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Chuck

United States | Member Since 2011

48
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 42 reviews
  • 56 ratings
  • 183 titles in library
  • 3 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
2

  • The Dark Thorn

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs)
    • By Shawn Speakman
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (147)
    Performance
    (132)
    Story
    (134)

    Beneath the streets of Seattle, a long-forgotten war is about to be renewed...Richard McAllister, a spiritually destitute homeless man and Knight of the Yn Saith, protects one of seven portals linking his world to that of Annwn, where the fey Tuatha de Dannan of antiquity have been relegated by a long-running religious war. Unknown to Richard though, powerful forces are aligning against him and all he stands to keep safe.

    GLENNO says: "Really great!"
    "This book is, in a word...BAD!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book could have been so much better, the premise for the book is good and is what initially caught my attention, but I feel that the author tried to do too much with the subject and tried to include too many fantasy/historical elements. The writing is not very polished and doesn't flow very well. He tries to be very grandiose with the writing and language and it just comes off as cheap and awkward. There are also several instances in the book where the author will say something on one page and then contradict himself on the next page, sometimes in the next sentence.

    The characters are shallow and one dimensional, they have no depth, and they flip flop from being extremely immature and irrational one minute to being very wise and all knowing the next. There is no character development, we don't see them grow at all, they just inexplicably go from selfish children, ignorant of the world around them, to full grown, mature adults, tasked to save the world from impending doom.

    The plot has holes all over the place and there is a lot of deus ex machina. He writes the characters into seemingly impossible scenarios with no way out and all of a sudden they emerge victorious and he explains it away with "magic." It's hokey and fake and not believable at all (yes, this is fantasy writing, but there has to be some believable elements, rooted in what we know, to make it engaging and to help the reader buy in to what the author is selling).

    It was all I could do to make it to the end of the book. I will not be listening/reading the next two books in the series when they come out, one book was more than enough for me. I would not recommend this book.

    5 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Thinblade: Sovereign of the Seven Isles, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By David A. Wells
    • Narrated By Derek Perkins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (665)
    Performance
    (612)
    Story
    (616)

    When second son Alexander Valentine loses his brother to an assassin's arrow, he discovers that his family protects an ancient secret and reluctantly finds himself at the center of the final battle of a war that was supposed to have ended two thousand years ago. Pursued by the dark minions of an ancient enemy, Alexander flees to the mountain city of Glen Morillian where he discovers that he is the heir to the throne of Ruatha, one of the Seven Isles, but before he can claim the throne he must recover the ancient Thinblade.

    Russell J Fyock says: "WOT and SOT are one."
    "Could have been so much more"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While the story is not horrible and Wells seems to be a pretty decent writer, there are some glaring things about this book that really irked me.

    One, everything comes way too easy for the main character, Alexander. A simple boy (his older brother was being groomed to be the savior of the world, not him), who at various points throughout the story admits he has no knowledge of fighting, war, politics, etc., somehow instantaneously gains vast knowledge in swordsmanship (granted he gains that through a magic book), becomes extremely adept at court politics, and is a master commander of men and fighting tactics. Where did all this come from? None of his retinue (sword master, wizard, bard, etc.) seem to actually teach him anything. Where is the character development? Which leads me to my next point.

    Two, the characters are...boring. At no point in the book did I care what happened to any of them. They have no depth, there's no development, there's no growth, there are just kind of there, making their way through the world.

    I couldn't wait to get to the end of this book, not because I wanted to see how it ended but because I just wanted it to be done. No way I continue the series, it's not worth the time for me.

    Derek Perkins does a decent job with his narration. At no point did his recitation of the story bother me. He doesn't really add to or take anything away from the book.

    4 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Martian

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Andy Weir
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (21282)
    Performance
    (19643)
    Story
    (19652)

    Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "Macgyver on Mars"
    "A! MA! ZING!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Wow! This book was...awesome! I was hooked from the beginning. I can't believe this is Weir's first book. The writing is seemless and it flows, which is helped along by the incredible story. I was so engrossed in this book. Weir paints an unbelievable picture and made me feel like I was right there beside Watney on Mars. I loved the problem solving aspect of the story and all the math and engineering (I guess it helps I'm an engineer by trade). Overall, this book is amazing! Get it, you won't be disappointed.

    R.C. Bray's performance was just as amazing as the story. He IS Mark Watney.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Into the Storm

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Larry Correia
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (647)
    Performance
    (613)
    Story
    (611)

    A knight of Cygnar follows a strict moral code. His integrity is beyond reproach. He holds himself to the highest standards whether dealing with friend or foe. And he values honor above all. The year is 606 AR, and Cygnar has been sorely pressed by its enemies both at home and abroad. In Caspia, the conflict with the Protectorate is about to erupt into full war with the looming invasion of Sul. The Cygnaran military is desperate for soldiers with the skill, strength, and bravery to take up the devastating galvanic weaponry of the new Storm Division.

