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Kevin d.

ratings
184
REVIEWS
22
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
3
HELPFUL VOTES
25

  • The Ringworld Engineers: The Ringworld Series, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Larry Niven
    • Narrated By Paul Michael Garcia
    Overall
    (503)
    Performance
    (445)
    Story
    (451)

    It’s been 20 years since the quixotic and worldsweary Louis Wu discovered the Ringworld. Now he and SpeakertoAnimals are going back, captives of the Hindmost, a deposed puppeteer leader.

    Kevin d. says: "Good Story, Wrong Narrator. Way Wrong."
    "Good Story, Wrong Narrator. Way Wrong."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Short review - long winded soapbox.

    Casting picked the wrong narrator for this book. Mr.Garcia speaks with a clear voice that might be a pleasure to listen to if given the right story. His voice has a pleading quality to it - sometimes a whining quality. I see Mr. Garcia reading the classics or maybe some genre I don't listen to such as childrens books.

    After listening to the first book in this series my impression was serious fictional science with fun banter, appropriate sarcasm, and witty conversation. Mr. Parker nailed the first book with his outstanding performance. I mean he nailed it. His voice, inflections, emphasis were all spot on. I was able to laugh in the right places, be shocked in other places and follow along with the story very easily.

    In the second book much was lost. Too much. I would have to listen to something multiple times to realize that was supposed to be a funny part or the characters picking on each other or some serious encounter. But instead the whole book is lost in an incorrect emotional interpretation. All sense of tension countered by comic relief is lost. Instead all the characters seem to be whining or complaining to each other.

    This is one of the fails when converting a series into audible content. Publishers need to realize the narrator is a huge part of the book. They can turn a wonderful book into a painful drag or even turn a mediocre book into something worth listening to. With Mr. Parker they found the right narrator - then immediately changed for someone so wrong for the part. I notice in future books Mr. Parker does not return. Unfortunate. I'm not sure I can go through one more book with Mr. Garcia only to be facing another change in narrators. Ugh.

    As a parallel - Jim Butcher has a series called The Dresden Files. It is outstanding! For 13 volumes the narrator, Mr. Glover, gave an outstanding performance. Voice perfect. In volume 13 they brought in a new narrator and I almost lost interest in the whole series. Maybe I was totally used to Mr. Marsters by that time but I don't think I would have listened to the whole series if it was read by the narrator of volume 13. Fortunately this publisher realized the situation and brought out volume 14 with the original narrator. Outstanding!

    If all publishers would realize their narrators are bringing their books to life and their voice must be matched to the character then I think the audible world would be much better. If they find the right voice in the early volumes of a series - stick with it! Pay him or her more if you have to but don't swap voices without due consideration for the impact on the listener. Narrators are celebrities in a real sense. If my favorite artist (narrator) is reading in a genre I listen to (or one I want to try) I jump on it because of the narrator and I'm generally pleased with the outcome.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Martian

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Andy Weir
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9443)
    Performance
    (8979)
    Story
    (8996)

    Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

    Brian says: "Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped"
    "Fantastic Story, Great Narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story is perfect. It's almost like a current event. You can believe it is all happening. R. C. Bray's narration - rarely varies the voice per character but that's no problem really. Most of the talking is by the main character. The voice matches the good, dry humor.

    Really enjoyed this story... a few times.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Empire's Corps

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Christopher G. Nuttall
    • Narrated By Jeffrey Kafer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (295)
    Performance
    (282)
    Story
    (281)

    The Galactic Empire is dying and chaos and anarchy are breaking out everywhere. After a disastrous mission against terrorists on Earth itself, Captain Edward Stalker of the Terran Marine Corps makes the mistake of speaking truth to power, telling one of the most powerful men in the Empire a few home truths. As a result, Captain Stalker and his men are unceremoniously exiled to Avalon, a world right on the Rim of the Empire. It should have been an easy posting...

    john says: "Please publish rest of the series"
    "Returned"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Made it through about an hour but couldn't handle it any more. I guess if I were a Marine and didn't mind the stereotype it might have made sense to me but I just couldn't get past the crude talk. By the way, I was in the Navy. ;)

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • FREE: Mitosis: A Reckoners Story

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 3 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    Overall
    (1023)
    Performance
    (941)
    Story
    (949)

    Epics still plague Newcago, but David and the Reckoners have vowed to fight back.

