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Ian

Movie loving Brit living Down Under. Anything 'end of the world' themed usually gets my attention, but The Stand has yet to be beat.

Frankston South, Australia | Member Since 2010

70
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 30 reviews
  • 45 ratings
  • 207 titles in library
  • 23 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
2

  • A Clash of Kings (Part Two): Book 2 of A Song of Ice and Fire

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    Overall
    (331)
    Performance
    (298)
    Story
    (299)

    This is Part Two of Book 2 of the A Song of Ice and Fire Series. George R. R. Martin’s superb fantasy epic continues in consummate style as bloodshed and alchemy lay waste the Seven Kingdoms. This second volume of A Song of Ice and Fire is unabridged and split into two parts. The Iron Throne once united the Sunset Lands, but King Robert is dead, his widow is a traitor to his memory, and his surviving brothers are set on a path of war amongst themselves.

    Ian says: "Writer & Narrator in Perfect Harmony"
    "Writer & Narrator in Perfect Harmony"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As good as the books are, and they're very good indeed, it's Roy Dotrice's narration that makes the whole thing sing. As a comparison, the audiobook of Dune, another multi-threaded, multi-character, multi-dialect epic used several narrators sometimes and one narrator at other times. Sometimes the narrators were good, sometimes average and sometimes downright terrible.
    Dotrice manages to do the heavy lifting and somehow carry the entire cast, from the major characters to the smallest one liner and give them all a voice and, using an array of British accents, makes them all consistent and recognisable.
    Yes, sometimes the accent doesn't quite suit the character but such instances are rare enough to simply not matter.
    It is hard to imagine how this audiobook could have been improved.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • 299 Days: The Preparation, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Glen Tate
    • Narrated By Kevin Pierce
    Overall
    (151)
    Performance
    (142)
    Story
    (141)

    299 Days: The Preparation, the first audiobook in the 299 Days series, depicts the inner struggles Grant must face as he exists in a social system he recognizes as unsustainable and on the verge of collapse, but one in which he has built his life around. What begins as a return to his roots, self-sufficiency and independence, becomes a full blown move to prepare for what may come.

    Jeremy says: "final get to hear the books"
    "Less a Story, More a Sermon"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Possibly the single dullest book I've ever read. I genuinely hated everything about it. I love survival and prepper fiction, from EMPs to zombies to Captain Trips; I'll lap it up. But this? It's bad enough to make you grind your teeth at both what it has to say and how it says it.

    Writer and narrator combine effectively to speak as if the reader is a 7 year old who is blissfully unaware of the great insights our 'perfectly placed to see it all coming' writer it. Find God, buy guns, listen to the 'outside voices' in your head and you might get through. Fail to heed this patronising nonsense and you might end up wearing a 'the end is nigh' sandwich board and not washing very often as you smugly wait for it all to fall apart.

    Utter, irredeemable drivel. Luckily it can be returned.

    2 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Mr Mercedes

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (81)
    Performance
    (74)
    Story
    (77)

    A cat-and-mouse suspense thriller featuring a retired homicide detective who's haunted by the few cases he left open, and by one in particular - the pre-dawn slaughter of eight people among hundreds gathered in line for the opening of a jobs fair when the economy was guttering out. Without warning, a lone driver ploughed through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes. The plot is kicked into gear when Bill Hodges receives a letter in the mail, from a man claiming to be the perpetrator. He taunts Hodges with the notion that he will strike again.

    Martie says: "Brilliant!"
    "Pretty Ordinary Book, Pretty Rubbish King Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Starts of well but soon drops off. There's no mystery, no tension and no real plot. The bad guy is one of King's weakest creations, as is the hero, and the story around them is equally as bland and unmemorable as they are.

    One thing Mr Mercedes proves is that King really needs to either get someone who understands how the interwebs work or stop writing stories that feature it as a main plot point. The same goes for computers and car security systems for that matter.

    It's all just so disappointing and mediocre. It's not bad so much as wholly unremarkable. There's nothing about it that makes the book feel like a King book.

    Will Patton is a quality narrator though but when the best thing about an audiobook is the bloke reading it, something, somewhere, has gone very wrong.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • No Easy Hope: Surviving the Dead, Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By James N. Cook
    • Narrated By Guy Williams
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (488)
    Performance
    (460)
    Story
    (461)

    Eric Riordan was once a wealthy man leading a comfortable, easy life. Until one day Gabriel, his oldest friend, Marine Corps veteran, and a former mercenary, told him how the world was going to end. He did his best to prepare. He thought he was ready for anything. He was wrong. As the dead rise up to devour the living, one man finds himself struggling to survive in the ruins of a shattered world. Alone, isolated, and facing starvation, his only chance is to flee to the Appalachians and join forces with Gabriel.

    Amanda says: "Not bad, Not unique, but well written!"
    "Solid Zombie Tale"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A pretty standard tale but though the story's kind of old hat to someone who likes zombie fiction, the characters are well fleshed out despite being mostly well-worn and typical.

    Surprisingly, there are a couple of pretty emotional moments, especially towards the end of the story, as the author makes a point of dwelling on cause and effect. He makes a decent stab of putting some real pathos in to proceedings and, more often than not, does a good job of it. In that way, this is a cut well above the average.

