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Charles

TULSA, OK, United States

ratings
45
REVIEWS
31
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
41
HELPFUL VOTES
489

  • Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 - 5)

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Hugh Howey
    • Narrated By Minnie Goode
    Overall
    (1424)
    Performance
    (1296)
    Story
    (1294)

    This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.

    Charles says: "Unique"
    "Unique"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I just finished this listen about 5 minutes ago. There will not be spoilers in this review- I like to give that heads up from the start.

    Howey manages to write an extremely unique version of the dystopian future genre. The 'Omnibus' edition is made up of 5 parts, each one cumulative but distinct. A believable story with complex characters tackling massive concepts.

    I think Minnie did a very decent job with the narration. There are parts when I felt she went a bit overboard with her characterizations of certain voices (Juliet sometimes [not always] making me cringe just a bit). However, her general narration tone was extremely balanced and pleasant to listen to.

    Unexpected plot points and twists. I was surprised at the depth of character development achieved- genuinely cared about the outcome and fates of those in the story. Even the not so great morally.

    I enjoyed this book a great deal overall, but it took me a long time to finish it; this is relatively unusual for me. I'm one of those listeners who can blow through a book in a couple of days if it really grabs me. Definitely worth your time if you are a fan of this genre- far more so than *many* of the offerings out there. I will be listening to the rest of the series.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Dark Places: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Gillian Flynn
    • Narrated By Rebecca Lowman, Cassandra Campbell, Mark Deakins, and others
    Overall
    (4712)
    Performance
    (3934)
    Story
    (3953)

    Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in "The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas". As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived, and famously testified that her 15-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who've long forgotten her.

    Glenda Jeffers says: "Riveting but brutal"
    "Dark Places Indeed..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I live in the general geographical region this book covers. I practice private criminal defense- not traffic tickets, but murder, rape, and robbery. I spend a lot of time in jails and talking to members of society that are true psychopaths, connecting (as much as one can) with them on a personal level, trying to understand their motivations to defend them. So. Why would I spend 13+ hours listening to a book like this?

    I have no earthly idea.

    Maybe it's because Flynn manages to capture the essence of desperation and poverty in the plains/midwest. The mob mentality of a community which doesn't fully understand the horrors it is presented with. Maybe it's because her characters are so fundamentally flawed that they actually reflect a portion of human nature- a dark, grotesque part for sure, but still a reflection that rings true.

    The characters aren't very likable, but they aren't entirely worthless either. Growth and change occurs over the course of the book... but it's just so accurate. That's what keeps getting me. I think many people would be shocked at how much of society functions well within the parameters and mindsets explored in this story.

    This book is not for everyone. Not much phases me, but I can see how large portions of this novel would shock people. The ending, while not 100% predictable, wasn't surprising.

    The narration was fantastic. I was very leery of trying a multi-narrator book, but it actually worked incredibly well.

    Worth a credit and your time.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Brilliance

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Marcus Sakey
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1627)
    Performance
    (1449)
    Story
    (1456)

    In Wyoming, a little girl reads people’s darkest secrets. In New York, a man sensing patterns in the stock market racks up $300 billion. In Chicago, a woman can go invisible. They’re called "brilliants," and since 1980, one percent of people have been born this way. Nick Cooper is among them; a federal agent, Cooper has gifts rendering him exceptional at hunting terrorists. His latest target may be the most dangerous man alive, a brilliant drenched in blood and intent on provoking civil war. But to catch him, Cooper will have to violate everything he believes in.

    Benjamin says: "Predictable Thriller"
    "Slow to Start"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had to give this book the full "listen for 2 hours, then decide" treatment. I'm very glad I did. What started out as a really predictable and, if I'm being honest, boring intro filled with forced scenes turned into an extremely engaging listen. As the story progressed, it didn't become less predictable, but the writing and storyline significantly improved. Fast paced and entertaining.

    As most good sic-fi/alternate reality books go, this is easily read as an allegory. I am quite sure that is intentional.

    Worth a listen, without question.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Magician's Land: The Magicians, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Lev Grossman
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (718)
    Performance
    (653)
    Story
    (657)

    Quentin Coldwater has been cast out of Fillory, the secret magical land of his childhood dreams. With nothing left to lose he returns to where his story began, the Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic. But he can't hide from his past, and it's not long before it comes looking for him. Along with Plum, a brilliant young undergraduate with a dark secret of her own, Quentin sets out on a crooked path through a magical demimonde of grey magic and desperate characters.