    Karen says: "More Madigan's Malcontents!"
    "More Please!!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What a fun book! I play tabletop RPGs and have wanted to try the Iron Kingdoms RPG, but didn't realize this story was set in that world until after the fact. It didn't diminish the book at all. The story, writing, and characters were really quite good. The plot was a bit predictable, but the characters were so much fun, I was paying less attention to the plot than I was the people in the book. I loved the fantasy elements of the book too, the world, the people, the technology (which is less about Correia's writing than it is about the Iron Kingdom verse, but it was still very well written into the book by Correia).I wish this wasn't a one off because I would love to read more about Madigan's Malcontents!

    Ray Porter's recitation of the book is absolutely amazing! This is the first book I've heard him narrate, and he's awesome. My next book may be decided based solely on if he's the narrator.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Bran Mak Morn: The Last King

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Robert E. Howard
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (68)
    Performance
    (61)
    Story
    (60)

    From Robert E. Howard's fertile imagination sprang some of fiction's greatest heroes, including Conan the Cimmerian, King Kull, and Solomon Kane. But of all Howard's characters, none embodied his creator's brooding temperament more than Bran Mak Morn, the last king of a doomed race.

    Chuck says: "These stories were not good"
    "These stories were not good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Based on the description, I was pretty excited about this book, but after the first story I was extremely disappointed. By the end, I was bored to tears. The stories were not interesting at all. I didn't care one bit for any of the characters, and I didn't feel like the writing was very good either. The stories just didn't grab me. It's a shame, I thought this was going to be a fun book, but it just wasn't for me.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Agent to the Stars

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4180)
    Performance
    (3650)
    Story
    (3651)

    The space-faring Yherajk have come to Earth to meet us and to begin humanity's first interstellar friendship. There's just one problem: They're hideously ugly and they smell like rotting fish. So getting humanity's trust is a challenge. The Yherajk need someone who can help them close the deal. Enter Thomas Stein, who knows something about closing deals. He's one of Hollywood's hottest young agents.

    C. Paget says: "excellent"
    "Fun book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a fun book. It had a cute story and while the plot was a little on the weak side I felt like the characters and their relationships with one another really drove this book.

    Wheaton's performance, while not great, wasn't horrible either. It was...pedestrian, and got the job done.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Skin Game: A Novel of the Dresden Files, Book 15

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By James Marsters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6537)
    Performance
    (6116)
    Story
    (6104)

    Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, is about to have a very bad day.… Because as Winter Knight to the Queen of Air and Darkness, Harry never knows what the scheming Mab might want him to do. Usually, it’s something awful. He doesn’t know the half of it… Mab has just traded Harry’s skills to pay off one of her debts. And now he must help a group of supernatural villains - led by one of Harry’s most dreaded and despised enemies, Nicodemus Archleone - to break into the highest-security vault in town, so that they can then access the highest-security vault in the Nevernever.

    D says: "Hold onto your staff; Harry’s back."
    "Good book, exactly what you'd expect"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love this series (and I really liked this book) and Butcher is an amazing author, but the Dresden books are starting to become a little bit of rinse and repeat. Let me explain, I love how Harry's story (and the stories of all his supporting characters) advances with each book. We learn more about Harry and the further down the rabbit hole we go the better the story gets. However, Butcher seems to be following a pattern lately, Harry gets into situations that are seemingly impossible to get out of, gets physically and mentally injured to the point of not even being able to maintain consciousness most times, and always gets out of the situation (although never unscathed, which I understand is part of Harry's character developing, the plot moving along, etc.). I don't have a problem with this scenario in general as long as it doesn't happen that often. The problem I have is that it seems to be happening with more frequency in the Dresden books, like two or three times a book, and it's getting a little old, and in Skin Game, I felt like there was a bit of deus ex machina which rubbed me the wrong way. Don't get me wrong though, I still thought it was a really good book and can't wait for the next installment in the series.

    James Marsters IS Harry Dresden. There is no other way to put it. He was made for this role and his performance on this book was as amazing as all his others.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Ready Player One

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Ernest Cline
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (15054)
    Performance
    (13963)
    Story
    (13965)

    At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

    Travis says: "ADD TO CART, POWER UP +10000"
    "Simply Amazing!!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book blew me away! It grabbed me from the very beginning and didn't let go even after it was over. The story was absolutely amazing! Disclaimer: I was raised in the 80s and grew up listening to the music, watching the tv/movies, reading the books/comics, and playing the games (some, not all) that Cline uses in this book. I was instantly transported back to my childhood every time I hit play to continue listening to this book.

