Yes, the lighthearted story is engaging and fun, the dialog is quick and witty, and the 10 hour listen slips by (almost) effortlessly. The "almost" refers to the first couple of chapters, dedicated to introducing many of the major players.
Unfortunately, the main characters are thrown together with several unimportant ones in the beginning, and there's no real hint as to who is important vs. who is not. In the first chapter alone there are at least 9 different characters, each with some background given. While this works fine in a print book (or web comic), where you can easily flip back and brush up on background, it fails miserably in an audio book. Unless you are extremely focused while listening to the first chapter, you will have to go back and listen to it again.
I picked this up as part of a 3 for 2 credits sale based primarily on the listener reviews. I did not realize until I was nearly three-quarters in that it originated as a web comic.
That said, listen to the first chapter, then read through the web comic for "review" rather than listening to the chapter over.
Once you get past the introductory chapter and get a feel for the characters, the book flows almost perfectly.
The humor and witty banter between the characters. While a totally different style, it reminds me a bit of Josh Whedon's work, especially Firefly/Serenity.
"Moved" may be a bit strong for a comedy/fantasy, but the interaction between Agatha and Gil is really cute and well done.
The two main characters, each with their separate, but intersecting, storylines. It took a bit of practice to get used to catching the character switches when listening. It was much easier to catch the headlines in the written version than the audiobook.
Yes, but only in the last half of the book. The first half was far too slow. This is about a 20-hour listen, and the first 10 hours felt as if they could have been tightened to about 4-5 instead. That said, perhaps the heavy character and situation development in the first half was what allowed the last half to be such a page turner. Still, it was a chore to work through to the good stuff. I did so because (a) the Audible listener reviews that I rely on so greatly gave this high marks and (b) Larry Correia, 'nuff said.
Pinchot is one of my favorite narrators, along with Luke Daniels and Wil Wheaton. His strength in this book is certainly the emotional range he brings. His weakness here, however, is in trying to do two "macho" characters in the same book. The two leads were too similar for my ears. The headings to indicate the character changes were critical.
This is one book (and series) where having two narrators could have likely improved the performance.
While there was a moment that was probably meant to be moving, honestly it did not have the impact that it should have, at least for me. I thought it could have been the fact that I was driving at the time, and so my state of mind could have been more focused on the task at hand, but then I read another review that mentioned the same problem with that scene.
Apologies for shorting Kupari on his contribution, but I bought this because I'm a Correia fan.
While Dead Six is not my favorite Correia book, it's certainly better than the average fare. If you are a Correia fan, you'll likely have either already read this or have it in your list.
If you are not a Correia fan (yet!), then ask yourself whether you prefer the "Modern Fantasy" or "Military Thriller" genre more. If "Modern Fantasy", then start with "Hard Magic" or "Monster Hunters International" first (each the first book of a series). If "Military Thriller", then definitely give "Dead Six" a read. While it's the first book of a series, it's also fairly self-contained, with only a slight cliff-hanger at the end.
Finally! While books 1, 3, and 4 in the series have been available with Whispersync for some time, this title was strangely absent until early in December. Weighing in at 23 hours, the heftiest of any of the Correia novels so far, Whispersync was a must.
I tend to do a lot of research before starting a new series, and Correia's books were no different. Thanks to the many helpful Audible listener reviews, I knew that some listeners and readers had complained about the verbosity of Correia's early writing, and that's one of my pet peeves in reading or listening. I was in the middle of listening to the Hyperion books at the time, and the excessive attention to mundane details was growing highly annoying.
Because of that, I opted to start with the first Grimnoir book of Correia's, rather than the slightly-earlier-in-his-career Monster Hunter. It's still no slouch at 16 hours, but Correia (or perhaps his editor) was learning to tighten up the writing to achieve the right balance between detail and velocity. Because it was such an incredible listen, I decided to give the Monster Hunter series a try. But to soften the blow of a 21 hour book, I went with the Kindle Edition + Audible Whispersync combination. This was almost perfect, and I'll be hard-pressed to ever do another 15-hour or more Audible book unless I can Whispersync to the Kindle version. I listened to the excellent narration in the car, but moved forward at a faster pace when I was at home or lunch reading the ebook.
