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  • A Feast for Crows: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book IV

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By John Lee

    It is not long before the survivors, outlaws, renegades, and carrion eaters start to gather, picking over the bones of the dead and fighting for the spoils of the soon-to-be dead. Now in the Seven Kingdoms, as the human crows assemble over a banquet of ashes, daring new plots and dangerous new alliances are formed, while surprising faces, some familiar, others only just appearing, are seen emerging from an ominous twilight of past struggles and chaos to take up the challenges ahead.

    Aaron says: "No Roy Dotrice"
    "Abominable narration ruins the book"

    It's not just that Roy Dotrice has done a fabulous job of narration on the other books, but it's also that John Lee sounds like a novice actor reading his first Shakespearean role. This isn't narration; it's pompous oratory. He seems to love the sound of his own voice, at the expense of murdering the underlying text with his bombastic delivery. This is the weakest of the five books, so it didn't need much help being a disappointment on its own. John Lee makes listening to this book sheer torture.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Opal: Matt Turner, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Michael Siemsen
    • Narrated By Chris Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Matt Turner grew up witnessing firsthand the worst crimes imaginable. At age nine, he discovered his special ability to "read" the emotional imprints people leave on objects. Against better judgment, his police detective father used his son’s talent to help him solve crimes. Now, at 26, Matt tries to keep to himself, but an enemy he thought long gone interrupts his tropical vacation, flying him all over the globe to help track a 3,500-year-old Egyptian opal found sealed in a Cuban tree trunk.

    Daniel says: "Good but really fell apart at the end."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    It was a big let down.

    Would you ever listen to anything by Michael Siemsen again?

    One more chance.

    What aspect of Chris Patton’s performance would you have changed?

    He's a little smoother. His accents are inconsistent.

    Was The Opal worth the listening time?

    Not really.

    Any additional comments?

    I was so eager since the Dig was innovative and exciting. This felt like a lot of somewhat irrelevant filler was used to increase page count. It was depressing, tedious, meandering, repetitive, and full of logic holes. It wasn't any fun, and there were too many nasty people, illogical behavior and decisions, and gratuitous deaths. The biggest part of the fun and fascination in the first book was the past history. In this book, even that was disjointed and dull. Also there were far too many pointless chases and fights and shuffling from place to place. Not to mention the utter downer of an ending.

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Aftermath

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Charles Sheffield
    • Narrated By Gary Dikeos

    It’s 2026, and catastrophe has struck from an unexpected source. The Alpha Centauri supernova has risen like a second sun, rushing Earth toward its last summer. Floods, fires, starvation, and disease paralyze the planet. In a blue aurora flash of gamma rays, all microchips worldwide are destroyed, leaving an already devastated Earth without communications, transportation, weaponry, or medicine. The disaster sets three groups of survivors on separate quests. A militant cult seizes the opportunity to free their leader, known as the Eye of God, from the long-term coma to which a court sentenced her.

    G. House Sr. says: "Give it a read, it's worth the credit"
    "Third grade book reports are read better"
    Would you try another book from Charles Sheffield and/or Gary Dikeos?

    Sheffield yes, Dikeos never.

    Has Aftermath turned you off from other books in this genre?


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Gary Dikeos?

    Anyone over the age of seven.

    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Anger and disappointment.

    Any additional comments?

    The narrator reads in an excruciatingly slow, halting voice with completely illogical pauses. His dialog is stilted and simpleminded. Peopleceother all spund tnevsame or sound ridiculous. Every time I think I've encountered the worst possible narrator, I find a new low. This is it. Sheffield's book are usually idea-rich, but with slow pacing. A narrator like this turns a potentially interesting book deadly.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Casual Vacancy

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By J. K. Rowling
    • Narrated By Tom Hollander
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early 40s, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils.... Pagford is not what it at first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town's council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen.

    cristina says: "I was surprised by how much I liked it"
    "Boring, ugly, and unrelentingly mean"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Someone who likes ugly mean character studies.

    What was most disappointing about J. K. Rowling’s story?

    That it went on and on and it never went anywhere. And it was nasty and depressing the whole time.

    Which character – as performed by Tom Hollander – was your favorite?

    None of them.

    What character would you cut from The Casual Vacancy?

