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Christopher

Southlake, TX, United States | Member Since 2016

252
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 36 reviews
  • 39 ratings
  • 129 titles in library
  • 13 purchased in 2018
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12

  • Machine World: Undying Mercenaries, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By B. V. Larson
    • Narrated By Mark Boyett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4671)
    Performance
    (4313)
    Story
    (4300)

    In the fourth book of the series, James McGill is up for promotion. Not everyone is happy about that, and McGill must prove he's worth his stripes. Deployed to a strange alien planet outside the boundaries of the Galactic Empire, he's caught up in warfare and political intrigue. Earth expands, the Cephalopod Kingdom launches ships to stop us, and a grand conspiracy emerges among the upper ranks of the Hegemony military.

    D says: "McGill's Way"
    "A fun story if you can overlook some minor issues"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    By now, in book 4 of the series, you well know the routine of James McGill- they way he handles authority, his code of honor and ethics, and his love life. If your still reading the series, then this is all appealing to you.

    In my opinion, this book is a fine addition to the series. James, despite the suspension of belief you have to invest in his schemes always working out (to varying degrees) in his favor, is a character I just can't help but like on some level. He is honest, upfront, occasionally brutal and, admittedly, a bit thick at times; but he's got his heart in the right place. He takes things into his own hands and gets things done, and it's just fun to read about his exploits.

    This is no great literary work, but it is enjoyable, much like any good episode of "Star Trek". It gets silly or ridiculous at times, but if you can go along with the ride, it does wind up placing a smile on your face as you listen- and you keep listening to hear about how he's going to get everyone out of the next mess.

    The severe review I gave of the previous book (Tech World) was mostly due to the fact that I felt the author let James "get out of character" during the story and the result was a lot of (relatively innocent) alien deaths. While he wasn't exactly personally responsible, he was involved enough where it didn't feel true to the character I had been reading about up to that point.

    But in this book, things seem to get back on track. Oh, James still plays galactic dice and shoots from the hip A LOT, but his ethics and code of honor seems reinforced in this book. He still does a few shady things, but most of it I can, as a reader, at least understand his reasoning and go along with it for the sake of the story. I may not agree with everything, but like I've said already, it's an enjoyable read.

    Of course, Mark Boyett does a fantastic reading performance. It's so easy to forget that you are listening to a single person- each character come alive with their own with with unique voice, cadence, accent and personality expressed by Boyett. When i have to remind myself this is all coming from one person, it really is quite astounding.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • The Land: Founding: A LitRPG Saga: Chaos Seeds, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Aleron Kong
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7371)
    Performance
    (6951)
    Story
    (6953)

    Tricked into a world of banished gods, demons, goblins, sprites and magic, Richter must learn to meet the perils of The Land and begin to forge his own kingdom. Actions have consequences across The Land, with powerful creatures and factions now hell-bent on Richter's destruction. Can Richter forge allegiances to survive this harsh and unforgiving world or will he fall to the dark denizens of this ancient and unforgiving realm? A tale to shake "The Land" itself, measuring 10/10 on the Richter scale, how will Richter's choices shape the future of The Land and all who reside in it? Can he grow his power to meet the deadliest of beings of the land? When choices are often a shade of grey, how will Richter ensure he does not become what he seeks to destroy?

    masterdibes says: "Laughter, Tears, Mystery and Anger"
    "Surprisingly entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a new fantasy genre for me, although there are certainly some similarities to "Ready Player One", which I also enjoyed quite a bit. Unlike that world though where the interaction with the fantasy world is via a virtual interface, the main character in "The Land" is physically (or in some fashion) transported to the new reality from the slightly futuristic version of the world we know.

    The premise for setting up "The Land" to have a very game-like interface is OK, but it also causes the greatest suspension of belief for the story- the notion that there is going to be an interface that explains the consequences of every interaction you have is pretty ridiculous. Still, I suppose that's a part of "LitRPG" genre as pretty standard, which given the fact that it's SUPPOSED to have a game like feel to the story, yeah. Kinda silly, but I get it.

    I think some of the notifications may come across better in the written books as opposed to audio, where you can skim over the unnecessary information much easier- as an audiobook, it can get a bit old after a while, particularly when there are several stacked up after a major event and the main character is reviewing them all- Nick Podehl has to read EVERYTHING. It can get a bit much, particularly as a lot of the information is VERY redundant in these notifications.

