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JPaladin

Member Since 2009

102
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 56 reviews
  • 97 ratings
  • 287 titles in library
  • 28 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
14
FOLLOWERS
21

  • Sojourn: Legend of Drizzt: Dark Elf Trilogy, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By R. A. Salvatore
    • Narrated By Victor Bevine
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (833)
    Performance
    (767)
    Story
    (783)

    R. A. Salvatore's New York Times best-selling novel! Drizzt DoUrden has forsaken his subterranean home for the harsh unknown of the surface. The young warrior begins a sojourn through a world utterly unlike his own - and finds that acceptance among the surface-dwellers will only come at a great price....

    Adnan says: "A great sense of adventure"
    "Waste...."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was very interested in the idea of the first book: taking the viewpoint of the Tolkien-style "evil" races and exploring an individual's experience and ethical growth in the face of an "evil" culture, leadership, and deity. I stuck through progressively worse books, all in hope the author was going to take that idea to its fruition.

    I liked the story of the first book--despite the very week development of the mythology, history, and characters. I thought that the paper thin facade of the background story of "good" vs "evil" was just that--a "facade"--and that the author was setting it up just to tear it down in the second and third book (as a great trilogy author would). I put up with the lack of any rules to the character's abilities (a new magical ability or skill seems to pop out of thin air as the author needs it to push the story along). I also put up with the main character's inanate physical abilities (which conveniently for the story-telling are alternately awe inspiring and then insufficient throughout the series) AND WORSE innate "goodness" without any real explanation or development (only weak, underdeveloped hints as to the influence of the father or sister or third book "goddess/heart").

    But to my great dismay, the second book was even less nuanced and only detracted from the depth of the character--adding in childish ("young adult") motivations, dialog, and actions. From this book forward, everyone he meets is either pure good (open minded, accepting, kind--always after a short adjustment period) or through and through "Cruella De Vil" evil (so borring!).

    It got exponentially worse in the third and final book. The author almost entirely dropped the mythology of the first book; only at times making a surface nod towards a larger idea (e.g. the main character has issues with one of his abilities on the surface, but that is never explored). Worse the author exchanged the underdeveloped villains of the first and second book--who had some potential for depth/interest (spider goddess, main character's family, mercenary group) for pathetic caricatures of recycled Disney villians (mountain troll gang leader, then mountain orc gang leader, then vindictive mountain man).

    Loved the original idea--hated the execution.

    7 of 20 people found this review helpful
  • The Emperor's Soul

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Angela Lin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1026)
    Performance
    (934)
    Story
    (945)

    New York Times best-selling author Brandon Sanderson is widely celebrated for his Mistborn Trilogy and contribution to the final three books of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. In The Emperor's Soul, a Forger named Shai can copy and re-create any item by using magic to rewrite its history. After being condemned to death for attempting to steal the emperor's scepter, Shai is given one final chance. She' ll be allowed to live if she can create a new soul for the emperor, who hovers near death.

    debbie says: "A Great Short Novella that is Long in Story"
    "Good, if not great, Sanderson"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was the last available Sanderson book I had yet to read. Given its short length I waited for a long time until it came up on sale. It was worth the sale price. Fun book. Not in the same class as some of his other work, but enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Helene Wecker
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2928)
    Performance
    (2693)
    Story
    (2694)

    Helene Wecker's dazzling debut novel tells the story of two supernatural creatures who appear mysteriously in 1899 New York. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York Harbor. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop.

    Tango says: "Enchanting Debut Novel - Delicious!"
    "Enjoyable read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Different kind of story. Fun retelling of the emigrant's tale through the experience of two mythical beings.

    Well done and enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Deathless

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Catherynne M. Valente
    • Narrated By Kim de Blecourt
    Overall
    (51)
    Performance
    (47)
    Story
    (48)

    Koschei the Deathless is to Russian folklore what devils or wicked witches are to Western European culture: a menacing, evil figure; the villain of countless stories that have been passed on through story and text for generations. But Koschei has never before been seen through the eyes of Catherynne Valente, whose modernized and transformed take on the legend brings the action to modern times, spanning many of the great developments of Russian history in the 20th century.

    Robert says: "My Favorite Fantasy Book of the Year"
    "Interesting, but not fully engaging."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Fascinating to glimpse the experience (if only fictional) of communist Russia. I'm enjoying trying to parse through the allegories wrapped adapted in Russia folk lore.

    However, while I haven't finished yet, I'm not entirely taken with the experience. Not sure I'd recommend, unless you are interested in Russian history/folk lore.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Broken Sword

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Poul Anderson
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    Overall
    (84)
    Performance
    (70)
    Story
    (70)

    Thor has broken the sword Tyrfing so that it cannot strike at the roots of Yggdrasil, the tree that binds together earth, heaven, and hell. But now the mighty sword is needed again to save the elves in their war against the trolls, and only Skafloc, a human child kidnapped and raised by the elves, can hope to persuade Bölverk the ice-giant to make Tyrfing whole again. But Skafloc must also confront his shadow self, Valgard the changeling, who has taken his place in the world of men.

