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Paul

Sci-fi/Fantasy geek :)

Member Since 2014

95
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 40 reviews
  • 65 ratings
  • 651 titles in library
  • 2 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
14
FOLLOWERS
18

  • Great North Road

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Peter F. Hamilton
    • Narrated By Toby Longworth
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1094)
    Performance
    (990)
    Story
    (997)

    A century from now, thanks to a technology allowing instantaneous travel across light-years, humanity has solved its energy shortages, cleaned up the environment, and created far-flung colony worlds. The keys to this empire belong to the powerful North family - composed of successive generations of clones. Yet these clones are not identical. For one thing, genetic errors have crept in with each generation. For another, the original three clone "brothers" have gone their separate ways, and the branches of the family are now friendly rivals more than allies. Or maybe not so friendly....

    Flapjack says: "Get the Timeline and Cast of Characters"
    "Great Saga with a little sag"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Peter F. Hamilton is one of my favorite sci/fi authors. Just short of 1,000 pages in hardcover, I was really looking forward to digging into this book (yes, I bought the hardcover also). His books are usually sweeping space opera's with enough sci and fi to choke a normal person. This book started out with the usual excellent overflowing amount of cool ideas, interesting characters, and pacing that I have come to know and love. Please note that I rated this book 4 Stars, so I want to re-iterate that I really liked the book overall.

    However, somewhere in the middle, things got a bit muddled, a little repetitive, dare I say... a little boring. The writing was excellent, don't get me wrong. But, I think writers of this quality sometimes get away with a lack of hard editing simply based on their reputation. I myself could have probably edited out 25% of this book without the story having suffered at all. Granted, that 25% that I would throw away would be better than 90% of anything I could write, but that's not really the point.

    Another "tell" in a book that sags is that it gets really good again near the end and the pace noticeably increases. It's as if the writer has discovered their error and is trying to make good. This is where the editor should step in, remove the overstuffing, and make the whole thing sing. The amount of sci-fi-ness that was put into the last 10% of the book was more than what was in the middle 40%, which is saying a lot for a book of this size. I think that at some point during his writing, the author may have bored of writing about forward-looking tech, sweeping universes, and the story of mankind and wanted to tell a good simple family/people story.

    The characters were fresh and engaging. There was a great bit of suspense/mystery which I really liked and was refreshing (I don't think sci/fi writers employ mystery enough). Aside from when it sagged, the story moved along well and kept me very engaged. As always Peter F. Hamilton's technology is all stuff that I fully expect my great great grandkids to have. It's well researched and based in the realm of possibility such that you don't find it far-fetched, just forward-looking.

    The narration was excellent! The accents sometimes faltered and some characters were a little hard to differentiate, but excellent nonetheless. Anybody that can narrate a book this long gets extra kudos in my book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Abyss Beyond Dreams: Chronicle of the Fallers, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Peter F. Hamilton
    • Narrated By John Lee
    Overall
    (528)
    Performance
    (479)
    Story
    (484)

    The year is 3326. Nigel Sheldon, one of the founders of the Commonwealth, receives a visit from the Raiel - self-appointed guardians of the Void, the enigmatic construct at the core of the galaxy that threatens the existence of all that lives. The Raiel convince Nigel to participate in a desperate scheme to infiltrate the Void. Once inside, Nigel discovers that humans are not the only life-forms to have been sucked into the Void. The humans trapped there are afflicted by an alien species of biological mimics.

    C. Hartmann says: "Intersection of the Void and Commonwealth - Super"
    "Has It All"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel has everything you could want! Plenty of sci-fi-ness but also a great storyline, character development, and dovetail into the overall Commonwealth universe that Mr. Hamilton has created.

    This book was a little less technical than many of his books, but that just left room for more story and characters. If you've read the others in this series, this one won't disappoint you.

    What hasn't been said about John Lee, simply superb!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Naked in Death: In Death, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By J. D. Robb
    • Narrated By Susan Ericksen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4511)
    Performance
    (2743)
    Story
    (2759)

    Eve Dallas is a New York police lieutenant hunting for a ruthless killer. In over 10 years on the force, she's seen it all - and knows that her survival depends on her instincts. And she's going against every warning telling her not to get involved with Roarke, an Irish billionaire - and suspect in Eve's murder investigation. But passion and seduction have rules of their own, and it's up to Eve to take a chance in the arms of a man she knows nothing about - except the addictive hunger of needing his touch.

    Felicity Fairchild says: "Don't Judge the Series by the First Book!"
    "I Want More"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Wow, this book is a real page-turner! But, more than that, there is a lot of character development. I would be hard-pressed to find things about this book that I don't like, so I won't invent any here.

    I don't normally read books this short because they don't usually do a good job of developing the characters, and that is very important to me. But, we got plenty of that here. We also got lots of action, tension, romance, and sex. The writer did not try to sugar coat things or imply things. The writing was true to the central character.