    Audible went the extra mile to generate sound effects for them as well, which works better in the 1st couple of books- by book 3 they change them a bit. There is a nautical bell they start using that, after hearing it for at least a dozen times in a row at one point, starts to REALLY wear on you.

    But I'll put those minor complaints on the back burner because this story overall is really VERY fun. It manages to not take itself too seriously and interject a fair amount of comedy, create very likable characters, and at the appropriate times, tug at your heartstrings to a degree every now and again.

    I'll admit to bingeing the rest of the series after reading this 1st book (at least to book 6, as it was all that was out at the time). I'm not sure how long this series is going to be- while the main character is actually progressing at a pretty quick pace in terms of establishing himself, there are echoes of much larger games and forces at work, which by the end of book 6, you still really haven't touched yet, (though you do get prologues at most of the books that clue you into these aspects.)

    Can't say enough about Nick Podehl's performance here- the range of characters he can portray is staggering. Only at the pixie's voices does he start to get outside of the realm of believability.

    As I also said, Lit RPG is new to me, so I was a bit concerned that this was going to be out of my knowledge of gaming experience since I have very little. But I was able to catch pretty much all of the references, and the ones I missed did not take away from enjoying the story at all. If you're looking for a lighter and more fun adventure read, I strongly recommend this series.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Black Elfstone: The Fall of Shannara, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Terry Brooks
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (432)
    Performance
    (395)
    Story
    (393)

    The Four Lands have been at peace for generations, but now a mysterious army of invaders is cutting a bloody swath across a remote region of the land. No one knows who they are, where they come from, or what they are after - and most seem content to ignore these disturbing events. The only people who sense a greater, growing threat and wish to uncover the truth are society's outcasts: an exiled High Druid, a conflicted warrior, a teenage girl struggling to master a prodigious magic...and a scrappy young orphan.

    Pen Name says: "Noooooo!"
    "A solid comeback after the last several books"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is obviously the start of a longer series- the book leaves a lot of unanswered questions and does a lot of character development in this book, but shows a lot more of the "old" Terry Brooks in the setup. While not everything was gold, I genuinely liked the characters he is developing, and am intrigued to see what happens in the next book. He did a pretty good job of building both the world that the story takes place in, as well as tension in the story without really revealing much as of yet; but there is a lot of promise here!
    I gave the story 3 stars instead of 4 because, as I said above, there is a lot of setup here and not quite the action- even the danger is veiled for a large portion of the story. This does not follow a typical Brooks formula where an enemy is known and a significant victory is awarded the protagonist by the end- instead, we get a cliffhanger and a continued escalating of the plot. I rather liked it despite the cliffhanger. At only 10 hours though, I wonder if this should have simply been "act 1" of a longer book, as Sword of Shannarra was. Still, I can't fault Brooks for working the system to bring in the $$- as long as he keeps writing good stories like this one and not the crappy "defenders" series that came before, I'll keep buying!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Sorcerer's Daughter: The Defenders of Shannara

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Terry Brooks
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (460)
    Performance
    (421)
    Story
    (420)

    The inspiration for the epic MTV series, the world of Shannara is brimming with untold stories and unexplored territory. Now best-selling author Terry Brooks breaks new ground with a standalone adventure that's sure to thrill veteran audiences and recent converts alike.

    Mike Fitch says: "not my favorite"
    "Easily Brooks' worst book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Truly awful and boring. I knew from the last 2 books and the reviews that this was going to be painful, but hey, it's Terry Brooks and I'm a loyal fan- I read everything he writes. I really don't know what the point was of the entire "Defenders of Shannara" trilogy was- nothing happened except a girl getting REPEATEDLY kidnapped and the rescue mission, while the lamest Brooks villain ever tries to stumble his way into Paranor while making stuff up as he goes. Really, skip the whole series, I can't think of a single significant thing to the Shannara storyline that happens anywhere in this trilogy. I know Brooks older writings had gotten formulaic, but at least there was epic, world changing adventure going on and dramatic interesting characters. It's like someone else wrote these latest books. I hope he turns things around and finishes with a bang in his next (probably last) series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hyperion

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Dan Simmons
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor, Allyson Johnson, Kevin Pariseau, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11590)
    Performance
    (9525)
    Story
    (9574)

    On the world called Hyperion, beyond the law of the Hegemony of Man, there waits the creature called the Shrike. There are those who worship it. There are those who fear it. And there are those who have vowed to destroy it. In the Valley of the Time Tombs, where huge, brooding structures move backward through time, the Shrike waits for them all.

