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548

  • The Final Empire: Mistborn Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11048)
    Performance
    (8225)
    Story
    (8271)

    For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the "Sliver of Infinity," reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler's most hellish prison.

    D says: "A GREAT TRILOGY!!!"
    "Book 1 of a great series that is not to be missed!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I knew little of Brandon Sanderson when it was announced that he was selected to finish the Wheel of Time series after the death of Robert Jordan. I decided to check out some of his work to get a feel for his writing before his first Wheel of Time novel was published. What I discovered was that I had been missing out on one of the best Fantasy authors writing today.

    Mistborn is an excellent series and I have thoroughly enjoyed every book in the series. I am a big fan of Fantasy and I was completely drawn into Sanderson's world of Allomancers and all of the interesting things they could do right from the start. Michael Kramer does an excellent job of bringing these interesting characters to life so expect this book to grab you from the start and never let go.



    46 of 51 people found this review helpful
  • Steelheart: Reckoners, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10568)
    Performance
    (9708)
    Story
    (9746)

    Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills. Nobody fights the Epics...nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in. He wants Steelheart - the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father.

    D says: "He got the idea from a near traffic accident"
    "A post-apocalyptic thrill ride."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Brandon Sanderson is a masterful writer and I look forward to anything he publishes but I hesitated to jump on Steelheart because Super Hero fiction is not at the top of my favorite genre list. However, it is a Brandon Sanderson story so I could not stay away for long...

    A burst in the sky known as Calamity knocks society into a post-apocalyptic world ruled by Super Villains known as Epics. The story takes place in Newcago (formerly Chicago) where an Epic known as Steelheart ruthlessly establishes his dominion over both humans and lesser Epics. Everyone knows Steelheart is invincible and even the Reckoners, a group of humans rumored to hunt and kill Epics, won't mess with him.

    However, young David Charleston has a secret that he has kept hidden for the last 10 years. He has witnessed something that no other living person ever has - he has seen Steelheart bleed. He hopes to somehow use this knowledge to exact revenge on Steelheart for killing his father but he knows he will never be able to do that by himself. That is where the Reckoners come in....

    In true comic book superhero fashion this story is a thrill ride full of impossible situations and long odds for the good guys. Although it isn't very deep, the story kept me interested and Sanderson's characters all have unique and interesting personalities. MacLeod Andrews is excellent and he does a great job on the character voices. Although I may have been slow to start this series, once I finished Steelheart I did not hesitate to move on to the short story Mitosis and book 2, Firefight. If you are reading this review then I would suggest it is time for you to play catch up as well.

    Note: if you a fan of Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines then I would think you would enjoy this book as well and vice-versa.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Dragon's Path: Dagger and Coin, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Daniel Abraham
    • Narrated By Pete Bradbury
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1192)
    Performance
    (1070)
    Story
    (1078)

    Popular author Daniel Abraham’s works have been nominated for the Hugo Award and the World Fantasy Award. In The Dragon’s Path, former soldier Marcus is now a mercenary—but he wants nothing to do with the coming war. So instead of fighting, he elects to guard a caravan carrying the wealth of a nation out of the war zone—with the assistance of an unusual orphan girl named Cithrin.

    Dave says: "A Subtle, Smart, and All-Around Great Epic Fantasy"
    "Slow start that pays off in Book 2."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I will admit that I had to start this one a few times to get going. The opening chapters jump around from character to character and right when you start to get your bearings in this complex world a new chapter starts and you are lost again. This is all compounded by the fact that you are exposed to the history of the world along with the present and a myriad of different races of humanity. It is a lot to absorb all at the same time and it is easy to lose track when you don't know what is important and what is not. I am going to guess many listeners do not make it through the first third of this book so be sure you don't start this one when you are distracted.

    Things do settle down after a while and the characters start to come together in the storyline but even then it isn't the most interesting tale. Laden with banking contracts and political maneuvering the story slogs on slowly - mostly setting things up for the second book. The very ending ties back to the very beginning and ties off one of the lose ends but I still found myself ambivalent toward most of the characters when it was over. The spider goddess and the powers of her priests do make things interesting but for the most part there is little magic in use throughout the story.

    Book 2 is when I really started to care about some of the characters and what was happening to them. If you don't plan to give this series at least 2 books to form an opinion then I would recommend that you save yourself the trouble and go for a different fantasy series. Things definitely get more interesting in book 2.

