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Lore

Fantasy/Sci-Fi Fan

SAN JOSE, CA, United States | Member Since 2008

904
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 75 reviews
  • 151 ratings
  • 640 titles in library
  • 12 purchased in 2015
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FOLLOWERS
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  • Solaris: The Definitive Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Stanislaw Lem, Bill Johnston (translator)
    • Narrated By Alessandro Juliani
    Overall
    (2414)
    Performance
    (1979)
    Story
    (2000)

    At last, one of the world’s greatest works of science fiction is available - just as author Stanislaw Lem intended it. To mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of Solaris, Audible, in cooperation with the Lem Estate, has commissioned a brand-new translation - complete for the first time, and the first ever directly from the original Polish to English. Beautifully narrated by Alessandro Juliani (Battlestar Galactica), Lem’s provocative novel comes alive for a new generation.

    Burns says: "A comment on negative reviews"
    "4 hours of good sci fi in a 7.5 hour listen."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read many of the reviews that Audible bubbles to the top and was persuaded to give this one a go. This book is called a classic and some of the other reviews dismiss certain criticisms as unwarranted. Well I am here to add my voice to the dissenters.

    First the positive. There is certainly an interesting story here about mankind's first contact with a new life form on the planet Solaris. This alien is an ocean and it is so different from our notion of life that it sparks hundreds of years of debate and becomes a new branch of science. We join the story as Kris Kelvin arrives at Solaris station and begins to try to solve the riddle.

    Kris meets the other scientists stationed on Solaris and it is obvious right away that something strange is going on. The interactions between the characters can be awkward at times but I can let that slide due to their questionable mental state and the fact that this book is a translation.

    However, strewn throughout the book are long periods of time when Kris is searching for clues and reads scientific books and journals that contain theories about Solaris. These range from the philosophical to the scientific. While it is impressive that Stanislaw Lem was able to create so much detail within his story it doesn't make it entertaining to listen to. These boring periods can be oppressive and if you are driving while listening then you risk falling asleep at the wheel. Alessandro Juliani does the characters well enough but he can't bring life to the dead sections of the book.

    Combine the long periods of boredom with an unsatisfying ending that feels incomplete and I just can't recommend this one.

    16 of 19 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
    (1777)
    Performance
    (1386)
    Story
    (1399)

    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"
    "An uneven continuation of Old Man's War"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Book 3 of the Old Man's War series unites the main characters from the first 2 books, John Perry and Jane Sagan, and jumps ahead to their retirement on the peaceful colony of Huckleberry. Of course their relaxed existence is disrupted as interstellar politics and conspiracies take over and they find themselves facing one impossible challenge after another. The Conclave plot line picks up steam and the stakes get ever larger as the story goes on. All of this makes for an interesting enough premise but in the end Scalzi's execution and Dufris' narration just didn't keep me immersed this time around.

    A myriad of small plot devices add up as the book goes on and very few of the characters act realistically. John and Jane uncover clues that things are amiss but just go along for the ride putting themselves and their adopted daughter Zoe at great risk. The aliens speak using standard 21st century colloquialisms and General Gau, the Leader of the 420 alien race Conclave, puts himself at risk to personally visit colony planets to speak with the leaders before destroying them. The list goes on throughout the book and the final plot twist at the end was the least believable of the bunch.

    I didn't dislike this book but it did leave me uninspired to immediately continue with the series. When I do resume it will likely be with book 5 and not book 4, Zoe's Tale, which is a re-telling of the story from Zoe's perspective. Although the story was ultimately entertaining, once was enough for me.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Rose and the Thorn: The Riyria Chronicles, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Michael J. Sullivan
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2362)
    Performance
    (2179)
    Story
    (2185)

    For more than a year, Royce Melborn has tried to forget Gwen DeLancy, the woman who saved him and his partner, Hadrian Blackwater, from certain death. Unable to get her out of his mind, the two thieves return to Medford but receive a very different reception - Gwen refuses to see them. The victim of abuse by a powerful noble, she suspects that Royce will ignore any danger in his desire for revenge. By turning the thieves away, Gwen hopes to once more protect them. What she doesn't realize is what the two are capable of - but she's about to find out.

    Cecil says: "Great Series but don't start here"
    "On par with the best Riyria Revelations books."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My experience with the Riyria books started with Theft of Swords and proceeded forward in publishing order, which means I finished the Riyria Revelations series before starting on the prequel stories of the Riyria Chronicles. I believe such a path increased my enjoyment of The Rose and the Thorn simply because of the knowledge I have regarding a lot of the main characters. Arista, Gwen, Reuben Hilfred, and even Percy Braga are fleshed out in this book and I really enjoyed learning more about them. This is a prequel story done right.

