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Clarissa R. Thorne

Geeky, photography-loving stitcher. Hobbits, zombies, space cowboys, agents, avengers, & clones are welcome in my post-apocalyptic dystopia.

Member Since 2013

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HELPFUL VOTES
  • 11 reviews
  • 13 ratings
  • 64 titles in library
  • 36 purchased in 2014
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  • The Reapers Are the Angels

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Alden Bell
    • Narrated By Tai Sammons
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (103)
    Performance
    (76)
    Story
    (75)

    For 25 years, civilization has survived in meager enclaves, guarded against a plague of the dead. Temple wanders this blighted landscape, keeping to herself and keeping her demons inside her heart. She can’t remember a time before the zombies, but she does remember an old man who took her in and the younger brother she cared for until the tragedy that set her off on her personal journey toward redemption.

    Linda B says: "AMAZING"
    "So Shall It Be in the End of This World"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Reapers Are the Angels?

    Bell’s narrative is wonderfully lyrical. He describes the ravaged landscape with a hypnotic merging of beauty and horror. It is a rare thing to want to find the description of a world teeming with living corpses so achingly beautiful, but Bell accomplishes this in spades.

    There is a degree of social balance in Bell’s post-zombie-apocalypse not frequently found such stories. Our main characters frequently find people willing to offer selfless assistance. This realism serves to heighten the tension and in no way lessens the horrors we encounter.

    And I absolutely LOVE the main character. What a heroine (villain?) Temple reminds me of Hailee Steinfield’s Mattie Ross from True Grit…after Mattie would have progressed so far down a road of loss and revenge that the prospect of personal salvation is no longer visible. Part mindless warrior, part innocent teenager, part mother and protector, Temple is one of those rare characters who defy easy attempts to categorize them. She is a character who isn't sympathetic simply because she is a girl. The author doesn’t spare this “little girl” out of any assumption that her gender makes her either more or less capable…or vulnerable.

    After my second experience with this book, I’m convinced it will remain very high in my list of favorites. This book elevates itself out of a simple “zombie” or “apocalypse” genre consideration. It has echoes of McCarthy’s The Road, King’s Dark Tower Series and True Grit.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Reapers Are the Angels?

    The scenes with the "Inheritors of the Earth" are as terrifying as anything to be found in horror genres anywhere. Truly (and wonderfully) difficult to read about.


    What does Tai Sammons bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Ms. Sammons made me “see” Temple. She brought out all of the nuances in her character…strengths, weaknesses, doubts, certainties. She nailed Temple’s uneducated, backwoods, long-ago-time accent. Wonderful narration!


    If you could take any character from The Reapers Are the Angels out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    I have a lot of questions for Moses Todd and need to know so much more about him. We'd have to make sure he wasn't carrying any weapons though.


    Any additional comments?

    "Doggone it, she says. Why do livin' and dyin' always have to be just half an inch apart." A common zombie-apocalypse theme, the definition of living and dying among the survivors in Temple’s world has overlapped to the point of obscurity.

    This theme runs over every element of the story. The world is both glorious and damned and the defining line between the two no longer provides any tangible separation. In the same way, Temple struggles with knowing whether she is a good or evil person. How can a person remain good when mere survival requires such inexact savagery? She is in a constant search for a life not filled solely with survival, death and killing, but, believes she is fundamentally incapable in participating in such a life if she found it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Annihilation: Southern Reach Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs)
    • By Jeff VanderMeer
    • Narrated By Carolyn McCormick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (317)
    Performance
    (292)
    Story
    (292)

    Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.

    Charles says: "I Feel Like I'm Coming Down From Peyote"
    "Beauty and Desolation"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What aspect of Carolyn McCormick’s performance would you have changed?

    I have a slight complaint about some off-phrasing between sentences at times; sometimes rushing through sections that feel like they should have more of a suspenseful pause, but this is only a 2 or 3 on my scale of listening annoyance.


