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Steve

I'm a teacher and a 30 year reader of genre fiction. Urban and Epic fantasy are my main jams.

Fletcher, NC, United States | Member Since 2014

24
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 15 reviews
  • 52 ratings
  • 132 titles in library
  • 4 purchased in 2015
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  • The Red Knight

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Miles Cameron
    • Narrated By Matthew Wolf
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (714)
    Performance
    (644)
    Story
    (654)

    Twenty-eight florins a month is a huge price to pay for a man to stand between you and the Wild. Twenty-eight florins a month is nowhere near enough when a wyvern's jaws snap shut on your helmet in the hot stink of battle, and the beast starts to rip the head from your shoulders. But if standing and fighting is hard, leading a company of men - or worse, a company of mercenaries - against the smart, deadly creatures of the Wild is even harder. It takes all the advantages of birth, training, and the luck of the devil to do it.

    Michael says: "I Love Rolling The Dice Here At Audible!"
    "Lazy worldbuilding, cheeseball narration."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is a mess. Yes, the author can describe in painful detail every piece of armor that a medieval knight would wear. Yes, he can tell you the order these things are placed on the body and how it takes squires to get them on and off. Yes, he can describe weapons down to the length of the butt spike on an axe. Can he tell a story that's interesting and doesn't sound like a ren-faire worker's D&D campaign? No. This book is lazy and it's incredibly insulting to people who want to read quality fantasy.

    Things this book is missing:

    1) Its own theology/Gods. One of the things that makes a great fantasy novel, should it deign to talk about its theology, is a solid pantheon of gods or at least a religious system. GRRM has it in the Seven, Pat Rothfuss does it with Tehlu and all his angels, but this guy just slaps Jesus on it, mixes in a little allegory for paganism and calls it done. If you want to write about a world grounded in Christianity, then write historical fiction. Have the balls to set your story in medieval Europe and do as much research there as you did on arming coats and hauberks.

    2) Original names. The queen's name is Desiderata. Come on. Did you pull that off the inspirational poster hanging in your study? Willful Murder? Come on. Did you realize "Black Dow" was taken? Maybe you could have had a ranger named Smizzt. Every other character sounds like your SCA friends (google the Society for Creative Anachronism) gave you their persona names or their D&D character names.

    3) Real Worldbulding. This was the deal breaker for me. There's no real sense of place. Nothing is important, there are no footholds to make me feel like this is a world that's been lived in. This started with having Christianity and the freaking Zodiac mixed in. How hard is it to come up with your own Gods and arcane symbology? It comes off as supremely lazy.

    This novel reads like its something REALLY AWESOME your buddy from the comic shop had been working on as his blog. I could see tattered xeroxes of a this passed reverently among fighters at an SCA event as something Sir So-and-So wrote and is getting PUBLISHED, did you hear! Ugh. I'm pissed that I wasted an audible credit. Just gross and lazy.

    8 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Firefight: Reckoners, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6484)
    Performance
    (5719)
    Story
    (5698)

    Newcago is free. They told David it was impossible, that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet Steelheart - invincible, immortal, unconquerable - is dead. And he died by David's hand.Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life simpler. Instead, it only made David realize he has questions. Big ones. And no one in Newcago can give him answers.Babylon Restored, the city formerly known as the borough of Manhattan, has possibilities, though.

    G. House Sr. says: "Fabulous -- A Must Read Sequal"
    "Brandon Sanderson can't write normal dialogue"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was enjoyable for the most part. If you liked Steelheart you will probably like most of this. That being said, Sanderson has got to stop with the fake profanity and the made-up slang and the horrible simile / metaphors. All of the afore mentioned abominations totally detract from the story. The character of Missouri was a complete waste of time and through her Sanderson shows that he has no clue how young people now or in the future would actually talk. Also no one would refer to a soft drink as simply a cola. A pop maybe, or a soda but no one just says Cola. McLeod Andrews does a great job as always. If you can get past all of Sanderson's lame self-censorship and bad attempts at humor this is a pretty good book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin, Elio Garcia, Linda Antonsson
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice, Nicholas Guy Smith
    Overall
    (851)
    Performance
    (750)
    Story
    (753)

    If the past is prologue, then George R. R. Martin's masterwork - the most inventive and entertaining fantasy saga of our time - warrants one hell of an introduction. At long last, it has arrived with The World of Ice & Fire. This volume is a comprehensive history of the Seven Kingdoms, providing vividly constructed accounts of the epic battles, bitter rivalries, and daring rebellions that lead to the events of A Song of Ice and Fire and HBO's Game of Thrones.