    Unlike the Crown Tower, the time Royce and Hadrian have a more established relationship which allows Michael J Sullivan to really bring to life the world around them. This approach combined with a compelling story line makes this book as good as the latter works of The Riyria Revelation series. It also reveals the root causes for certain events that will happen much later in the series so MJS is working his magic in both directions making both Chronological and Publishing viable listening orders.

    Either way you can't go wrong with this book. Tim Gerard Reynolds is well established as the voice of the Riyria characters and he does not disappoint. Note that if you pick this one up then there is no need for you to also grab The Viscount and the Witch as that is fully contained as a chapter within this book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Terms of Enlistment

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Marko Kloos
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1178)
    Performance
    (1079)
    Story
    (1082)

    The year is 2108, and the North American Commonwealth is bursting at the seams. For welfare rats like Andrew Grayson, there are only two ways out of the crime-ridden and filthy welfare tenements, where you’re restricted to 2,000 calories of badly flavored soy every day. You can hope to win the lottery and draw a ticket on a colony ship settling off-world, or you can join the service. With the colony lottery a pipe dream, Andrew chooses to enlist in the armed forces for a shot at real food, a retirement bonus, and maybe a ticket off Earth.

    DAVE says: "Solid military sci-fi."
    "Solid but Ordinary Military Sci Fi"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A bleak future offers little hope to those born in the overcrowded cities of the North American Commonwealth. Andrew Grayson and his parents live on welfare and he has no intention of inheriting that limited existence from them. Andrew opts for the only choice that appears to be a brighter future - he joins the Armed Forces. After all, if he makes it through boot camp then he will have a consistent paycheck of his own and even an outside shot at leaving Earth by being assigned to the Navy.

    Andrew quickly learns that the promise of a better life in the military comes with many strings attached and that he is just a small cog in a giant machine. We follow Andrew from enlistment through boot camp and then on to his first couple of assignments. His experiences are varied and complicated but unfortunately he never really establishes much of a personality for himself. Kloos creates a futuristic world with interesting technology and a plausible military structure but none of it is able to take the book to the next level.

    Andrew mostly goes along for the ride in the armed forces and he does what he has to do every step of the way, only occasionally pausing to think about right or wrong. This is pretty straight forward military science fiction and it is more interesting as an introduction to a larger story than it is as a standalone work.

    The excellent narrator Luke Daniels does his usual good job but he wasn't enough to push this one to 4 stars for me. The experience was, however, solid enough for me to give book 2 (Lines of Departure) a listen at some point.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • FREE: The Jester (A Riyria Chronicles Tale)

    • UNABRIDGED (54 mins)
    • By Michael J. Sullivan
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    Overall
    (2329)
    Performance
    (2118)
    Story
    (2135)

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A thief, a candlemaker, an ex-mercenary, and a pig farmer walk into a trap…and what happens to them is no joke. When Riyria is hired to retrieve a jester’s treasure, Royce and Hadrian must match wits with a dwarf who proves to be anything but a fool. Difficult choices will need to be made, and in the end those who laugh last do so because they are the only ones to survive.

    Robin says: "Short story with no shortage of events"
    "Free Riyria - Nuff Said"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am not going to waste time on a lot of words. If you are a fan of Riyria there is no downside or risk in listening to this free short story. It is Royce & Hadrian read by Tim Gerard Reynolds and that is all you need to know.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Crown Tower: The Riyria Chronicles, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Michael J. Sullivan
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3040)
    Performance
    (2806)
    Story
    (2816)

    Michael J. Sullivan garnered critical raves and a massive readership for his Riyria Revelations series. The first book in his highly anticipated Riyria Chronicles series of prequels, The Crown Tower brings together warrior Hadrian Blackwater with thieving assassin Royce Melborn. The two form a less-than-friendly pairing, but the quest before them has a rare prize indeed, and if they can breach the supposedly impregnable walls of the Crown Tower, their names will be legend.

    Tango says: "Delicious Icing on a Terrific Cake"
    "Back to the beginning."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As explained in the prologue narrated by the author, Michael J. Sullivan was very satisfied with the way he ended the Riyria Revelations series so his only option for continuing with these characters was to go the route of prequels. He also explained that he penned this book in such a manner that it works well for both readers new to Riyria as well as veterans of the first series. I listened to this one as the latter and having Tim Gerard Reynolds back at the mic made me feel right at home.