    The narration was very good! Not among the best I've heard, but certainly above most and added a lot to the listening experience.

    I will definitely be getting the next book in this series!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lock In (Narrated by Wil Wheaton)

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2202)
    Performance
    (2057)
    Story
    (2058)

    Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever, and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent - and nearly five million souls in the United States alone - the disease causes "Lock In": Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.

    Alexis says: "Fun! Things you might want to know:"
    "Good Book, needs more pages"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really liked this book a lot, and liked it even more when I saw an article about a real person who actually was "locked in". So, like most of the best fiction, this book has it's feet planted in reality.

    Wil Wheaton is a good narrator. Not great, but really good, mostly I think because he actually enjoys reading the books he narrates. He doesn't have enough "voice difference" between many of the characters, so it can get hard to know who is talking during very quick back-and-forth scenes.

    Like all John Scalzi books (I loved Old Man's War), there is plenty of action and things move quickly. But, that is also my primary complaint with this book. He spends almost zero time explaining how things got where the are when the book opens. There are actually several "extra" chapters added onto the end that do explain things, but those should have been at the beginning. But, his books tend to be written in this way where he just jumps into the middle of the story and often does not end up fully explaining things. Not that I want chapter after chapter of dry history at the beginning, I think it can be worked into the overall story, but you gotta have it!

    I just don't feel right calling this a novel, it is a book. It's a good book and a really great read! You will enjoy it, but you will probably also feel, like me, that it could have been excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pale Demon: The Hollows, Book 9

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Kim Harrison
    • Narrated By Marguerite Gavin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2031)
    Performance
    (1438)
    Story
    (1446)

    Condemned and shunned for black magic, Rachel Morgan has three days to get to the annual witches' conference and clear her name, or be trapped in the demonic ever-after - forever after.

    But a witch, an elf, a living vampire, anda pixy in one car, going across the country? Talk about a recipe for certain disaster, even without being the targets for assassination.

    Alexi Rain says: "A comment on Credits"
    "Another Winner!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have enjoyed listening to this entire series, so far. This book obviously advances the overall storyline and does so in the typically wonderful way of the previous books. For me, toning done the love-lines in this book made it more enjoyable. If you liked the other books in this series, you won't be disappointed. In fact, I think this book lifts the series a notch!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Wise Man's Fear: Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 2

    • UNABRIDGED (42 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Patrick Rothfuss
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11629)
    Performance
    (9821)
    Story
    (9906)

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

    Joe says: "Excellent, Imaginative, Beautiful, Page Turning!!!"
    "More Goodness!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed this book! It is long (which I like), easy to listen to, full of good story, action, love, magic, etc. The plotting is very good and fits well with the first book. Nick Podehl is not my favorite narrator, but he's better than a lot of others, and does a good job here. The book keeps things moving along very well and does a lot of deep character diving. I could stand to have a lot more magic on display, but that's a small nit for a very good novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Words of Radiance: The Stormlight Archive, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (48 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer, Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9140)
    Performance
    (8628)
    Story
    (8658)

    In that first volume, we were introduced to the remarkable world of Roshar, a world both alien and magical, where gigantic hurricane-like storms scour the surface every few days and life has adapted accordingly. Roshar is shared by humans and the enigmatic, humanoid Parshendi, with whom they are at war.

    D says: "Book !!; no let down- "Words of Radieance" shines"
    "Classic Fantasy, almost too classic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed this book very much! It didn't have that gritty, personal feeling of the first book in this series however. Actually, much of this book felt like it could have been written by Robert Jordann, which is a compliment, but also tells a bit about the classic feel and storyline.

    The pacing of the book waned a bit in the middle, then lots of things happen in the last 25% of the book. This is likely what would happen if I wrote a book, but not what I expect from one of my favorite authors. There was plenty of action and good writing to keep me entertained, but it felt like he was playing catchup to close the book out, near the end.

    A very good book that any fantasy fan will really enjoy!

    Michael Kramer and Kate Reading aren't my absolute favorite narrators, but they are in the top 10. This is another rock solid performance!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 11-22-63: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Craig Wasson
    Overall
    (19149)
    Performance
    (17046)
    Story
    (17006)

    On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King - who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer - takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

    Kelly says: "I Owe Stephen King An Apology"
    "Better Than I Expected"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In the past, I have not been a big fan of Stephen King's work. He was always a master storyteller, and able to tap into many base human emotions, but I never thought he was a really great writer. I'm glad to say that I am starting to change my opinion, specifically with much of his newer work.

    I like the way he handles the time travel in this book. It is done very well and has consequences, unlike in most books. The story is a very human story and does a good job of taking you to a place in time.

