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Nothing like a great audio book. Nothing worse than a bad book - audio or otherwise.

Minnesota, USA | Member Since 2012

  • 3 reviews
  • 3 ratings
  • 173 titles in library
  • 28 purchased in 2014

  • The Dirty Streets of Heaven: Bobby Dollar, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Tad Williams
    • Narrated By George Newbern
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Bobby Dollar is an angel - a real one. He knows a lot about sin, and not just in his professional capacity as an advocate for souls caught between Heaven and Hell. Bobby’s wrestling with a few deadly sins of his own - pride, anger, even lust. But his problems aren’t all his fault. Bobby can’t entirely trust his heavenly superiors, and he’s not too sure about any of his fellow earthbound angels either, especially the new kid that Heaven has dropped into their midst, a trainee angel who asks too many questions.

    Michael says: "Angel Noir"
    "Ok, it's the first in a new series...."

    I was excited to see that Tad Williams had started a new series. I am a big Williams fan, having enjoyed all of his other books. For those who haven't yet done so, I recommend reading or listening to his Otherland series. I would also recommend any of his fantasy books. The problem with The Dirty Streets of Heaven was that it wasn't near the quality of the other Williams offerings.

    Had I not seen his name on the book, I never would have guessed that this book was written by Tad Williams. I would have thought it was a collaboration effort between Jim Butcher (the Dresden Files series) and Richard Kadrey (the Sandman Slim series). Bobby Dollar, it seemed to me, must be closely related to Harry Dresden. Dollar also inherited Dresden's sassy and (oftentimes but not always) endearing sense of humor. Maybe it's because I just got done listening to the (delightful) Dresden series, but I kept finding myself thinking I was listening to another Dresden book.

    While the protagonist, earthy angel Bobby Dollar, is far less foul mouthed and depressed than Kadrey's (oftentimes but not always) likable Sandman Slim, he does have the same love/hate relationship with his otherworldly overlords (in Slim's case, the devil, and in Dollar's case, the angels). Dresden and Sandman are both series that took an original idea and ran with it. I hate to say it, but in my mind's eye I kept seeing Tad Williams talking to his editor about what kind of series he should write next. Anyone in the industry couldn't help but notice how successful this whole genre of books (the vampire, zombie, wizard, hellion themed books with a hip, loveable, very capable but self-denigrating anti-hero) has become. I kept wondering, as perhaps Tad Williams did while developing this character, "What would Harry Dresden do - WWHDD'? Where would Harry go? Or, what would a Harry Dresden-type character (who is a well intended, golden-hearted, anti-establishment earthbound angel) do if he had essentially the same personality as Harry Dresden but wasn't a wizard but rather an angel. Well, maybe it didn't happen that way at all. Maybe he didn't talk it over with his publisher at all.

    What did Williams do well in this book? I was very impressed with his well considered presentation of the afterlife, and many of the salvation issues involved. His presentation of heaven actually made me excited to experience the afterlife. He deftly and successfully navigated around a lot of thorny theological considerations in a way that should offend few of any faith. In other words, as he does so well, Williams has created a consistent and believable imaginary world. What I found sadly lacking was the story itself and the characters. I expected better characters and character development from Williams. Other than Bobby Dollar and his (evil but virtuous, treacherous but warm-hearted, loyal but untrustworthy devil babe) girlfriend, the Countess of Cold Hands, I found the characters flat and not very likeable. I found the chase scenes and battle scenes with the "spawn of hell, creature, monster character" chasing and fighting with Dollar and his posse agonizingly frequent, predictable and boring. And the monster kept coming and Bobby kept escaping... again and again and again.

    There are other shortcomings as well, but I don't want to whip a dead horse.

    If I had never read Williams' other books, I wouldn't have expected as much as I did going into this one. Would I recommend it? I don't know. Will I read the next Bobby Dollar book? Probably, because I'm willing to try anything Tad Williams writes. Even when he lays a relative egg, he is a good enough writer that I'm willing to slog through it. At least this time.

    I thought that the narrator, Dick Hill, did a yeoman's job. It was a good, but not in any way exceptional Hill performance.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Raising Atlantis

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Thomas Greanias
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    A secret U.S. military dig has uncovered ancient ruins two miles beneath the ice of Antarctica and activated the ultimate weapon. Now rogue American archaeologist Conrad Yeats and beautiful Vatican linguist Serena Serghetti must team up to unlock the secret origins of human civilization before a global cataclysm ends it.

    Autumn says: "Stargate+Da Vinci Cod= Raising Atlantis"
    "Please...Make it Stop!"

    This was the worst book I've ever listened to, and I listen to a lot of books. I couldn't believe that one (too long) story could keep taking so many unlikely, implausible and unbelievable (as in not-believable) twists and turns.

    The characters were flat, childish and universally unlikable. Their relationships with one another were schizophrenic and ludicrous. The Catholic nun angle and her relationship with the pope were both painfully stupid, the father -son relationship was trite and stereotypical.

    Finally, these people just wouldn't die!!! The two protagonists (the on again-off again nun/earth mother and the good guy/evil archeologist) survived end-of-the world type explosions, biblical level floods and continental ruptures, only to keep running into one another between apocalyptic disasters in which everyone but these two was killed. I kept hoping they would have mercy on us all and die.

    I don't think I could find one reason to recommend wasting time or money on this book, and the only saving grace is that I bought it at a discounted price. This mutt should never have survived the high-school writing class teacher's red pen. I feel sorry Scott Brick, one of the better readers at Audible, who must have gagged his way through the reading of this one. He deserves three stars for effort - for his valiant attempts to make a silk purse out of this sow's ear.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Wind Through the Keyhole: The Dark Tower

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Stephen King
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In The Wind Through the Keyhole, Stephen King has returned to the rich landscape of Mid-World. This story within a story within a story finds Roland Deschain, Mid-World’s last gunslinger, in his early days during the guilt-ridden year following his mother’s death. Sent by his father to investigate evidence of a murderous shape-shifter, a "skin-man", Roland takes charge of Bill Streeter, a brave but terrified boy who is the sole surviving witness to the beast’s most recent slaughter.

    Amazon Customer says: "An exceptional story, but I miss George Guidall."
    "I Don't Get It"

    I don't understand why there is so much terrible reaction to King's reading of The Wind Through The Keyhole. I really liked the book, and am a big fan of the series. Maybe it's just me, but I really like to listen to Stephen King read his books, and I think his reading of this was very good. I love George Guidell's work too, by the way. Anyway, that's my humble opinion. I sincerely hope that there are many more returns to The Dark Tower series!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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