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marnylee

Member Since 2012

ratings
46
REVIEWS
6
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
2
HELPFUL VOTES
4

  • Cold Days: The Dresden Files, Book 14

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By James Marsters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5557)
    Performance
    (5166)
    Story
    (5165)

    After being murdered by a mystery assailant, navigating his way through the realm between life and death, and being brought back to the mortal world, Harry realizes that maybe death wasn’t all that bad - because he is no longer Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard. He is now Harry Dresden, Winter Knight to Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness. After Harry had no choice but to swear his fealty, Mab wasn’t about to let something as petty as death steal away the prize she had sought for so long.

    Ethan M. says: "Thwarts Every Expectation - In a Good Way"
    "The great urban fantasy continues"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Cold Days again? Why?

    Yes, I would listen again for two reasons: James Marsters, and because I simply enjoy Harry and company.
    Idle question: Does Jim Butcher really think that far ahead, or is he simply good at making whatever situation he left in book 3 (or 5 or 7) work in book 14? His way of tying things together is just amazing!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I like Karin Murphy. Only a real human being would be so contrary as to deal with the unnatural situations she does without batting an eye, yet reject a more personal relationship with Dresden because "we're just too different."


    What about James Marsters’s performance did you like?

    Um, was there something to dislike? Mr. Marsters gives us Harry Dresden in weakness, power, confusion, arrogance, and sarcasm without any of it sounding forced. His delivery of the other characters in their various moments is not lacking either. Gotta love Toot-Toot!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The revelation of the Winter Lady. I leave it at that in case it appears to those who have not read/heard the book. Murphy is predictable, but this isn't, and I don't want to spoil anything.


    Any additional comments?

    OK, I get it, I do, Harry's not a player, socially speaking. But if something doesn't change soon, he'll be wearing monk's robes. Poor guy!

    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
    (4115)
    Performance
    (3918)
    Story
    (3898)

    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."
    "Another solid hit"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Skin Game to be better than the print version?

    Yes, but only because I could listen to James Marsters for hours... and I have.

    The plot is intricate yet the story personal, dialogue and action balanced by reflections and insights. Jim Butcher gives us real characters even in those that aren't human and makes them real through believable motivations and understandable reactions.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Always and ever Harry Dresden. It's his voice: his fears, his loves, his confessions, and his snarky comments, as appropriate. The villains and friends all are wonderfully written, but we really get to know them through Harry.

    Although Maggie's awfully cute, too.


    What about James Marsters’s performance did you like?

    As I've said before, what's not to like? Mr. Marsters gives me aurally what I "hear" mentally when I read but, oh, so much better.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    As usual, both. The most moving scene was between Dresden and Maggie, and the revelation of a new Knight of the Cross was a real surprise; I wanted to cheer aloud!


    Any additional comments?

    In Skin Game, Harry Dresden is placed in yet another impossible situation. Having to work with a really bad guy whom he despises under threat of soiling the rep of his boss Mab, working constantly to control the Winter Knight, and vying to do the right thing while still protecting those he loves. We get magic, strategy, luck, and even some divine intervention to make any of it come out right. Thank you for another wonderful reading and hearing experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jhereg: Vlad Taltos, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Steven Brust
    • Narrated By Bernard Setaro Clark
    Overall
    (477)
    Performance
    (428)
    Story
    (436)

    Vlad Taltos, a mobster and assassin in the magical metropolis of Adrilankha, is given the largest contract of his career, but the job is even more complicated than he expects.

    D says: "Dragons, Assassins, and Intrigue"
    "Definitely worth a listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. Steven Brust presents an hierarchical world, based on genetic associations with fantastic animals, through the eyes and mind of Vlad Taltos, a human hero of sorts (he is an assassin, after all) in a society that ranges from arrogant haves to criminal have-nots (the criminals are more fun), with humans the ultimate underdogs.

    Subterfuge and intrigue, spiced with magic and sorcery (not the same in this world), sneaky violence and bold mayhem in a medieval-ish setting with colorful characters and swashbuckling action. What could be better?

    I read much of the series years (and years) ago. A rerun in audible form is most satisfying, and with Bernard Setaro Clark's reading, my memory of the tale comes to life in a most entertaining voice.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I was first drawn to the story by the concept of the mental connection between the human Vlad and his jhereg Loiosh, a small winged reptile companion/bosom buddy with a smart mouth, psionically speaking. I had read Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern for much the same reason. With Brust, I get to enjoy the sarcasm and snarky comments that pepper the mental connection and often end with, "Shut up, Loiosh."


    Any additional comments?