    Michael says: "The Shrike Awaits. Enter The Time Tombs..."
    "Interesting, but tries a bit too hard"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A lot of reviewers are talking about how this is "real" science fiction. I'll admit that there are some interesting ideas being presented here with some very creative storytelling. I think honestly though that the author is a bit too pretentious here- he's a bit too obsessed with high poetry and classical literature. I think trying to bring some of those elements into this genre are good and noble ideals, but I'm just not sure the author has the skill set to really pull it off without it sounding forced.
    There is a lot of "Canterbury Tales" in this 1st book, which is intriguing in it's own right. Every person has an interesting story to tell to some degree, though some seem more relevant to moving the story forward than others. The poet's story was probably the one that just got overly pretentious for me, with the character trying to link poetry as akin to godhood. Maybe he was making a satire on that line of thinking, but he put an awful lot of exposition into something if he didn't also have similar beliefs. I found it self absorbed, flamboyant nonsense mostly. Then of course he had to add in some bunk about the editing and publishing industry as the stereotypically, evil exploiting entity. Makes for a more interesting story I guess, but it felt purgative for the author to me (much like this review is for me!).
    But that's not to say that there isn't some real creative genius to be found in this work. Simmons has some very intriguing ideas about how technology could impact the way people may live in the far future, though he way of explaining these things makes it hard to comprehend for a while. He likes to talk about devices and technologies without explaining them for several chapters, and then only through context can you really get a sense of what is being discussed and how it works. Still interesting ideas though.
    And you do get the sense of a very vast story being told here, even though this book focuses on very small pieces of that story told from several different angles. The mystery of whatever the Hyperion and the Shrike actually "are", is all second hand to the individual's stories, and everything being told here is merely setup for the rest of the series (though I understand book 2 is a lot of setup of the larger "Hegemony" culture and how it ties into this big story; so more setup).
    In culinary terms, this is a pretty rich, over complicated dish that was probably made to impress critics as opposed to people just looking for a good meal. That's not that it isn't tasty to some degree, but theres a lot of filler that I just plain found my brain tuning out of. I wish there was a bit more of the main Hyperion and Shrike story being told (lots of hints and mysteries here, but no delving into then yet unfortunately), but I have the feeling that that will be a ways down the road, and I'm just not sure I want to wade through that much backstory to understand what its going on here. If you like a LOT of depth to your science fiction and convoluted plot lines, then this is your "science fiction".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • First Lord's Fury: Codex Alera, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7047)
    Performance
    (5718)
    Story
    (5717)

    For years he has endured the endless trials and triumphs of a man whose skill and power could not be restrained. Battling ancient enemies, forging new alliances, and confronting the corruption within his own land, Gaius Octavian became a legendary man of war - and the rightful First Lord of Alera. But now, the savage Vord are on the march, and Gaius must lead his legions to the Calderon Valley to stand against them - using all of his intelligence, ingenuity, and furycraft to save their world from eternal darkness.

    Jason says: "Excellent conclusion"
    "Good overall story arc, mired in battles"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Overall good series with some caveats. The main characters remain relatively interesting, if perhaps a bit one dimensional throughout the series. The plot for each book begins to follow a predictable arc of the main character (Tavi) overcoming great odds to win at the end of each, only to face a greater challenge in the next book- lather, rinse, repeat. There are some hidden plot lines that continue to evolve and reveal layers underneath, though the biggest you start to realize by book 3 or so. Overall the world is intriguing and the story mostly engaging.

    On the downside, the last 3 books tend to very battle heavy, which doesn't make for great listening (to me anyway). Too many things to keep track of to really understand what is gong on in large scale battle scenes for it to be entertaining to me- I tend to half listen until the story gets to the end of those scenes, and there are a LOT of them in this series. I don't think the books (1-6) ended as strong as they started from a reader engagement standpoint- my investment in the characters started slipping as I got further in and the plots became repetitive. Still some good dynamics taking place though, enough to make me want to finish the series.

