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J. Bly

I enjoy fiction including Sci Fi and fantasy (lots of epic fantasy.) I'm also a big fan of some of the spy genre like the Bourne series and some Tom Clancy.

Minneapolis, MN USA | Member Since 2011

32
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 12 reviews
  • 64 ratings
  • 250 titles in library
  • 12 purchased in 2015
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FOLLOWERS
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  • The Maze Runner: Maze Runner, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By James Dashner
    • Narrated By Mark Deakins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6142)
    Performance
    (5303)
    Story
    (5356)

    When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he's not alone. When the lift's doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade - a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

    Trav says: "1st book is pretty good. Downhill afterward."
    "Utterly dreadful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Someone who does not want to think or feel wrapped up in a plot or interesting characters.


    Has The Maze Runner turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No, never judge a book by its cover.


    Did Mark Deakins do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    I wouldn't say so, no. Many of the characters were exactly the same and there was very little depth in their creation. The plot just sort of plods along and feels like the characters are just a means to an end.


    What character would you cut from The Maze Runner?

    You could take your pick and it wouldn't change the story. Any character in this book could easily be replaced by another character in this book.


    Any additional comments?

     I feel like this book was written in an attempt to make something like the Hunger Games but it fell horribly short. The style of writing is as basic as possible, the plot is weak, and it feels very forced. The author's way of building suspense is simply to have a character refuse to answer a question until it's convenient to the plot and then every character turns into a singing lark. It's abysmal. I would not recommend this book to a friend. I managed to finish it but couldn't wait for it to be over.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Theft of Swords: Riyria Revelations, Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Michael J. Sullivan
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6409)
    Performance
    (5883)
    Story
    (5884)

    Acclaimed author Michael J. Sullivan created instant best sellers with his spellbinding Riyria Revelations series. This first volume introduces Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater, two enterprising thieves who end up running for their lives when they’re framed for the death of the king. Trapped in a conspiracy bigger than they can imagine, their only hope is unraveling an ancient mystery - before it’s too late.

    AudioAddict says: "And I didn't think I liked fantasies..."
    "Good start! Goes downhill from there."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Michael J. Sullivan and/or Tim Gerard Reynolds?

    First I have to say the first book is pretty good. On its merits alone I would recommend it. However it seems that they rushed to finish the series. The rest of it becomes very predictable, overly dramatic, characters start behaving unrealistically and do things simply to support the plot. Tired literary devices are prevalent. You have prophecy. You have people not saying things they should say just because it would get in the way of the plot. You have people standing around for "a minute" while they are in shock or thinking and everyone else? Just stands there. Like freeze frame. No one move or say anything until this person finishes standing around for a minute or "a few" even. Oh, you're bleeding? I'm sorry we'll get to that but I have to explain, in narrative format, how I just realized what is going on all along. Shocking! Ok now lets bandage you.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Michael J. Sullivan again?

    Maybe. Like I said, it starts strong in the first book. There's a lot I liked but the plot and story just falls apart.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Good performance. A little excitable. He yells things out when someone would probably be talking in a normal voice or quieter. Some statements are subtle undervoice rather than declarations to a whole room.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    This question is not helpful to an audio book review.


    Any additional comments?

    The predictability got a bit annoying. Honestly if *I* can figure out what is going on, you're telling me these highly intelligence characters living this together wouldn't notice? Can't say I buy that.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Blade Itself: The First Law: Book One

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Joe Abercrombie
    • Narrated By Steven Pacey
    Overall
    (4980)
    Performance
    (3812)
    Story
    (3825)

    Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer, is trapped in a twisted and broken body - not that he allows it to distract him from his daily routine of torturing smugglers.Nobleman, dashing officer and would-be fencing champion Captain Jezal dan Luthar is living a life of ease by cheating his friends at cards. Vain and shallow, the biggest blot on his horizon is having to get out of bed in the morning to train with obsessive and boring old men.

    Steven says: "Steven Pacey is magnificient."
    "Not what I expected"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Blade Itself again? Why?

    Eventually, yes. I'm still soaking in the binge listen of all three main books in the series. Although I didn't go on to the others because I became very attached to the characters as they were portrayed, I did listen to all of the First Law books and truly loved them.


    What other book might you compare The Blade Itself to and why?

    Probably the Stormlight books. Note these are not NEARLY as good but man... those books are incredible! However I would compare them because there is a great deal of depth to the characters and the story is unfolded from so many unique perspectives. The book is not as epic but it's huge.


    What about Steven Pacey’s performance did you like?

