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Amazon Customer

-kls

Hayward, CA USA | Member Since 2007

4
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 5 reviews
  • 50 ratings
  • 402 titles in library
  • 114 purchased in 2014
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  • Fated

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Alyson Noël
    • Narrated By Brittany Pressley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (90)
    Performance
    (80)
    Story
    (78)

    Strange things are happening to Daire Santos. Crows mock her, glowing people stalk her, time stops without warning, and a beautiful boy with unearthly blue eyes haunts all her dreams. Fearing for her daughter’s sanity, Daire’s mother sends her to live with the grandmother she’s never met. A woman who recognizes the visions for what they truly are - the call to her destiny as a Soul Seeker - one who can navigate the worlds between the living and dead.

    Amazon Customer says: "Fated--I like it"
    "Vastly Overrated, Schizophrenic, and Clumsy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The leading misfeature is the plot in which the heroine jumps frenetically between baseless overconfidence and irrational despair. As the plot developed I found myself hoping, even assuming that there must be some point of redemption where she actually tests herself and learns something, but I was disappointed in this as well.

    A much better version of the story of the spoiled kid to grows beyond his childish youth can be found in Kipling's "Captains Courageous". As for "Fated," I'm mostly disappointed that anyone saw fit to publish something so pointless.


    How could the performance have been better?

    I'm not usually sensitive to reading styles, but the voice actor in this case does help to knock the general failure of the story out of the park. Her delivery is so earnest (while the protagonist is being so obtuse) that I found myself losing suspension of disbelief on a nearly constant basis.


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

    Some of the descriptions of native American ritual and beliefs are interesting. I don't know if they are accurate, but they are at least interesting. And occasionally the author's description of the story setting hits a good fantasy note; but again all of these have been done better by other authors. Garth Nix for example paints a much more interesting and believable picture of the netherworld in my opinion.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lock In (Narrated by Amber Benson)

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Amber Benson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (464)
    Performance
    (413)
    Story
    (425)

    Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever, and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent - and nearly five million souls in the United States alone - the disease causes "Lock In": Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.

    Anthony says: "Love Amber's Narration"
    "A sense of body disassociation"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My initial read through of the novel was Wil Wheaton's excellent performance, but I have just started listening to Amber Benson's interpretation which leads me to some oddly disassociative feelings.

    Throughout Wil's reading I assumed that the first person narrator was male. The premise of the story makes the narrator's actual sex irrelevant, and to my memory, undiscussed. Even so I find that my association of male with the protagonist is so strong that restarting the novel with a female reader instills a strange feeling of body disassociation, somewhat akin to the primary plot element of the novel.

    I am left wondering if there were indications one way or the other that I have forgotten, or if the novel can be read equally well from either perspective, or if the author's intent was all along to make the sex of the protagonist be immaterial.

    Very strange.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Wives of Los Alamos: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By TaraShea Nesbit
    • Narrated By Tavia Gilbert
    Overall
    (71)
    Performance
    (58)
    Story
    (59)

    Their average age was 25. They came from Berkeley, Cambridge, Paris, London, Chicago - and arrived in New Mexico ready for adventure, or at least resigned to it. But hope quickly turned to hardship as they were forced to adapt to a rugged military town where everything was a secret, including what their husbands were doing at the lab. They lived in barely finished houses with P.O. box addresses in a town wreathed with barbed wire, all for the benefit of a project that didn’t exist as far as the public knew.

    Amazon Customer says: "Tedious"
    "Tedious"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Writing a novel from the perspective of a Community is an incredibly difficult undertaking. The result makes me feel schizophrenic. Or maybe it is just that there is no story here. A group of young women were thrown into close proximity with one another under trying circumstances at the insistence of husbands and government, and lived for a couple of years before departing. Along the way they may have given birth to a community. Or maybe not. Either way they had to come away from the experience with the sudden realization that their husbands had invented the most destructive weapon known to man.

    One gets occasional insights of the time and the place, the limits they were willing to accept in the name of a nation at war, the sexual tension that underlies all human communities. The need to connect with one another. But because the story doesn't follow any of the community members closely enough to make them into people, it is very difficult to feel what they felt.

    2 stars for the history lesson. 1 (or zero) for the story which is AWOL. The performance is ok if a bit sing-song given the lack of a narrative that binds the reader to what she is reading.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • One Second After

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By William R. Forstchen
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5534)
    Performance
    (3503)
    Story
    (3535)

    Already cited on the floor of Congress and discussed in the corridors of the Pentagon as a book all Americans should read, One Second After is the story of a war scenario that could become all too terrifyingly real. Based upon a real weapon - the Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) - which may already be in the hands of our enemies, it is a truly realistic look at the awesome power of a weapon that can destroy the entire United States.

    Sara says: "A terrifying story"
    "A Bleakly Plausible End of the World Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the first time I've encountered Forstchen, and overall I recommend this novel. It contains an interesting mix of strategy, apocalyptic future, and family, with perhaps the barest fringes of romance thrown in for good measure.

    There are several other plotlines that are given teasers but never fleshed out, and it seems to me almost as though the author became disenchanted with his own work and decided to cut it short.

    The story comes to a very brief conclusion that runs counter to most of the foreshadowing, and curtails what seemed like a much longer story arc nearer the beginning. For example Forstchen goes into extravagant detail about a piece of gold jewelry that his daughter is given at the beginning of the book, presumably with the intention of exploring metals as hard currency in the post-apocalyptic world that the character ends up in. What we are left with is pretty depressing, all of the death and destruction, but none of the postwar renaissance and indomitable human spirit that draws victory from the ashes of failure. Here the victory is bare survival, which is pretty bleak indeed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Existence

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By David Brin
    • Narrated By Kevin T. Collins, Robin Miles, L. J. Ganser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (456)
    Performance
    (409)
    Story
    (407)

    Gerald Livingston is an orbital garbage collector. For a hundred years, people have been abandoning things in space, and someone has to clean it up. But there’s something spinning a little bit higher than he expects, something that isn’t on the decades’ old orbital maps. An hour after he grabs it and brings it in, rumors fill Earth’s infomesh about an "alien artifact".

    A. Massey says: "Big ideas, good science fiction, frustrating style"
    "Long"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Existence?

    This is the first time that a David Brin story has left me bored for practically the entire journey. Mr. Brin decided to try his hand at Science Fiction set in a strictly Einstein conforming Universe.

    In itself that isn't such a bad idea, but the story simply plods along too many plot threads few of which hold any really interesting developments. It also feels bizarrely as if Mr. Brin was trying to leave an opening to tie this universe into his Uplift series, but as interesting as some of the backfilled story could be, there are occasional references to uplift activities which have only a peripheral relationship to the central plot and have no challenges to overcome within the story line making it unclear why they are there at all.

    Toward the end of the book it feels as if Mr. Brin got bored with what he was writing. The timeline moves painfully slowly through the first two thirds of the book, then fast forwards years at a time toward the end as we get a quick summary of the results of events set in motion earlier. This too is disappointing.

    Instead of telling stories of endless conniving by aristrocratically entitled idiots (among other plotlines), why not tell us about the debates that allowed humans to actually decide their future. Instead of telling us the story of how we managed to find a path out of the difficulties we were facing, the eventual success of human civilization is entirely gobbled up as fait accompli by the summary chapters that form the conclusion.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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