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Kyle

Member Since 2012

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HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 7 ratings
  • 98 titles in library
  • 9 purchased in 2014
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  • Annihilation: Star Wars: The Old Republic, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Drew Karpyshyn
    • Narrated By Marc Thompson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (305)
    Performance
    (284)
    Story
    (286)

    The Sith Empire is in flux. The Emperor is missing, presumed dead, and an ambitious Sith lord’s attempt to seize the throne has ended fatally. Still, Darth Karrid, commander of the fearsome Imperial battle cruiser Ascendant Spear, continues her relentless efforts to achieve total Sith domination of the galaxy. But Karrid’s ruthless determination is more than matched in the steely resolve of Theron Shan, whose unfinished business with the Empire could change the course of the war for good. Though the son of a Jedi master, Theron does not wield the Force - but like his renowned mother, the spirit of rebellion is in his blood.

    Kurt says: "Excelent Story and another great Old Republic book"
    "Solid middle of the road Star Wars"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is another among the solid, but basically middle of the road, Star Wars genre books. The entire "The Old Republic" series, while interesting as independent books, do not lead one to another in a typical series fashion -- each one is centered around new characters at a different point in time. Nevertheless, "Annihilation" does stand well on its own, and I very much appreciated that the main character's background is different from that which is most focused on in many Star Wars books. But it does not approach the epic quality of the more intimately connected series.

    As for the narration, Marc Thompson continues to do a top job with Star Wars as always.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Star Wars: Cloak of Deception

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By James Luceno
    • Narrated By Alexander Adams
    Overall
    (74)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (40)

    Hoping to stem the growing tide of unrest, Chancellor Valorum convenes an emergency trade summit on the planet Eriadu. A group of Jedi Knights is sent to protect the delegates from possible terrorist attack, but what should have been a simple peacekeeping assignment turns out to be a mission into the heart of a political firestorm. For shadowy forces are at work, pulling the strings in a bid for power that could leave the Republic reeling. And the chancellor is only the most visible victim.

    Terryn says: "Good Background to Episode 1"
    "Largely forgettable, with some redeeming qualities"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While those of Star Wars fandom should listen to this book, I found it largely forgettable. The general paucity of true character development may be why. We don't get many good glimpses into the underlying characters, but merely observe them go through somewhat predictable motions. That said, there is some redemption in the fact that it does fill in some of the gaps in the timeline and we do see a little more of the various machinations leading up to Episode I.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Storm of Swords: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (47 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    Overall
    (13267)
    Performance
    (9966)
    Story
    (10012)

    As opposing forces maneuver for the final titanic showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost line of civilization. In their vanguard is a horde of mythical Others, a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords.

    Troy says: "Chapter and part breaks are incorrect"
    "Sweet agony"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Powerful continuation of the series, packed with interest amidst the continued long yarns of sometimes confusing value -- a tremendous amount of time continues to be spent on details of uncertain significance, yet I still couldn't seem to stop listening. There's just quality all the way through, even when it's not clear whether a scene or a chapter have much of a role in the greater plot(s). But for those who pay attention, sometimes even the small things come back in some way or other. I remain awed. Anyone who thinks they have a good grasp of what is happening in this world, or what will happen, may yet again be surprised. As always, do not neglect any prologue or epilogue, in its proper time and place. Anyone who has been through the first two books, however, really shouldn't need to read a review to decide whether to move on to the next in this series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (37 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    Overall
    (14442)
    Performance
    (10796)
    Story
    (10815)

    A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. And from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war.

    Teddy says: "Did not disappoint..."
    "More of the same"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Epic really isn't the right word. What this series encompasses is a different kind of vastness all its own, with characters often far more grey or black than pillars of heroic virtue. By this the second book of the series I'm already lost in what happened in what book, and there is a little intentional confusion of perspective and timing. One never seems to know how important a given scene is going to be in the bigger picture, and the picture already seems to be bounded only by what we think we know of the world -- a picture always just a bit in motion, no less, and to which a little (or a lot) more is added or smudged. I fear I may be ruined on more typical modern writing.

    The performance remains a bit drunkard-old-man to me, regardless of the character. The predominantly British/European accents used suit very well, and I've come to think of Dotrice as a sort of kindly old black-sheep uncle, willing and pleased to read for me, but without a particularly wide range of ability. It does seem to suit the theme overall, but the women and children still sound like raspy old men like everyone else.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ex-Heroes

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Peter Clines
    • Narrated By Jay Snyder, Khristine Hvam
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2505)
    Performance
    (2234)
    Story
    (2244)

    Stealth. Gorgon. Regenerator. Cerberus. Zzzap. The Mighty Dragon. They were heroes. Vigilantes. Crusaders for justice, using their superhuman abilites to make Los Angeles a better place. Then the plague of living death spread around the globe. Despite the best efforts of the superheroes, the police, and the military, the hungry corpses rose up and overwhelmed the country. The population was decimated, heroes fell, and the city of angels was left a desolate zombie wasteland like so many others.