When I finished the first Monster Hunter, I was all set to buy the rest of the series, because I knew I would be going all the way to the end. But alas! The second book (and second book only) wasn't available with Whispersync! I cried; I wept. I considered going forward with just the Audible version; I considered going forward with just the Kindle version; I considered buying both at full price/credit and manually jumping back and forth. But at the end of the day, the lack of Whispersync just caused me to move on and enjoy a number of other excellent books (and some not-so-excellent) from my Audible library.
If it's not obvious by now, I'm a Whispersync junky. I'm almost always willing to pay a slight premium to have both text and audio versions available to jump back and forth. Not as much of a premium as they want, for instance, for the Star Wars books, but the $3-4 adder for Correia's books is just right.
So when I found that Vendetta with Whispersync was available in early December, I was elated and purchased both versions immediately.
If I was reviewing just the Audible version alone, I'd give it:
* 5 stars for story
* 5 stars for narration
* 3 stars overall
As you might expect, the points off would be for the slow pacing and verbosity. There are certainly areas where the attention to detail becomes overwhelming, especially for the audio version. I don't consider this nearly as much of an issue for a print or ebook version since I can read so rapidly. But when I'm bottlenecked by the narration, I become impatient.
With Whispersync, I'm much happier, and I'll add back in a star. I'm still going to dock it slightly for the verbosity, but I'm thankful that Correia has improved this aspect in later novels.
Story? Amazing as always, although I must confess that I felt slightly cheated by the conclusion.
Narration - Perfect. No complaints there.
Eventually, yes, but there are probably chapters I'd skip the next time.
30 Rock, The Movie
Picked this one up from the "Your First Listen" recommendation when I signed up and was not disappointed. Tina Fey is hilarious and has a talent for finding humor in the mundane, and turning the truly funny into a side-splitting tale.
The Fall of Hyperion, even more than the first book, is simply too long. Simmons spends many unnecessary words describing the mundane and unimportant rather than advancing the story. The entire book covers the span of just a week or so, but spends almost 22 hours doing so.
The conclusion was satisfying, but certainly not worth the journey.
Bevine did an admirable job of taking on the job of the 6 narrators of the first Hyperion single-handedly, but the first book, with narrators for each part, was clearly better in that regard.
I wanted so much to like the Hyperion series, but after 40 hours of listening, it was clear that these books should have been significantly shorter than they were. The conclusion was satisfying, but at least a portion of one of the "big reveals" was telegraphed simply through the focus placed on the character throughout the book.
The universe that Simmons built up was interesting, but I'm struggling to imagine investing yet another 40+ hours to continue in it with the Endymion series. If I do, it won't be anytime soon.
For most Audible reviewers, the "Overall" rating is typically an average of the "Story" and the "Performance", but I'm going to take a different approach here. For Hyperion, the whole is definitely not a sum of the parts.
While Simmons builds an interesting universe, he spends entirely too long doing it. This book, and it's sequel, should have been nearly half the length, and would have been much, much better for it.
Some books are long because a lot happens in them. For instance, the Lord of the Rings takes place over a multiple year journey. Some books, on the other hand, are long for the sake of being long. They describe each arduous step in the journey in excruciating detail, wasting entire chapters without moving the story along in the least.
Unfortunately, Simmons comes far too close to the later here, especially in the spaces between the "tales of the pilgrims".
The reality is that Hyperion is simply a collection of "short" stories which help define the universe for the reader, setting up the second book ("The Fall of Hyperion") for the actual story and conclusion. The attempt to wrap these into tales which the pilgrims tell to each other falls a bit short, since there's quite a bit of time covering basics of how their worlds works that wouldn't be necessary if they were truly speaking with contemporaries.
Now I'm a huge fan of short stories, but few of these can really be called "short" due to Simmons verbosity. Some of these stories are great, others simply average. But none of them reach any sort of conclusion. Conclusions are left for the second book in the series, The Fall of Hyperion.
So understand that once you listen to this one there's really no way to avoid listening on to the conclusion in The Fall of Hyperion. That means that you will invest at least 40 hours in this series; over 80 if you continue on to Endymion afterwards (which I have not yet done).
