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JPaladin

Member Since 2014

116
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 62 reviews
  • 103 ratings
  • 300 titles in library
  • 4 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
13
FOLLOWERS
25

  • The Initiate Brother: The Initiate Brother Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Sean Russell
    • Narrated By Elijah Alexander
    Overall
    (164)
    Performance
    (133)
    Story
    (138)

    Plague and warfare have swept across the Orient, ravaging the ancient kingdom of Wa, devastating the royal line, and leaving a new dynasty on the throne—a new emperor, Akantsu, filled with fear of all who might seek to wrest the empire from his grasp. Among those out of favor with the new liege is the Order of the Botahist Monks, whose mystical powers have enabled them to hold positions as spiritual advisors to the imperial court for nearly ten centuries.

    JPaladin says: "Good book; interesting characters, plot, and arc"
    "Good book; interesting characters, plot, and arc"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed this book and its sequel. Russel could have easily split this book into two or three--but instead creates a great semi-epic work. This is good writing, with an interesting plot that keeps you reading. However, if you are looking for a non-stop action ride this isn't your book.

    It has the setting and plot for a 'coming of age' epic adventure, but Russell clearly didn't want to write that kind of book. The main character has the mysterious strength/ability/power and the setting is a multi-layered epic struggle of the characters' personal beliefs, set under the larger struggle between political families/entities, set under the larger epic struggle between nations/peoples, again set under the still larger struggle of ideologies/religions. While at first the setting leads you expect a coming of age story of a mystical warrior--the coming of age is really about the spiritual identity of the character and the nature of his reality--not his physical abilities (although that is developed in the book, too).

    There is action in this series (wars, assassinations, fights, kick-boxing tournament, etc.), but they are almost downplayed at times. For instance, the central character competes in a kickboxing tournament, fighting something like a half-dozen matches, but Russell skims over almost all physical the action as if it is entirely irrelevant until the last match.

    While I do enjoy a true action packed epic--this was a well written and enjoyable book. As was its sequel.

    Narrator:
    The narrator is fine. However, he's one of those narrators which would do best by simply reading the book and not trying to push his voice into a variety of characters. His effort to do so is a little comical at times--two of the minor characters' voices are just silly. One is a bad Yoda impression and the other is straight out of good fellas (odd in this feudal Asian society). Luckily these characters have minor roles, so it doesn't get annoying.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Policeman

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Ben H. Winters
    • Narrated By Peter Berkrot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (610)
    Performance
    (546)
    Story
    (550)

    What’s the point in solving murders if we’re all going to die soon, anyway? Detective Hank Palace has faced this question ever since asteroid 2011GV1 hovered into view. There’s no chance left. No hope. Just six precious months until impact. The Last Policeman presents a fascinating portrait of a pre-apocalyptic United States. The economy spirals downward while crops rot in the fields. Churches and synagogues are packed. People all over the world are walking off the job - but not Hank Palace. He’s investigating a death by hanging.

    Amazon Customer says: "There was trepidation ..."
    "Strangely captivatingly bleak pre-apocalyptic tale"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Enjoyed this pretty bleak, but somewhat upbeat, detective story set to the back drop of the end of the world.

    Interesting allegory for the meaninglessness and/or intrinsic meaning of our every day actions/motivations. Kept me thinking about why we live our lives as I compared my motivations to that of he knowingly doomed.

    Enjoyable story, with interesting characters, and smooth writing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Poison Study

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Maria V. Snyder
    • Narrated By Gabra Zackman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2295)
    Performance
    (1038)
    Story
    (1042)

    About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace, and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia. And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster.

    A says: "Fantasy, with a touch of romance."
    "Good idea, but YA and poorly written."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Enjoyed the plot idea.

    However, the writing is bad. Constantly breaks the old adage "show don't tell" as the characters explain all their actions and thoughts.

    The characters are poorly developed. Their actions are unbelievable in parts because the motivations are immature and unrealistic (for characters that are supposed to be sophisticated).

    YA and not particularly impressive even for that sub-genre .

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Prince of Fools: The Red Queen's War, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Mark Lawrence
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    Overall
    (222)
    Performance
    (204)
    Story
    (204)

    The Red Queen is old but the kings of the Broken Empire dread her like no other. For all her reign, she has fought the long war, contested in secret, against the powers that stand behind nations, for higher stakes than land or gold. Her greatest weapon is The Silent Sister - unseen by most and unspoken of by all. The Red Queen's grandson, Prince Jalan Kendeth - drinker, gambler, seducer of women - is one who can see The Silent Sister.

    Ron says: "M. Lawrence does it again, but differently."
    "Lighthearted prince of thorns"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Enjoyed this more upbeat version of POT. There are quiet a few similarities to the characters and storyline (beyond the obvious overlapping place & time), but it is fresh and distinct.

    As with POT the characters are richly developed, engaging, and interesting. The plot feels a bit weaker than the other series, but it is hard to compete.

    I recommend, especially if you are a fan of the thorn series.