    It just felt comfortable. Easy to follow the voices, not forced and appropriately acted. Every time Ferro called someone "PINK!" ... very well done.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes. I never got bored.


    Any additional comments?

    Everyone has a certain amount of wrong to them. This book doesn't really make judgements. I liked that.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Zero Day

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By David Baldacci
    • Narrated By Ron McLarty, Orlagh Cassidy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4210)
    Performance
    (3560)
    Story
    (3556)

    From David Baldacci - the modern master of the thriller and number-one worldwide best-selling novelist - comes a new hero: a lone Army Special Agent taking on the toughest crimes facing the nation. John Puller is a combat veteran and the best military investigator in the U.S. Army's Criminal Investigative Division. His father was an Army fighting legend, and his brother is serving a life sentence for treason in a federal military prison. Puller has an indomitable spirit and an unstoppable drive to find the truth.

    Steve says: "There will be more of Puller ...."
    "Getting a bit tired are we?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Zero Day better?

    I feel like it was an attempt to take on the Jack Reacher series. Kind of an unbelievable main character in John Puller. Army CID is not a place for seasoned career combat veterans who just don't want to move up because they like where they are. They are not hard core special forces trained baddies. They are investigators with sharp minds and a notebook. They don't carry MP5 submachine guns everywhere they go and tactical gear to take on an enemy force when on deployment in the US. I just found it overall to be unrealistic and too sensationalized.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    I tend to go for historical fiction, military fiction and fantasy fiction series. This book is right in line with the type of book I go for but Baldacci should have left the overused uber-fighting machine rambo-killer of a main chracter behind and invented something interesting and compelling.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I enjoyed the interview processes he went through. The investigative portions. It flew threw them but I think that was the only thing that held the plot together.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disbelief and a lot of eye rolling.


    Any additional comments?

    The story sets up well for follow-up books. Sadly I won't be bothering with them because it will be more of the same.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Outlander

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Diana Gabaldon
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (22259)
    Performance
    (16046)
    Story
    (15952)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: An all-time Audible favorite that mixes historic fiction, adventure, and romance with one of the most fascinating literary devices: time travel. Outlander introduces an exhilarating world of heroism and breathtaking thrills as one woman is torn between past and present, passion and love. In 1945, former combat nurse Claire Randall returns from World War II and joins her husband for a second honeymoon. But their blissful reunion is shattered....

    Sara says: "The Time Travel VS Romance Quandary"
    "Tried to like it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I would suggest this for someone who likes romance novels.


    What was most disappointing about Diana Gabaldon’s story?

    The protagonist of the story does not behave like a human being thrust into such an intense situation. She spends great time postulating on her environment and very little time trying to figure out what happened and how she will get back. I struggle with characters who do not act like people simply to support the plot of the book.


    Which character – as performed by Davina Porter – was your favorite?

    I don't really have one to be honest.


    What character would you cut from Outlander?

    This question is not productive towards a review of the book. It's not the characters that are a problem. It's the behavior of the main character.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm not particularly interested in romance novels and while the book is well written from a technical perspective, the overall story line just left me wanting a lot more. Oh, the performance is very good, by the way.

    9 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Gardens of the Moon: The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Steven Erikson
    • Narrated By Ralph Lister
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1996)
    Performance
    (1782)
    Story
    (1791)

    The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting, and bloody confrontations with ancient and implacable sorcerers. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen’s rule remains absolute, enforced by her dreaded Claw assassins. For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, their lone surviving mage, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities, yet holds out.

    Amazon Customer says: "Probably best to read on paper/kindle"
    "Could have been great"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Steven Erikson and/or Ralph Lister?

    That is a definite maybe. But probably not. Right now I don't know how I will go on to listen to the next two.


    What was most disappointing about Steven Erikson’s story?

    This book had all the makings of a fantastic book. Without the story. So what's wrong with the story? It doesn't really exist. You're pulled into it without context, description, direction or any sense for what anyone is doing beyond their present actions. You have no ability to sense the gravity of the moment or have any emotional attachment to what's going on. At one point there's what seems should be a dramatic scene and he says "The day of the Tiste Andii has come!" It has the same gravity as "DUH DUH DUUHHHHHH... Bob is acutely pissed." Maybe it's different when you can sit down and slowly read it but there are some many seemingly mindless facts, names, places, etc. that when the time comes that those things are important you've completely forgotten what they are or just don't realize why you should care.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    There's a dramatic fight scene at one point on the roofs of Darujistan which Anomander Rake joins. You find out he's a bit of a bad@ss. Well, actually you don't. You don't know it's him. Later in the book you find out it was him and then you're like... oh... ok? Well I guess he's a bad@ss.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Frustration. Boredom. I found myself easily distracted and wanting to do something else other than listen to the book.