    Charles says: "And so, it ends."
    "And so, it ends."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It took me much longer to finish this book than the previous two. I'm not sure whether it was because it was slower or because my brain knew the end was nigh and wanted to prolong the experience. I choose think the latter. To be completely honest, parts did bore me a bit. But, in the grand scheme, they were mere drops in a lake of wonder.

    The most important thing, to me, is that it was satisfying. The characters reached their resolution in one form or another, the arch was completed, and I feel comfortable with the end. Yes, it was a bit predictable, but who cares. The execution is what matters. And Grossman executed it beautifully.

    This final installment was set on a much grander stage than the previous ones, with no ill effects. In fact, I liked that aspect quite a bit more. Bramhall did a fantastic job narrating as always.

    One of the ending scenes, the culmination of self realization, was as powerful for me as it was for Quentin. I was overwhelmed with longing and sadness, with happiness about a lost time in my life. I guess that's the power of a good series; it picks you up and carries you along, forcing you to identify and project your own experiences onto one character or another.

    These books are brilliant. They returned me to a time when books truly transported me, affected me, on a basic level. Highest marks.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Notes from the Internet Apocalypse: The Internet Apocalypse Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Wayne Gladstone
    • Narrated By Paul Michael Garcia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (48)
    Performance
    (42)
    Story
    (43)

    When the Internet suddenly stops working, society reels from the loss of flowing data and streaming entertainment. Addicts wander the streets talking to themselves in 140 characters or forcing cats to perform tricks for their amusement, while the truly desperate pin their requests for casual encounters on public bulletin boards. The economy tumbles and the government passes the draconian NET Recovery Act.

    Charles says: "Interesting"
    "Interesting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What started as a relatively unusual and tongue in cheek take on the post-apoc genre turned slowly into a fairly predictable plot line. I won't go into much detail, since to do so would expose spoilers, but... I just wasn't hugely impressed with the eventual delivery.

    Don't get me wrong, it was an entertaining book. At times extremely funny and, at others, terrifyingly sad. But it just didn't live up to the potential it started with. I'm not sure how he will be turning this into a trilogy, but I can honestly say that I *will* listen to the following books.

    The performance was great, as was the sound quality. A good short listen if you like bizarre fiction which is close to satire. Adult themes are pervasive throughout, which certainly didn't bother me, but some may take issue with.

    Worth a listen if your queue is short.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Seth Grahame-Smith
    • Narrated By Scott Holst
    Overall
    (6906)
    Performance
    (5272)
    Story
    (5354)

    While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.

    Haden says: "My friends thought I was crazy."
    "Incredibly Entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I used a credit on this book during one of my long drives back from Philadelphia to Oklahoma as a joke listen. Surely, I thought, this can't be what it says.

    Well, it's exactly what the title says and it's delivered in superb fashion. The fictional narrative is intertwined so seamlessly with actual Lincoln facts and truth that it's almost hypnotic at points.

    Just a brilliant concept and delivery.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (27176)
    Performance
    (20922)
    Story
    (21004)

    In a time long forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons off balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. As the cold returns, sinister forces are massing beyond the protective wall of the kingdom of Winterfell. To the south, the king's powers are failing, with his most trusted advisor mysteriously dead and enemies emerging from the throne's shadow.

    DCinMI says: "Review of First 5 Books"
    "This Is Not Going To Be Popular..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I tried really *really* hard to get into this book. I listened for hours. It just couldn't grab me, no matter how hard I tried. I thought it was long winded and obsessively intent on describing every detail.

    To be completely honest and fair, I have been watching the TV show. That very likely has ruined the books for me- I know the show doesn't track exactly as the books do, but knowing where it all is headed kind of kills it for me.

    I also think there is a serious herd mentality that is attached to these books as a result of the show. I would love to see the numbers and reviews of the books prior to HBO picking it up. But maybe that's just my cynical worldview.

    Just not for me.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • 11-22-63: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Craig Wasson
    Overall
    (18665)
    Performance
    (16615)
    Story
    (16576)

    On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King - who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer - takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

    Kelly says: "I Owe Stephen King An Apology"
    "Great"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a truly engrossing listen. From start to finish... it just reached out of my speakers and grabbed me. Spectacular concept which was pretty much flawlessly delivered. And I'm not a King fanboy- I have read a lot of his stuff and have given them varying reviews.

    Wasson did a tremendous job with the narration- there were a number of moments in the listen where I was on the edge of my seat or had massive welling of emotion. Just a brilliant performance.