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

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Jacob Cooper
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (403)
    Performance
    (383)
    Story
    (385)

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

    Ana says: "A rich, exciting fantasy world"
    "Pretty good."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After reading some reviews of this book, I was expecting a captivating, engrossing, mature, sophisticated Brandon Sanderson or GRR Martin type experience.

    While fine in its own right, it was not in the same ball park as those. The storyline/plot is creative and engaging. The character development is fine. The writing isn't amazing, but it does the job. It feels slightly like it is leaning towards the YA side.

    The experience/writing felt most like Brent Weeks.

    2 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Legion: Skin Deep

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1253)
    Performance
    (1130)
    Story
    (1132)

    As the new story begins, Leeds and his "aspects" are hired by I3 (Innovative Information Incorporated) to recover a corpse stolen from the local morgue. But there's a catch. The corpse is that of a pioneer in the field of experimental biotechnology, a man whose work concerned the use of the human body as a massive storage device. He may have embedded something in the cells of his now dead body. And that something might be dangerous.

    B. says: "A Pleasure"
    "Fun installment in the Legion series."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed this book (helped that it was free). But it has the halmark Sanderson creativity. While I'm not overwhelmed by any aspect of the book (storyline is fun, but not amazing; character development is good, but not his best work; concepts are engaging, but not inspiring), I enjoyed it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Widow's House: The Dagger and the Coin, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Daniel Abraham
    • Narrated By Pete Bradbury
    Overall
    (252)
    Performance
    (230)
    Story
    (230)

    Lord Regent Geder Palliako's war has led his nation and the priests of the spider goddess to victory after victory. No power has withstood him, except for the heart of the one woman he desires. As the violence builds and the cracks in his rule begin to show, he will risk everything to gain her love or else her destruction. Clara Kalliam, the loyal traitor, is torn between the woman she once was and the woman she has become. With her sons on all sides of the conflict, her house cannot stand, but there is a power in choosing when and how to fall.

    Brian says: "Please Don't Make Me Wait Long For The Final Book!"
    "Best book in the series!!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Up until this book I enjoyed but didn't love this series. This is the book in which it all really starts coming together. The character development is paying off. The actions of the characters in prior books fits. The epic storyline is coming into fruition. I'm hooked on the series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Emperor's Soul

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Angela Lin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1135)
    Performance
    (1022)
    Story
    (1034)

    New York Times best-selling author Brandon Sanderson is widely celebrated for his Mistborn Trilogy and contribution to the final three books of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. In The Emperor's Soul, a Forger named Shai can copy and re-create any item by using magic to rewrite its history. After being condemned to death for attempting to steal the emperor's scepter, Shai is given one final chance. She' ll be allowed to live if she can create a new soul for the emperor, who hovers near death.

    debbie says: "A Great Short Novella that is Long in Story"
    "Good, if not great, Sanderson"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was the last available Sanderson book I had yet to read. Given its short length I waited for a long time until it came up on sale. It was worth the sale price. Fun book. Not in the same class as some of his other work, but enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Helene Wecker
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3185)
    Performance
    (2936)
    Story
    (2937)

    Helene Wecker's dazzling debut novel tells the story of two supernatural creatures who appear mysteriously in 1899 New York. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York Harbor. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop.

    Robert says: "I loved the story, the writing and the narration."
    "Enjoyable read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Different kind of story. Fun retelling of the emigrant's tale through the experience of two mythical beings.

    Well done and enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Deathless

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Catherynne M. Valente
    • Narrated By Kim de Blecourt
    Overall
    (63)
    Performance
    (58)
    Story
    (59)

    Koschei the Deathless is to Russian folklore what devils or wicked witches are to Western European culture: a menacing, evil figure; the villain of countless stories that have been passed on through story and text for generations. But Koschei has never before been seen through the eyes of Catherynne Valente, whose modernized and transformed take on the legend brings the action to modern times, spanning many of the great developments of Russian history in the 20th century.

    Robert says: "My Favorite Fantasy Book of the Year"
    "Interesting, but not fully engaging."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Fascinating to glimpse the experience (if only fictional) of communist Russia. I'm enjoying trying to parse through the allegories wrapped adapted in Russia folk lore.

    However, while I haven't finished yet, I'm not entirely taken with the experience. Not sure I'd recommend, unless you are interested in Russian history/folk lore.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Broken Sword

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Poul Anderson
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    Overall
    (91)
    Performance
    (77)
    Story
    (77)

    Thor has broken the sword Tyrfing so that it cannot strike at the roots of Yggdrasil, the tree that binds together earth, heaven, and hell. But now the mighty sword is needed again to save the elves in their war against the trolls, and only Skafloc, a human child kidnapped and raised by the elves, can hope to persuade Bölverk the ice-giant to make Tyrfing whole again. But Skafloc must also confront his shadow self, Valgard the changeling, who has taken his place in the world of men.

    Ryan says: "A spirited homage to old myths"
    "Something lost in the translation?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm not sure if I read the wrong review or what. But this book is boring me to death. It is like a dull retelling of an old english folk tale.

    I put it down two books ago and haven't gone back.

    Not I'm going to be able to ever finish it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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