    Many hints are dropped throughout the Revelations series about how Royce and Hadrian first met and at last here is that tale. Revealed within is the "what" and the "how" behind the forming of Riyria, while series veterans will bring along their own knowledge about the "why." New readers can start here and just listen in "chronological order" and learn the "why" over time. This is well done by Sullivan who continues to endear himself to me due to the way in which he approaches his craft.

    I don't go to 5 stars for this one simply because the characters of Royce and Hadrian are not as interesting as they will eventually become after they exert influence on each other for a while. The basic premise of an "odd couple" pairing of the cold blooded killer with the honorable knight stereotype is nothing new, but Royce and Hadrian are unique enough to overcome this cliché and make it worth your time. Veterans and newbies alike should pick this one up with the expectation of continuing on.

    I have already started book 2 of this series and I am enjoying it immensely as the melding of these two opposite individuals is taking shape and forming the pair of thieves that I have come to know and love. Did I say thieves? My bad, I should have said "creative problem solvers."

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Wise Man's Fear: Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 2

    • UNABRIDGED (42 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Patrick Rothfuss
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12285)
    Performance
    (10409)
    Story
    (10498)

    "My name is Kvothe. I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep...."

    Joe says: "Excellent, Imaginative, Beautiful, Page Turning!!!"
    "Kvothe's story continues away from the University"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The quote that opens the book summary here on Audible reveals many events that are still yet to unfold as Kvothe's tells his story. Based on that quote, and the events of book one, I started listening to this audiobook with some clear expectations about what would come next. Kvothe's rivalry with Ambrose was at a fever pitch and I was really enjoying his life at the University, so when Kvothe took a break to pursue other endeavors I found myself instantly disappointed.

    It took a while for Patrick Rothfuss to win me back but he did so in fine fashion. Vintas society is quite interesting and the Adem mercenaries are doubly so. Although it takes time for Kvothe to get his bearings in each new location it always pays off in the end as they are all presented in exquisite detail.

    The structure of this book matches that of the first book with Kvothe narrating his story to Chronicler at the Waystone Inn. There are brief interludes back at the inn where events continue to unfold that don't align with Kvothe's narration at all. This keeps you pondering what must have happened in the time between the two and makes for an interesting dynamic. When this book ends there is still a lot of Kvothe's story left to tell so don't expect this book to wrap anything up for you. This is all about the journey and not the destination.

    If you weren't a fan of book one then steer clear of this as it is pretty much more of the same only in a lot more diverse locations. Rothfuss and Podehl are both very solid again and they have me looking forward to the third book. (Based on the reviews I plan to skip book 2.5 which is a short story narrated by Rothfuss himself.)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Name of the Wind: Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 1

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Patrick Rothfuss
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14872)
    Performance
    (12324)
    Story
    (12452)

    This is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man's search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.

    Joanna says: "Wow!"
    "Pull up a chair at the inn and give a listen..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Kvothe is a legend and everyone has heard of him. Sure the tales often differ and contradict each other but here is your chance to sort out the truth from the exaggerations. Rothfuss offers you the opportunity to hear Kvothe's story from the man himself and who could pass up an opportunity like that? Grab a chair and a mug and settle in for a long listen.

    What makes this an excellent book is the detail of the world that Patrick Rothfuss has created. I always love a detailed magic system in fantasy literature and there is more than one of them to be had in the Kingkiller Chronicles. Kvothe's tale starts when he is young and the listener learns about the various magics in the world right along with him. The style and structure of the story really isn't anything new, but it's done really well. I am amazed at the level of detail provided and yet it is obvious that the surface has barely been scratched. There is a lot more to come in the subsequent books and I am looking forward to them.

    So why only 4 stars if everything was so great? Well it took me over half the book to feel like I was really in a fantasy world. For me, Kvothe's language was too much like my own and Podehl's narration only reinforced that feeling. Despite the content it just didn't "feel" like a fantasy book of swords and sorcery. The good news is that I got over it and I am now happily listening to book two. So if you start listening and have that same feeling don't give up - it will pass and you will be glad you stuck it out.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Heir of Novron: Riyria Revelations, Volume 3

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Michael J. Sullivan
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4409)
    Performance
    (4052)
    Story
    (4072)

    On the holiday of Wintertide, the New Empire plans to burn the Witch of Melengar and force the Empress into a marriage of their own design. But they didn’t account for Royce and Hadrian finally locating the Heir of Novron—or the pair’s desire to wreak havoc on the New Empire’s carefully crafted scheme.