    Thomas says: "He is back!"
    "I'll Be Back"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Well if giving a free novelette is intended to entice me to listen to the series it worked. The story requires background. It almost sounds like the characters are well thought out with interesting personalities but I've missed that by not getting into the series.

    After I catch up I'll come back to this and see how it all fits. I'm hoping I'll enjoy the series. The way Sanderson took over for Wheel of Time he has to be an amazing author. Jordan left some tough shoes to fill but Sanderson didn't miss a beat.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Eon

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Greg Bear
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    Overall
    (345)
    Performance
    (315)
    Story
    (316)

    Perhaps it wasn't from our time, perhaps it wasn't even from our universe, but the arrival of the 300-kilometer long stone was the answer to humanity's desperate plea to end the threat of nuclear war. Inside the deep recesses of the stone lies Thistledown: the remnants of a human society, versed in English, Russian and Chinese. The artifacts of this familiar people foretell a great Death caused by the ravages of war, but the government and scientists are unable to decide how to use this knowledge.

    Elle in the Great NorthWest says: "Enjoyable solid Si Fi-30 years old- still topical"
    "I Love Sci-Fi, but this..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    For me it was 9 hours of storytelling misery. I could not understand any of the concepts and kept losing the story and the characters. Maybe my sci-fi needs are more simple and I just got out of my depth. Some people wandered through some sort of anomaly into some sort of other dimensions. They had sex a couple of times, killed each other, were cataloged in a city computer and met Cleopatra. And there's a sequel?

    I just went with the wrong story and need to get back into more comfortable settings.

    Mr. Rudniki - a storyteller's voice. Always enjoy listening to him even when I don't like the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Powersat: The Grand Tour Series

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Ben Bova
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (104)
    Performance
    (91)
    Story
    (92)

    Two hundred thousand feet up, things go horribly wrong. An experimental low-orbit spaceplane breaks up on reentry, falling to earth over a trail hundreds of miles long. And in its wake is the beginning of the most important mission in the history of spaceflight.

    Greg says: "Great book but substandard recording"
    "Poorly Edited"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Nothing negative about Rudnicki's performance. He's one of the best. But the editing was absolutely terrible. You can hear multiple takes being included in the story. It gives an interesting insight into how audio books are created but it is not appropriate to a final product.

    The story is good. As good as Ben Bova gets.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blue Remembered Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Alastair Reynolds
    • Narrated By Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (337)
    Performance
    (306)
    Story
    (306)

    Critically acclaimed author Alastair Reynolds holds a well-deserved place “among the leaders of the hard-science space opera renaissance." (Publishers Weekly). In Blue Remembered Earth, Geoffrey Akinya wants nothing more than to study the elephants of the Amboseli basin. But when his space-explorer grandmother dies, secrets come to light and Geoffrey is dispatched to the Moon to protect the family name - and prevent an impending catastrophe.

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "A surprising and staisfying departure for Reynolds"
    "Couldn't Get Into It But Hope for the Future!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't know - maybe I'm a little too American-centric but I just wasn't able to get into the story. Probably sounds bad but not meant to be. The story was kind of like a scavenger hunt but I had no understanding of the goal in mind. People just headed off because some dead person told them to do so. The story ended with hope for the follow-on books if developed properly. I'll give "On the Steel Breeze" a try just because the last chapter or so of BRE finally seemed to go somewhere.

    Kobna Holdbrook-Smith's reading and accent were actually very pleasant. Some of the characters voices were a bit outrageous, funny even, but for the most part I really enjoyed the narrator's work. Personally, I don't think the narrator would need to be ethnically limited. I'd listen to any sci-fi story he decided to read. Obviously, he was the perfect choice for this book. I hope Adjoa Andoh does as well with the second book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Self-Reliance

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 31 mins)
    • By Ralph Waldo Emerson
    • Narrated By Kurt Andersen, Joyce Bean
    Overall
    (139)
    Performance
    (122)
    Story
    (116)

    Redefining the classic essay, this modern edition of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s most famous work, Self-Reliance, includes self-reflections from both historical and contemporary luminaries. With quotes from the likes of Henry Ford and Helen Keller to modern-day thought leaders like Jesse Dylan, Steve Pressfield, and Milton Glaser, we're reminded of the relevance of Emerson’s powerful words today. Emerson’s words are timeless. Persuasive and convincing, he challenges readers to define their own sense of accomplishment and asks them to measure themselves....

