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James

Seattle, WA, United States | Member Since 2000

105
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 15 reviews
  • 35 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 88 purchased in 2014
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  • Already Dead

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Charlie Huston
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (537)
    Performance
    (255)
    Story
    (253)

    From the Battery to the Bronx, Manhattan is crawling with Vampyres. Joe Pitt is one of them, and he's not happy about it. Yeah, he gets to be tough as nails and hard to kill. But spending his nights trying to score a pint of blood to feed the Vyrus that's eating at him isn't his idea of a good time.

    Flavius says: "A Pleasant Surprise"
    "Not just for vampirophiles"
    Overall

    Fun listen - I found it an updated "hardboiled" detective noir that HAPPENS to be set in a vampire context.
    The story is well constructed, the characters are interesting, the protagonist is vulnerable and while the exploration of the vampiric dynamics and culture is fresh and interesting, the story doesn't rest on vamp mystique to interest the reader


    You don't have to wear a lot of crushed velvet to enjoy this one! :D

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ghost Story: The Dresden Files, Book 13 - Free First Chapter

    • UNABRIDGED (10 mins)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By John Glover
    Overall
    (474)
    Performance
    (262)
    Story
    (260)

    When we last left the mighty wizard detective Harry Dresden, he wasn't doing well. In fact, he had been murdered by an unknown assassin. But being dead doesn't stop him when his friends are in danger. Except now he has nobody, and no magic to help him. And there are also several dark spirits roaming the Chicago shadows who owe Harry some payback of their own. To save his friends-and his own soul-Harry will have to pull off the ultimate trick without any magic...

    Lifelong Reader says: "Beyond disappointed"
    "I UNDERSTAND - BUT VOTE WITH YOUR $"
    Overall

    I understand that scheduling constraints made using another reader an option that fit the release schedule
    better for Penguin. and I don't mean to slight Mr. Glover, it's not an issue with him so much as it is an issue with continuity.

    BUT

    I would really hate to roll over and prove to Penguin Audio the marketing position of "They'll be disappointed, but they will buy it anyway"

    What is offered is not the product I wanted and I fear that by purchasing this product I reinforce that position as valid.

    The audiobook listener sometimes has to wait extra time for the audio edition (look at the release sequence weirdness on Audible with the Joe Pitt "Already Dead" series) -- I would rather wait until the original reader's (Marsters) schedule clears and get the product I want at a later date.

    At this point, the listener has invested around 150 hours (not to mention the purchase of 13 or so titles) and cooperation from the publisher would be appreciated.

    Penguin Audio - Please consider a "special collectors edition" rerecording -- even if digital only

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Half the Blood of Brooklyn

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Charlie Huston
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (185)
    Performance
    (118)
    Story
    (118)

    There’s only so much room on the Island, only so much blood, and Manhattan’s Vampyre Clans aren’t interested in sharing. So when the Vyrus-infected dregs of New York’s outer boroughs start creeping across the bridges, the Clans want to know why. Bad luck for PI Joe Pitt. Joe used to be a Rogue, work off his own dime, pick his own gigs, but tight times and a terminally ill girlfriend pushed him to the renegade Society Clan. Now he has all the cash and blood he needs, but at a steep price.

    James says: "another solid installment"
    "another solid installment"
    Overall

    If you are at this point in the series, you are probably already invested.

    More of the same (in a good way) - solid writing, great voice work (hey, it's Brick)

    One observation, not really a criticism -- the story in this installment is a little less self-contained. I think the episodic plot, the immediate issue or "mystery" that the protagonist deals with, takes a back seat to service the overall plot arc of the series. there is less about the immediate threat and more about complications in the recurring world and overall situations, and the story ends with issues maybe a little more open. It feels like a set-up for the next installments.
    (much like Part II of abt any classic trilogy behaves)
    It's not really a negative
    while it would be a clever trick to be able to close the story AND keep momentum, that would just be a clever trick -- I think the change in pacing keeps the series from falling into a "set em up...knock em down" monotony and seems to be a common and natural place to open up a story to a larger arc (Dresden Files book 3 does this very clearly and the Harry Potter series also follows this rhythm for instance).


    -the short term characters,situations nd themes are quite interesting
    -the author is not afraid to make the threats a little more abstract and complex (protagonist having to juggle multiple elements)
    - the long term characters are not too precious for change

    If you are this far in, you'll enjoy it, I did

    just prepare to immediately want book 4 (in production) to tie things up.