    Ron says: "Spectacular fantasy series"
    "A series that ends on a high note!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Volume 3 of the Riyria Revelations contains the final two books of the series, book #5 Wintertide and book #6 Percepliquis. Michael J. Sullivan and Tim Gerard Reynolds reunite to bring all of the main characters back for a final crescendo. Unlike Volume 2 which leaves the listener hanging, Volume 3 ties every thing up nicely.

    If you have enjoyed the first two volumes of this series then you are in for a treat as Percepliquis is definitely the best book of the entire series. Not only is it the most entertaining but Sullivan also goes the extra mile to bring all of the threads together. He masterfully weaves a complex tale full of suspense with big reveals and satisfying ends to the many character storylines. Royce and Hadrian are at their best here and I found myself laughing aloud many times.

    Stop wasting time reading reviews and spend that credit. You will not be disappointed.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Words of Radiance: The Stormlight Archive, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (48 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer, Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9837)
    Performance
    (9257)
    Story
    (9287)

    In that first volume, we were introduced to the remarkable world of Roshar, a world both alien and magical, where gigantic hurricane-like storms scour the surface every few days and life has adapted accordingly. Roshar is shared by humans and the enigmatic, humanoid Parshendi, with whom they are at war.

    D says: "Book !!; no let down- "Words of Radieance" shines"
    "48 more hours of Sanderson goodness!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When I wrote my (too) short review of the first book in this series, The Way of Kings, I ended it with this sentence: "This book is so good I will gladly listen to it again as a refresher when book two comes out!"

    Well I am back to say that I followed through on my promise and it was worth every second. The Stormlight Archive is epic fantasy at it's best and Sanderson shows why he is at the top of my must read/listen list. Here I am fresh off of investing close to 94 hours of my life listening to books 1 and 2 of the Stormlight Archive and I am ready for more.

    The world is rich and deep, the characters are complex, and the magic systems are true Sanderson - well defined, unique, and interesting. All of the main characters are back and the story just gets bigger and bigger. For most authors the end of this book would be a satisfying conclusion to any series but it is obvious that this one is just getting started. Sanderson set the bar so awfully high with the Mistborn series that I am truly impressed he was able to surpass himself with the Stormlight Archive.

    Veteran narrators Michael Kramer and Kate Reading are back and once again breathe life into all of the great characters. It was a pleasure to listen to them both for 90+ hours and I can't wait for book three. These two know epic fantasy and combine with Sanderson to form a perfect highstorm of epic proportions.

    If you like fantasy books then you will feel like a kid in a candy store here. It is time for you to run up to the counter and plunk down your credit(s) to enjoy this wonderful experience. You won't find more hours of entertainment for so little cost anywhere else. Of course you should start with The Way of Kings but be assured that 94 listening hours later you will find yourself back at the candy store counter standing on your tip toes and holding up another credit. Of course, I will be standing right next to you. :)

    20 of 24 people found this review helpful
  • Rise of Empire: Riyria Revelations, Volume 2

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Michael J. Sullivan
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4668)
    Performance
    (4264)
    Story
    (4290)

    Best-selling author Michael J. Sullivan’s mesmerizing Riyria Revelations series has found a welcome home with fans of magic, clashing swords, and daring heroes. This second volume finds Royce and Hadrian on a quest to enlist the southern Nationalists to aid the ever-weakening kingdom of Melengar. Royce suspects an ancient wizard is manipulating them all, but to find the truth he’ll have to decipher Hadrian’s past—a past Hadrian wants to keep secret.

    Adnan says: "Great continuation of the first book. Tons of fun!"
    "Solid Middle Books of the Series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Although Volume 2 of the Ryria Revelations contains two books, Nyphron Rising and The Emerald Storm, I still felt how I usually feel after reading the middle book of a good trilogy - unsatisfied with how things are left off and ready for more.

    Royce and Hadrian continue their adventures and do some digging into their pasts, while Arista sets off on her own and faces some serious challenges. Each of the characters is flushed out some and the bigger picture continues to come into focus. For me, The Emerald Storm was a bit of a tangent and did not advance the main storyline as much as I would have hoped, but any story involving Royce and Hadrian is entertaining so I'm not complaining.

    Tim Gerard Reynolds does his normal excellent job bringing the characters to life and at this point I could not imagine anyone else voicing them. So if you enjoyed Volume 1 there is no reason to hesitate on picking this one up, just keep in mind that the story doesn't end here and you will have to pick up Volume 3 as well.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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