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Wells, VT, United States | Member Since 2002

  • 6 reviews
  • 18 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 1 purchased in 2014

  • The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Michael Scott
    • Narrated By Denis O'Hare

    Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on September 28, 1330. Nearly 700 years later, he is acknowledged as the greatest alchemist of his day. It is said that he discovered the secret of eternal life. The records show that he died in 1418. But his tomb is empty. The legend: Nicholas Flamel lives, but only because he has been making the elixir of life for centuries. And Sophie and Josh Newman are about to find themselves in the middle of the greatest legend of all time.

    Allison says: "High Fantasty in a modern world setting"
    "Sloppy writer"

    I will leave the problems with character development to other reviewers. The book reads like a first draft, cynically published in this unpolished form with badly conceived main characters (the twins) to sell to the huge YA market.

    The writer could not bother to keep track of his own writing. Redundant vocabulary is common. He uses the word "countless" several times in a short passage, his favorite lazy word for great quantity. He often employs "countless" for things readily counted (the number of gargoyles on Notre Dame, for example).

    Even a magical otherworld must have some internal logic, but the author has lazy inconsistencies. Such as the description of Yggdrassil, when we are first introduced to the world tree, compared to what happens to it later, indicating an absurd change in size.

    I hope the author uses a thesaurus, and a good editor, in the future.

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Perdido Street Station

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By China Mieville
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Beneath the towering bleached ribs of a dead, ancient beast lies New Crobuzon, a squalid city where humans, Re-mades, and arcane races live in perpetual fear of Parliament and its brutal militia. The air and rivers are thick with factory pollutants and the strange effluents of alchemy, and the ghettos contain a vast mix of workers, artists, spies, junkies, and whores.

    Cherry says: "Wish I could rate it higher - skipped audio"
    "New Crobuzon haunts me"

    China Meiville has created an urban nightmare that feels hopelessly real and peopled it with corruption, compassion and humanity. Gorgeous writing. The city is the vastest character in the book, and that's saying something in this book with people who still haunt me years after I read it. Since the novel I love is so drippingly rich in description I wondered if it could work as an audiobook. Thank you, John Lee! There are few novels I read twice, but I have both read and listened to Perdido Street Station twice. That's four swampy excursions into the fetid, amazing neighborhoods of New Crobuzon.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Relic: Pendergast, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Just days before a massive exhibition opens at the popular New York Museum of Natural History, visitors are being savagely murdered in the museum's dark hallways and secret rooms. Autopsies indicate that the killer cannot be human. But the museum's directors plan to go ahead with a big bash to celebrate the new exhibition, in spite of the murders. Museum researcher Margo Green must find out who - or what - is doing the killing.

    Snoodely says: "Non-Perishable"
    "Wheelchair cluelessness"

    One of the main characters is a brilliant scientist who has done expeditions in his wheelchair, who has full use of his arms and a very strong grip, all noted in the prose. So why does he suddenly need another character to push him around? This and other nonsense about wheelchair use was annoying. A little bit of research, a few chats with folks who use wheelchairs, and maybe the authors would not be so clueless. Sadly, too few readers will even notice the ableist cliches ("wheelchair-bound", "iron prison", etc.) or the unexamined assumptions that underlie them.

    The story itself is pretty silly, but a competent monster tale, good fluff as a soundtrack to chores. The reader, David Colacci, is reliable. Like a good mechanic, he knows his trade, cares enough to research pronunciation of uncommon and technical terms.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fingerprints of the Gods: The Evidence of Earth's Lost Civilization

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Graham Hancock
    • Narrated By Peter Reckell

    Using tools as varied as archaeo-astronomy, geology, and computer analysis of ancient myths, author Graham Hancock presents a compelling case to suggest that the story of mankind is far older than we have previously believed. And as the truth about prehistory and the real meaning of ancient myths and monuments is revealed, it becomes apparent that a warning has been handed down to us: a terrible cataclysm that afflicts the Earth at irregular intervals of time may be about to occur.

    Roger says: "Too short"

    Graham Hancock is lost in fantastical archeology. Everywhere he sees so-called evidence for his cherished hypotheses, and he blatantly ignores or creatively "explains" away whatever disconfirms his notions. The most voluble in a long line of earnest folks who forget that knowledge is assured only by ruthlessly testing your theories against the world, Hancock seems unable to reasonably weigh his evidence. I have only heard a little, and read a little of the text also. I will take honest archeology over breathless speculations about Atlantis and the Sphinx. Hancock is not repressed by some cabal of academics, he simply ignores the standards of scholarship. He is very successful bringing his fancies to the masses via cable TV, and so has far more fans than the archeology journals. He is an entertaining, competent writer, alas, and has duped many, including himself.

    6 of 43 people found this review helpful
  • 2004 RNC: Senator Zell Miller (09/01/04)

    • NONE (15 mins)
    • By Zell Miller

    On the third night of the 2004 Republican National Convention, Senator Zell Miller (D-GA) addressed the crowd. The speech took place at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York, on September 1, 2004.

    Samuel says: "I was WOW'ed"
    "Wierdly fascinating"

    Like rubbernecking at a wreck, it was wierdly fascinating to listen to Zell Miller. Tragedy wound so tight that I couldn't even laugh much at the craziness. I find both the big party conventions to be unsurprising infomercials, so Zell was a breath of fresh, ozone-scented air. In a creepy kind of way. He probably will never challenge me to a duel, though (reference to his later interview with Chris Matthews) because he is a gentleman and I am a lady.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Andromeda Strain

    • ABRIDGED (3 hrs)
    • By Michael Crichton
    • Narrated By Chris Noth

    An unmanned satellite returns to earth mysteriously and lethally contaminated. Four scientists work against the threat of a worldwide epidemic. As they slowly begin to unravel the puzzle of the Andromeda Strain, their search for a bio-medical answer becomes a split-second race against time.

    Mr. Burke says: "Why Bother, it's abridged."
    "Jarring mispronunciations, but an okay listen"

    With an adequate abridgement, this is still, maybe more, interesting a book since recent heightened awareness of plagues and bioweapons, and it is fun to compare the older technology and speculation with today's knowledge and seen how ideas have changed and not changed. I read the book decades ago, so I do not recall if Crichton had one of his typical lame lovestory subplots in Andromeda Strain, but I am glad this audiobook did not. Crichton is notorious, in my mind, for wooden, thinly realized characters and dumb loveplots; I never care who dies in one of his books, and that may be part of the popularity. There is no emotional investment in reading Crichton, but, if you are lucky, you will be stimulated to do some intellectual speculation, which IS emotionally rich and is sparked by the ideas Crichton uses as springboards to weave his tales.

    Chris Noth is a solid reader, but was there no one in the recording session to stop him when he made egregious faux pas like his mispronunciation of simple words like "epithelial" and "hematocrit"? How little must Chris himself read (and how little retained from 10th grade biology) to not have known these words? When you come across a word you do not know, look it up. Just like your grammar school teacher told you.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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