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Alison

Brinston, ONTARIO, Canada

61
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 70 reviews
  • 70 ratings
  • 286 titles in library
  • 26 purchased in 2015
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3

  • The Sword of the Lictor: The Book of the New Sun, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Gene Wolfe
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    Overall
    (252)
    Performance
    (168)
    Story
    (167)

    The Sword of the Lictor is the third volume in Wolfe's remarkable epic, chronicling the odyssey of the wandering pilgrim called Severian, driven by a powerful and unfathomable destiny, as he carries out a dark mission far from his home.

    Gene Wolfe's "The Book of the New Sun" is one of speculative fiction's most-honored series. In a 1998 poll, Locus Magazine rated the series behind only "The Lord of the Rings" and The Hobbit as the greatest fantasy work of all time.

    Darwin8u says: "Shone brilliant @ times, but muted in the middle"
    "obviously amazing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you loved the first two books (and lets face it, why would you pick this one up if the first two weren't your cup of tea), then you'll not be disappointed by this installment of the series. Once again we rejoin Severian quite a bit further along in his journey then when we left him at the end of the last book, but I found this transition easier to follow than the last, maybe just because I was expecting it more.

    We follow Severian through the book as usual, with some familiar characters coming and going, and some new ones too. If it's been a while since you finished the last book, probably wouldn't hurt to refresh your memory before you start this one. This book probably has as many random tangents as the last but I found them more enjoyable or easier to follow or more relevant than the side stories in the last book.

    I realized while listening to this book that part of what I love about Gene Wolfe's writing is that so much happens in the book, but every scene or incident is so well described and fleshed out. It's never rushed. But nor is it weighed down with unnecessary description. A lot of writers could learn from Wolfe. The world he creates is so realistic and easy to immerse yourself in, but so lacking in detailed descriptions (ie. what does the alzabo actually look like?).

    Johnathan Davis's voice and narration style couldn't be more perfect for these books. I've been listening to some of the other things he's done, and he's an excellent narrator, but nowhere is he as good as he is here.

    Can't wait to download the last book!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Web of Lies: Elemental Assassin, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Jennifer Estep
    • Narrated By Lauren Fortgang
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1790)
    Performance
    (1405)
    Story
    (1394)

    "Curiosity is definitely going to get me dead one of these days. Probably real soon. I'm Gin Blanco. You might know me as the Spider, the most feared assassin in the South. I'm retired now, but trouble still has a way of finding me. Like the other day when two punks tried to rob my popular barbecue joint, the Pork Pit. Then there was the barrage of gunfire on the restaurant. Only, for once, those kill shots weren't aimed at me. They were meant for Violet Fox."

    Robert says: "Brilliant, Unique, Interesting with just 1 oddety"
    "repetitive to the point of boring"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you thought the first book liked to reiterate plot points (like what happened to Gin's family, or who characters are or where Gin stashes her knives), then buckle yourself in because you're likely to fall asleep at the wheel and crash your car listening to this monotonous repetition of everything. Don't worry if you didn't read the first book, this one tells you what happened. Several times. Then, in case you got lost on the current 'plot' it will remind you of that too. Forgot that Gin's family is dead? Don't worry, she'll remind you. Forgot who Mab Monroe is? Don't fret! Another long winded description is only a page or two away! The book was better than half over before anything like plot started happening. I have to wonder if the entire plot line with the lawyer's son wasn't added in to make the thing actual novel length.

    As though that was't bad enough, we have the continuation of the forced 'relationship' between Gin and the detective ("His eyes met mine. Grey on gold." gag). I don't understand why Gin is so determined that the fact she's a (retired) murderer shouldn't matter to the only non-corrupt cop in the city. Are we really supposed to take her side on this? She goes on and on about how he should overcome his morals because he's physically attracted to her. What? It makes no sense to me.

    Anyway, moral of the story, I won't be buying any more of this series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Killing Floor

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Lee Child
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7918)
    Performance
    (5752)
    Story
    (5738)

    All is not well in Margrave, Georgia. The sleepy, forgotten town hasn't seen a crime in decades, but within the span of three days it witnesses events that leave everyone stunned. An unidentified man is found beaten and shot to death on a lonely country road.

    Ed says: "Comic book tough guy"
    "he came; he saw; he shot everyone"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had high hopes going in to this book for the start to a riveting series. It wasn't that the book was bad, it just wasn't good. It's not that Reacher isn't an interesting character, but that he never seems to face any actual troubles. Every time he runs into an obstacle or an opponent, he kills them and moves on. He pretty much goes through the whole book without getting a scratch. I guess I was just hoping for a more intense story. I mean, we all know that the hero of whatever book is going to win, but it would be nice to see him struggle a bit. The big confrontation of the book is quite anticlimactic.