    Worth a credit and 30 hours of your life.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Randall Munroe
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    Overall
    (316)
    Performance
    (301)
    Story
    (297)

    Millions of people visit xkcd.com each week to read Randall Munroe's iconic webcomic. His stick-figure drawings about science, technology, language, and love have a large and passionate following. Fans of xkcd ask Munroe a lot of strange questions. What if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90 percent of the speed of light? How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live? If there were a robot apocalypse, how long would humanity last?

    Charles says: "Good in Smaller Chunks"
    "Good in Smaller Chunks"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found this very entertaining, overall. Wheaton did a great job, as is expected with his work. Munroe is a smart guy and funny in a lot of ways. But not being a math or science fellow myself (liberal arts guy), I found a lot of the listen to be shooting way over my head. I would glaze over just a bit. Further, there were a large number of questionable logic leaps, though that judgment is clearly the provence of the author/physicist in charge.

    A number of references to the webcomic/website as well- I imagine it translated very well in the print version, but it was essentially useless in the audio.

    I liked it. It was funny. It is worth buying (I wouldn't burn a credit on it). Just be aware of the above as you click add to cart.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Ranger Confidential: Living, Working, and Dying in the National Parks

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Andrea Lankford
    • Narrated By Julia Motyka
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (171)
    Performance
    (156)
    Story
    (156)

    The real stories behind the scenery of America’s national parks. For 12 years, Andrea Lankford lived in the biggest, most impressive national parks in the world, working a job she loved. She chaperoned baby sea turtles on their journey to sea. She pursued bad guys on her galloping patrol horse. She jumped into rescue helicopters bound for the heart of the Grand Canyon. She won arguments with bears. She slept with a few too many rattlesnakes. Hell yeah, it was the best job in the world! Fortunately, Andrea survived it.

    Charles says: "Cringeworthy"
    "Cringeworthy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I downloaded this since my Mom and I were going to be driving around the plains and seeing a few of the National Parks. I grew up doing this on the East and West Coasts; I have a lot of respect for the Parks Service and the Rangers because of this. There is no question that they do a difficult and, at times, dangerous job.

    That being said:

    Julia Motyka should be banned from reading books. Her narration made this book unlistenable.

    The forward was the most self congratulating and cringeworthy drivel I have heard in a long time, if not ever. Right up to the horrifying "Hell yeah!". I just shuddered thinking about it again. We were looking for something relatively light to pass the time, not 100 ways to die in the Parks you're about to go visit. Oh, and in case you all didn't know, criminals take vacations too. I'm pretty sure they just call it 'hiding', Andrea.

    This may be a great book that picks up once you get past the first few chapters, but Motyka made that option unavailable to us. If you like grating saccharin noise while you drive/walk/whatever, go for it. As for me, I am returning this ASAP.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Magician King: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Lev Grossman
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1880)
    Performance
    (1638)
    Story
    (1635)

    Quentin and his friends are now the kings and queens of Fillory, but the days and nights of royal luxury are starting to pall. After a morning hunt takes a sinister turn, Quentin and his old friend Julia charter a magical sailing ship and set out on an errand to the wild outer reaches of their kingdom. Their pleasure cruise becomes an adventure when the two are unceremoniously dumped back into the last place Quentin ever wants to see: his parent's house in Chesterton, Massachusetts.

    Douglas says: "King Grossman the Magician"
    "Amazing, Once More"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am going to start this with a secondarily related commentary: What on earth are you all thinking who put spoilers in your reviews? If I wanted to read a poorly written paragraph long summation of the major plot points, I wouldn't be downloading a 15 hour+ book to listen to.

    In any case, on to the actual review.

    Grossman takes the capital he built in The Magicians and redoubles his efforts. The primary cast returns with some notable and brilliant additions. A broad sweeping fantasy epic which switches between two primary story lines flawlessly, The Magician King explores concepts of loss, love, sacrifice, and ultimately, what it means to be the hero of your own story.

    Bramhall does a magnificent job once more- I can't imagine anyone else reading these books at this point.

    I agree with what one reviewer said- there seem to be two 'camps' of people who either love or hate this series. If you are looking for spoon fed and neutered magical story time where everything works out perfectly in the end, this is really not the book for you. If you've ever made horrible decisions with the best intentions, have a realist's view of the human condition, or can understand satire and allegory, you might really love this book. Yes there is profanity and "adult concepts". This isn't a children's book...

    This is a bittersweet book which plumbs the depths of its characters and, by proxy, the listener. If you can't identify with something or someone in this book, I think it's time to live a more adventurous life for a bit.

    Highest marks.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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