    Not only is the story great but Cline's writing is very good too. It flows, it's crisp, and he's very descriptive, sometimes to a fault. The story was tight and never really lagged. The one part I didn't care for was Wade basically forgetting about the contest as he falls in love with Artemis. That seemed a stretch to me (since his entire life revolved around the contest), but, maybe Cline writing it that way speaks more to the fact that Wade was disconnected entirely from the real world and suddenly he had someone who truly wanted to know about him, spend time with him, and talk to him, even if it was in a virtual environment. It showed how truly alone he was, which may have been Cline's intention.

    Wil Wheaton's narration was pedestrian. He does an okay job, not so bad that it annoyed me, I have heard worse, but he basically uses the same voice for every character. Not sure I can fault him for that, he's not a voice actor/narrator by trade and I've become spoiled by listening to amazing narrators like Michael Kramer, James Marsters, Craig Wasson, and Davina Porter.

    Overall, this book is a must listen too!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Gatherer of Clouds: The Initiate Brother Series, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Sean Russell
    • Narrated By Elijah Alexander
    Overall
    (108)
    Performance
    (93)
    Story
    (96)

    As the plum blossom winds herald spring in the Empire of Wa, Initiate Brother Shuyun, spiritual advisor to Lord Shonto, the military governor of the northernmost province of Seh, receives a shocking message from the barbarian lands. The massive army of the Golden Khan is poised at their border. Forced to retreat south, Lord Shonto is caught between the pursuing barbarian hordes and his own hostile emperor’s Imperial Army.

    Chuck says: "Solid conclusion to an entertaining story"
    "Solid conclusion to an entertaining story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is a nice continuation of the first, and overall, the story that Russell tells is very entertaining. I did feel a little let down in that I kept expecting some huge denouement, and while the story does wrap up nicely, I was expecting the main character to perform some otherwordly feat(s). Russell built him up so much, but maybe that was the point, while everyone around Shuyun expects great things from him, ultimately I feel like he is only looking for enlightenment, which he ultimately finds.

    One other thing that I was confused about is the missing scrolls. Maybe I missed it somewhere in the reading, but I don't feel like Russell ever told us where the scrolls went. Did I just miss it? Possibly.

    Overall, Alexander's narration was pretty good, although he does have a few voices that just don't work that well (like the one that sounds eerily like Yoda, yikes, it was not good).

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Initiate Brother: The Initiate Brother Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Sean Russell
    • Narrated By Elijah Alexander
    Overall
    (172)
    Performance
    (140)
    Story
    (145)

    Plague and warfare have swept across the Orient, ravaging the ancient kingdom of Wa, devastating the royal line, and leaving a new dynasty on the throne—a new emperor, Akantsu, filled with fear of all who might seek to wrest the empire from his grasp. Among those out of favor with the new liege is the Order of the Botahist Monks, whose mystical powers have enabled them to hold positions as spiritual advisors to the imperial court for nearly ten centuries.

    JPaladin says: "Good book; interesting characters, plot, and arc"
    "Fun, entertaining, and somewhat unconventional"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a very good book. The world that Russell creates is beautiful and intriguing. He "paints" a magnificent landscape with gorgeous settings and characters. The writing is pretty good, although it does seem to slip at times, but not so often that it takes away from the overall story. Russell provides a great mix of action, tension, quiet meditation scenes, war, fighting, and court intrigue that keeps the story fresh and keeps the reader engaged.

    One thing I did not like was a story line he introduces very early in the book, and to me seemed like it would be central to the book, but he leaves it behind and only touches on it briefly throughout the rest of the book. Maybe he'll spend more time on it in the second book. Other than that, it's a really good book.

    Elijah Alexander does a pretty good job with the narration, however, there is something about his voice that took me quite a while to get used to. He is very breathy and often soft spoken which was very distracting for me at first. Most of his character voices are quite good and distinct, but some are just bad, such as the horrible Yoda type voice he uses for one of the minor characters.

    Overall, I'd recommend this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Mongoliad: The Foreworld Saga, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, and others
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (152)
    Performance
    (141)
    Story
    (141)

    An untested group of Shield-Brethren initiates stand before the sprawling Mongol army in a bloody circus of sadistic violence, while a hardened company of their finest roam the desolate wasteland of the Mongol empire, wrapping their dead in blood-soaked soil and struggling to find the strength to fight even as they mourn. The warrior-monks, both in the East and the West, sharpen their swords for a final battle. The Khan of Khans must be slain if Christendom is to survive.

    angel says: "This Book Rocks"
    "Good finish to the series..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The third book wraps up all the main story lines nicely and like the first two books is fun to listen to. It's not spectacular in any way, but it was a good listen. See my reviews of the first two books for my thoughts on the writing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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