    Also, I thought it took waaaaaay too long for Reacher or anyone to figure out the scam that was going on with the counterfeiting. I mean, he tracks down Hubble through a (frankly barely believable) Sherlock Holmes-ian series of deductions but can't figure out 'ex unum pluribus'?

    Don't get me started on Rosco. I hate useless female characters. For someone who is supposedly a police officer, she's so useless I just want to punch her.

    Dick Hill did a great job narrating though. He has the perfect voice for this kind of thing. There's a little preview of the next book at the end, and the new narrator they have sounds frankly terrible. Even if I had been inclined to buy the next in the series, I probably wouldn't based on the terrible performance of the preview.

    Anyway, if you're looking for an entertaining listen when you're on a long car ride or somesuch, then I'd recommend it. If you're looking for a quality action/mystery book, then keep looking.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Reliquary: Pendergast, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2891)
    Performance
    (1933)
    Story
    (1931)

    Hidden deep beneath Manhattan lies a warren of tunnels, sewers, and galleries, mostly forgotten by those who walk the streets above. There lies the ultimate secret of the Museum Beast. When two grotesquely deformed skeletons are found deep in the mud off the Manhattan shoreline, museum curator Margo Green is called in to aid the investigation.

    Anastasia says: "Should have made this one into a movie..."
    "sort of the same as the first only not as good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book continues on the plot started up in the epilogue of the first book. Unfortunately, it fails to live up to its predecessor. It has most of the same plot features, all the same characters, science and high tech, but now it's just rehashing the first book instead of doing something new. It pretty much follows exactly the same plot as the first, wherein Pendergast and D'Augusta call on the Museum of Natural History crew to help out with killer beasts. Things come to a head when a variety of plot lines all come together in the same place at the same time, but where things seemed smooth and natural with the first book (the gathering of people for the museum opening), this book seems a bit more stilted and forced. The Take Back Our City plot line seems stuck in there for no better reason than to provide a crowd to be put in danger as things spiral out of control because of faulty technology and incompetent people in high places (just like the first book).

    The first book was quite focused on the science of the museum beast. This book also has some science in it, but all the repetitive time that was before spent on DNA is now spent on the underground city beneath New York. Like the first book it's interesting for a few minutes, but dragging as the book goes on.

    I quite like Dick Hill in general as a narrator, and I think he has a great voice for gritty detective books, but he just couldn't capture any kind of southern accent for Pendergast and his Irish accent for the coroner was frankly sad.

    Bottom line: this book doesn't give me hope for the rest of the series. Probably won't be buying any more of them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Speaks the Nightbird

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Robert McCammon
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3334)
    Performance
    (2973)
    Story
    (2959)

    The Carolinas, 1699: The citizens of Fount Royal believe a witch has cursed their town with inexplicable tragedies -- and they demand that beautiful widow Rachel Howarth be tried and executed for witchcraft. Presiding over the trial is traveling magistrate Issac Woodward, aided by his astute young clerk, Matthew Corbett. Believing in Rachel's innocence, Matthew will soon confront the true evil at work in Fount Royal....

    aaron says: "Dark, Twisted Period Piece with GREAT Characters!"
    "great book...right up until the end"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really wanted to like this book. It started out so well and had lots of good things going for it. There's a ton of interesting characters, a pretty good mystery (ie. you are unlikely to guess the culprit in the first twenty pages), well researched history, a plot that moves along at a fair pace. Then, at the last maybe the last fifth of the book it all fell apart for me. In general, I liked Matthew, and I appreciated that McCammon didn't fall into the anachronistic trend of having his 'good' characters assume that there are no such things as witches or witchcraft. Matthew really isn't sure if Rachel is a witch or not for a fair chunk of the book. It's the kind of book where there are lots of clues given here and there and you know perfectly well that they're clues and will be important later, but it's hard to predict how they will be useful. It seemed like it was going places. Then everything went to pieces, when Matthew leaves Fount Royal the book starts to fail. The ending was such a disappointment. It was't that the villain didn't fit the role, but there was an entire chapter of exposition on why he/she had done what he/she had done and all the tired cliched reasons. After such a carefully realistic and convoluted setup, it all wraps up so neat and tidy. I just wanted more. I suppose if the next book in the series went on sale, I might consider it, but I won't be rushing out to spend a credit on it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Age of Innocence

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Edith Wharton
    • Narrated By David Horovitch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (383)
    Performance
    (311)
    Story
    (314)

    Countess Olenska, separated from her European husband, returns to old New York society. She bears with her an independence and anawareness of life which stirs the educated sensitivity of Newland Archer, engaged to be married to May Welland.