    Any additional comments?

    There is a particular quote from Annihilation that sums up my entire experience with it:

    “When you see beauty and desolation, it changes something inside you. Desolation tries to colonize you.”

    I teetered between loving and seriously not liking this story. It wasn’t until the very last scenes that I came to some degree of reconciliation with my reaction to it. To Jeff VanderMeer’s credit, I think that this is the exact experience he intends for the reader to have, as he skillfully manipulates the reader into the same difficult emotional journey that his main character is taking.

    I use the word “manipulate,” because this reading experience isn’t always easy. VanderMeer gives the narration of the story to a nameless scientist, referred to only as The Biologist. In the style of a journal entry, she maintains a nearly emotionless, analytical tone throughout. This serves to heighten the extremely creepy nature of the story, but also keeps the reader at a significant distance from characters.

    Mr. VanderMeer’s protagonist is self-described as extremely solitary, preferring her observations of isolated environments to human interaction. She is irrevocably distant from the humans in her life, as well as from the reader. If I had written this review about halfway through the book, I might have said that there was nobody in the story to like or sympathize with. Thankfully, a single scene at the very end redeems our main character and creates the necessary bridge to the reader.

    MINOR SPOILERS BELOW

    The plot is the standard “group of people encounter something alien and inexplicable, then are killed off, one by one, as they deal with hallucinated (or not?) monsters, self-doubt, internal conspiracy, and the breakdown of social order.” I’m not always a big fan of this device, usually because the resolution lands somewhere in the “esoteric philosophical statement” arena without providing any identification of the “big bad” or substantive resolution. Annihilation at least leans towards some firm answers and gives us a number of very tangible clues along the way.

    In the end, I believe I can recommend Annihilation with some qualifications. The key to its enjoyment is in reconciling that beauty and desolation we discussed earlier. Beautiful prose, beautiful world building . . . desolate characters, desolate outlook, desolate tone. All wrapped up in hypnotic, unrelenting suspense. It is the primary reason why I stayed with Annihilation to the end and will likely continue on to read the sequels. The more answers I was given, the more questions I had.

    Beautiful, desolate questions.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The End is Nigh: The Apocalypse Triptych

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By John Joseph Adams, Hugh Howey
    • Narrated By Mur Lafferty, Rajan Khanna, Kate Baker, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (117)
    Performance
    (112)
    Story
    (111)

    Famine. Death. War. Pestilence. These are the harbingers of the biblical apocalypse, of the End of the World. In science fiction, the end is triggered by less figurative means: nuclear holocaust, biological warfare/pandemic, ecological disaster, or cosmological cataclysm. But before any catastrophe, there are people who see it coming. During, there are heroes who fight against it. And after, there are the survivors who persevere and try to rebuild. THE APOCALYPSE TRIPTYCH will tell their stories. Edited by acclaimed anthologist John Joseph Adams and bestselling author Hugh Howey, THE APOCALYPSE TRIPTYCH is a series of three anthologies of apocalyptic fiction. THE END IS NIGH focuses on life before the apocalypse. THE END IS NOW turns its attention to life during the apocalypse. And THE END HAS COME focuses on life after the apocalypse.

    Jon says: "Amazing, couldn't put it down!"
    "Get Ready"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Absolutely. Another wonderfully edited anthology of stories by John Joseph Adams.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Stories about the world’s end should prompt the reader to ask tough questions. How do you pick who gets to survive? At what point is it okay to give up on survival? Is society worth saving in the first place? To what lengths would you go to survive? Do you deserve to survive if you’re the reason the world has ended in the first place? Along with all of these questions, The End is Nigh highlights a wide variety of social issues, including same-sex marriage, global warming, euthanasia, genetic manipulation, human medical testing, and eating disorders, to name a few. The End is Nigh tackles these questions head on, and frequently the resulting answer is appropriately unsettling.

