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Ian

Newcastle, Australia | Member Since 2011

15
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 11 reviews
  • 12 ratings
  • 144 titles in library
  • 2 purchased in 2018
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  • The King's Speech

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Mark Logue, Peter Conradi
    • Narrated By Jamie Glover
    Overall
    (74)
    Performance
    (41)
    Story
    (41)

    One man saved the British Royal Family in the first decades of the 20th century – amazingly he was an almost unknown, and certainly unqualified, speech therapist called Lionel Logue, whom one newspaper in the 1930s famously dubbed ‘The Quack who saved a King’. Logue wasn’t a British aristocrat or even an Englishman – he was a commoner and an Australian to boot.

    Daniel says: "Slow at the beginning, engaging at the end!"
    "Enjoyable and informative"
    Overall

    This was my first audible audiobook, and was most enjoyable. The story itself, while quite factual, never became dry or boring, and the narration was of a high standard. The narrator added to the story, and did not 'get in the way' of it. Highly recommended for anyone interested in 20th Century history.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • A Fall of Moondust

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Arthur C. Clarke
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (218)
    Performance
    (165)
    Story
    (165)

    Time is running out for the passengers and crew of the tourist cruiser Selene, incarcerated in a sea of choking lunar dust. On the surface, her rescuers find their resources stretched to the limit by the mercilessly unpredictable conditions of a totally alien environment. A brilliantly imagined story of human ingenuity and survival, A Fall of Moondust is a tour-de-force of psychological suspense and sustained dramatic tension by the field's foremost author.

    Jim "The Impatient" says: "Old Fashioned Science Fiction"
    "Classic old-time SF"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read this in print as a child, and it has always stuck in my memory. Listening to it again now, it didn't disappoint. I'll confess to being a lifelong Clarke fan, but somehow I never got around to reading this one again. You need to allow for the fact it was written over 50 years ago, at a time when people were still dreaming about ever getting to the moon. Once you can do that, it becomes a good space adventure which is fairly realistic given the extent of knowledge at that time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: The Karla Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By John le Carre
    • Narrated By Michael Jayston
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (145)
    Performance
    (111)
    Story
    (109)

    Mr George Smiley is small, podgy, and at best, middle-aged. He is disillusioned, wrestles with idleness, and has been deserted by his beautiful wife. He is also compassionate, ruthless and a senior British intelligence officer in short-lived retirement from the Circus the British Secret Service organisation situated in London. But Moscow centre has infiltrated a mole into the Circus and it’s more than likely that the perpetrator is Karla Smiley’s old adversary and his opposite number in Moscow.

    Geoff says: "Top Narration"
    "John le Boring"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Quite disappointed in this one. The narration is fine, the production good, but the novel itself is Mogadon in print. I'd never read any leCarre before, and thought this would be a good place to start. Oh dear... They say that real spy work is mostly just long-winded and boring, and to that end, this novel is probably quite realistic. Not a lot actually happens, and when it does, it's usually related by a third party or in a flashback. I got through to the end, but that was just sheer determination. I don't think my senses have been dulled by the usual Hollywood-style thrillers we get these days, but still, I was expecting something a lot more engaging than this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dracula [Audible Edition]

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Bram Stoker
    • Narrated By Alan Cumming, Tim Curry, Simon Vance, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10373)
    Performance
    (9565)
    Story
    (9573)

    The modern audience hasn't had a chance to truly appreciate the unknowing dread that readers would have felt when reading Bram Stoker's original 1897 manuscript. Most modern productions employ campiness or sound effects to try to bring back that gothic tension, but we've tried something different. By returning to Stoker's original storytelling structure - a series of letters and journal entries voiced by Jonathan Harker, Dr. Van Helsing, and other characters - with an all-star cast of narrators, we've sought to recapture its originally intended horror and power.