    Daniel says: "Calm Down, Fanboys"
    "This is painful to write, but it must be said."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm sure Roy Dotrice is amazing in the other ASOIF books, but this book just isn't meant for him. Seriously, this is like listening to the dullest lecture on Westeros and Essos known to man. I imagine this is what it was like in Professor Binns' class at Hogwarts. Dotrice sounds so tired and his pauses before he gets to a challenging name or unsusally spelled word is painful to hear. This book is an amazing treasury of fantastic background information,but the way the book is organized does NOT lend its self to a seamless translation to an audio book.
    Just read this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blood Song: Raven's Shadow, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Anthony Ryan
    • Narrated By Steven Brand
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4078)
    Performance
    (3811)
    Story
    (3812)

    The Sixth Order wields the sword of justice and smites the enemies of the Faith and the Realm. Vaelin Al Sorna was only a child of 10 when his father left him at the iron gate of the Sixth Order. The Brothers of the Sixth Order are devoted to battle, and Vaelin will be trained and hardened to the austere, celibate, and dangerous life of a Warrior of the Faith. He has no family now save the Order.

    Ron says: "Great Epic Fantacy"
    "Best new fantasy I've read in a minute"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Such a nice surprise. Interesting characters filling traditional roles. Nice, crisp progression of time that doesn't feel like you're reading and abridged story (ahem...Glenn Cook) and a magic system that has me wanting more. This novel left me feeling like I pulled an overnight watch shift on a mist shrouded tower serving a cause I almost believed in. Wet, grey and at times bloody beautiful. Quality reading from Steven Brand too. Into it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Skin Game: A Novel of the Dresden Files, Book 15

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By James Marsters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6496)
    Performance
    (6077)
    Story
    (6064)

    Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, is about to have a very bad day.… Because as Winter Knight to the Queen of Air and Darkness, Harry never knows what the scheming Mab might want him to do. Usually, it’s something awful. He doesn’t know the half of it… Mab has just traded Harry’s skills to pay off one of her debts. And now he must help a group of supernatural villains - led by one of Harry’s most dreaded and despised enemies, Nicodemus Archleone - to break into the highest-security vault in town, so that they can then access the highest-security vault in the Nevernever.

    D says: "Hold onto your staff; Harry’s back."
    "Probably the best/most complete Dresden novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Jim Butcher does urban fantasy right. If you don't agree with that statement, you should just stop reading this review. In this most recent entry into the Dresden Files, Butcher is on his A game. He foreshadows future plots and ties up loose ends and unties ends we thought were forever tied up. This is a quality heist novel with all the standard players and it just works. Marsters is on his A game as well and no one else should EVER do the audio for a DF book.
    I laughed, I cried, I want book 16 right now.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • FREE: Mitosis: A Reckoners Story

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 3 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    Overall
    (2856)
    Performance
    (2593)
    Story
    (2609)

    Epics still plague Newcago, but David and the Reckoners have vowed to fight back.

    Thomas says: "He is back!"
    "I enjoyed Steelheart, but this is a waste of time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Brandon Sanderson writes a lot of books. Good books. Good books written very quickly. This is not good, though mercifully it is quick. This book reads like "THE RECKONERS: The Animated Series. Goofy villain, who, instead of being a sort of cool update/parody of supervillians, actually acts and speaks like B-Team Superfriends villain. If this is something Sanderson rescued from the cutting room floor for Firefight, he should have left it there. McLeod Andrews is excellent as always, but not even the voice of Sandman Slim could save this turd.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Wolf in White Van

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By John Darnielle
    • Narrated By John Darnielle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (193)
    Performance
    (175)
    Story
    (173)

    Welcome to Trace Italian, a game of strategy and survival! You may now make your first move. Isolated by a disfiguring injury since the age of seventeen, Sean Phillips crafts imaginary worlds for strangers to play in. From his small apartment in southern California, he orchestrates fantastic adventures where possibilities, both dark and bright, open in the boundaries between the real and the imagined.

    Steve says: "Breathtaking, expected and unexpected."
    "Breathtaking, expected and unexpected."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Full disclosure; The Mountain Goats are my favorite band and I've been a fan of John Darnielle's lyrics since 2005.

    I knew this book would be special. I didn't know if it would be good. Songwriters aren't always able to take that step from lyricist to novelist. I was totally prepared for this to be some quirky little vanity thing that John put out and would have found merit in it just because, but holy God. This book is a stunning character study in frailty, innocence, loss of innocence, the sacred, the profane, the imperfection of family and just life. Read the synopsis yourself if you want to know the plot.

    If you ever lived under a roof where the people who made you created their own narrative to believe about you because they can't understand your music, your books or your games. This book is for you.