    Biggest obstacle I have is the narrator who does take some getting used to. Male voices are either slow, deep and gravelly or fast, a bit squeaky and bland. Aside from stereotypes like the duuuude surfer voice, that's about as varied as things get. Female voices aren't that great either. But you get used to it well enough and once you do it rarely intrudes.

    All in all, you could do a lot worse than give this a spin. I'm off to grab book 2 anyway, which gives you some idea of how much I enjoyed book 1.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Forsaking Home: The Survivalist Series, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By A. American
    • Narrated By Duke Fontaine
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (540)
    Performance
    (505)
    Story
    (505)

    Morgan Carter has weathered the weeks after the collapse of the nation's power grid, reuniting with his family and ensuring their safety, but his struggle isn't over yet. Carter must focus on survival in an increasingly unstable society - but the challenges he faces are beyond his wildest imagination. Meanwhile, the enclosed quarters of the nearby government-run refugee camp make for an environment where injury, assault and murder are the norm.

    Ian says: "Less a conclusion and more a lingering death"
    "Less a conclusion and more a lingering death"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Look, none of the series is particularly well written, but what they had was passion and belief in them. The guy writing them knew his subject - survival when society crumbles - and that made up for an awful lot that was missing in terms of literary merit. Often the book was a manual for surviving when the brown stuff hits the fan but by book 3, the author was struggling to keep things going whilst not repeating the same old things.

    Book 4 though is almost entirely a waste of time and, in terms of the overall story, pretty much irrelevant. Characters that weren't that brilliant to start with but were at least kind of believable, are now paper thin, spouting trite and repetitive dialogue. Plot points that were once fresh and interesting to read are repeated and rehashed, with what should be major events built up into absolute non-events.

    Most of the time you get the distinct impression our author Angry American ran out of things to say and just... kept typing anyway. It's almost entirely filler.

    Avoid.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • The Silkworm: Cormoran Strike, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Robert Galbraith
    • Narrated By Robert Glenister
    Overall
    (212)
    Performance
    (195)
    Story
    (197)

    When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, she just thinks he has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realises. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were published it would ruin lives - so there are a lot of people who might want to silence him.

    Anne says: "Another great mystery with Cormoran Strike."
    "Pretty much perfect"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Rowling is at the top of her game, and reintroduces us to some already well-established characters and adds more to them as we go. She's a natural storyteller, plain and simple, and she does so with smooth and seemingly effortless skill.

    The narrator is absolutely flawless. His characters never jar, he never over-eggs his narration and always gives them detail and definition without 'acting' them out.

    The 'whodunnit' story is set in the world of publishing and you know Rowling is an expert witness in telling us what it's like there.

    Thoroughly recommended.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Hospital: The FREE Short Story: The First Mountain Man Story

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 37 mins)
    • By Keith C. Blackmore
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (896)
    Performance
    (815)
    Story
    (825)

    "Mountain Man" Augustus Berry is a survivor in undead suburbia. He scavenges what he can from what's left over. He is very careful in what he does and where he goes, taking no chances, no unnecessary risks, and weighing every choice...until he decides to visit the hospital at the edge of town, and experiences terror the likes he's never encountered before.

    Ian says: "Kind of Undersells Book 2"
    "Kind of Undersells Book 2"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I'd rewrite it to better suit the tone of book 2. As a standalone story it rates about an 'ok'. It's typical horror and seems to be written primarily for shock-value. Book 2 is almost the opposite of this.


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

    Meeting Gus.


    Have you listened to any of R. C. Bray’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    He's fast becoming my favourite narrator. Manages to avoid the 'tough guy with gravelly' voice cliche whilst still making everyone distinct. He also does female voices very well.


    Did The Hospital: The FREE Short Story: The First Mountain Man Story inspire you to do anything?

    I bought book 2.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm complaining about something that's free, but I just think book 1 might put some people off reading book 2 which would be a shame.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Going Home: The Survivalist Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By A. American
    • Narrated By Duke Fontaine
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1636)
    Performance
    (1509)
    Story
    (1518)

    If society collapsed, could you survive? When Morgan Carter's car breaks down 250 miles from his home, he figures his weekend plans are ruined. But things are about to get much, much worse: the country's power grid has collapsed. There is no electricity, no running water, no Internet, and no way to know when normalcy will be restored - if it ever will be.

    Randall says: "A page turner, if. . ."
    "A Pleasant Surprise"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Going Home in three words, what would they be?

    Need solar panels.

    Seriously, reading this made me want to buy a large backpack and convert my house to solar power. I'm not being facetious.


    What other book might you compare Going Home to and why?

    It should stand comparison to all manner of post-apocalyptic books, but it actually stands fairly alone. That being said, this is my first survivalist-themed story.


    What about Duke Fontaine’s performance did you like?

    It's a decent sized cast of characters and he gives them all a strong, unique voice. He also doesn't give the hero a hero voice, instead going for something more grounded and everyman.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Not moved as such, but I found the depiction of how quickly society would break down to be both believable and more than a bit worrying.