    Ilana says: "Narrated to Perfection"
    "surprisingly compelling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this book on sale and wasn't really sure I was going to get into it, but I found myself quickly attracted to the struggles of the main character. It was easy to be swept along with Archer from youth and optimism, from thinking that the world and society could be anything that you might make of it, from believing you can determine your own fate, to the realization that society will find a way to mold you into a thing that fits. It's a slow, inexorable decline, and I felt for him every step of the way. I was almost in tears at the end, which is pretty rare for me. Now, I can definitely see classrooms of high school students hating this book as they are forced into essays about 'the role of flowers as gifts' or 'social norms versus trends' but outside the classroom setting, I quite liked it.

    The narrator did a mostly adequate job, but I'm not sure why they had a British narrator do the definitely American story. Why not get an American? Horovitch tried an American accent for the dialogue, but didn't do a great job, I don't know anyone who puts an 'r' sound after vowels. No one I know would pronounce it "Olensker".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ysabel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Guy Gavriel Kay
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (210)
    Performance
    (104)
    Story
    (104)

    Saint-Sauveur Cathedral of Aix-en-Provence is an ancient structure of many secrets -a perfect monument to fill the lens of a celebrated photographer, and a perfect place for the photographer's son, Ned Marriner, to lose himself while his father works. But the cathedral isn't the empty edifice it appears to be. Its history is very much alive in the present day - and it's calling out to Ned...

    Andrew Stone says: "Magic, Humor, Love, Romance & Mystery"
    "beautifully woven story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Kay has such a talent for creating an astonishing blend of character, setting and plot. Sure, the book could be taken as an extended tourist pamphlet for southern France, but the setting is so essential that it doesn't come off forced.

    I love the characters that Kay creates, because they are such true people, none of them really truly good or truly bad, everyone is just trying the best to get what they want. Each character has their own motivation and is good or evil in relation to that. Also, unlike most books, it was nice to see that when some insane problem faces the fifteen year old main character he doesn't go out and solve a thousand year old problem, he goes to his parents for help, like an actual person not a book character would.

    Two things to keep in mind. Characters from Kay's Fionavar Tapestry books are in this book. Now, you don't need to have read the Tapestry trilogy since the plots aren't really connected, but it might help you understand some of the characters more.

    Second, while I hate to criticize Kay's work, Edward Mariner has two male assistants, yet Greg is the only one who really plays any part in it, and I'm not sure why the other one is in the book at all. It sort of seems like he was written in as an afterthought, and I'm not even sure why. I'm pretty sure he's even referred to by the wrong name at one point. A minor thing, but it just stuck with me as I was listening.

    The narrator did a great job, I thought, of capturing both a teenager's sarcastic inner dialogue and the beauty and scope of the tale and its setting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Unwind

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Neal Shusterman
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1439)
    Performance
    (1233)
    Story
    (1244)

    Conner's parents want to be rid of him because he's a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev's unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family's strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance.

    SoCalBonnie says: "It won me over completely"
    "ok if you can get past the premise"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    So, in this slightly dystopian future of this book, teenagers can be taken apart for spare parts and everyone is cool with that (except the kids who are going to be taken apart, for obvious reasons). If you can just sort of accept that and not question or think too hard about it, then the book is an at least average level of entertaining. The author tries to explain how this strange premise came about but frankly it only makes the whole thing less believable. In general, it's another book of spunky teenagers out to overthrow an 'unfair' system of government. (Kind of makes you worry about the future of society.) Not really better or worse than the rest out there. I guess bottom line: alright but I'm not rushing out to buy the sequel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tiger's Curse

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Colleen Houck
    • Narrated By Annika Boras, Sanjiv Jahveri
    Overall
    (740)
    Performance
    (645)
    Story
    (645)

    The last thing teenager Kelsey Hayes thought she'd be doing over the summer was meeting Ren, a mysterious white tiger and cursed Indian prince! When she learns she alone can break the Tiger's curse, Kelsey's life is turned upside-down. The unlikely duo journeys halfway around the world to piece together an Indian prophecy, find a way to free the man trapped by a centuries-old spell, and discover the path to their true destiny.