    Oh, and have you heard about the horns? Yeah, extremely annoying. Best I can figure is that this was originally recorded for another medium (maybe CD?) where the breaks for the horns made sense; Audible got lazy and didn't cut them out. Very distracting- you come to loathe them by book 6.

    Kate Reading does a fine job for the most part. My biggest gripe is with her performance for Tavi, who is supposed to be aging from a young adolescent to a full grown man. She never really changes his voice throughout the series, so at the end he still sounds like a kid. I guess I understand the continuity decision, and maybe it's hard enough for a woman to do a man's voice, let alone one who is aging throughout adolescence. Still lacking though.

    I don't regret the purchase or the journey. But it's probably not a series I'll come back to now that I'm done with it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Furies of Calderon: Codex Alera, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10258)
    Performance
    (8526)
    Story
    (8563)

    In the realm of Alera, where people bond with the furies - elementals of earth, air, fire, water, and metal - 15-year-old Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. But when his homeland erupts in chaos - when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies - Tavi's simple courage will turn the tides of war.

    C. L. H. says: "No more noise, please"
    "Solid fantasy book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'll write a review here for the 1st book and another of the last (a review for the whole 6 book series). If you've read any of the other reviews, you'll know that the origin story for this series is odd to say the least. I will say that, like a good episode of Food Network's "Chopped" TV show (where chefs are challenged to combine odd ingredients into as fine cuisine as they can) this book does an excellent job of taking just that basic ideas of the origination challenge (Roman Legion and Pokemon) and uses those as kernels of ideas. Butcher does not try to make it truly authentic to either of those parameters, but instead allows the story to take on a life of it's own while borrowing the best from those concepts to make the story intriguing and set up his world.

    The characters are engaging, the storyline is intriguing, with hidden mysteries that take several of the books in the series to unravel. There is some real depth here. On the negative side, Butcher REALLY likes to draw his climax out, continuing the build on the suspense and impending doom and ratcheting it up a level. Think things can't get worse for the character? Guess again! It does make for a "can't put it down" quality to the 1st book, but after a few books in the series, it get a bit expected. A minor quibble really.

    Kate Reading seemed like an odd choice, as MOST of the main characters are male. She does a plausible job doing the gender role change, but still can't quite give the more imposing figures the gravitas they should have had. (Had the reader been male, I probably would have had the same quibble in reverse about the female characters- it's not a easy thing to overcome.) Still, a very good reading and easy enough to distinguish between each characters, she does bring their personality to life.

    On a side note, I wonder if Butcher has a bit of BDSM experience- he seems to likes writing about it (to some degree) if not. There are some times that he seems to put that spin on some of the character dynamics, though certainly nothing terribly direct or explicitly descriptive in the story. But there are some definite elements borrowed from in this story. Hard not to find a parallel to that with a slavery subplot if you want to bring some depth to it I suppose.

    I can't really give it 5 stars, but It's defiantly a solid 4, if not a 4 1/2. Plus each book is averages 19 hours, so lots of listening time for your money. Not a series I'll probably revisit often, but a good one for the digital library.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Fatal Tree: Bright Empires, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Stephen R. Lawhead
    • Narrated By Simon Bubb
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (156)
    Performance
    (141)
    Story
    (140)

    It started with small, seemingly insignificant wrinkles in time: A busy bridge suddenly disappears, spilling cars into the sea. A beast from another realm roams modern streets. Napoleon’s army appears in 1930s Damascus ready for battle. But that’s only the beginning as entire realities collide and collapse. The questors are spread throughout the universe. Mina is stuck on a plain of solid ice, her only companion an angry cave lion. Tony and Gianni are monitoring the cataclysmic reversal of the cosmic expansion.

    DR. RANDY LOESCHER says: "Been a fan of Lawhead for 25 years!"
    "So much potential, so little delivery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    On it's surface, this storyline and series should have been a stellar hit. Stephen Lawhead has written some fantastic stories that I've throughly enjoyed, including his "Song of Albion" series, "the Pendragon Cycle", and the "Dragon King" trilogy. All were excellent.

    And this book has some fantastic science fiction ideas and some very creative ways of bringing all these concepts into a cohesive and compelling storyline: multiverse and alternate dimensions, dark matter, universal expansion, quantum mechanics, lines of power (leylines), ancient civilizations and time travel. This really should have been an exciting story given all of these interesting components.