Simon and Rachel's story is tragic and compelling, even as it continues into the second book. I'll leave it at that to avoid spoilers.
Clearly. As mentioned before, this book does not stand alone. The Fall of Hyperion is required to complete the story.
Prospective listeners should be aware that the Hyperion books are, first and foremost, a classic tragedy. There are few moments of levity. If this is not your cup of tea, then at some point in the 40 hours, listening will become more of a chore than a pleasure. While I'm not sure if it will help, you may want to do the Whispersync purchase of these, so that you can switch between reading and listening. I plan to do this if and when I start on Endymion.
One of the best
Ready Player One blends a great concept, pacing, and characters for a great blast from the past, greatly deserving of its place on Audible's Essentials list.
While I was a bit worried going into this book by some reviewers mention of "juvenile" dialog (usually a turn-off for me), the reality is that the characters *are* juvenile and, as a result, the dialog fits.
This was also my first experience with Wheaton as a narrator, and his style is perfect for this book. You can almost hear the wink and the nod in his voice when he's mentioned in the book.
Average -- Great narration, but the story itself isn't nearly as gripping as the first book in the series.
Luke Daniels narrated the first book in the series as well, and his performance there made certain that I would be reading more in the series. There are fewer dialog parts in this one to showcase his range, although Coyote (native American Indian) was a fun addition. A stellar performance, but the first book gave him much more to do, and was better for it.
The death of a minor character was sobering, and provided a bit better emotional range to the primary character. Overall, though, this is a light-hearted, modern-day fantasy. The one-liners are enjoyable, and come frequently enough.
Comparing the bath of an Irish Wolf Hound to that of a Chihuahua certainly got a chuckle.
Still an enjoyable outing into this Druidic modern-day fantasy universe, but the story was much, much weaker than that of the first. There was a lot of set-up, even from the first few minutes, for what are presumably future novels, and that sounded much more interesting.
Still, a lighthearted, fun romp.
Almost certainly. While I haven't read the print version, Luke Daniels' character voices (especially that of the dog) were unique and seemed to fit perfectly. I've listened to about 5 Audible books now, and the narration on this one was so much better than the others that it just isn't fair to compare.
There's an implicit "6 stars" on the performance for this review since I don't want to have to deduct a star from other book reviews in the future.
It has a very interesting fantasy premise set in the modern world with (mostly) well developed characters and plots. This was my first exposure to Hearne's writing, and I came away a fan.
Figure about 4.5 stars for the story. It was great, but there are certainly better in the genre. Given that we can't award half-stars, I'm rounding to 5 for this one.
No, this was my first, but it certainly won't be the last. I already have the next book in the series in my library, and I'll be looking for additional titles which are narrated by Daniel's based on the quality of this work.
While I haven't been an Audible member for all that long, books like this have me hooked.
I read several other reviewers complaints about the narration, so I listened to the preview to see if it was as bad as they had said. The preview, which I listened to on my laptop's poor speaker, sounded alright. I wasn't thrilled with the vocals, but it was listenable, and the source material (the book content itself) sounded so well written, as I had expected based on all I had heard about this series. So I purchased the book.
Unfortunately, the listening experience didn't follow to my car audio, which is top-notch. I've listened to a number of books there, and all have been fantastic up to now. However, I couldn't make it through the first 5 minutes of this one. The effect I experienced was similar to that you get when you hear fingernails on a chalkboard. I hoped that I had downloaded a lower-quality version, so I shut this book off (actually switched to another book, Hyperion, which sounded great) until I could check, but this was the "High" quality download to my iPhone.
I don't believe that Gardner's voice is the problem, as much as it is the audio encoding of his voice. His somewhat nasal sound results in some seriously disruptive audio once encoded digitally. I'm sure that this could be corrected with re-encoding, and it's a serious shame that such work should be tainted in this way.
I seem to recall from when I signed up that Audible guarantees the books, so I guess I need to research how to take advantage of this since all my other listening experiences have been great so far. I'm going to try a couple of other things first (other devices which might download a difference audio format), and I'll update the review if anything changes.
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