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Damon

I read. What more is there to know?

San Francisco, CA, United States | Member Since 2012

4
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 6 reviews
  • 144 ratings
  • 641 titles in library
  • 34 purchased in 2015
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  • Forge of Darkness: Kharkanas Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs)
    • By Steven Erikson
    • Narrated By Daniel Philpott
    Overall
    (206)
    Performance
    (184)
    Story
    (188)

    Forge of Darkness takes listeners to Kurald Galain, the warren of Darkness, and tells of a realm whose fate plays a crucial role in the fall of the Malazan Empire and surrounds one of the Malazan world’s most fascinating and powerful characters, Anomander Rake. It’s a conflicted time in Kurald Galain, where Mother Dark reigns above the Tiste people. But this ancient land was once home to many a power...and even death is not quite eternal. The commoners’ great hero, Vatha Urusander, longs for ascendency and Mother Dark’s hand in marriage, but she has taken another Consort, Lord Draconus.

    Michael says: "A Precursor Epic Fantasy - A Rewarding Beginning!"
    "Not As Good As The Malazan Books"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a huge fan of the Malazan series and consider Erickson to be one of the best, if not the best, of the epic fantasy authors. I assume you've read some of the Malazan books if you're contemplating this book. This book is similar to the Malazan books in that involves massive world building and development of a huge cast of characters, most with difficult names that sometimes sound like others (an issue that may only be problematic when reading the audio version). While the scale and slow pace of the book is frustrating, it's also very much Erickson's typical approach. That said, this book seemed even harder to follow than the Malazan books. It constantly bounces around between characters and plot lines (again, as is typical), but unlike the Malazan books, the plot lines here rarely do anything interesting and often very little happens each time you re-encounter a character. There's also a dearth of enjoyable or comedic characters, as can be found in most Malazan books. As a result of all this, the book is a bit tedious, but worst of all, it lacks a real pay off. This may be due to the fact that it's the first in a trilogy, but that doesn't absolve it from the need to be enjoyable on its own, and it falls short of my expectation in this regard. I'm sure I'll read the next installment, but if it's the same as book one, I may not read the third. If you read it, I hope you enjoy it more than I did.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Eyes of the Dragon

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1184)
    Performance
    (821)
    Story
    (824)

    A tale of archetypal heroes and sweeping adventures, of dragons and princes and evil wizards, here is epic fantasy as only Stephen King could envision it.

    Christine says: "Enjoyable"
    "No Dark Tower"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listened to this based my love for The Dark Tower series and my related appreciation of King's mastery. Unfortunately, I was extremely disappointed. Some reviewers described this book as YA. I'd say it's more like grade school level. While listening, I honestly kept thinking that King probably pounded this book out in a weekend and with the intent for it to be read by his seven year old grandchild. As for the DT connection, the book offers nothing of real value; certainly nothing worth the slog. I almost stopped listening multiple times, including with only an hour left. It's rather telling when someone who's persevered through a book is considering abandoning it at the very point of the climax. If you haven't read the DT series, go there. If you have and are looking for a good tie-in story, check out the Talisman, which is great (as is the sequel). Avoid this one if you're over 14.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Steel Remains

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Richard K. Morgan
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (528)
    Performance
    (294)
    Story
    (301)

    In just a few short years, Richard K. Morgan has vaulted to the pinnacle of the science fiction world. Now he turns his iconoclastic talents to epic fantasy, crafting a darkly violent, tautly plotted adventure sure to thrill old fans and captivate new readers.

    Tizroc says: "This isn't your father's gay hero!"
    "Ignore The Negative Reviews If..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was a bit nervous about beginning this series due to the negative reviews and somewhat low overall rating. Now that I've completed the entire series, I figured I should come back and offer my opinion for others who may also have reservations. In short, the series is fantastic. I've read the Altered Carbon series and really liked it, but actually like this series even more. If you're read Morgan before, then you generally know what to expect. This book and the entire series is well-written, intellectual, multi-layered, philosophical, and has great action. The characters are also extremely interesting, particularly the three main characters, who I continue to miss now that the series is over. Truly great stuff and I'm confused why some reviewers have been so critical of the story. It may be because of the foul language (which I loved, because it's always artfully and appropriately done) or the gay sex, but that has nothing to do with the quality of the story or characters. I'll admit that the gay sex did at times make me uncomfortable, but to the extent that's a problem, I figure the problem is with me. Good fantasy writing should make us think and push us to really consider why we feel the way we do, and I think this book served that function for me. If you like smart, gritty fantasy (e.g., Abercrombie, Stevenson, Bakker, etc.), there's simply no question you should check this out. Also, as for performance, Simon Vance knocks this series out of the park (as usual). That dude is seriously talented.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Caine’s Law: The Third of the Acts of Caine (Act of Atonement, Book Two)

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Matthew Stover
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (99)
    Performance
    (93)
    Story
    (92)

    Caine is washed up and hung out to dry, a crippled husk kept isolated and restrained by the studio that exploited him. Now they have dragged him back for one last deal. But Caine has other plans. Those plans take him back to Overworld, the alternate reality where gods are real and magic is the ultimate weapon. There, in a violent odyssey through time and space, Caine will face the demons of his past, find true love, and just possibly destroy the universe. Hey, it’s a crappy job, but somebody’s got to do it.