    Bernard Setaro Clark captures the various voices very well. The jhereg a slight accent, boredom or contempt is nearly tangible in the tones of some Dragaeran characters; in short, each is distinct and notable. Good job.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The City & The City

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By China Mieville
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (868)
    Performance
    (450)
    Story
    (452)

    When a murdered woman is found in the city of Beszel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks to be a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlof the Extreme Crime Squad. But as he investigates, the evidence points to conspiracies far stranger and more deadly than anything he could have imagined. Borl must travel from the decaying Beszel to the only metropolis on Earth as strange as his own.

    James says: "Interesting Premise"
    "Couldn't finish, sorry I spent the credit"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from China Mieville and/or John Lee?

    John Lee, perhaps.

    China Mieville, NO.


    Would you ever listen to anything by China Mieville again?

    No. Although the idea was intriguing - murder mystery in strange cross-culture society - about half way through, I decided the F-word had been over-used.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm no prude, but seriously? How many characters can one have that use the word multiple times in one sentence?

    Lost the story to the language. My loss I'm sure, but there it is.


    What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

    Non-dialogue narration is better than most I have heard so far.


    What character would you cut from The City & The City?

    Most of the foul-mouthed police-type authority figures, but then the story would be much shorter.


    Any additional comments?

    I had read Perdido Street Station, received as a gift, didn't like it much. Again, interesting idea, but the characters were too remote or too strange to relate to. It may have suffered from language as well, but such things are easier to gloss over when reading.

    I tried this to give either the author or myself a second chance; apparently I am too dim to "get" the genius.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • METAtropolis

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Jay Lake, Tobias Buckell, Elizabeth Bear, and others
    • Narrated By Michael Hogan, Scott Brick, Kandyse McClure, and others
    Overall
    (2009)
    Performance
    (1768)
    Story
    (1807)

    Armed camps of eco-survivalists battle purveyors of technology in this exclusive, original production featuring five sci-fi masters and five all-star narrators.

    Anthony says: "Painful"
    "As a shared world anthology, not too bad"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to METAtropolis again? Why?

    No to 3 of the 5 stories; too dark, too stark, or too military, with too few relatable characters. On the other hand, I have already re-heard the amazing narration of John Scalzi's piece.


    What other book might you compare METAtropolis to and why?

    I originally looked at this due to fond (30-yr-old) memories of Thieve's World, ed. Robert Lynn Asprin. The only similarity, really, is the collaboration of various authors within the loose confines of fictional place and culture, but when it works it can be very entertaining.

    I'd have to re-read TW to be certain, but I'm pretty sure it was better, or maybe just more fun.


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

    No, which is part of the reason I accepted the opportunity to listen to this for free, to experience different readers. I have been disappointed in some of my audio books because of flat delivery or unsuccessful rendering of different characters. Also, I think that for me, audible renderings of books written in first person is what works best.

    I may have been spoiled by the Jim Butcher/James Marsters team, my first excursions into audio books.

    But here I hit the jackpot: Alessandro Juliani is easily the best in this collection. His characterizations and conversational delivery are terrific. It is easy to distinguish between his characters in dialogue, and he keeps even the low-action passages interesting. Of course the story helps there, too.

    Paying full price for this book would have been worth it, just to hear Mr Juliani.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    As the lightest piece in the book, with the best performance, John Scalzi's story earned a few LOLs.


    Any additional comments?

    Thank you for the opportunity to test new waters without having to buy the boat, as it were. I appreciate the chance to explore new authors and narrators.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Death Masks: The Dresden Files, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By James Marsters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5467)
    Performance
    (4117)
    Story
    (4094)

    Harry Dresden, Chicago's only practicing professional wizard, should be happy that business is pretty good for a change. But he also knows that whenever things are going good, the only way left for them to go is bad. Way bad. Recent examples: A duel with the lethal champion of the Red Court, who must kill Harry to end the war between vampires and wizards...Hit men using Harry for target practice...The missing Shroud of Turin - and the possible involvement of Chicago's most feared mob boss.

    James says: "Pick up the coin?"
    "The series just gets better"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Death Masks to be better than the print version?

    Apples and oranges. I love to read, always have, always will. Listening to a book is a recent thing for me, and I like it, too. If there is an advantage of one over the other, it's the voice of James Marsters. I am not ashamed to say that is why I started the series in the first place!


    What other book might you compare Death Masks to and why?

    Perhaps one of J. R. Rain's, but the various characters and cultures Mr. Butcher presents have more depth, seem more possible, at least to me.


    Any additional comments?

    I love a book that can make me laugh out loud (with or without Mr. Marsters' excellent delivery, but I prefer with). Even Dresden's most serious situations seem to have a bit of the lighter side tossed in that still does not detract from the emotionally charged or life-threatening or frustrating tone of the scene. That takes a deft hand and Jim Butcher has it.
    While I often appreciate comments that give a synopsis of a book, I would be lousy at it, so I'll simply say: I have listened to the first five books in the series, and have enjoyed each one. this is my current favorite, but only because I just finished it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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