    Pete Bradbury does a good job on the narration and is the narrator for the first 4 books in the series which is all that is available as I write this. (The series is supposed to include a 5th book as well.)

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Pines

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Blake Crouch
    • Narrated By Paul Michael Garcia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3180)
    Performance
    (2855)
    Story
    (2859)

    Wayward Pines, Idaho, is quintessential small-town America — or so it seems. Secret Service agent Ethan Burke arrives in search of two missing federal agents, yet soon is facing much more than he bargained for. After a violent accident lands him in the hospital, Ethan comes to with no ID and no cell phone. The medical staff seems friendly enough, but something feels…off. As the days pass, Ethan’s investigation into his colleagues’ disappearance turns up more questions than answers. Why can’t he make contact with his family in the outside world? Why doesn’t anyone believe he is who he says he is? And what’s the purpose of the electrified fences encircling the town? Are they keeping the residents in? Or something else out? Each step toward the truth takes Ethan further from the world he knows, until he must face the horrifying possibility that he may never leave Wayward Pines alive…

    Linda B says: "Well done story"
    "Keeps you guessing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Something is not right in Wayward Pines, Idaho - that much is obvious from the start. After that Blake Crouch slowly reveals just how wrong things are as you experience the story from the perspective of Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke. Ethan is not the type to let things go and the more he peels back the onion the more bizarre things get.

    If your listening experience is like mine then you will formulate and discard many theories as you listen until the big reveal finally comes. The reveal itself was a surprise but it wasn't completely fulfilling as some of the explanation given didn't resonate well with me. In order to avoid spoilers I really can't say more about it other than the author does explain it all and doesn't leave you hanging.

    This story is like one long Twilight Zone episode so if you like that type of fiction then give it a go otherwise this is not for you.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Colony

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1901)
    Performance
    (1491)
    Story
    (1503)

    Retired from his fighting days, John Perry is now village ombudsman for a human colony on distant Huckleberry. With his wife, former Special Forces warrior Jane Sagan, he farms several acres, adjudicates local disputes, and enjoys watching his adopted daughter grow up. That is, until his and Jane's past reaches out to bring them back into the game.

    Katherine says: "3.5 stars"
    "An uneven continuation of Old Man's War"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Book 3 of the Old Man's War series unites the main characters from the first 2 books, John Perry and Jane Sagan, and jumps ahead to their retirement on the peaceful colony of Huckleberry. Of course their relaxed existence is disrupted as interstellar politics and conspiracies take over and they find themselves facing one impossible challenge after another. The Conclave plot line picks up steam and the stakes get ever larger as the story goes on. All of this makes for an interesting enough premise but in the end Scalzi's execution and Dufris' narration just didn't keep me immersed this time around.

    A myriad of small plot devices add up as the book goes on and very few of the characters act realistically. John and Jane uncover clues that things are amiss but just go along for the ride putting themselves and their adopted daughter Zoe at great risk. The aliens speak using standard 21st century colloquialisms and General Gau, the Leader of the 420 alien race Conclave, puts himself at risk to personally visit colony planets to speak with the leaders before destroying them. The list goes on throughout the book and the final plot twist at the end was the least believable of the bunch.

    I didn't dislike this book but it did leave me uninspired to immediately continue with the series. When I do resume it will likely be with book 5 and not book 4, Zoe's Tale, which is a re-telling of the story from Zoe's perspective. Although the story was ultimately entertaining, once was enough for me.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Rose and the Thorn: The Riyria Chronicles, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Michael J. Sullivan
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2508)
    Performance
    (2308)
    Story
    (2314)

    For more than a year, Royce Melborn has tried to forget Gwen DeLancy, the woman who saved him and his partner, Hadrian Blackwater, from certain death. Unable to get her out of his mind, the two thieves return to Medford but receive a very different reception - Gwen refuses to see them. The victim of abuse by a powerful noble, she suspects that Royce will ignore any danger in his desire for revenge. By turning the thieves away, Gwen hopes to once more protect them. What she doesn't realize is what the two are capable of - but she's about to find out.

    Cecil says: "Great Series but don't start here"
    "On par with the best Riyria Revelations books."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My experience with the Riyria books started with Theft of Swords and proceeded forward in publishing order, which means I finished the Riyria Revelations series before starting on the prequel stories of the Riyria Chronicles. I believe such a path increased my enjoyment of The Rose and the Thorn simply because of the knowledge I have regarding a lot of the main characters. Arista, Gwen, Reuben Hilfred, and even Percy Braga are fleshed out in this book and I really enjoyed learning more about them. This is a prequel story done right.