    The menu of characters is similarly varied: con men; cult members; tech-savvy teenagers; scientists with OCD; artists; unfaithful husbands; computer hackers; grandmothers; and astronauts (astronauts who are also grandmothers). Good people doing good things, good people doing horrible things. Horrible people doing horrible things, horrible people doing good things.

    Additionally, I was very pleased with the character diversity, whether it was with regard to ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. Women written by men and men written by women.

    The strongest stories in this collection are anchored by these strong, complex characters and issues and tack on the utter destruction of everything as a side note. My honorable mentions are:
    - “Wedding Day”—Follows a same-sex wedding that is left too late, and the resulting conflict around the characters' ability to save legal family members.
    - “Removal Order”—Brings us a responsible teenage girl trying to care for her terminally ill grandmother as the world burns around her.
    - “Spores”—Introduces one of the more unique characters I’ve met in the apocalypse; a laboratory scientist with severe OCD who is tasked with surviving the outbreak of a genetically engineered fungus. (This story also gets my award for most disturbingly icky plague.)
    - “The Fifth Day of Dear Camp”—Imagine the guys from the SNL “Bill Swerski’s Superfans” sketches encountering an alien invasion while hunting in the woods. Lovable, but deadly.


    Any additional comments?

    I listened to the Jake Kincaid-produced audiobook as my primary reading experience and found this experience to be fairly hit or miss. A number of the performances were so overly emoted as to be practically unlistenable. In the case of “The Balm and the Wound,” I found the interpretation of the main character to be completely off. (Would you follow a spiritual cult leader, if he sounded like mob lackey from The Jersey Shore?) On the flip side, the accents in “The Fifth Day of Dear Camp” were performed very admirably and added nicely to the story. And, those stories that were treated more as unacted narrations were generally well done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lines of Departure

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Marko Kloos
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (636)
    Performance
    (594)
    Story
    (590)

    Vicious interstellar conflict with an indestructible alien species. Bloody civil war over the last habitable zones of the cosmos. Political unrest, militaristic police forces, dire threats to the solar system.

    Elle in the Great NorthWest says: "MUCH BETTER than the first book"
    "Lines of Departure"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Lines of Departure in three words, what would they be?

    Fun. Fast. Exciting.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Kloos once again deftly manages action scenes . . . this time in a combat environment that includes more enemies than you can shake a stick at. Even listening to the audio book, I never felt left behind as battles, weaponry, intrigue, and shifting alliances swirled around me. Kloos maintains his in-depth description of tactics, weaponry, and military hierarchy, with a never-boring clarity that I appreciate as an easily confused reader.


    What three words best describe Luke Daniels’s performance?

    Entertaining. Humorous. Energetic.


    Any additional comments?

    Ready for the third installment in this series, Angles of Attack.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Terms of Enlistment

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Marko Kloos
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (942)
    Performance
    (871)
    Story
    (872)

    The year is 2108, and the North American Commonwealth is bursting at the seams. For welfare rats like Andrew Grayson, there are only two ways out of the crime-ridden and filthy welfare tenements, where you’re restricted to 2,000 calories of badly flavored soy every day. You can hope to win the lottery and draw a ticket on a colony ship settling off-world, or you can join the service. With the colony lottery a pipe dream, Andrew chooses to enlist in the armed forces for a shot at real food, a retirement bonus, and maybe a ticket off Earth.

    DAVE says: "Solid military sci-fi."
    "Terms of Enlistment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Terms of Enlistment rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Pretty high. It's a great, entertaining "popcorn" experience.


    What aspect of Luke Daniels’s performance would you have changed?

    A minor complaint, a common one regarding the portrayal the opposite sex, is that Mr. Daniel’s “girly” voice is a bit too stereotypically simpering at times. To be fair, his portrayal of a number of the secondary male characters, as well, also delved a bit too far into caricatures . . . dumb jocks, rednecks, etc. Every drill sergeant in the story had the same Full Metal Jacket persona that is so pervasive of all military stories. An understandable choice, but a bit repetitive after you’ve met the fourth such drill sergeant in as many chapters.