    Greg says: "The pinnacle of Caine"
    "Very Strong"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've listened to all of the Caine books and really enjoyed them. This one proves Stover's imagination is far from tapped out. The guy keeps taking things to new and interesting levels. I guess that's what makes great authors truly great, which he is. I'm not sure if it's because I read this one most recently, but it definitely struck me as more philosophical and dialogue heavy than the first, but it's all so great that I mention it as a positive. Still more than enough action, which is an f-ing ton. It's just a little smarter than before. The other good thing to know is that it lacks some of the depressive coloring of the last book. It still contains a great spectrum of emotion, but this book is more like the first two in its level of kickass.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Way of Kings: Book One of The Stormlight Archive

    • UNABRIDGED (45 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Kate Reading, Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14428)
    Performance
    (11576)
    Story
    (11639)

    Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter. It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor.

    Katy Crumpton says: "Very enjoyable (but a slight warning)"
    "Spectacular"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've read the Mistborn series (which I loved) and Sanderson's continuation of the WoT series (which I also thought was incredible), but this book exceeded even my expectations. If Sanderson is able to continue this series with equal quality installments, it may become my favorite fantasy series. This book is fantastic on its own, but it also develops such an incredible world with multiple interesting characters that coming to the end was a depressing experience (despite the strong ending for a book that's obviously the first of a series). I bought this to bide my time while eagerly anticipating the last installment of WoT, but I feel like I was rewarded with a work that is at least as good, and possibly better, than the final book of the WoT series (although I must reserve judgment until I read it). With regard to content and style, as much as I love Robert Jordan, I find Sanderson indulges less in the detailed minutia and keeps things moving while still developing the depth of character and world that Jordan did. I don't say that as a mark against Jordan, who was a true master, only to give Sanderson the high praise he deserves. I dream of being a writer, and if I ever had the guts to try it, Sanderson would be one of the authors I'd strive to emulate. Buy this book and ENJOY! (until you get to the end, and then -- like me -- you can wait miserably for the next installment).

    For those needing some criticism to give validity to a review (which I understand), I'll note the following. I really like Michael Kramer (not my favorite narrator, but definitely great), and I also like Kate Reading, BUT I do get a bit annoyed by the tone she used to voice the main female character (Shallan). It's similar to the voice used some of the 'young naive women' in WoT (e.g., Nynaeve al'Meara), which I also find a bit grating. I realize the underlying material for these characters suggests a naive female in need of worldly understanding and refinement, but the voice just seems to Jr. High catty for me, particularly because the characters are obviously strong, deep individuals. To be clear, I really respect Kate Reading and consider her to be very talented. I'm only criticizing the voice she uses to depict the 'annoying young woman' characters, which should of course have an annoying voice, I just wish that the degree of annoying were turned down a notch. But again, fantastic book, and great narration from both Kramer and Reading.

    BTW: I just checked (on 11/23/12) and Wikipedia indicates vol. 2 of the series will be forthcoming during Christmas season of 2013. Makes me want to cry, although it would have taken me 4 lifetimes to write a poor rendition of vol. 1, so I'm not criticizing the author. Indeed, given Sanderson's work on the WoT series (and others), he appears to be as prolific as R. Jordan. Heralds be praised!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Karl Marlantes
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4772)
    Performance
    (2885)
    Story
    (2886)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: A performance so poignant, we gave Bronson Pinchot (yes, Balki from Perfect Strangers) our inaugural Narrator of the Year award.... In the monsoon season of 1968-69 at a fire support base called Matterhorn, located in the remote mountains of Vietnam, a young and ambitious Marine lieutenant wants to command a company to further his civilian political ambitions. But two people stand in his way.

    Zachary says: "Matterhorn"
    "Incredible"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Matterhorn rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Perhaps the best audiobook I've listened to so far. It's difficult to believe that Bronson Pinchot voiced all of the characters, he's simply that spot on with such a diverse group of characters.


    Any additional comments?

    Incredible story read by an incredible talent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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