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  • The Hunger Games

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Suzanne Collins
    • Narrated By Carolyn McCormick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning? In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by 12 outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

    Teddy says: "The Book Deserves The Hype"
    "A little overly contrived."

    It's a great idea for a story, and fairly original, but it suffers from too much contrivance in order to make the goals of the author work (which I won't detail due to spoilers) and suit a younger audience.
    Resolutions are all fairly obvious, but it's a quick enjoyable read and definitely good for the youth audience.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Robert A. Heinlein
    • Narrated By Lloyd James

    In what is considered one of Heinlein's most hair-raising, thought-provoking, and outrageous adventures, the master of modern science fiction tells the strange story of an even stranger world. It is 21st-century Luna, a harsh penal colony where a revolt is plotted between a bashful computer and a ragtag collection of maverick humans, a revolt that goes beautifully until the inevitable happens. But that's the problem with the inevitable: it always happens.

    Gerald says: "Very Good Interpretation"
    "The Moon is a Harsh Listen"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, it is mostly a good read though it tails off in the last half.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Mike. But it is unfortunate that he fades out of frame in the last half of the book and so much of the unique character that Heinlein imagined is left unexplored.

    What three words best describe Lloyd James’s performance?

    Harsh Russian accent

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blue Remembered Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Alastair Reynolds
    • Narrated By Kobna Holdbrook-Smith

    One hundred and fifty years from now, in a world where Africa is the dominant technological and economic power, and where crime, war, disease and poverty have been banished to history, Geoffrey Akinya wants only one thing: to be left in peace, so that he can continue his studies into the elephants of the Amboseli basin. But Geoffrey's family, the vast Akinya business empire, has other plans.

    Shawn says: "100 years out, humans are reaching for the stars."
    "Another miss from Reynolds"
    What did you like best about Blue Remembered Earth? What did you like least?

    He should have skipped the whole first part of the book and instead fleshed out just the last section of the last chapter (was it an epilogue?) into a full story; perhaps make the actual book into a short prologue.

    The best potential parts of the book were in the Evolvarium on Mars as well as the underwater colony, but unfortunately both were extremely underdeveloped and all the action I was imagining coming stayed mostly over the horizon. Really disappointing.

    Still an engaging writer in terms of style though.

    If you’ve listened to books by Alastair Reynolds before, how does this one compare?

    I have read everything Reynolds has written so far and unfortunately, after two misses in a row, I'm starting to doubt that he will ever get back to his best.

    Some very soft writing in Blue Remembered Earth makes me think Reynolds is tiring of the Hard Sci-Fi that endeared me to his stories. Hopefully he can get back to his best with the next one.

    What does Kobna Holdbrook-Smith bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Very well read by Kobna, accents were impressive and differentiation between male and female voices was mostly well handled. Production value of the title was very good overall with small amounts of theme music placed strategically.

    Did Blue Remembered Earth inspire you to do anything?

    Buy into an African multi-national company...nah not really.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Divergent

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Veronica Roth
    • Narrated By Emma Galvin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue - Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is - she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

    Grant says: "It's not for me. Loved it anyway."
    "OK, maybe this book is just for kids/teens but..."

    Does that excuse it for being a thinly veiled ideological message piece, with lashings of cloyingly childish romance and FAR too much boring internal monologue?

    Demonizing intelligence and honesty, lionizing brave (read:holy) warmongery and religiosity (yes, Roth calls it selflessness but it is a version of Christianity thinly disguised); it could be called A Fundamentalist Manifesto. Except for the fact that the ideological message was so badly written and poorly developed that it is consumed by the sickening personal story of a rather pathetic, whiny and stupid young girl who is, in her words, "afraid of intimacy" (purity ring generation I'd assume). I can only imagine that this pro-fundy cheer leading will be further developed in future books (which I will be skipping).

    Just to show how ridiculous the ideology underpinning this series is I will give an example. When was the last time an intelligent scientist or even a science popularizer ran for public office? When was the last time you saw one with a hunger for power or a want to destroy the disenfranchised? Yet early in the book with an obviously Christian-parallel faction in sole control of the government facing a hostile takeover from the erudite faction one of the reigning evangelical...oops i mean abnegation...government ministers (and father of the protagonist) says:

    "Valuing knowledge above all else results in a lust for power, and that leads men into dark and empty places"

    This comment is so obviously opposite to reality (just look at Neil de Grasse Tyson or Richard Dawkins to see the absurdity of it) that I was forced to listen to the whole wretched book just to make sure it wasn't a parody piece that made the opposite point at the end. was horrible! Quickly, must read Hyperion again to get this thing out of my head!!

    (Oh, and for FSM's sake it's NOT pronounced eh-ree-ya-dite.)

    10 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • The Well of Ascension: Mistborn, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (29 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The impossible has happened. The Lord Ruler is dead has been vanquished. But so too is Kelsier, the man who masterminded the triumph. The awesome task of rebuilding the world has been left to his protege Vin; a one-time street urchin, now the most powerful Mistborn in the land. Worryingly for her Vin has become the focus of a new religion, a development that leaves her intensely uneasy.

    A User says: "Brandon Sanderson 5 stars all the way :-)"
    "Slow Start..."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would (at least I'd recommend starting the series with the first book). Starts off rather slow and never quite reaches the heights of the first book of the series, but all in all a good continuation of the Mistborn saga. The final chapters of Well of Ascension point to an even more compelling storyline to come in the last book, but it stands well on its own too.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    OreSeur - The growth of the relationship between Vin and OreSeur is quite interesting and provides much of the early to middle part of the book's interest.

    Have you listened to any of Michael Kramer’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    The previous novel in the series; both of them are very good performances.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes. Unable to do so for the initial half (a little too slow), but the last half I read in one sitting.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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