    Corey says: "Wow"
    "Something lost in the translation?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm not sure if I read the wrong review or what. But this book is boring me to death. It is like a dull retelling of an old english folk tale.

    I put it down two books ago and haven't gone back.

    Not I'm going to be able to ever finish it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Curse of Chalion

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Lois McMaster Bujold
    • Narrated By Lloyd James
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2166)
    Performance
    (968)
    Story
    (975)

    Amidst the decaying splendor and poisonous intrigue of Chalion's ancient capital, Cazaril is forced to confront not only powerful enemies but also the malignant curse that clings to the royal household, trapping him, flesh and soul, in a maze of demonic paradox, damnation, and death for as long as he dares walk the five-fold pathway of the gods.

    Terri says: "What makes a hero... LMB knows"
    "Very different, thoughtful read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    You follow a broken man back from complete destitution into the heart of a political & mythical struggle.

    Yet, this isn't the tried powerless learns to be powerful story-line. It takes you along on a somewhat complicated and usual path. While there is some action, it is far from action packed.

    I would recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Emperor's Blades: Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Brian Staveley
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (1347)
    Performance
    (1265)
    Story
    (1268)

    In The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley, the emperor of Annur is dead, slain by enemies unknown. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. But each of them also has a life-path on which their father set them, destinies entangled with both ancient enemies and inscrutable gods.

    Ethan M. says: "Of the various new fantasy series, this is... fine"
    "Childish, but fun (said with some guilt)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While not fully YA, it is heading in that direction. It is an action romp that tries to break free of the tried and true fantasy story-line, but doesn't really succeed.

    If you are looking for great fiction, look on. If you are looking for escapist fantasy fiction, you've found one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Magicians: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Lev Grossman
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3133)
    Performance
    (2361)
    Story
    (2378)

    Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, he's still secretly preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the craft of modern sorcery.

    Kyle says: "Not an average book"
    "Narnia/harry potter meets the hard realities"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Interesting and engaging. A different kind of book. It is an attempt to tell a "harry-potter/narnia" tale from a real world perspective. Basically, that means the characters are complex, troubled, selfish, etc and not everything works out in the end.

    I was more fascinated and interested that I thought I'd be in this concept. I must admit it got me thinking. It made a nice allegory for the process of growing up; it takes a hard look at the idea that one must let go of fantasy/dreams and what it means not to.

    I would recommend this book. (Maybe not for those looking for escapist fiction, unless you can take a few punches).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tigana

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Guy Gavriel Kay
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (946)
    Performance
    (599)
    Story
    (611)

    Tigana is the magical story of a beleaguered land struggling to be free. It is the tale of a people so cursed by the black sorcery of a cruel, despotic king that even the name of their once-beautiful homeland cannot be spoken or remembered.

    But after years of devastation, a handful of courageous men and women embark upon a dangerous crusade to overthrow their conquerors and bring back to the dark world the brilliance of a long-lost name: Tigana.

    Robert says: "Says a lot about who we are."
    "Good, but lost me a bit by the end."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've always been impressed by Kay's writing. This was a very interesting idea with some real potential. Yet, towards the end I wasn't able to stay under its spell- and I lost my ability to suspend my disbelief regarding the evolution of some of the characters.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Crimson Campaign: The Powder Mage Trilogy, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Brian McClellan
    • Narrated By Christian Rodska
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (320)
    Performance
    (296)
    Story
    (295)

    Tamas's invasion of Kez ends in disaster when a Kez counter-offensive leaves him cut off behind enemy lines with only a fraction of his army, no supplies, and no hope of reinforcements. Drastically outnumbered and pursued by the enemy's best, he must lead his men on a reckless march through northern Kez to safety, and back over the mountains so that he can defend his country from an angry god, Kresimir.

    Hassan says: "I Was Extremely Surprised!!"
    "Better than the first book."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Really enjoyed this one. Some of the characters really came into their own and the relationships and storyline became more compelling.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tower Lord: Raven's Shadow, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Anthony Ryan
    • Narrated By Steven Brand
    Overall
    (1640)
    Performance
    (1550)
    Story
    (1555)

    Vaelin Al Sorna, warrior of the Sixth Order, called Darkblade, called Hope Killer. The greatest warrior of his day, and witness to the greatest defeat of his nation: King Janus' vision of a Greater Unified Realm drowned in the blood of brave men fighting for a cause Vaelin alone knows was forged from a lie. Sick at heart, he comes home, determined to kill no more. Named Tower Lord of the Northern Reaches by King Janus's grateful heir, he can perhaps find peace in a colder, more remote land far from the intrigues of a troubled Realm.

    Jack says: "The Great Swampy Middle!"
    "Good continuation of the story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While not as mind-blowingly good as the first book, with a bit more rambling, less focused story-telling this book was nonetheless an enjoyable read well worth the credit.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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