    However, the story just seemed to drag on. The author created characters that I was only mildly interested in, that seemed boorish and immature. The plot of this series meandered wildly. Since the story was telling a multi-dimensional and multi time-period narrative, some of that is to be expected. But most of the time you did not have a very clear indication at all of what was really trying to be accomplished by whom and why. A tattooed man who passed away a long time ago holds the secret to... something. We don't know what for a long time, by we are going to get 5 books to try and figure it out.

    Characters are introduced at random almost, they disappear and then re-appear at random (though it gets all tied together later I suppose). One character's storyline goes on for 4 books only to have him die at the beginning of the 5th book in a very disconnected and odd way, having accomplished nothing and pretty much resulting in a compete waste of time knowing his story at all. Indeed, the author goes on to explain that he really shouldn't have existed except by another character's mistake.

    Also, the book has an almost "G" level rating in terms of action and drama. It's very "British" in it's prudence and the characters sense of propriety, and the "danger" posed to the protagonists feel veiled and benign. Occasionally, one stumbles through a leyline into a tricky situation, but very rarely do you get a sense of danger. And when someone is killed, it is always more by circumstance and carelessness that an act of aggression against them. (I am still confounded why the author chose to kill off one of the characters in particular at "the fatal tree"- perhaps to give the book it's name?)

    Fantastically creative concepts for the book, but the actual story told was VERY sub-par and boring. I nearly dropped the series after the 3rd book, but after some encouragement from a friend, picked it back up again for book 4 (which got my hopes up for the story actually becoming interesting) only to completely dash it to smithereens in this final book. There are MUCH more interesting works of Lawhead to explore.

    Pass on this one unless you're already 4 books into the series- juts don't expect a good finish.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (A Full Cast Production)

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Ron McLarty, Daniel Oreskes, full cast
    Overall
    (37533)
    Performance
    (34809)
    Story
    (34777)

    Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life. But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow's best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday.

    Nightveil says: "10 Years and Still a Fantastic Read"
    "Interesting concept, boring story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book has a ton of reviews, so my writing one at this point is more for me. I've read Neil's novel "Neverwhere" and throughly enjoyed that book, and there are a few similarities between these two books. The main problem is that in Neverwhere, there is a constant objective for the main character to achieve (even though by the end his goals change). American Gods, however, is much more ambiguous in what is trying to be achieved or why. They are both stories of "underworlds" or things that happen hidden from the everyday life we live, which is intriguing.

    However, at times American Gods feels more like "Alice in Wonderland" in that the symbolism and mythology becomes so layered and (as the author says) "meandering", that you loose any sense of exactly what is going on or why, it just feels like some weird acid trip- weird thing after weird thing keeps happening without a point that you can really discern. (I'm sure if you chose to re-read it several times you could pick out the symbolism of each scene, but I'm not intrigued enough by the overall story to care or bother).

    In the end, it all comes together enough to understand the general idea of what was a going on and who was trying to achieve what, but it gets very convoluted in the middle. Part of the reason for this is the way he wrote the main character, Shadow. Shadow does many things in the book without really understanding why, without emotion, without real motivation. He feel more like a device to move the plot forward than someone you really emotionally connect with; and with the story lacking a real point (or at least not one you are allowed to be told about or understand until very late in the story), Shadow's lack of caring about what happens to him also makes me care less about the story. I seriously thought about just stopping at the story climax when things just got so weird and I didn't really care anymore.

    I liked the people in the story for the most part (Shadow's ambivalence aside)- they all had interesting interactions and felt complex and real, and the use of multiple people reading the story added to the characterizations, though this is the 1st time I've seen an Audible book do that. But the story had so many random supernatural scenes and settings and interactions that it was just hard to follow at times.

    Neil also makes a big deal about this being a book about the "American experience", but if that is in here, it is VERY secondary to the work of fiction he is writing, and so subtle that it's hard to see that really being an influence. It's like being told that you are going to eat a steak with a certain spice rub on it, and a lot of talk is dedicated to telling you about the spice, but in the end it just taste like and ordinary steak. Very rarely do you get the sense that there is the thread of the American experience weaving everything together.

    Also, (just FYI- possibly a spoiler, though I would have liked to have known before hand) there is a homosexual sex scene in the middle here that is described with more graphic detail than I was comfortable with personally. Maybe that was intentional by the author and he was trying to make a point, and he has the artistic right to do that. I just didn't care for it myself.