    Unlike the Crown Tower, the time Royce and Hadrian have a more established relationship which allows Michael J Sullivan to really bring to life the world around them. This approach combined with a compelling story line makes this book as good as the latter works of The Riyria Revelation series. It also reveals the root causes for certain events that will happen much later in the series so MJS is working his magic in both directions making both Chronological and Publishing viable listening orders.

    Either way you can't go wrong with this book. Tim Gerard Reynolds is well established as the voice of the Riyria characters and he does not disappoint. Note that if you pick this one up then there is no need for you to also grab The Viscount and the Witch as that is fully contained as a chapter within this book.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Terms of Enlistment: Frontlines, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Marko Kloos
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1325)
    Performance
    (1207)
    Story
    (1206)

    The year is 2108, and the North American Commonwealth is bursting at the seams. For welfare rats like Andrew Grayson, there are only two ways out of the crime-ridden and filthy welfare tenements, where you’re restricted to 2,000 calories of badly flavored soy every day. You can hope to win the lottery and draw a ticket on a colony ship settling off-world, or you can join the service. With the colony lottery a pipe dream, Andrew chooses to enlist in the armed forces for a shot at real food, a retirement bonus, and maybe a ticket off Earth.

    DAVE says: "Solid military sci-fi."
    "Solid but Ordinary Military Sci Fi"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A bleak future offers little hope to those born in the overcrowded cities of the North American Commonwealth. Andrew Grayson and his parents live on welfare and he has no intention of inheriting that limited existence from them. Andrew opts for the only choice that appears to be a brighter future - he joins the Armed Forces. After all, if he makes it through boot camp then he will have a consistent paycheck of his own and even an outside shot at leaving Earth by being assigned to the Navy.

    Andrew quickly learns that the promise of a better life in the military comes with many strings attached and that he is just a small cog in a giant machine. We follow Andrew from enlistment through boot camp and then on to his first couple of assignments. His experiences are varied and complicated but unfortunately he never really establishes much of a personality for himself. Kloos creates a futuristic world with interesting technology and a plausible military structure but none of it is able to take the book to the next level.

    Andrew mostly goes along for the ride in the armed forces and he does what he has to do every step of the way, only occasionally pausing to think about right or wrong. This is pretty straight forward military science fiction and it is more interesting as an introduction to a larger story than it is as a standalone work.

    The excellent narrator Luke Daniels does his usual good job but he wasn't enough to push this one to 4 stars for me. The experience was, however, solid enough for me to give book 2 (Lines of Departure) a listen at some point.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • FREE: The Jester (A Riyria Chronicles Tale)

    • UNABRIDGED (54 mins)
    • By Michael J. Sullivan
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    Overall
    (2567)
    Performance
    (2339)
    Story
    (2353)

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A thief, a candlemaker, an ex-mercenary, and a pig farmer walk into a trap…and what happens to them is no joke. When Riyria is hired to retrieve a jester’s treasure, Royce and Hadrian must match wits with a dwarf who proves to be anything but a fool. Difficult choices will need to be made, and in the end those who laugh last do so because they are the only ones to survive.

    Robin says: "Short story with no shortage of events"
    "Free Riyria - Nuff Said"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am not going to waste time on a lot of words. If you are a fan of Riyria there is no downside or risk in listening to this free short story. It is Royce & Hadrian read by Tim Gerard Reynolds and that is all you need to know.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Crown Tower: The Riyria Chronicles, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Michael J. Sullivan
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3206)
    Performance
    (2954)
    Story
    (2964)

    Michael J. Sullivan garnered critical raves and a massive readership for his Riyria Revelations series. The first book in his highly anticipated Riyria Chronicles series of prequels, The Crown Tower brings together warrior Hadrian Blackwater with thieving assassin Royce Melborn. The two form a less-than-friendly pairing, but the quest before them has a rare prize indeed, and if they can breach the supposedly impregnable walls of the Crown Tower, their names will be legend.