    Any additional comments?

    There are far more enjoyable books out there. If you really geek out on technicals - if you LOVED the Silmarillion.. then maybe this book is for you. Just remember you'd have to love the Silmarillion without reading any of the other Tolkien books first! That would be a similar experience I think.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Still Life with Crows: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2237)
    Performance
    (1919)
    Story
    (1907)

    For the first time in unabridged audio! A small Kansas town has turned into a killing ground. Is it a serial killer, a man with the need to destroy? Or is it a darker force, a curse upon the land? Amid golden cornfields, FBI Special Agent Pendergast discovers evil in the blood of America's heart.

    Polly says: "SCARY, WEIRD, ENGAGING"
    "Not living up to the first three"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    People who live in a big city and have a weak view of what law enforcement really does.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child again?

    I'm going to try the next in the series but if it's as bad as this then I'm done.


    Have you listened to any of Scott Brick’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, I read hard copies of Relic etc. His performance was good.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Pendergast remains an interesting character but the almost cartoonish ineptitude displayed by the law enforcement characters is a huge drag on the story. there is always a small amount of truth in even the most basic of comedy and the same thing holds true for the most basic of suspense. This story lacks he most basic truths.


    Any additional comments?

    The last piece of feedback I would offer is that the story is probably not for people who like a little reality in their stories. Every character is a stereotype the lacks the fundamental depth from good character development. Being that lacks such a necessary quality for a good story I would say that this one is also a bit too long.

    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
    (16375)
    Performance
    (13683)
    Story
    (13810)

    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!"
    "Perfect"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Name of the Wind again? Why?

    This book and the performance are so perfectly matched. It just.. moves so smoothly. As a listener you don't feel jerked around at all, the ideas are creative and the characters have depth. You just get pulled through the story naturally. I truly enjoyed this book.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The unique dynamics of the characters and the subtle mysteries unfolding. There isn't a bunch of foreshadowing like "DUNH Dunh dun..... look at what evil lurks and is coming!" It just leads you through it.


    What about Nick Podehl’s performance did you like?

    Excellent. You really forget that you're being read a story and just enjoy it.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    There's a reason I'm not a Hollywood director but I'd still go see it.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Transfer of Power: Mitch Rapp Series

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Vince Flynn
    • Narrated By Nick Sullivan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3080)
    Performance
    (2582)
    Story
    (2589)

    On a busy Washington morning, the stately calm of the White House is shattered in a deadly terrorist attack on the executive mansion. The president is evacuated to an underground bunker, but not before nearly one hundred hostages are taken. Mitch Rapp, the CIA’s top counterterrorism operative, is sent in to take control of the crisis and determines that the president is not as safe as Washington’s power elite had thought....

    Michael says: "Great Story-Bad Narration"
    "Typical"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Not really. This book was rather predictable and the same story has been rehashed numerous times.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Leave this kind of thing to James Bond.


    What three words best describe Nick Sullivan’s voice?

    He was not the worst narrator I've heard though he screwed up some pronunciations. I think people yabber on too much about the reader of the later books. He might be better indeed but if you've never heard him this guy is not that bad.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Terrorists want to destroy everything and only one man can stop them, but only if everyone will get out of his way! Has this movie not been made already? Call Clint Eastwood.


    Any additional comments?

    Clearly I was disappointed. It wasn't a great book. They might get better but after this tragic replay of the same old same old I'm not going to bother finding out.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • City of Bones: The Mortal Instruments, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Cassandra Clare
    • Narrated By Ari Graynor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4352)
    Performance
    (3166)
    Story
    (3211)

    When 15-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder - much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing, not even a smear of blood, to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

    Teddy says: "2 Stars because it actually gets worse...."
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Cassandra Clare and/or Ari Graynor?

    Not after this experience.


    What was most disappointing about Cassandra Clare’s story?

    While children and teenagers can be rash and impulsive, the behavior of her characters were completely unbelievable. It felt contrived and forced. In fact I could not bring myself beyond the excessive angst and overly dramatically drummed up teenage emotions to take any joy from this book.


    What didn’t you like about Ari Graynor’s performance?

    The monotone delivery made me think no one cared about what was going on around them.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    I enjoy a large variety of fantasy series. For comparison, I truly loved the Harry Potter books, enjoyed the Twilight books (well, up until book 4) and am a huge fan of Jim Butcher's Dresden series. I do like this type of book but this book... well it honestly grated at my skin.

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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