    Additionally, his voice sounded a bit too old for the main character in this particular book. This was most notable in the opening chapter, as our main character is having very typically “teenager” conversations with his parents.


    Any additional comments?

    Terms of Enlistment might not exactly make any Earth (or terraformed planet) shattering statements but is sure is a hell of a fun ride. It’s a little bit Aliens, a little bit Starship Troopers, with overtures of Elysium and Jurassic Park thrown in for spice, and all told from the perspective of the guy you’d expect to get red-shirted in the first chapter.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Disaster Diaries: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Apocalypse

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Sam Sheridan
    • Narrated By Donald Corren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (305)
    Performance
    (279)
    Story
    (282)

    Sam Sheridan has been an amateur boxer, mixed martial arts fighter, professional wilderness firefighter, EMT, sailor, and cowboy, and has worked in construction at the South Pole. If he isn't ready for the apocalypse, we're all in a lot of trouble. But when Sam had his son and settled down, he was beset with nightmares about being unable to protect him. Sam decided to face his fears head-on, embarking on a quest to gain as many skills as possible that might come in handy should the world as we know it end....

    Bradley says: "Well written, well researched, and entertaining."
    "Prepare Yourself!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Disaster Diaries in three words, what would they be?

    Fascinating, thought provoking.


    What about Donald Corren’s performance did you like?

    Donald Corren's narration was spot on. I never tired of listening to his voice. He achieved a scholarly tone while keeping an appropriate conversational quality. He transitioned nicely between the fiction and nonfiction sections of the book. Highly recommend!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. I kept coming back to this book in between other readings. I imagine will also re-read portions in the future.


    Any additional comments?

    I found Mr. Sheridan's exploration of both the practical and psychological facets of apocalypse survival to be very personally edifying. The topics he explores are applicable to both the theoretical topic at hand, as well as everyday life. His study in the uses of deadly force (guns, knives, etc.) were especially interesting, and I think should be required reading for anyone owning weapons.

    I would LOVE it if every person writing, or considering writing, any work of fiction related to the survival of an apocalyptic event would read this book beforehand, if only to better inform themselves of the human physical practicalities at play. Know the rules before you break them!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blank Slate

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Tiffany Snow
    • Narrated By Tanya Eby
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (295)
    Performance
    (261)
    Story
    (260)

    As a cyber-hacker born into a family of thieves, Clarissa O’Connell thinks she’s seen the worst the criminal underworld has to offer - until her brother is arrested and she’s forced into a pact with the notorious crime boss known only as Solomon to free him. For FBI agent Erik Langston, the world is divided into black and white, wrong and right. So he’s made it his life’s mission to hunt down Solomon. When Clarissa’s cyberattacks begin to topple Solomon’s enemies, Erik is hot on her trail, believing her to be the key to bringing down Solomon and his empire.

    Renee says: "I can even finish the book"
    "Blank Slate"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Tiffany Snow and/or Tanya Eby?

    No. Uniformly poor writing and poor character development.


    What could Tiffany Snow have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Her characters consistently made poor choices, showed a shocking lack of judgment in situations for which they supposedly had professional expertise, and seemed to have little to no common sense.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrators attempts at accents and depicting a male voice were very badly done. Her narrative phrasing was mid-sentence and didn't provide clear breaks between changes in point of view.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment.


    Any additional comments?

    Can't recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6244)
    Performance
    (5814)
    Story
    (5817)

    Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the facts that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces; (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations; and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

    Paige says: "Not his Wheal-house"
    "Dead Men Wear Red"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The dialogue was excessively punctuated by "he said", "she said". This was especially annoying when listening to the audiobook.