    Tango says: "Delicious Icing on a Terrific Cake"
    "Back to the beginning."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As explained in the prologue narrated by the author, Michael J. Sullivan was very satisfied with the way he ended the Riyria Revelations series so his only option for continuing with these characters was to go the route of prequels. He also explained that he penned this book in such a manner that it works well for both readers new to Riyria as well as veterans of the first series. I listened to this one as the latter and having Tim Gerard Reynolds back at the mic made me feel right at home.

    Many hints are dropped throughout the Revelations series about how Royce and Hadrian first met and at last here is that tale. Revealed within is the "what" and the "how" behind the forming of Riyria, while series veterans will bring along their own knowledge about the "why." New readers can start here and just listen in "chronological order" and learn the "why" over time. This is well done by Sullivan who continues to endear himself to me due to the way in which he approaches his craft.

    I don't go to 5 stars for this one simply because the characters of Royce and Hadrian are not as interesting as they will eventually become after they exert influence on each other for a while. The basic premise of an "odd couple" pairing of the cold blooded killer with the honorable knight stereotype is nothing new, but Royce and Hadrian are unique enough to overcome this cliché and make it worth your time. Veterans and newbies alike should pick this one up with the expectation of continuing on.

    I have already started book 2 of this series and I am enjoying it immensely as the melding of these two opposite individuals is taking shape and forming the pair of thieves that I have come to know and love. Did I say thieves? My bad, I should have said "creative problem solvers."

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Wise Man's Fear: Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 2

    • UNABRIDGED (42 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Patrick Rothfuss
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13382)
    Performance
    (11390)
    Story
    (11477)

    "My name is Kvothe. I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep...."

    Joe says: "Excellent, Imaginative, Beautiful, Page Turning!!!"
    "Kvothe's story continues away from the University"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The quote that opens the book summary here on Audible reveals many events that are still yet to unfold as Kvothe's tells his story. Based on that quote, and the events of book one, I started listening to this audiobook with some clear expectations about what would come next. Kvothe's rivalry with Ambrose was at a fever pitch and I was really enjoying his life at the University, so when Kvothe took a break to pursue other endeavors I found myself instantly disappointed.

    It took a while for Patrick Rothfuss to win me back but he did so in fine fashion. Vintas society is quite interesting and the Adem mercenaries are doubly so. Although it takes time for Kvothe to get his bearings in each new location it always pays off in the end as they are all presented in exquisite detail.

    The structure of this book matches that of the first book with Kvothe narrating his story to Chronicler at the Waystone Inn. There are brief interludes back at the inn where events continue to unfold that don't align with Kvothe's narration at all. This keeps you pondering what must have happened in the time between the two and makes for an interesting dynamic. When this book ends there is still a lot of Kvothe's story left to tell so don't expect this book to wrap anything up for you. This is all about the journey and not the destination.

    If you weren't a fan of book one then steer clear of this as it is pretty much more of the same only in a lot more diverse locations. Rothfuss and Podehl are both very solid again and they have me looking forward to the third book. (Based on the reviews I plan to skip book 2.5 which is a short story narrated by Rothfuss himself.)

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Name of the Wind: Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 1

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Patrick Rothfuss
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16048)
    Performance
    (13385)
    Story
    (13510)

    This is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man's search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.

    Joanna says: "Wow!"
    "Pull up a chair at the inn and give a listen..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Kvothe is a legend and everyone has heard of him. Sure the tales often differ and contradict each other but here is your chance to sort out the truth from the exaggerations. Rothfuss offers you the opportunity to hear Kvothe's story from the man himself and who could pass up an opportunity like that? Grab a chair and a mug and settle in for a long listen.

    What makes this an excellent book is the detail of the world that Patrick Rothfuss has created. I always love a detailed magic system in fantasy literature and there is more than one of them to be had in the Kingkiller Chronicles. Kvothe's tale starts when he is young and the listener learns about the various magics in the world right along with him. The style and structure of the story really isn't anything new, but it's done really well. I am amazed at the level of detail provided and yet it is obvious that the surface has barely been scratched. There is a lot more to come in the subsequent books and I am looking forward to them.

    So why only 4 stars if everything was so great? Well it took me over half the book to feel like I was really in a fantasy world. For me, Kvothe's language was too much like my own and Podehl's narration only reinforced that feeling. Despite the content it just didn't "feel" like a fantasy book of swords and sorcery. The good news is that I got over it and I am now happily listening to book two. So if you start listening and have that same feeling don't give up - it will pass and you will be glad you stuck it out.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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