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Kenton

Middle-aged, married dad of two, living in Northern Burbs of Chicago. Hard Sci Fi addict, and lover of great storytelling. Almost all of my reading is now in audio format.

Highland Park, IL, United States | Member Since 2007

ratings
256
REVIEWS
26
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
4
HELPFUL VOTES
109

  • Shift Omnibus Edition: Shift 1-3, Silo Saga

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Hugh Howey
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1217)
    Performance
    (1114)
    Story
    (1125)

    In 2007, the Center for Automation in Nanobiotech (CAN) outlined the hardware and software platform that would one day allow robots smaller than human cells to make medical diagnoses, conduct repairs, and even self-propagate. In the same year, a simple pill, it had been discovered, could wipe out the memory of any traumatic event. At almost the same moment in humanity's broad history, mankind had discovered the means for bringing about its utter downfall - and the ability to forget it ever happened.

    Tango says: "Your ears are in for a real treat"
    "A short story painfully extruded to 18hrs. Ughhh."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Full and fair disclosure... I HATE captive hero novels, big brother overlord novels, and prison stories. So the real question is, why in the hell did I buy this book? I don't have a good answer other than to say that, YUP! Still hate 'em.

    That said, I will offer my critique.

    The novel is very well visualized. F'ing painful, but it's very clear what the author wants you to see. But part of this is the exhaustive detail that Howey puts into every moment he chooses to write about. There's no skipping, by god. He writes every detail.

    It's nice that the main character isn't whipped up from the New York Times Best Seller recipe. He's very unique. But god, what a whuss. If he 'cried' and 'the tears streamed down his cheek' one more time, I was going to reach in through my iPhone and slap him. There's got to be an app for that. He's also completely blind to every, single one of the patently obvious ominous warnings of impending doom.

    I just can't get into bottling humanity in a thermos and seeing what happens, so you can tell the threadbare parable of 'free will: good / big brother: bad.' Well, no sh_t. Pretty sure we all know that. Ayn Rand put the cherry on that pie, then shoved every last gooey morsel down our throats, so unless you have something SERIOUSLY compelling to add to that message, please move on.

    I just couldn't do it. I gave it two chances. It finally wore me down when a second, upcoming hero in the book got buried under another mountainous overburden of suspicion that absolutely no human being could ever escape.

    ugh. run.

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Diving into the Wreck: Diving Universe, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Kristine Kathryn Rusch
    • Narrated By Jennifer Van Dyck
    Overall
    (308)
    Performance
    (227)
    Story
    (226)

    Boss loves to dive historical ships, derelict spacecraft found adrift in the blackness between the stars. Sometimes she salvages for money, but mostly she's an active historian. She wants to know about the past--to experience it firsthand. Once she's dived the ship, she'll either leave it for others to find or file a claim so that she can bring tourists to dive it as well. It's a good life for a tough loner, with more interest in artifacts than people.

    Pascal Scheffers says: "Scubadiving... in space."
    "She's a BADASS... but not really."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The first chapters make boss seem like a real tough chick. Cool! This is going to be be fun.

    Then it crumbles. She's over-cautious, over-sensitive, and over-conservative.

    Whatever. Look, either let her be a spit blood pirate chick, or an housewife with a spaceship. But PLEASE don't try to mix the two.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Fool Moon: The Dresden Files, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By James Marsters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7658)
    Performance
    (5708)
    Story
    (5690)

    Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is Chicago's only openly practicing wizard. He is also dead broke. His vast knowledge and magical skills are unfortunately matched by his talent for making powerful enemies and alienating friends. With little more than his integrity left, he accepts an offer of work from Lt. Karin Murphy of Chicago's Special Investigations Unit. He wants to redeem himself in Murphy's eyes and make enough money to quiet his rumbling stomach.

    pterion says: "I'm liking Harry more and more"
    "This narrator kills the series for me."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I actually really like the stories, but the narrator reminds me of a fat, tired, late-thirties, self-loathing, dungeon master fanboy from back in the DAY.

    I get it. Dresden comes from that ilk... kinda. But he's also a freekin bad ass, and this guy just can't pull it off for me. It just seems so forced.

    I'm bummed to see the whole friggin series is narrated by him.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Second Ship: The Rho Agenda, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Richard Phillips
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1252)
    Performance
    (1137)
    Story
    (1150)

    In 1948, an alien starship crash-landed in the New Mexico desert and brought with it the key to mankind’s future. Code-named the Rho Project, the landing was shrouded in secrecy, and only the highest-ranking US government and military personnel knew it existed. Until now....

    Mike From Mesa says: "Terrific story"
    "Y A much?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When your heroes are all teenagers, it's pretty hard to tell a grown up story. Honestly, I'm seeing a blatant example of publishers reaching for increased revenue on a Young Adult novel by not marketing it as a Young Adult novel.

    Fun(ish), but not much in the way of new ideas or story devices, and character development of such solid oaken construction, it would be right at home on an Amish-built show floor.

    • Kids smarter than their folks? CHECK.
    • Parents in perfect Mayberry marriages? CHECK.
    • Bosses all A Holes? CHECK.
    • Teachers all bigger A Holes? CHECK.
    • School bullies get meaner and meaner till shown what 'fer by the hero? CHECK.
    • Government officials all idiots not to be trusted? CHECK.
    • Bad guys all self-healing alien zombies who look just like the rest of us? CHECK.

    C'mon guys. Really? I'm sure teens can dig it, but the storyline is so clearly marked, all you have to do in the event of reduced visibility is follow white lights which lead to red lights which lead to the exits.

    Ughhh.