    I was also a bit thrown by the change in tone in the Codas. This section of the book was very different from the rest of the story; a marked shift from the dialogue driven, action-based plot. I understand that this was a very deliberate choice on the part of the author, and once I had adjusted, found this section very enjoyable. I ultimately wish, though, that some of the same kind of character development that we find in the Codas could have been present in the rest of the story.


    Would you be willing to try another book from John Scalzi? Why or why not?

    I very much enjoyed the pacing and humor in this story. I found the "meta" review of writing and overall critique of modern storytelling via TV very interesting.


    What about Wil Wheaton’s performance did you like?

    I thought that Mr. Wheaton was a very good choice for this story...first for the obvious connection that he has to the Star Trek universe, but also for his overall reading performance. He injected sincerity and enthusiasm into his narrative. He understood the underlying tone of lighthearted sarcasm in the writing. He also carried off the more emotional parts, particularly in the Codas, very nicely.


    Was Redshirts worth the listening time?

    Absolutely. Interesting story concept. Fun characters. Nice reading. I am very interested in reading more by Mr. Scalzi.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • My Life as a White Trash Zombie

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Diana Rowland
    • Narrated By Allison McLemore
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2118)
    Performance
    (1956)
    Story
    (1954)

    Teenage delinquent Angel Crawford lives with her redneck father in the swamps of southern Louisiana. She's a high school dropout, addicted to drugs and alcohol, and has a police record a mile long. But when she's made into a zombie after a car crash, her addictions disappear, except for her all-consuming need to stay "alive".

    Marvin says: "New diet trend, become a zombie!"
    "Frappucino Frenzy!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does My Life as a White Trash Zombie rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Very interesting story and a wonderful audiobook performance. Can't wait to read the next book in the series.


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

    The absolute strength of this book was the development of Angel's character. The supernatural trappings serve to illustrate Angel's real dilemma (ala Buffy the Vampire Slayer), how to transform herself from a "loser" to someone with self-esteem and reason for living.


    What does Allison McLemore bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Ms. McLemore really embodied the main character and made her jump off the page. Her portrayal...accent, animation, characterization...added to Angel's independent yet sympathetic nature.


    Who was the most memorable character of My Life as a White Trash Zombie and why?

    Angel Crawford. Ms. Rowland has you rooting for her protagonist from the very first pages. You can "smell" the intelligence brewing just underneath Angel's low self-esteem and can't wait for it to start bubbling to the surface. Very nice character arc.


    Any additional comments?

    I did feel the plot was a bit quickly and conveniently wrapped up, but this was a minor consideration in an otherwise engaging read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ex-Heroes

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Peter Clines
    • Narrated By Jay Snyder, Khristine Hvam
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3152)
    Performance
    (2835)
    Story
    (2846)

    Stealth. Gorgon. Regenerator. Cerberus. Zzzap. The Mighty Dragon. They were heroes. Vigilantes. Crusaders for justice, using their superhuman abilites to make Los Angeles a better place. Then the plague of living death spread around the globe. Despite the best efforts of the superheroes, the police, and the military, the hungry corpses rose up and overwhelmed the country. The population was decimated, heroes fell, and the city of angels was left a desolate zombie wasteland like so many others.

    Aser Tolentino says: "Superheroes vs. Zombies? Sure, why not..."
    "More Heroes"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I enjoyed the overall story and definitely did not regret picking up this book. I most enjoyed the humor and heavy action.


    Would you recommend Ex-Heroes to your friends? Why or why not?

    I would recommend this book as a quick, easy read.


    Any additional comments?

    I wish the author had spent a little more time developing all of the characters. I think the story would have benefitted from giving more weight to the interpersonal relationships. While the action scenes were exciting, I didn't feel that the Heroes were ever truly in too much danger, so the suspense was a little lacking. I also had a couple of issues with logic in the story; mainly tied to obvious ways the Heroes could have been using their skills to eradicate the zombie threat as a whole (especially Zzzap).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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