    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • You Are Not a Gadget: Being Human in an Age of Technology

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Jaron Lanier
    • Narrated By Rob Shapiro
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (158)
    Performance
    (71)
    Story
    (73)

    Jaron Lanier, a Silicon Valley visionary since the 1980s, was among the first to predict the revolutionary changes the World Wide Web would bring to commerce and culture. Now, in his first book, written more than two decades after the web was created, Lanier offers this provocative and cautionary look at the way it is transforming our lives for better and for worse.

    Ahmed says: "Thought Provoking"
    "A very good counterpoint piece"
    Overall

    The book is a manifesto and it not only makes that clear in the title, but the author cops to it and while taking a strong position, LEAVES ROOM and GIVES PERMISSION for the reader to think differently or disagree.
    So, while a manifesto, it didn't feel myopic and it wasn't merely a "preaching to the choir" confirmation piece -- it is a thoughtful take on some modern issues that doesn't require one "join this side" nor throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    Agree or disagree or something else (I found myself doing all 3, sometimes on a single issue) -- I think it's worth a listen

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • My Dead Body

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Charlie Huston
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (182)
    Performance
    (97)
    Story
    (97)

    After exposing the secret source of blood for half of Manhattan's Vampyres, private eye Joe Pitt is definitely a dead man walking. For a year he's sloshed around the subway tunnels and sewers, tapping the veins of the lost, while above ground a Vampyre civil war threatens to drag the Clans into the sunlight once and for all. What's it gonna take to dig him up?

    Mary says: "Warning Book 5"
    "CAUTION! - PLEASE READ BEFORE LISTENING"
    Overall

    THIS IS *NOT BOOK 3 IN THE SERIES!!!

    I think the first review nails it, it's the same high quality in and of itself, BUT messes up the flow
    At first I thought the author was going for a different "backstory" approach and was waiting for it to fill in and listened to enough to say
    1) it's consistent with the other books in terms of quality
    both by Huston and by the reader Brick
    2) You'll get overall plot arc spoilers which is a drag



    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Blindsight

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Peter Watts
    • Narrated By T. Ryder Smith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (224)
    Performance
    (143)
    Story
    (141)

    Set in 2082, Peter Watts' Blindsight is fast-moving, hard SF that pulls readers into a futuristic world where a mind-bending alien encounter is about to unfold. After the Firefall, all eyes are locked heavenward as a team of specialists aboard the self-piloted spaceship Theseus hurtles outbound to intercept an unknown intelligence.

    James says: "Compelling modern hard sci-fi"
    "Compelling modern hard sci-fi"
    Overall

    I really enjoyed this one...a lot...really refreshing

    It's a dense, demanding work. Watts, a marine mammal biologist, requires that the reader keep up and isn't afraid to put out a term or concept without spoon-feeding. Given his background, he's covering the areas of intelligence, consciousness, language, etc from sort of a neuroscience perspective (which can have a bit of a different feel than some of the classic physics-driven hard SF)

    As can happen with hard SF sometimes (Clarke is a good example) the plot itself can be more of a scaffolding for the exposition of speculative concepts...so I think plot-driven reading isn't the best way to approach the read (not that there isn't a plot, just if you focus on the plot, you miss the goods and can misunderstand the pacing..the pacing and "payoff" is in the concepts, not the plot)

    After about - Oh 1,200 or so audiobooks I'll say this one really refreshed the medium for me (not so much in production style, which is fairly typical, but in the writing and the type of attention you have to give this work)

    It's a different type of read - but well worth it and I enjoyed it greatly
    Really some fresh air

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Soon I Will Be Invincible: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Austin Grossman
    • Narrated By Coleen Marlo, Paul Boehmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1007)
    Performance
    (511)
    Story
    (511)

    Doctor Impossible, evil genius and diabolical scientist, has tried to take over the world in every way imaginable, but this time is going to be different. He'll have to contend with Fatale, however, a rookie superhero on her first day with the Champions, the world's most famous superteam. She's a patchwork woman of skin and chrome, a gleaming technological marvel built for the next generation of warfare.