    Obviously this book has been a huge success, but I was honestly disappointed and uninterested with the story, which is strange because Neverwhere really is an excellent book by the same author with many similar aspects. I'm probably going to return this one and get something else- if you happen to read this review and are trying to decide, i'd skip this one.

    15 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • Fortune's Pawn: Paradox Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Rachel Bach
    • Narrated By Emily Durante
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (276)
    Performance
    (253)
    Story
    (252)

    Devi Morris isn't your average mercenary. She has plans. Big ones. And a ton of ambition. It's a combination that's going to get her killed one day - but not just yet. That is, until she gets a job on a tiny trade ship with a nasty reputation for surprises. The Glorious Fool isn't misnamed; it likes to get into trouble, so much so that one year of security work under its captain is equal to five years everywhere else. With odds like that, Devi knows she's found the perfect way to get the jump on the next part of her plan.

    Matthew says: "Easily the worst narration I've heard in 90 books"
    "Good story with some caveats.."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Overall I did wind up moving on to the 2nd book in the series, so by the end I felt like the story was a good one. However, while there were some things well done, there were definitely some that could have been better.

    One issue I had is with Emily Durante's performance: initially, it was extremely off-putting to me. It bothered me so much, I actually stopped about halfway through the 1st chapter and started to write a negative review based solely on that. I thought better of that though, and decided instead to try and press through, and eventually I got accustomed to it; I believe it did actually get better.

    Part of the problem is that she has to do a man's voice at the very beginning, which she just doesn't do well- at least not for that particular character. On top of that, she has to emphasize the main character's native dialect, which she chose to have a distinct southern "drawl" to, but with some odd characters, almost northeastern U.S.. It made for something fairly foreign, but quite odd at the same time. It caused the character's range of emotion to fall a bit flat in the beginning. As the story progresses, the dialect fades significantly except for times when she intentionally drops back into her native tongue for effect, and becomes less of a distraction, and you can read more into the performance of the lead role.

    One thing that some will like and others won't is the romance plot of the story; Yes, it does take up a significant portion of the 1st book- (quite a bit less in the 2nd). One of the things that is interesting to me about this is that the author is a woman. I did not realize that until I had finished the book and then went back and looked. The main reason I bring that up is that the main character (Devi) is also a woman, and I believe that Rachael Bach brings a bit more realism to SOME of the character's psyche because of that- there is a greater degree of nuanced uncertainly as the main character tries to figure out her relationship with her love interest through the story, to a degree that I've not seen from male authors who write about woman characters. Sanderson does a fantastic job with Vinn in his Mistborn series, but this just felt a bit more real from that standpoint.

    However, at the same time, Devi also had to fit into this mold of being a "strong, self made" woman, whose main line of work is as a mercenary. That felt like a much more 2 dimensional aspect of her psyche, and less real (even if it was a likable aspect for a lead character).

    The story itself is complex and engaging- there are layers of mysteries that lead to new questions and deeper puzzles- always fun to try and unravel, though it does leave you a bit confused as to exactly what is going on at some points. And book 1 leaves plenty of mystery left that you want to dive into the 2nd book to unravel what is going on- not necessarily a cliffhanger ending, but you end up with a lot more questions than when you started.

    There are some minor repetitious points that the author belittled that I found particularly distracting. Both Devi's love interest, as well as the captain, do a HUGE amount of sighing. Like at every interaction they have with her. It gets old- I was concerned they were going to run out of oxygen on this ship with all the friggin' sighing that was going on! (Find another way to express regret than with a sigh please!) And Racheal talks WAY too much about how warm the cook's hands are (OK, we get it, they are unusually warm- please stop telling us every dang time she touches them- which apparently is a LOT!).

    I feel like the stars above are pretty solid representations- most of the times I am wishing for half stars, but I think the overall for this one is a solid 4 stars. I've got some gripes for sure, but in the end it was worth the credit, and I was entertained.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Godling Chronicles Omnibus: Books 1-3

    • UNABRIDGED (35 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Brian D. Anderson
    • Narrated By Derek Perkins
    Overall
    (1870)
    Performance
    (1724)
    Story
    (1733)

    Darkness comes as a new power rises in Angrääl. The Dark Knight has betrayed the gods and stolen The Sword of Truth, trapping them in heaven. With the power of the Sword, he can reshape the world and bring death to all who oppose him. Only one thing stands between the darkness and the light - Gewey Stedding. Only he has the power to stand against the oncoming storm. Only he can mend the world. But only if he can discover his power.

