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Josh Alwitt

Newton, MA USA | Member Since 2005

6
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 171 ratings
  • 261 titles in library
  • 14 purchased in 2014
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  • Steelheart: Reckoners, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Macleod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6514)
    Performance
    (6077)
    Story
    (6102)

    Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills. Nobody fights the Epics...nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in. He wants Steelheart - the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father.

    D says: "He got the idea from a near traffic accident"
    "More of a Young Adult Read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Brandon Sanderson and/or Macleod Andrews?

    No. The writing is clunky and there is virtually no character development. The world that Sanderson has created doesn't hang together. The characters repeatedly use the same three "curses" over-and-over: "sparks", "calamity" and "slontz". A 12-year-old might like the story, except for the unnecessary violence in the prolog.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Brandon Sanderson again?

    No. Sanderson makes Dan Brown look like Shakespeare. He had a good basic idea but couldn't weave a reality together that makes any sense. There is little explanation for how things came to be and why they are. The dialog is pathetic, e.g. "I will dominate you."


    What didn’t you like about Macleod Andrews’s performance?

    He didn't have much to work with and he did a reasonable job with voices.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The idea is very imaginative and somewhat original. He just isn't a very good writer.


    Any additional comments?

    I was really thrown off by the high ratings of this audio book, which I have found reliable for the eight years I've subscribed to Audible. Maybe I missed something because this book is not written at an adult level. But I don't see anything about Young Adult category in the listing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Neil Gaiman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4855)
    Performance
    (4482)
    Story
    (4496)

    A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. He is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock. Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie - magical, comforting, wise beyond her years - promised to protect him, no matter what.

    Cynthia says: "Shadows Dissolved in Vinegar"
    "More Genius from Neil Gaiman"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Ocean at the End of the Lane again? Why?

    If you like Neil Gaiman you will like this story. Gaiman finds a way to tell the hero myth story in a new way with fascinating characters every time. You will still be pondering the mysteries of some of these characters long after you've finished the book. And he has the unusual gift of great writing and great narration, with different characters and nothing short of fine acting.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Old Mrs. Hempstock is a fantastic character.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 14

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Peter Clines
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11190)
    Performance
    (10156)
    Story
    (10178)

    There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment. Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn’t perfect, it’s livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don’t nag at him too much. At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbor across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment. And Xela’s apartment. And Tim’s. And Veek’s.

    Magpie says: "Super solid listen!!"
    "Fresh and entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does 14 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Some fresh ideas, decent character development and a few plot twists. Narrator breathes life into the story with a variety of character voices including some authentic accents.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Feast for Crows: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9277)
    Performance
    (8523)
    Story
    (8564)

    Few books have captivated the imagination and won the devotion and praise of readers and critics everywhere as has George R. R. Martin’s monumental epic cycle of high fantasy that began with A Game of Thrones. Now, in A Feast for Crows, Martin delivers the long-awaited fourth book of his landmark series, as a kingdom torn asunder finds itself at last on the brink of peace . . . only to be launched on an even more terrifying course of destruction.

    Pi says: "Jarring change in Dotrice's performance"
    "Weak story and mediocre narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about A Feast for Crows? What did you like least?

    Parts of the story are a solid continuation of the first 3 books but the plot does not really progress and introduces new characters we don't care about. There are already plenty of reviews written about this book in Amazon so I won't repeat them. See my comments on the narrator.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The fate of Cercei is surprising but I won't spoil it.


    Did Roy Dotrice do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    The narrator is fairly weak and is particularly challenged with female voices. There are only a few voices he actually uses and fits each character into one of them: the quavering old man, the common man, the highborn man, the highborn woman, the common woman. The women's voices are strangely shrill and unnatural.


    Do you think A Feast for Crows needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    The rest of the plot is found in the follow-up book, A Dance With Dragons. So yes, you need to listen/read it to find out what happens to the rest of the characters.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Her Fearful Symmetry: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Audrey Niffenegger
    • Narrated By Bianca Amato
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (912)
    Performance
    (256)
    Story
    (264)

    When Elspeth Noblin dies of cancer, she leaves her London apartment to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina. These two American girls never met their English aunt; they only knew that their mother, too, was a twin, and Elspeth her sister. Julia and Valentina are semi-normal American teenagers - with seemingly little interest in college, finding jobs, or anything outside their cozy home in the suburbs of Chicago, and with an abnormally intense attachment to one another.