    Jim "The Impatient" says: "IS THAT NOT SO?"
    "A Wonderful Performance of a Classic Horror Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This would have to be one of the best audiobooks I've heard. The cast is great, the production superb. It was a treat to hear the 'real' Dracula story read so well, as up until now I'd only seen the sometimes rather dodgy film adaptations.
    The book itself is in some ways a victim of the age it was written in, with the characters sometimes a bit one-dimensional, and the portrayal of the female characters being rather cringe-worthy by today's standards. This is to be expected for a book of the time, though, and doesn't detract from the enjoyment. The ominous, brooding atmosphere of the book comes through from the start, and remains to the end.
    All in all, very much worth the credit and the listening time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Stieg Larsson
    • Narrated By Saul Reichlin
    Overall
    (1708)
    Performance
    (943)
    Story
    (942)

    Salander is plotting her revenge - against the man who tried to kill her, and against the government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life. But it is not going to be a straightforward campaign. After taking a bullet to the head, Salander is under close supervision in Intensive Care, and is set to face trial for three murders and one attempted murder on her eventual release. With the help of journalist Mikael Blomkvist and his researchers at Millennium magazine, Salander must prove her innocence....

    Olga says: "A Fabulous Finale"
    "Was sorry to see it end"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After a rocky start on the first novel, I think I started to 'get' the way that Stieg Larsson was telling his story, and I began to really enjoy these novels. At the end of the third one, I was genuinely sorry that the experience was over. It's a marathon to get through these stories, but I'm glad I did. The narrator is very good, and I think his voice really added to the experience - I never felt tired of his narration, even after 60 hours or so of audio.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl Who Played With Fire

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Stieg Larsson
    • Narrated By Saul Reichlin
    Overall
    (1661)
    Performance
    (969)
    Story
    (974)

    Lisbeth Salander is a wanted woman. Two Millennium journalists about to expose the truth about sex trafficking in Sweden are murdered, and Salander's prints are on the weapon. Her history of unpredictable and vengeful behaviour makes her an official danger to society - but no-one can find her. Mikael Blomkvist, Millennium magazine's legendary star reporter, does not believe the police. Using all his magazine staff and resources to prove Salander's innocence, Blomkvist also uncovers her terrible past....

    Joe says: "Excellent"
    "Enjoyed it more than the first"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I must be getting into the swing of this series, as I definitely found I enjoyed this book, and was less critical of it than I initially was of the first one. It's still a very long book, but once I'd started it didn't seem boring or hard work to get through. I still think these books could use a good edit, but since Mr Larsson isn't with us any more, we'll just have to take them as they are. I'm now looking forward to the third installment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Thirty-Nine Steps

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By John Buchan
    • Narrated By Robert Powell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (122)
    Performance
    (82)
    Story
    (80)

    An espionage thriller that has been called the first great spy novel, it has sustained its popularity, being embraced by each new generation. The first in a series of five novels it features the spy Richard Hannay, an action hero with a stiff upper lip who gets caught up in a dangerous race against a plot by German spies to destroy the British war effort. When Richard Hannay offers sanctuary to an American agent seeking his help in stopping a political assassination, he takes the first step on a trail of peril and espionage.

    Ian says: "Way different to the movies"
    "Way different to the movies"
    Overall

    This is a classic adventure story of its day, very well read by Robert Powell. It is dated, but quite enjoyable still if you regard it as a period piece. I was expecting it to be very similar to the original Alfred Hitchcock movie made in England in 1935, but the movie only bears a superficial resemblance to the book. Even the significance of the '39 Steps' title is completely different between the book and movie. A good 'read' nevertheless.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Angels and Demons

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Dan Brown
    • Narrated By Richard Poe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10620)
    Performance
    (5853)
    Story
    (5879)

    World-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a cryptic symbol seared into the chest of a murdered physicist. What he discovers is unimaginable: a deadly vendetta against the Catholic Church by a centuries-old underground organization, the Illuminati. Desperate to save the Vatican from a powerful time bomb, Langdon joins forces in Rome with the beautiful and mysterious scientist Vittoria Vetra.