    F. DesBouillons says: "Great Book!!!"
    "teen romance meets India travel brochure"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Well, it's a teen paranormal romance novel, that's all you really need to know about it. It's not particularly better or particularly worse than thousands of others out there. It's got everything you'd expect (teenage heroine without a family, who is shy, mousy and romantically inexperienced but is mysteriously necessary? check! supernatural hero who is ridiculously handsome, plagued by some terrible but not disfiguring curse, protective verging on misogynistic, waaaaay older than the heroine, devoted and loyal? check!) plus its got a neato setting in India.

    I try not to get too caught up in little plot things in books like this (you know, like how Keshan who has spent that last three hundred years as a tiger in the Indian jungle can speak fluent, modern Enlighsh?). On the other hand, these characters are so stupid, it really aggrevated me. I mean, they've spent hundreds of years trying to break the curse, and when they find out how to do that they completely don't think anything through. As soon as they get the prophesy they a) start off without considering that the whole 'five sacrifices' thing? and b) go immediately to get Keshan even though the prophesy says specifically that there will only be ONE transformation for ONE man. Smart characters would think about these things. That sort of thing is why I won't be getting any of the other books in this series. Besides, we all know how it ends anyway...

    The female narrator did a great job. Her accents weren't forced or inconsistent. The male narrator (who thankfully only did the prolgoue and epilogue) was absolutely terrible!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Swordspoint: A Melodrama of Manners

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Ellen Kushner
    • Narrated By Ellen Kushner, Dion Graham, Katherine Kellgren, and others
    Overall
    (829)
    Performance
    (737)
    Story
    (739)

    On the treacherous streets of Riverside, a man lives and dies by the sword. Even the nobles on the Hill turn to duels to settle their disputes. Within this elite, dangerous world, Richard St. Vier is the undisputed master, as skilled as he is ruthless--until a death by the sword is met with outrage instead of awe, and the city discovers that the line between hero and villain can be altered in the blink of an eye.

    Stacy says: "What a beautiful book..."
    "I'm not sure what to make of it."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There seems to be lots of great buzz and reviews about this book, so I had some high hopes going in. It wasn't that I was completely disappointed with the book, but I don't think it lived up to the hype.

    I've listened to the novel several times in an attempt to figure out what exactly I dislike about it, but I still can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe it was the rather disjointed plot. Lots of things happen in the book that don't necessarily have much to do with any of the other things. The author mentions in her discussion of the book that it started as several short stories. You can tell. The storylines seemed jammed painfully together, resulting in some problems with timing (ie. look at the discrepancies in the passage of time in the Richard is first hired by the dragon chancellor and Michael Godwin's decision to take up swordsmanship).

    Maybe I didn't like that you never really understand what's going on. It's hard to get too worked up about political plotting and rivalries when you get absolutely no explanation of any of the government system or positions. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Gene Wolfe fan and if there was ever an author who didn't feel the need to burden the narrative with explaining himself, its Wolfe, but Kushner's novel just didn't cut it for me.

    I didn't mind the multiple narrators so much as the stupid sound effects that accompany the narration. The addition of things like the sound of spoons stirring when characters are having tea, is so juvenile a technique that it takes away from the book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Privilege of the Sword

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Ellen Kushner
    • Narrated By Ellen Kushner, Barbara Rosenblat, Felicia Day, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (525)
    Performance
    (477)
    Story
    (480)

    Award-winning author, narrator, and screenwriter Neil Gaiman personally selected this book, and, using the tools of the Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX), cast the narrators and produced this work for his audiobook label, Neil Gaiman Presents. In this exciting new "illuminated production", the author herself reads her own work, supported by a full cast.

    Ann says: "Austen-es​que tale (with swordfight​s!)"
    "more flawed than the first with none of the charm"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After the book is over, the author talks a bit about writing it and says that it took her a long time to write this book and she started and put it down quite a bit. It shows. The book tries to recapture the plotting and charming romance of the first but really can't pull it off.

    The plot is even more disjointed and incomplete than the first book. There are huge plot problems, like the super abrupt ending to the big conflict, and the complete irrelevance of Lucius and his lover to the entire plot. There are small plot problems, like why does Katherine think she's such good friends with Artemesia that she ought to leap to Artemesia's defense when they've only met twice and one of the times Artemesia laughed at her and won't answer any of her letters?

    I suppose it's supposed to be a 'tapestry' that shows all the things that go on in Riverside, but it just wasn't my thing. It seemed like just a list of all the ways women are oppressed in the city. I just wanted more.

    Leaving aside my general dislike of the whole multi-narrator premise, the production on this wasn't very good. The narration was so quiet I had to turn up the volume as loud as it would go, only to be frequently deafened by the stupid 'sword' sounds which marked breaks in the chapters. There are good narrators out there who can 'whisper' what characters say without actually lowering their voices to an indecipherable level.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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