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  • The Passage: The Passage Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Justin Cronin
    • Narrated By Scott Brick, Adenrele Ojo, Abby Craden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear—of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.

    Nicole says: "You love it or you hate it..."
    "Really bad!"

    This book is worse than a made-for-TV movie. It's like a low-grade Stephen King, but it's closer to the R.L. Stine teen thrillers. The author has mid-level descriptive powers; that is one plus. But the characters are stereotypes, each operating within the scope of one or two defining qualities. And even though it's a horror story, the action lacks any kind of authenticity, so one's willingness to suspend disbelief is constantly challenged. Improbable rescues occur predictably, like in a silent-picture melodrama. Only the quirky, evil, or peripheral characters die, except for one whose end comes with a suitcase nuke. That's a pretty big clue right there. But the worst part is the incredibly slow pacing of the story, making it boring on top of its other flaws. This includes at one point a dry recounting of those "taken up" -- dozens of names, maybe scores. Couldn't we have been spared this and so much more? It's sort of an interesting story concept although I Am Legend preceded it. I just wish the author who wrote World War Z had done the writing, or else Cormac McCarthy.

    2 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Under Heaven

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Guy Gavriel Kay
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In his latest innovative novel, the award-winning author evokes the dazzling Tang Dynasty of 8th-century China in a story of honor and power. Inspired by the glory and power of Tang dynasty China, Guy Gavriel Kay has created a masterpiece.It begins simply. Shen Tai, son of an illustrious general serving the Emperor of Kitai, has spent two years honoring the memory of his late father by burying the bones of the dead from both armies at the site of one of his father's last great battles.

    Mike says: "Impressive!"

    The author uses luminous description and knowledge of ancient China to weave a rich, textured story with some supernatural twists. You feel like you have a small window focused on the scene at hand, say in a sedan chair, but widening out from that focal point is a world full of intertwining background activity. The characters are for the most part varied and interesting, in a few cases a little flat. The plot offers its share of surprises, yet I found myself a little annoyed at times by some improbable or awkward scenes. Still, this book merits 5 stars just for the poetic beauty of the writing.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Daemon

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Daniel Suarez
    • Narrated By Jeff Gurner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Thousands of autonomous computer programs, or daemons, make our networked world possible, running constantly in the background of our lives, trafficking e-mail, transferring money, and monitoring power grids. For the most part, daemons are benign, but the same can't always be said for the people who design them.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Really Fast Paced Sci Fi!"
    "Starts strong, then it's all downhill"

    This novel makes a promising start, with two murders carried out by a computer "daemon." But it quickly and steeply descends into a comic book dystopia of computers run amuck.

    Anyone who has been on the phone with an automated answering system knows how far away AI is from the Hal-like Daemon. (From topical references, the story appears to take place roughly in the present.) Murphy's law does not function in this dystopia, as nothing vital to the daemon every malfunctions. So prepare for Herculean efforts to suspend your disbelief as this autonomous computer program arranges physical events starting with a cable being wenched up out of a road at a precisely timed moment to murder someone. The plot progresses to futuristic weapons and scenarios analogous to flying cars.

    Moreover, the novel is not saved by its flat characters and dialog. It would have made a better comic book, which is two-dimensional by design. And at least we'd have pictures to look at.

    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Hornet Flight

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    It's June 1941, and the low point of the war. England throws wave after wave of RAF bombers across the Channel, but somehow the Luftwaffe is able to shoot them down at will. The skies, indeed, the war itself seem to belong to Hitler.

    C. McCoy says: "An Outstanding Spy Novel"
    "Really good!"

    You can count on Ken Follett to keep you immersed in a story. With this book, he does not disappoint. Despite the improbable confluence of action, he always makes it feel authentic and adrenaline-inducing. And John Lee, who is in the top tier of readers, always hits the right tone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jawbreaker: The Attack on bin Laden and al-Qaeda

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Gary Berntsen, Ralph Pezzullo
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In Jawbreaker, Gary Berntsen, until recently one of the CIA's most decorated officers, comes out from under cover for the first time to describe his no-holds-barred pursuit of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.

    Joshua says: "A great read (err - Listen)"

    In too many places the author leaves us with "deleted" or "redacted." What's the point in this? Explain it or rewrite instead of telling half. A good story, spoiled. Also, the author rails against Clinton and praises Bush, who ultimately let bin Laden escape and allowed Afghanistan to rekindle into the hell it is now. And finally, do real heroes require so much self-congratulation? Why not let history do that?

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful

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