    Brad says: "Now that I have you at my mercy. . ."
    "Pretty much what "they said""
    Overall

    Not a comic guy myself, but familiar enough through pop culture (all the superhero films, etc) that the treatment of the superhero mythology was easy to access

    light and witty, and well paced so it didnt wear

    the narration is EXCELLENT and the swapping of narrator (and first person character) keeps things from dragging

    This one is extremely user friendly and just plain a hoot!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Foundation

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Isaac Asimov
    • Narrated By Jim Gallant
    Overall
    (239)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (47)

    After 12,000 years, the once-supreme Galactic Empire was plunging into a future of barbarism and warfare. All knowledge previously created by mankind faced destruction. Only Hari Seldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, foresaw the dark age of ignorance that was to come, and set out to preserve knowledge and mankind itself.

    Colin says: "Stop read"
    "Echo of the others"
    Overall

    I'm familiar with the Foundation stories, and have even heard abridged audiobooks and BBC dramatized

    This one - however, I found to be literally unlistenable
    for the same reasons others mentioned

    Music that is annoying and does NOT match the narrative
    Quality of the Reading is simply not up-to-snuff

    this is simply a Do not buy

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Zeitgeist

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Bruce Sterling
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    Overall
    (69)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (18)

    It's 1999, and on the Turkish half of Cyprus, the ever-enterprising Leggy Starlitz has alighted - pausing on his mission to storm the Third World with the G-7 girls, the cheapest, phoniest all-girl band ever to wear Wonderbras and spandex. His market is staring him in the face: millions of teenagers trapped in a world of mullahs and mosques, all ready to blow their pocket change on G-7's massive merchandising campaign - and to wildly anticipate music the band will never release.

    James says: "Enjoyable, very well narrated post-cyberpunk piece"
    "Enjoyable, very well narrated post-cyberpunk piece"
    Overall

    This, like Gibson's Pattern recognition is really a post-cyberpunk work and I think that might have turned some people off _ I personally was not turned off.

    Styling :
    I find this a natural extension of the earlier styling (where they may have explored the "near-future flawed or maybe corrupt", the post movement has shades of the "present inane")
    "Edgy" has gone maybe a little "sardonic"
    The buzzwords were, I feel, appropriately (over)used as THAT itself was part of the ccultural commentary
    I found the atmosphere witty, dryly humorous and entertaining

    Story :
    Like Much of sci-fi (esp in the longform) the concept/theme of the stoy and the construction of the world can be less-than-perfectly integrated (hey, I find this even among the old gaurd masters of the genre)
    It does seem to read like 2 different stories and takes a left turn maybe 70% through...and the reader has to shift gears with it
    Admittedly, that transition is a little rough and maybe a little muddled (though maybe that was something we were supposed to feel...uprooted) -- not entirely smooth, but didn't trash the work by any means and certainly isn't the worst example of that by any means

    Narration :
    Extremely impressive, the narrator gives a different voice to the characters making it easy to follow and more of a performance, WITHOUT putting the characterizations on heavily enough to become tedious or overly apparent (I just heard it as different voices and it helped immersion into the story making the narration yet smoother).
    I honestly feel one of the better readers I've heard just about anywhere

    It's actually one I can go back and enjoy again

    So my opinion differs from some of the other listeners

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Hannibal

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs)
    • By Thomas Harris
    • Narrated By Thomas Harris
    Overall
    (148)
    Performance
    (71)
    Story
    (71)

    In the highly-anticipated sequel to The Silence of the Lambs and the final book in the trilogy that started with Red Dragon, seven years have passed since Dr. Hannibal Lecter escaped from custody, seven years since FBI Special Agent Clarice Starling interviewed him in a maximum security hospital for the criminally insane.

    W. Max Hollmann says: "Poorly abridged"
    "Listenable, but not Harris' strongest work"
    Overall

    Content - I found this installment of the "serial killer triliogy" to be, by far, the weakest. I felt Harris was trying to fulfill the interest in the Hannibal mythology - I felt the character became cartoonish and, unlike the previous 2, the killer was less explored and humanized. The Graphic violence was simply gratuitous (I'm not squeemish about these sorts of things, but I just found it to be a waste of pages as it didn't move the story, but detracted from it)

    Adaptation - Fairly straightforward (unabridged) and the content translates reasonably. It behaves like your average modern detective thriller paperback

    Narration - Adequate, but uninspiring. I generally enjoy (not preferr, but enjoy) hearing an author reading --- what they lack in polish, they gain in interpretation.



    Overall, listenable, but a disappointing closure to the triliogy. A "throw away" modern crime thriller

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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