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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

  • 31 reviews
  • 55 ratings
  • 229 titles in library
  • 9 purchased in 2015

  • 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

    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"

    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
  • Zombie Rules: Zombie Rules, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By David Achord
    • Narrated By Graham Halstead

    Rick, an aging Vietnam veteran, alcoholic, and prepper, convinces Zach Gunderson that the apocalypse is on the horizon. The two of them take refuge at a remote farm. As the zombie plague rages, they face a terrifying fight for survival. They soon learn, however, that the walking dead are not the only monsters.

    Ian says: "Teenage Wish Fulfillment Drivel"
    "Teenage Wish Fulfillment Drivel"

    Where to begin?

    The story is 'apocalypse by the numbers'.
    Characters are so thin that if they turned sideways they'd vanish.
    The writing varies in quality from painful to facepalm and stops at all points in between.
    The dialogue especially is staggeringly bad.
    Our hero, a teenager, knows absolutely everything about everything (astrology, history, farming, tactics and on and on), and is as adept at showing up teachers with his scholarly skills as he is grizzled old veterans with his planning and military acumen.
    I cannot think of a single redeeming feature about this, except that the narrator does a creditable job which the material.
    Women are useless in the apocalypse it seems.
    At one point a character trades honey for used women's underwear. No, I'm not making this up but Iam getting miserable trying to review this. Honestly, it's utter drivel, so bad it could almost be a parody but it's just not that self-aware.
    Try the Mountain Man books, or The Remaining books, but avoid this.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Lock In (Narrated by Wil Wheaton)

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever, and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent - and nearly five million souls in the United States alone - the disease causes "Lock In": Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.

    Alexis says: "Fun! Things you might want to know:"
    "Alright Book, Strong Narration"

    Decent enough story, but the set-up is better than the pay-off.

    The character's are well written and believable as are the things they're doing as a rule.
    The mystery at the heart of the tale is a bit of a non-event as there are so many holes in the basic premise it's not hard to see at least some of what's coming. That said it's actually a very interesting concept, it just this book doesn't really explore it more than needed in order to move things along.

    This could be an excellent start to a bigger journey, but as it is this is just one of those 'you could worse than give it a spin' type recommendations.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 299 Days: The Preparation, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Glen Tate
    • Narrated By Kevin Pierce
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    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.

    Louise Story says: "Just not that good."
    "Less a Story, More a Sermon"

    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.

    7 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Mr Mercedes

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    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.

    Wanda says: "Chillingy brilliant. Truly"
    "Pretty Ordinary Book, Pretty Rubbish King Book"

    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

    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"

    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.

    5 of 5 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

    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.

    Jan says: "Completes the series nicely... with a 3.5 read"
    "Less a conclusion and more a lingering death"

    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.


    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • The Silkworm: Cormoran Strike, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Robert Galbraith
    • Narrated By Robert Glenister

    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"

    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

    "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.

    Yuvett says: "Not Your Usual Last Action Hero"
    "Kind of Undersells Book 2"
    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.

    7 of 9 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

    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.

    Chris Hookway says: "Intriguing "prepper" story, terrible writing."
    "A Pleasant Surprise"
    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
  • Dust: Silo Saga, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Hugh Howey
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    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."
    What did you love best about Dust?


    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

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