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Charles Grayson

Memphis, TN USA | Member Since 2008

7
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 12 reviews
  • 12 ratings
  • 324 titles in library
  • 32 purchased in 2014
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  • Bloodfire Quest: The Dark Legacy of Shannara, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Terry Brooks
    • Narrated By Rosalyn Landor
    Overall
    (238)
    Performance
    (217)
    Story
    (214)

    The quest for the long-lost Elfstones has drawn the leader of the Druid order and her followers into the hellish dimension known as the Forbidding, where the most dangerous creatures banished from the Four Lands are imprisoned. Now the hunt for the powerful talismans that can save their world has become a series of great challenges: a desperate search for kidnapped comrades, a relentless battle against unspeakable predators, and a grim race to escape the Forbidding alive. But though freedom is closer than they know, it may come at a terrifying price.

    Brenda says: "Best of Terry Brooks!"
    "Another quest where everybody dies, pointlessly"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Bloodfire Quest?

    Feckless protagonists, poor character development and unoriginal story line. Honestly, they all deserve to get eaten by some creature because they behave so stupidly at every point in the story that I couldn't care much about their fate.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Terry Brooks again?

    I'll probably get the last book of this series, but I won't be happy about it. Nothing more after that.


    What three words best describe Rosalyn Landor’s voice?

    Overly dramatic, but her range of voices is quite good.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Annoyance


    Any additional comments?

    Brooks' portrayal of female characters borders on being sexist.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Airborn

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Kenneth Oppel
    • Narrated By David Kelly
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (176)
    Performance
    (76)
    Story
    (79)

    Matt Cruse is a cabin boy on the Aurora, a huge airship that sails hundreds of feet above the ocean. One night he meets a dying balloonist who speaks of beautiful creatures drifting through the skies. It is only after Matt meets the balloonist's granddaughter that he realizes that the man's ravings may, in fact, have been true, and that the creatures are completely real and utterly mysterious.

    Linda Maepa says: "A rollicking adventure the family* can enjoy"
    "Great Performance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The multi-actor performance really made the story. They all did a great job, although if I had any advice to offer the actor playing Matt Cruse, it would be "turn it down a notch." Not every sentence needs to be imbued with great drama.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Scion of Cyador: The Saga of Recluce, Book 11

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By L. E. Modesitt Jr.
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (36)

    Exploring the rich depths of the history of Recluce, Magi'i introduced Lorn, a talented boy born into a family of Magi'i. A fastidious student mage who lacked blind devotion, Lorn was made into a lancer officer and shipped off to the frontier. Having survived an extended stint fighting both barbarian raiders and the giant beasts of the Accursed Forest, Lorn has proven himself to be a fine officer - perhaps too fine an officer. As his prowess has grown, so has his number of enemies and rivals.

    Charles Grayson says: "A Hero That's Hard to Like"
    "A Hero That's Hard to Like"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Lorn murders anyone whom he disapproves of. He seems to have no concept of the rule of law, and when faced with a warring neighbor, never considers that making peace is an alternative to escalation. While he does experience some remorse for his actions, he never is moved towards increasing his self-knowledge in such a way as to change his future behavior.

    The first half of the book is at least full of action, even if wrong-headed action, but the second half slows down immensely, and we're presented with weeks upon weeks of family dinners and crying babies, just before a final flurry of action at the end.

    The narrator has a pleasant voice while narrating, but he unwisely chose to give all of his characters some sort of foreign accept, which he proceeds to butcher. The accent is often something of a lower class British one, but shifts oddly to German and something vaguely central European. The narrator would have been better served by saving the accents for characters foreign to our primary cast of characters; making everyone foreign served no real purpose. Adding insult to injury, the emotional tone of characters was mostly flat, as if they were as bored with what they were saying as I was in listening to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Marque and Reprisal: Vatta's War, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Moon
    • Narrated By Cynthia Holloway
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (450)
    Performance
    (254)
    Story
    (259)

    Although the exciting military career she hoped for never got off the ground, Ky Vatta ended up seeing plenty of combat when she took the helm of one of the commercial transport vessels in her family's fleet...and steered it into a full-blown war. Now the lessons she learned in that trial by fire are about to pay off---because this time, the war has come to her. Someone has launched a full-throttle offensive against Vatta Transport Ltd., Ky's father's interstellar shipping empire.

    Charlie says: "Vatta's War Gets Deadly"
    "Believable Characters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The universe in this series is similar to that of the Liaden Space series by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, but although less attention is paid to exploring the universe's culture, the characters are somewhat better developed. There are also similarities to the Honor Harrington series by David Weber, but the lead character is more human and all the supporting characters don't get killed off.

    The narrator is distracting. Most characters speak in the same voice, which has an odd cadence and comes across as slightly robotic, like the voice on the trains you find in large airports. The voice is unable to convey any emotional content, other than cheeriness, which is wildly inappropriate for many of the situations the characters find themselves in. The only variation in her voice comes when speaking as a male 14 year old and a male 20-something, where she manages to make them both sound like a whiny 7 year old.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Valor's Choice

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Tanya Huff
    • Narrated By Marguerite Gavin
    Overall
    (271)
    Performance
    (147)
    Story
    (149)

    In the distant future, humans and several other races have been granted membership in the Confederation - at a price. They must act as soldier/protectors of the far more civilized races who have long since turned away from war.

    Shelby says: "Surprisingly Good!"
    "Boring"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Valor's Choice better?

    More character development.


    What was most disappointing about Tanya Huff’s story?

    The people are all indistinguishable from each other. No distinct personalities.