    Rachel says: "A Trip Inside the Vatican"
    "An Enjoyable 'Read'"
    Overall

    I quite enjoyed this audiobook. I'd never read any Dan Brown before, but I might well try some more.
    This isn't classic literature, but it is an enjoyable story which despite its length never got boring. I didn't see the final plot twist until I was upon it. The ending was a bit 'Hollywood', but hey, it actually is a Hollywood movie.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Stieg Larsson
    • Narrated By Saul Reichlin
    Overall
    (2205)
    Performance
    (1225)
    Story
    (1238)

    Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder - and that the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family. He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the tattooed, truculent computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate.

    Joe says: "worthwhile"
    "Much better than it initially seems"
    Overall

    A couple of hours into this book, I would have given it 1 star, and wondered if I could actually be bothered trying to finish it. The central character hadn't even been introduced, and the main premise of the novel hadn't even started. I certainly wouldn't have considered going on to the other 2 equally long installments in the trilogy. However, the detailed description of the Swedish setting of the story was interesting, so I persisted.

    The book does become more engaging, the characters are introduced and developed, and it even becomes quite fast-paced in places, with some rather unexpected plot turns.

    So, this is a worthwhile listening experience if you're willing to immerse yourself in it, and be carried along at its pace, be that fast or slow. I think I'll try at least the second novel as well, as I'm now interested to see what becomes of Lisbeth. She is an interesting character, although I must admit I found Larsson's portrayal of her as a 'super-hacker' to be fairly unconvincing in this book.

    My biggest criticism is that the book is far too long. I think that when this book was submitted to the publishers, they should have sent it back with the comment "this has great possibilities, now cut it in half". The book would have benefited greatly from this. I really think a lot of the Venestrom affair could have been severely curtailed with only good effects on the main story.

    On a positive note, I must complement Saul Reichlin on his performance of the work. He is a great narrator and very easy to listen to for such a long story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Wreck of the Mary Deare

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Hammond Innes
    • Narrated By Bill Wallis
    Overall
    (57)
    Performance
    (41)
    Story
    (40)

    They dismissed the Mary Deare as ‘a piece of leaking ironmongery taken off the junk heap’. For 40 years this 6,000-ton freighter had tramped the seas, suffered shipwreck twice, and been torpedoed three times in two world wars. Then one March night, battered and bruised and empty, she emerged from severe Biscay gales into the English Channel - and into the newspaper headlines. Here was a ship of mystery and tragedy... in one of the greatest sea stories of all time.

    Richard says: "Sea tale"
    "What a great audio book!"
    Overall

    If you like a classic adventure story, and are at all interested in the sea and ships, you will appreciate this book. I read it years ago in print and really liked it, but the audiobook is even better. Bill Wallis is a superb narrator and his reading of this novel is among the best I've ever heard.
    If you get the opportunity, try to listen to the first 2.5 hours in one sitting - as a sustained piece of nautical adventure writing, I don't think it could be bettered.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Childhood's End

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Arthur C. Clarke
    • Narrated By Eric Michael Summerer, Robert J. Sawyer - introduction
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6859)
    Performance
    (5565)
    Story
    (5620)

    The Overlords appeared suddenly over every city - intellectually, technologically, and militarily superior to humankind. Benevolent, they made few demands: unify earth, eliminate poverty, and end war. With little rebellion, humankind agreed, and a golden age began.

    Ryan says: "Still a classic of visionary science fiction"
    "Not Clarke's best, but still worth the listen"
    Overall

    I found this enjoyable as an audiobook - the production was good, and the narrator did a fine job.
    I've been a Clarke fan since childhood, and I read this in print many years ago, but wasn't quite captivated by it then. I still found this to be the case now - it's a good book, probably quite visionary in its' day, but it just doesn't grab me in the way '2001' or 'Rendezvous With Rama' would. Some of the technology references seem rather quaint, but considering the original publishing date of 1953, this doesn't detract from the story too much.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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