    A User says: "What a waste"
    "Good writing but the plot gets silly"
    Overall

    I found the writing and narration compelling, but the plot becomes unnecessarily complicated and silly. The idea and characters are interesting enough on their own without the implausible surprises and "it's crazy but it just might work" second half. That said, I did enjoy listening to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Xenocide

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By Scott Brick, Gabrielle de Cuir, Amanda Karr, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4814)
    Performance
    (2659)
    Story
    (2687)

    Xenocide is the third installment of the Ender series. On Lusitania, Ender found a world where humans and pequeninos and the Hive Queen could all live together; where three very different intelligent species could find common ground at last. Or so he thought. But Lusitania also harbors the descolada, a virus which kills all humans it infects, but which the pequeninos require in order to transform into adults.

    David says: "full of passion"
    "Entertaining bridge"
    Overall

    This installment in the Ender series is fun and an acceptable bridge from the remarkable Speaker for the Dead to the remarkable Children of the Mind. You need to listen to this one on your way to the last book which I found deeply moving in the same way as Speaker for the Dead.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Shadow of the Giant

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By David Birney, Scott Brick, Full Cast
    Overall
    (2317)
    Performance
    (1153)
    Story
    (1164)

    Bean, once the smallest student at the Battle School, and Ender Wiggin's right hand, has grown to be a power on Earth. He served the Hegemon as strategist and general in the terrible wars that followed Ender's defeat of the alien empire attacking Earth. Now he wishes for a safe place to build a family, something he has never known, but there is nowhere on Earth that does not harbor his enemies; old enemies from the days in Ender's Jeesh, new enemies from the wars on Earth.

    Joe says: "Enderverse"
    "Last gasp"
    Overall

    The cast of characters in the Bean saga starts to get a little tired in this one. It's entertaining but my least favorite of this series. Card leaves room for another one after this so I hope he takes a fresh approach to it. He's an amazingly talented writer but the ideas in this installment are worn out.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Lawrence Wright
    • Narrated By Alan Sklar
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1192)
    Performance
    (480)
    Story
    (480)

    This is a sweeping narrative history of the events leading to 9/11, a groundbreaking look at the people and ideas, the terrorist plans, and the Western intelligence failures that culminated in the assault on America. Lawrence Wright's remarkable book is based on five years of research and hundreds of interviews that he conducted in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, England, France, Germany, Spain, and the United States.

    John says: "Riveting... Sobering... Chilling..."
    "Enlightening"
    Overall

    Well written and narrated, the narrative moves at a reasonable pace and helps explain how we got into our current predicament. I finally feel like I understand the driving forces behind something that from our perspective looks like insanity.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Speaker for the Dead

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By David Birney, Stefan Rudnicki
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8175)
    Performance
    (4640)
    Story
    (4695)

    In the aftermath of his terrible war, Ender Wiggin disappeared, and a powerful voice arose: the Speaker for the Dead, who told the true story of the Bugger War. Now, long years later, a second alien race has been discovered by Portuguese colonists on the planet Lusitania. But again the aliens' ways are strange and frightening...again, humans die. And it is only the Speaker for the Dead, who is also Ender Wiggin the Xenocide, who has the courage to confront the mystery...and the truth.

    Joe says: "The Enderverse"
    "Deep"
    Overall

    Probably the most emotionally moving science fiction I have read.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Amulet of Samarkand: The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Jonathan Stroud
    • Narrated By Simon Jones
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2063)
    Performance
    (886)
    Story
    (890)

    Nathaniel is eleven-years-old and a magician's apprentice, learning the traditional art of magic. All is well until he has a life-changing encounter with Simon Lovelace, a magician of unrivaled ruthlessness and ambition. When Lovelace brutally humiliates Nathaniel in public, Nathaniel decides to speed up his education, teaching himself spells far beyond his years. With revenge on his mind, he masters one of the toughest spells of all and summons Bartimaeus, a five-thousand-year-old djinni, to assist him.

    Randy says: "Terrific Trilogy"
    "Masterful entertainment - Simon Jones is terrific"
    Overall

    I picked this book up by accident at a friend's house because their 12-year-old was reading it. I loved LOTR but have never been interested in Harry Potter. Couldn't put the book down and when I got home immediately ordered it on Audible. Simon Jones makes it twice as fun with his terrific characters. Buy it!!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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