    What three words best describe Marguerite Gavin’s voice?

    Pleasant, but the character voices were too chirpy for marines.


    What character would you cut from Valor's Choice?

    All of them.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • On the Edge: The Edge, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Ilona Andrews
    • Narrated By Renée Raudman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1347)
    Performance
    (945)
    Story
    (957)

    Rose Drayton lives on the Edge, between the world of the Broken (where people drive cars, shop at Wal-Mart, and magic is a fairy tale) and the Weird (where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny). Only Edgers like Rose can easily travel from one world to the next, but they never truly belong in either.

    Karen says: "Wow...wow...what?"
    "A Romance Novel under the Guise of a Fantasy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Delete the shallow, romance-novel like treatment of the male lead, Declan.


    Any additional comments?

    The fantasy aspect of the story is pretty good, but some of the writing seems lifted straight from a romance novel. Perhaps this is due to there being two authors, one male and one female. We know who is responsible for the gooey parts.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Kevin Hearne
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10055)
    Performance
    (8975)
    Story
    (8954)

    Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old - when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer. Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries....

    Chris says: "Finally, a modern day fantasy that really hits the"
    "No Dresden"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Hounded? What did you like least?

    Our hero, Atticus, doesn't have a shred of Harry Dresden's personality or complexity, and all of the other characters are likewise paper thin, completely undeveloped. The character of Oberon, the dog, is idiotic.

    The story also lacks the, oh, intellectual depth of a Dresden story, which often wrestles with the ideas of right and wrong. Atticus seems relatively amoral, and demonstrates an indifference to the implied deaths of two humans at the hands of an immortal towards the beginning of the story. I almost stopped listening after that.

    The story doesn't really build any suspense as it moves towards the climax, so there isn't much satisfaction afterwards, particularly since it's difficult to care much about Atticus or his stupid dog.


    Was Hounded worth the listening time?

    No


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Nimisha's Ship

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Anne McCaffrey
    • Narrated By Susan Ericksen
    Overall
    (79)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (42)

    On Vega III, where the jaded inhabitants pursue lives of malicious intrigue and decadent pleasure, Lady Nimisha Boynton-Rondymense has always been an anomaly. Disdainful of the frivolity of her fellows, she prefers the exciting and challenging world of her father, Lord Tionel, owner and principal starship designer of the famous Rondymense shipyards.

    Eric says: "Great book!"
    "More of a documentary than an adventure"
    Overall

    There really isn't the slightest bit of tension in the whole story, not even a harsh word between characters. Almost every bit of dialogue is accompanied by the narrator pointing out the "grin" on the face of the speaker. The first third of the book is a dry rendition of the story of our protagonist growing up, without the slightest shred of personality development. Our protagonist, Nimisha, is clearly perfect in every way.

    The story picks up a bit once she's marooned on the planet, but the characters still aren't developed as distinct personalities. The plot summary of the book hints that dark forces are scheming to take over her ship building company while Nimisha is gone, but in reality, that only occupies a few paragraphs and then disappears as a threat.

    The writing style of the book is awkward, as if the author was thumbing through a thesaurus to find the most obscure word to say something simple, and of the characters talked the same way. You can't tell the difference between the narrator and any other character in the story. I surely expected something better from an author of McCaffrey's experience.

    The narrator talked too fast, didn't make distinctions among voices, and stumbled frequently.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Truth of Valor: A Confederation Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Tanya Huff
    • Narrated By Marguerite Gavin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (142)
    Performance
    (84)
    Story
    (84)

    Former Marine gunnery sergeant Torin Kerr is attempting to build a new life with salvage operator Craig Ryder on his ship, the Promise. Turns out civilian life is a lot rougher than she'd imagined - salvage operators are losing both cargo and lives to pirates. And when they attack the Promise, Craig is taken prisoner and Torin is left for dead. When Torin finds out why the pirates needed Craig, she calls in the Marines to get him back....

    Martha says: "Love a kick butt female!"
    "Workman-like"
    Overall

    The two main characters, Torin and Craig, are two-dimensional stereotypes of the damsel stolen by the bad guys and having to be rescued by the high testosterone manly-man, except that gender roles have been reversed. Here, the man is the equivalent of the helpless pretty blond, and Torin is the tough-talking kick-ass character who must prove her manhood through physical brutality and profanity. Neither had any personality beyond what was needed for them to perform in these roles.

    And I really groaned at the hackneyed climax where Craig urges Torin to allow the chief bad guy to live rather than having her "become just like them" by killing him, only to have to blow up his escaping ship minutes later. How many times have we seen this scenario played out?



    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Red Wolf Conspiracy

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Robert V. S. Redick
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (265)
    Performance
    (141)
    Story
    (139)

    The Imperial Merchant Ship Chathrand is the last of her kind. Six hundred years old, the secrets of her construction long forgotten, the massive vessel dwarfs every other sailing craft in the world. It is a palace with sails, a floating outpost of the Empire of Arqual. And it is on its most vital mission yet: to deliver a young woman whose marriage will seal the peace between Arqual and its mortal enemy, the secretive Mzithrin Empire.

    Lindira says: "Very Good"
    "Decent story"
    Overall

    but as another reviewer pointed out, our main protagonist is a bit feckless. Perhaps it's just a build up to make him more of a hero when he develops more of a spine.

    My review is probably colored by the antipathy I feel for the narrator. Every character bellows his lines like he's standing on a Shakespearean stage; there is no sense of anyone having a private conversation. And so many characters cackle like witches around a cauldron.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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