    Normally, Stephen King does not write books that are this long, and in this case I don't think he should have either. There is a good bit of stuff in the middle of the book that kind of feels like filler. He could have shaved a lot of that part down and not lost anything in the telling. But, when you are Stephen King, I guess not too many people are telling you to shave down parts of your book :) Another slight case of my pet peeve about missing editors in most books today, but not overly egregious, and still told very well.

    Overall, you will like this book, even if you (gasp) don't normally like Stephen King.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Jakarta Pandemic

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Steven Konkoly
    • Narrated By Joseph Morton
    Overall
    (888)
    Performance
    (802)
    Story
    (800)

    In the late fall of 2013, a lethal pandemic virus emerges from the Islamic Republic of Indonesia (IRI) and rages unchecked across every continent. When the Jakarta Flu threatens his picture-perfect Maine neighborhood, Alex Fletcher, Iraq War veteran, is ready to do whatever it takes to keep his family safe. As a seasoned sales representative for Biosphere Pharmaceuticals, makers of a leading flu virus treatment, Alex understands what a deadly pandemic means for all of them.

    deedeeg says: "Nice surprise"
    "Halfway Boring"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a little over half way done with this book, but I am going to go ahead and write this review, because at this point I've been mostly bored, so even if the book does pick up the pace, half of the book was still boring, thus earning 3 stars. I'll listen to the rest, because I'm this far in, and I find the premise of a pandemic highly interesting. So, I'm just hoping something will actually happen (and hopefully not all in the last chapter - pet peeve).

    Some of the problem is the semi-bland narration. It's not offensive (like too many I've listened to), but makes the characters sound bored most of the time.

    The writer talks far too much about details that don't matter. I don't really care which shoe a character puts on first. I like details about surroundings or characters that actually tell me something about what/who they are. But too many details in this book don't enlighten you in any way, they just fill pages and waste time.

    Yes, some of these kinds of details are also in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but they told you something about the character and there were far fewer than in this book.

    Are good editors so hard to find? Or is nobody listening to the editors? It just seems that too many books suffer from a lack of editing :(

    2 of 2 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
    (8652)
    Performance
    (8029)
    Story
    (8055)

    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"
    "Will I Listen To The Next One?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'll admit it, I'm a grown man and I still like comic books. I don't have a "collection" per se, I just really like the art and the inventiveness of the storylines. So, I thought this was a very cool re-imagining of the whole super-being concept (and it is). I also really really like Brandon Sanderson's writing and have read all of his previous books.

    Why did I give the "Story" three stars then? It's hard to pinpoint exactly, but I really thought it could have been better. One aspect is the information that is withheld until near the end of the book answered some of the questions that bugged me through the whole thing and I thought the author was just trying to be a little too cute by withholding some of these things. It's also very very hard to pull sci-fi/fantasy into the real world in a successful way. When you build a completely new world, you can suspend all disbelief, but when your book opens in a bank lobby in Chicago, my mind starts putting me in those places and thinking about what I would do.

    I also have a hard time believing that completely normal people would stand any kind of a chance against someone with more powers than superman or that superman would need any kind of an armed military. Also, if someone like superman could rule Chicago, why would they stop there? Do ego-maniacs ever have enough?

    So, see, maybe it's just my geek brain getting in my own way. I would probably like it even more if I listened to it again, knowing what I know now, and making an active effort to suspend disbelief.

    This book is clearly laying groundwork for what I hope will be an epic series. Yes, I will certainly listen to the next book, it's Brandon Sanderson for crying out loud! I promise to be a better listener next time around :)

    The narration was very good!

    The characters were well done and complex. There was plenty of action and interaction. This is a very inspired concept!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mississippi Jack: Bloody Jack #5

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By L. A. Meyer
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    Overall
    (568)
    Performance
    (368)
    Story
    (357)

    In Mississippi Jack, the fifth installment in the Bloody Jack series, the intrepid Jacky Faber, having once again eluded British authorities, heads west, hoping that no one will recognize her in the wilds of America. There she tricks the tall-tale hero Mike Fink out of his flatboat, equips it as a floating casino-showboat, and heads south to New Orleans, battling murderous bandits, British soldiers, and other scoundrels along the way.

    Tee Bellflower says: "Kellgren does it again!"
    "Over The Top?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is over-the-top in an Indiana Jones Temple of Doom way. It's the least believable book in the series so far. I couldn't stand listening to the characterization of Mike Fink. But actually, his characterization kind of fits the whole book to me, too big, too noisy, and just plain unbelievable. I actually laughed out loud at the preposterous nature of a big scene near the end.

    Note to writer/editor: You cannot have a verbal reading of a journal entry that the person never wrote down and it was only in their mind!

    I have loved all of the previous books in this series. So, I'm going to listen to one more. If it doesn't redeem the series for me, I'll stop there. Also, if they don't either consumate their relationship or break it cleanly in the next book, I'm going to be quite unhappy. Enough is enough I say.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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