    I quit at 5 hours in.

    47 of 55 people found this review helpful
  • Pathfinder: Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki, Kirby Heyborne, Don Leslie, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2819)
    Performance
    (2131)
    Story
    (2149)

    Rigg is well trained at keeping secrets. Only his father knows the truth about Rigg’s strange talent for seeing the paths of people’s pasts. But when his father dies, Rigg is stunned to learn just how many secrets Father had kept from him - secrets about Rigg’s own past, his identity, and his destiny. And when Rigg discovers that he has the power not only to see the past, but also to change it, his future suddenly becomes anything but certain.

    Paul says: "Story OK, Narration Mixed"
    "Absolutely wooden."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My god, really? This is the author everyone fawns over.

    It was my first OSC card book, and likely my last.

    It's like listening to a chess match. UGHGHhhhh. The characters about as real life as Greek theater.

    Honestly thought I was listening to a young adult book. Was I, and just missed it?

    I tried. Really I did. I muscled through 3/4 of this thing, but it finally just wore me down.

    And STUPID character names. LOAF? UMBO? Really? gahhhhh.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Century Rain

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Alastair Reynolds
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (543)
    Performance
    (420)
    Story
    (417)

    Three hundred years from now, Earth has been rendered uninhabitable due to the technological catastrophe known as the Nanocaust. Archaeologist Verity Auger specializes in the exploration of its surviving landscape. Now, her expertise is required for a far greater purpose. Something astonishing has been discovered at the far end of a wormhole: mid-twentieth-century Earth, preserved like a fly in amber.

    DAVID says: "One of John Lee's best performances"
    "WRONG narrator."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Good story. Alastair Reynolds can tell a good yarn, and in this one, he does really well.

    John Lee as narrator, though, just drives me up the wall. He's fantastic for fantasy - I LOVED him for Perdido Street Station, but I just can't get my head around him for sci-fi. Too proper, too tweed, too academic. Not enough Asimov, not enough tech, not enough laser.

    But then, I'm probably too American.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Into the Black: Odyssey One

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Evan Currie
    • Narrated By Benjamin L. Darcie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1476)
    Performance
    (1364)
    Story
    (1369)

    Captain Eric Weston and his crew encounter horrors, wonders, monsters, and people; all of which will test their resolve, challenge their abilities, and put in sharp relief what is necessary to be a hero. A first-rate military-science-fiction epic that combines old-school space opera and modern storytelling, Into the Black: Odyssey One is a riveting, exhilarating adventure with vivid details, rich mythology, and relentless pacing.

    C. Hartmann says: "Great, Solid Military SciFi / Evolving Space Opera"
    "Nothing new."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Battlestar Galactica without the passion.

    Basically wrote a story about a US Navy aircraft carrier, and put it in space.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Colony

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1464)
    Performance
    (1112)
    Story
    (1124)

    Retired from his fighting days, John Perry is now village ombudsman for a human colony on distant Huckleberry. With his wife, former Special Forces warrior Jane Sagan, he farms several acres, adjudicates local disputes, and enjoys watching his adopted daughter grow up. That is, until his and Jane's past reaches out to bring them back into the game.

    Katherine says: "3.5 stars"
    "If you've read Zoe's Tale, don't bother."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Actually read Zoe's Tale first by accident. LOVED it. So much more emotive and quirky.

    Last Colony just fell flat for me.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Good Omens

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett
    • Narrated By Martin Jarvis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4205)
    Performance
    (2675)
    Story
    (2703)

    The world will end on Saturday. Next Saturday. Just before dinner, according to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world's only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655. The armies of Good and Evil are amassing and everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except that a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture. And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist.

    Lauren says: "Great voice adds to already amazing story"
    "You don't need him, Neil."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    LOVE Neil Gaiman.

    Terry Pratchet?... Not s'much. I think he really de-sublimes Gaiman.

    And the narration just put it over the edge. Martin Jarvis really pushed it to a place of Victorian pretense, and just couldn't capture the protagonist's child voice to save his life.

    I really would have loved to see this one written solely by Gaiman. I think it would have had the power of The Graveyard Book, or American Gods.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • One Second After

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By William R. Forstchen
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5238)
    Performance
    (3235)
    Story
    (3262)

    Already cited on the floor of Congress and discussed in the corridors of the Pentagon as a book all Americans should read, One Second After is the story of a war scenario that could become all too terrifyingly real. Based upon a real weapon - the Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) - which may already be in the hands of our enemies, it is a truly realistic look at the awesome power of a weapon that can destroy the entire United States.

    Andy Spooner says: "A page-turner, no doubt, but..."
    "Good story, but incredibly paranoid."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I did enjoy One Second After, but more like I would a campy 1950s horror movie rather than the hard fiction apocalyptic tale he endeavors to weave.

    I get it. We've all pretty much heard of the attack he describes. And yup, It's scary. But honestly, I think he assumes WAAAAY too much potency for the attack - basically 100% effective. No weapon in history has ever boasted that kind of efficacy. If there is a range of how bad an EMP attack would be, Fortschen has definitely turned the dial to 11.

    Character behavior and their relationships appeal for emotive connection through the melancholy stoicism of the Confederacy. I actually enjoy this style, though, which is why I rated it as highly as I did. But I don't think it's anything like how people would behave today.

    I also think his characters waste a ton of time and energy trying to establish an isolated 19th century society and culture through resurrection of obsolete technology, when they would probably get much further by simply trying to fix the current infrastructure lying repairable all around them.

    For emotive story telling, though, I give Fortschen a 4. For realistic treatment of a real potential risk... a 2.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful

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