    Amazon Customer says: "A strong story and very well narrated"
    "Not really worth the time, unless you're bored."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Audible had been recommending this series to me for a while now based on my other purchases, so when an omnibus collection with 39 hours of reading came available, it seemed like a good deal. Unfortunately, this isn't what I would consider good fantasy writing.

    1st off, there are the names. Why one earth would you make your main character, who is supposed to be a great person (and, hey he's a "god" too...) a hair's breath away from sounding like "Gooey" (his actual name is Gewey, but every time it was said all I could here was "Gooey".) It's just bad and annoying. I get that maybe you want the name to reflect more humble beginnings, to contrast his "god" nature with his mundane human side- but there is a huge difference between naming a character "Bilbo" and "Bozo"... this was too much the latter.

    Then the 2nd major character gets the name "Lee Starfinder"... Really? Was this a take on Luke Skywalker? It's equally bad in the other direction as far as naming a character goes, and this story is no Star Wars. And these are the 2 main characters- every other person in the book has a relatively normal name for a medieval fantasy novel with elves, which just makes these 2 that much worse by contrast.

    But names are details- what about the story itself? I'l grant you that there are some interesting ideas going on, but there are also a LOT of overly common themes for the genre playing out here that don't really bring anything new to the table.

    Super powerful main character raised by people he thought were his biological parents until they died, living in a remote village? Check.

    All powerful villain ruling the world who is pursuing main character before he can reach his true potential, thus forcing him on the run? Check.

    Older warrior/ sage in said village who takes the main character under his wing to mentor him? Check.

    Hey, let's throw in some elves too.

    On top of that, there is the failure of the author to logically reason out why people are doing what they are doing. A couple of very small spoiler examples:

    In the 1st chapter (which is the prologue) a dark knight travels to a hidden cave and confronts a white knight, who apparently knows him. The dark knight wants to claim the mystical sword being guarded by the white knight- but the white knight tells the dark knight "I won't fight you", because maybe he hopes the dark knight will change his mind or something. Dark knight proceeds to attack the white knight with a sword and dagger, while white knight plays dodgeball (except with swords) without any weapons of his own. Dark knight gets lucky and stabs white knight, mortally wounding him. Here's the kicker: As white knight dies, he thinks to himself "I have failed- and now the WORLD IS DOOMED"...

    Really? The fate of the whole world was resting on you wining this fight? Gee, maybe you should have had a plan B besides dancing around? What WAS plan A anyways? Hope he passes out from exhaustion? I'm just saying, if the FATE OF THE WORLD is at stake, maybe you fight back no matter who is trying to steal the mystical sword?

    I spent the next several chapters being pissed at the lame white knight for not doing his job.

    We also have a female who goes from wanting to kill a main character, to deciding to train him in her ways, to then realizing "He's my soulmate, and that hasn't happened for my people in over 100 years!" The transition between these states is abrupt and explained by "magic" basically- it makes very little sense.

    We are told over and over early in the book that humans and elves are mortal enemies and have been for hundreds of years, yet every village they visit, elves and humans are best buds and living in harmony (relatively). Why make a big deal about something only to disprove it at nearly every turn?

    Lastly, while Gooey is on the run, our band of heroes (who is constantly having a telepathic, if not omnipresent, evil enemy confronting them through his agents at nearly every stop) decide that Gooey needs to have some fun. At some random village, they decide to throw him a birthday party. In the middle of strangers. While ON THE RUN. This is the equivalent of Gandalf or Aragorn throwing a party for Frodo in Bree- it makes no sense whatsoever. If you want that break for your characters, then create a safe place for them to do it, like a Rivendell. At least then they don't appear completely incompetent.

    There are plenty more, but you get the idea.

    I gave the book a couple of stars, because it wasn't completely trash. The book follows a predictable pattern, and that pattern has been used for a reason- it works well as a storyline. There just wasn't any real depth to the characters or the plot, though granted this omnibus only gets us to the halfway point of the entire story. Still, if I can't be bothered to get the rest of the books and finish the series, then I can't really say that the story succeeds as a whole.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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