    If the inside of your head and the fantastic world and role you created for yourself there has always been more home to you than home. This book is for you.

    If you don't know why you've hurt the way you've hurt for years or why you just seem to makeit worse. This book is for you.

    If you are looking for something that gives your answers or even clear cut questions, however, this book is NOT for you.

    Whenever an author reads his or her own work, I'm always hesitant. Stephen King can spin a mean yarn, but hearing him read it aloud is like listening to a table saw read the bible. Neil Gaiman is a literary genius, but I literally want to put on PJs and drink warm milk when I hear him. John isn't like either. If you've ever seen The Mountain Goats in person, or heard John in interviews, you know he has a unique cadence and spins some words in odd directions pronunciation wise. Hearing him read this himself is comforting and unnerving at the same time. He knows just how this needs to hit you and hit you it does. I cannot recommend this haunting, beautiful thing enough. Get this. Now.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Getaway God: Sandman Slim, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Richard Kadrey
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (473)
    Performance
    (433)
    Story
    (435)

    Sandman Slim must save himself - and the entire world - from the wrath of some enraged and vengeful ancient gods in this sixth high-octane adventure in the New York Times best-selling series. Being a half-human, half-angel nephilim with a bad rep and a worse attitude - not to mention temporarily playing Lucifer - James Stark, aka Sandman Slim, has made a few enemies. None, though, are as fearsome as the vindictive Angra Om Ya - the old gods.

    Kevin says: "Apocalypse Now... with an extra side of donuts."
    "Kadry is Getting Lazy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love Macleod Andrews, and he's just as awesome on this book as he is on everything else he does. Richard Kadry on the other hand is just getting lazy. The SS books are a guilty pleasure of mine, sort of a baloney sammich to Jim Butcher's Roast Beef and Cheese. However, I just realized that THE ENTIRE SANDMAN SLIM SERIES HAS TAKEN PLACE IN THE SAME YEAR. Just...no. For some reason that just reeks of laziness and sloppy storytelling. Also, how the hell did Stark get the black blade back. Enjoyable, but I believe the shark was beneath us on this one.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Half a King: Shattered Sea, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Joe Abercrombie
    • Narrated By John Keating
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (356)
    Performance
    (327)
    Story
    (325)

    Yarvi, second son of the feared King Uthrik and the ruthless Queen Laithlin of Gettland, was born with a useless hand, and cannot hold a shield, or do any of the things expected from a man. Left an outcast, he's surrendered his birthright and been given a woman's place as apprentice to Mother Gundring, Gettland's Minister, training to be an adviser, diplomat, healer and translator. But when his father and brother are murdered by Grom-gil-Gorm, King of neighboring Vansterland, Yarvi is forced to take the Black Chair and become king himself.

    Lanfear says: "Abercrombie Light"
    "If you're mad this isn't Grimdark, shut up."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    To Everyone Who Hates or is Disappointed in This Book Because It's Not A Depressing Slog That Includes The Loss of a Major Appendage,
    You aren't impressing anyone. This isn't the next book set in The First Law's world, but it's fine. Engaging and sweet, cliche at times but still solid. It's short and to the point and I'm curious about what's next. For a YA book. that's enough.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Circle of Reign: The Dying Lands Chronicle, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Jacob Cooper
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (643)
    Performance
    (599)
    Story
    (603)

    Lands die. The living light fades. An ancient darkness awakens. The Living Light that sustains Arlethia is dwindling. An unknown, vicious enemy approaches in stealth from beyond the northern glaciers, a wasteland of ice that spans hundreds of miles. A clandestine brotherhood of assassins, held in check by the Light for millennia, seeks to break their maledictive shackles and unleash their bloodlust upon the world.

    Ana says: "A rich, exciting fantasy world"
    "This Narrator Makes Me Pray For Death."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Overwritten, overly florid and dear god, Michael Kramer makes me want to rip my ears off by dragging out every audiobook cliche in the universe. Also all of you trying to suggest that Pat Rothfuss' work is ANYTHING like this chunk of steaming waste deserve to be flogged.

    1 of 25 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
    (10170)
    Performance
    (9352)
    Story
    (9383)

    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"
    "Sanderson's First Foray into YA"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed the heck out of this book. Sanderson is still doing that stupid thing he does where he makes up a thematic swear word and beats it into the ground. (Like "Storm" In The Way of Kings") If I never hear the word "Sparks" again, i'm ok with that. Anyway--this is a nice re-take on the 'cosmic event gives people powers' paradigm. I love Macleod Andrews and have since I discovered him listening to Kadry's Sandman Slim series. This will be a fun series, thank God that Sanderson writes fast.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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