    All of them.

    Any additional comments?

    I wasn't expecting a light Harry Potter book, but this book made me wonder if Rowling thought most people were like the despicable characters in her book. You could see touches of her wicked wit in the story, But it's all so nasty and unpleasant that it wasn't enough to justify the book. The characters were well-observed and well-drawn, but you wouldn't want to invest any time reading about them.

    Someone else mentioned restarting the book several times. I did too. It's never a good sign.

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

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By John Glover
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    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....

    Bill says: "Not the best audio book in the series"
    "I Lover Glover; I hated his narration."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The story kept me at a distance

    Who was your favorite character and why?


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of John Glover?

    James Marsters

    If this book were a movie would you go see it?


    Any additional comments?

    I'm invested in Harry Dresden, but in addition to the disappointing narration, I felt the story was weaker than others in the series. I know it was supposed to represent a shift in narrative direction, but I'm not sure I'll like the new direction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dune

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Frank Herbert
    • Narrated By Scott Brick, Orlagh Cassidy, Euan Morton, and others

    Here is the novel that will be forever considered a triumph of the imagination. Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Maud'dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family and would bring to fruition humankind's most ancient and unattainable dream.

    Joshua says: "Wonderful production!"
    "Muddled narration is slightly abridged"

    In addition to all the comments about the inconsistent narration, there is one glaring flaw that needs to be highlighted. When the voice actors are reading their portions, there is minor abridging of the text.

    For instance, they may use their voice to illustrate anger, but there is no narration describing the voice as angry, nor the intensity or shadowing of the voice. Since, the voice actor may not always convey the subtleties that Frank Herbert intended, the listener may not correctly discern the proper mood. Also, stage direction gets lost during the voice actor presentations. Movement, facial expression, and gestures often get skipped.

    Other books with a full cast (like the Dark Materials series) do retain the original narrative that occurs between the lines of dialog delivered by the voice actors.

    Simon Vance is a terrific narrator, they'd do the listeners a favor and have him record the sections he didn't read. They could always sell it as a separate edition, hoping to make money off both version.

    Alternatively, they could simply repackage the original Scott Brick version. It also has the extensive appendices that come with the book. The full cast version does not.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Slan (Dramatized)

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By A. E. van Vogt
    • Narrated By Third Ear Radio Theater

    In the 25th century mankind fought against the hated telepathic slan race in the fierce slan-wars. The result was the extermination of almost all slans, and the establishment of a world-wide police state.

    Lareau says: "Avoid!"
    "Just awful"

    This was one of favorite books, so I have no qualms with the heavyhanded plot. But this was the worst audiobook I have even listened to. The cast was amateur and the delivery was way over the top. The soundtrack was so bad that some key dialog was even drowned out.

    I don't think it even deserves the one star I gave it

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Darwin's Children

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Greg Bear
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Eleven years have passed since SHEVA was discovered in human DNA, a retrovirus that caused mutations in the human genome and heralded the arrival of a new wave of genetically enhanced humans. Now these changed children have reached adolescence...and face a world that is outraged about their very existence. For these special youths are also ticking time bombs that could exterminate the "old" human race...

    Jim says: "Serious Science Fiction"
    "Get the abridged version and do yourself a favor"

    The idea was compelling, but it jumped around a lot and this is very confusing in an audio book. It meandered and spent way too much time dwelling on meaningless details in descriptions. I can see how the Sheva children would pay attention to smells, but he even excessively described smells that only the humans were present for, and would not normally be noticed by humans or worthy of description.

    I also thought the children were rather odd as mutants go. Why would an enhanced sense of smell be an evolutionary advance? It went overboard on the role viruses would play, instead of giving them an expanded role in genetics, he gave them the entire role in genetics and reproduction.

    Then he threw in stuff about one of the characters having a deep religious epiphany and went on and on about it. It made no sense in the plot and must have just been something he wanted to share.

    The characters spent too much time in maudlin navel-staring. And the language was frequently overwrought and melodramatic.

    This was my first Greg Bear book and it will be my last. I don't like his style--way too much superfluous descripion. I'm not rating the book lower than two stars because it had an interesting idea, even if I hated how he executed it. I also cared about some of the characters.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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