    Any additional comments?

    This is very obviously written by someone who knows what they're talking about. Often, the story feels like a survival manual; recipes, plans, how to modify equipment, what equipment to get and more besides are all covered in detail and the story really has substance behind it. The reason for the apocalypse may (or may not for all I know) be unlikely, but the characters reactions to it rarely feel less than very real.
    I was entertained enough to easily justify buying the other stories in the saga and went through them all in short order. Pretty thoroughly recommended.

    0 of 1 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
    (9308)
    Performance
    (8854)
    Story
    (8872)

    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?"

    Brian says: "Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped"
    "Faultless"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Martian the most enjoyable?

    It's a book I picked up simply because so many were raving about it and now I'm one of them. The most recent comparison is probably the movie Gravity and the central premise, one person fighting to survive against all the odds, is sort of the same. The big difference is that in Gravity the threat of death was immediate, just minutes away at any time.
    In The Martian, death can be anywhere from just a minute or two away, or a year or two in the future or anywhere in between. You could survive for months for nothing, making that one mistake that costs you your life. Some essential piece of equipment could fail and maybe end it quickly or maybe just make you aware you have a finite time left and that you will die.
    Or maybe you'll survive long enough to starve to death.
    It's a genuinely tense book. A manned mission to Mars has to be aborted and one man is left behind, and he is, in every sense of the word, alone. You're reading his journal and though you might think you're reading as he writes it, for all you know you're reading it after the fact. And that starts to prey on you as the reader, something not helped by the fact that our hero is such a well-written and thoroughly likable character.
    It's tense, often laugh out loud funny, endlessly inventive and just... smart. The book feels like a survival manual for an alien planet more than it feels like an adventure story, and that feeling of being grounded adds further to how much you genuinely care about what happens.


    What did you like best about this story?

    So many times the hero is faced with a situation where there is no way he can survive. It's just not possible and so you know, as the reader, that the author's going to have to come up with some contrived way to get him out of it.
    But he never does, not once. There's no stretching of credibility, nothing impossible and nothing absurd. Mostly it's lateral thinking and sheer determination that gets the guy through and the more he does so, the more you end up rooting for him.


    What does R. C. Bray bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    This type of story can easily be ruined by a bad narrator. A lot of books annoy the hell out of me when the hero is given the kind of voice that comes from chewing-gravel; dark and deep and almost a parody of a tough guy voice.
    Bray knows that this is an everyman and gives him an everyman voice that's a pleasure to listen to. He also manages to surround the central character with a range of distinct characters; accents sound genuine, female characters sound feminine and nobody jars the ears. It's a pretty sublime piece of work all round and makes an obvious great book into an equally great audiobook.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I laughed out loud regularly, yet none of what I was laughing at felt contrived. The characters speak believably and so it's easy to respond to them. They're written very naturally and Bray gives them natural voices. Most of the time I felt more like I was listening in than being read to.


    Any additional comments?

    Easily one of my favourite audiobooks. Early in the review I compared this to Gravity and they share another trait; both are improved by a variation on the standard media. Gravity is a great movie but it is immeasurably better as a 3D movie; it becomes genuinely breathtaking. The Martian is a great book, but it's immeasurably better as an audiobook.
    I honestly can't rate it highly enough. Flawless.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Dust: Silo Saga, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Hugh Howey
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1093)
    Performance
    (999)
    Story
    (1008)

    Wool introduced the silo and its inhabitants. Shift told the story of their making. Dust will chronicle their undoing. Welcome to the underground.

    Tango says: "Meanders, then races to a satisfying conclusion"
    "Brilliant conclusion to a brilliant trilogy."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Dust?

    Everything.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Juliette, who has every characteristic of the indomitable hero and none of the cliches that usually go with it. Great character and if they ever make a TV series of this (and they really should - it's perfect for the medium), there'll be no shortage of actresses who want the gig.


    Which character – as performed by Tim Gerard Reynolds – was your favorite?

    Juliette. See above.


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

    Yup. Couldn't manage it but one day I'll go on holiday and devour the trilogy on a beach whilst cooking in the sun.


    Any additional comments?

    Thanks to the other reader reviews that made me give the trilogy a whirl. Most appreciated.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Brilliance

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Marcus Sakey
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1576)
    Performance
    (1403)
    Story
    (1408)

    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"
    "Just... Average"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Brilliance better?

    An original idea.


    What was most disappointing about Marcus Sakey’s story?

    It was just so formulaic and predictable. Narration was a bit too 'trailer voice-over guy' to give the story any impact, which didn't help, but the characters are just paper-thin. There's treachery, but you see it coming. All is not what it seems, but you see it coming. It's a story that's been done many times and usually better than it's done here.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Luke Daniels’s performances?

    He's a good narrator in that he's clear and his voices are fairly distinct from one another, but he just can't wind in the 'square jawed hero' voice. Like I said, often his narration sounds like an audition for trailer voice-over work; it was a time of warrrrr.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Brilliance?

    Nothing, I just didn't click with the story. Some people probably will.


    Any additional comments?

    At least I listened to the entire story, so it couldn't have been that bad.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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