    Don says: "A great read if you like heroes or zombies!"
    "Modern old fashioned entertainment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Clines takes the old themes of heroes and zombie apocalypses and merges them in an entertaining romp set in modern times, rolling out names of persons, places, events, etc. that pretty plainly mark the timeframe...somehow almost comically so. He goes back and forth a bit about how much he's playing with the whole thing, so at times there's a dark and gritty feel and at times there's more of a comical inside-joke air -- I would have preferred a little more of the former, though perhaps taking the theme too seriously would have ruined the thing. Overall the action keeps moving, and there are regular windows of insight to help put the characters and situations in perspective. I'm not a particular zombie-theme fan, but quite enjoyed the listen.

    The performances are a little commercialized, for lack of a better term -- like a commercial announcer, wavering in loudness but not so much in personality. Even when cursing there wasn't a lot of tangible emotion, just car salesmanship. It also took a very long time for me to tell much of a difference among the characters beyond male & female, which are portrayed by 1 male & 1 female performers. It basically doesn't work when there are a lot of people talking around the same time because I just couldn't tell them apart beyond gender, but, that isn't a particularly common problem. Fortunately the book is written in such a way that this doesn't completely detract from the enjoyment -- I still look forward to getting the next book in the series!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Storm Front: The Dresden Files, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By James Marsters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9828)
    Performance
    (6796)
    Story
    (6803)

    A call from a distraught wife, and another from Lt Murphy of the Chicago PD Special Investigation Unit makes Harry believe things are looking up, but they are about to get worse, much worse. Someone is harnessing immense supernatural forces to commit a series of grisly murders. Someone has violated the first law of magic: Thou Shalt Not Kill. Tracking that someone takes Harry into the dangerous underbelly of Chicago, from mobsters.

    Tom says: "Excellent Story, Distracting Sound Engineering"
    "Interesting combination of two old themes"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Butcher merges two well worn themes in magic and old-school down-and-out private eye in crafting this world, which on the surface appears basically the same as our own. One of the difficulties in establishing magic in a world is how many rules to lay out in defining the bounds of magic -- too many and the magic becomes restricted and predictable, but too few and it can become a bit silly and far too easy of a fall-back. In this first book of the series, the only one I have listened to thus far, Butcher seems to hang onto the middle ground reasonably well, allowing some interesting unexpectedness while not quite falling into the trap of "anything goes, it's magic after all.." -- he offers the idea that there are bounds and explains a little, but doesn't give up all the mysteries. The style is not as gritty and mature as some, but not pre-teen either given some of the content; it might have been better served taking a slightly bigger step in one of those directions or the other. In all, an enjoyable, action packed book which both stands on its own and establishes substantial character background for the series, while introducing other things which are not completely explained.

    The performance by Marsters took a little getting used to. Think of an old-school black and white detective show with quiet conversational narration, where the main character sounds perpetually weary or hung over, disinterested but obligated to keep going, at times even almost whispering. At times breathing and lip smacking can faintly be heard. While in a way overall it kinda mimicks that old detective style, it wasn't what I anticipated and didn't quite fit all the other characters. But by the end, for better or worse, I couldn't think of it being done any other way, and I still look forward to the next book in the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    Overall
    (21595)
    Performance
    (15694)
    Story
    (15750)

    In a time long forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons off balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. As the cold returns, sinister forces are massing beyond the protective wall of the kingdom of Winterfell. To the south, the king's powers are failing, with his most trusted advisor mysteriously dead and enemies emerging from the throne's shadow.

    DCinMI says: "Review of First 5 Books"
    "Epic book, solid performance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The depth and magnitude of this book, and this series, is staggering to the point of being difficult to follow for the first several chapters of this, the first book in the series. However, once the main groups, characters, and geography is laid out and grasped, the subtleties of the story become more apparent and intriguing. In contrast to other authors who tend to fall perhaps a little too much in love with certain characters, Martin evidently makes no apologies in showing a character's greatness and weakness from different perspectives, nor in spreading thin and sometimes confusing the traditional roles of protagonist and antagonist, and in so doing merely makes the characters and the story more gritty and believable. As for the audio narration, while Dotrice does a good job generating English/British Isles accents and voices for gravelly middle aged medieval men who have probably drunk too much, eaten too much, and shaved too little over their years, similar voices are applied to young teenage girls. Unfortunately, while there are certainly a goodly number of the former type characters in the book, there are also more than a few of the latter, and many key characters who are relatively young but don't sound like it. Still, as with many narrators, familiarity and continuity substantially mitigates that problem, and with each book I've seen being well over 30 hrs of narration there is plenty of time to develop familiarity. Overall, it remains an excellent book and the narration still lends itself to exactly the right "feel" -- as if winter is indeed coming.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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