    Glenn E. Mitchell II says: "Narcissism Without Bound"
    "My First Introduction to Emerson"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I didn't read any Ralph Waldo Emerson in school. I'm not sorry I didn't because now I think I can enjoy an appreciate it more. This was a great listen with some very interesting life-analysis. I'm not sure why this work isn't more relevant to and referenced by today's culture.

    Kurt Andersen did a fine read. I didn't quite understand the transition into Joyce's part of the book. Was that just expert commentary on parts of the book? Not quite as interesting. I wouldn't hesitate to pick up another book narrated by Mr. Andersen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Timebound

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Rysa Walker
    • Narrated By Kate Rudd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (976)
    Performance
    (878)
    Story
    (884)

    When Kate Pierce-Keller’s grandmother gives her a strange blue medallion and speaks of time travel, sixteen-year-old Kate assumes the old woman is delusional. But it all becomes horrifyingly real when a murder in the past destroys the foundation of Kate’s present-day life. Suddenly, that medallion is the only thing protecting Kate from blinking out of existence. Kate learns that the 1893 killing is part of something much more sinister, and her genetic ability to time travel makes Kate the only one who can fix the future.

    Lessa says: "Completely Enjoyed It"
    "This Is A Test - I Failed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm not sure how to review this. I bought it as a trial of Amazon's new monthly purchase program so it was essentially free. I should have paid more attention to what I was doing. I didn't realize it was a young adult/teen book. For what it's worth, the time travelling part of the story was pretty interesting. I just wasn't prepared for the young romance part of the book. Definitely not me.

    Kate Rudd did a fine job of narrating, making each character recognizable by the voice she used. Clear and without distractions.

    I won't keep up with the series of course but I don't want to rate this book poorly for my mistake.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Ice Station Zebra

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Alistair MacLean
    • Narrated By Michael Jayston
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    The atomic submarine Dolphin has impossible orders: to sail beneath the ice-floes of the Arctic Ocean to locate and rescue the men of weather-station Zebra, gutted by fire and drifting with the ice-pack somewhere north of the Arctic Circle. But the orders do not say what the Dolphin will find if she succeeds – that the fire at Ice Station Zebra was sabotage, and that one of the survivors is a killer….

    Kevin d. says: "My Mistake - Abridged"
    "My Mistake - Abridged"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I never buy abridged but in a spree of Alistair Maclean purchases I wasn't paying attention. The story is good but - being abridged - not fully developed. I saw the movie years ago and this book didn't really add much to it. One of the few times I would say the movie was better (and it wasn't that good for the acting). If I find it unabridged I would buy it again.

    The narrator, Michael Jayston, did a fine job by adding accents where required and reading each character with unique voices. No background noise or other distractions. Nice job. I'd definitely listen to books Mr. Jayston narrates in the future.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Dark Matter: Star Carrier, Book Five

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Ian Douglas
    • Narrated By Nick Sullivan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (180)
    Performance
    (171)
    Story
    (172)

    The United States of North America is now engaged in a civil war with the Earth Confederation, which wants to yield to the demands of the alien Sh'daar, limit human technology, and become a part of the Sh'daar Galactic Collective. USNA President Koenig believes that surrendering to the Sh'daar will ultimately doom humankind. But when highly advanced, seemingly godlike aliens appear through an artificial wormhole in the Omega Centauri Cluster 16,000 light years from Earth, President Koenig is faced with a tremendous choice.

    Kevin d. says: "5x Same Formula"
    "5x Same Formula"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Once I start a series I usually stick through to the end. Worse than a long, drawn out series is wondering and not knowing whether things will get better. Generally I'll go along with a weak but promising first or second book in a series in hopes of the author and the story developing further.

    Unfortunately Star Carrier series never developed. Each book was basically the same formula. Very light on the development of characters, very details on the individual shots of a battle but weak on the overall strategy and progress. Terribly detailed and repetitive in technical descriptions of planets, atmospheres and right or left hand sugars - most of which made zero difference to the story but was repeated often enough to believe something was coming up.

    Unfortunately nothing ever came up.

    I love sci-fi. I love a good space story especially. If another book comes out in this series I will buy it but my expectations will be quite low.

    In the same category of military sci-fi give The Lost Fleet by John G. Henry a try. It's still not the drama of Orson Scott Card or the willd rides of Larry Niven but it is good listening. Something on the fantasy side (I do not believe fantasy and sci-fi are one in the same) you need to give Jim Butcher's Dresden Files a shot. An excellent series!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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