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Michael

Commodities broker, father, husband, and avid scifi/fantasy/self help fan.

Gretna, LA, USA | Member Since 2006

38
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 1 reviews
  • 2 ratings
  • 635 titles in library
  • 21 purchased in 2014
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24

  • Fated: Alex Verus Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Benedict Jacka
    • Narrated By Gildart Jackson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (615)
    Performance
    (553)
    Story
    (553)

    Alex Verus is part of a world hidden in plain sight, running a magic shop in London. And while Alex's own powers aren't as showy as some mages, he does have the advantage of foreseeing the possible future-allowing him to pull off operations that have a million-to-one-chance of success. But when Alex is approached by multiple factions to crack open a relic from a long-ago mage war, he knows that whatever's inside must be beyond powerful.

    Cliff says: "If you like Dresden or Iron Druid check it out!"
    "Thrill-seekers and fun-lovers, enjoy the moment!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Most everyone's heard of the Dresden series...From books to the cable series, it's had a following for some time.

    But wait, isn't this about the Alex Verus series? So what gives, here?

    Well, I bring up the Dresden series, because if you like THAT series, I'm betting you'll like this one equally, as well. Maybe a bit more, as I do.

    In a nutshell, both series are modern urban fantasies. Adventures/mysteries that throw in a taste of magic, good writing and maybe some humor to give the series wit and add to the work's momentum.

    The Dresden series is good, mind you, but it never stuck completely with me. For whatever reason, I wasn't too excited about getting to the next audiobook in the series.

    Benedict Jacka's Alex Verus series is somewhat similar, but is much more my style. Here's why I write this:

    As much as I like Butcher and his work, this is simply better writing, with a stronger and superior magic system that's much more socially prevalent, if you will. It reads better. It's more of a "page turner" than Butcher's series, more detailed in certain aspects. Also, setting it in England seems to give the magic system more depth, perhaps more suspension of disbelief. The storyline is solid and makes sense, and the dialogue is spot on for what Jacka sets out to accomplish. Anyway, this definitely strikes a chord in me, and I liked this first in the series. MUCH more momentum, for me.

    Now, let's remember, that at the end of the day, this isn't supposed to be socially relevant, nor is it a deep moral lesson. This is about enjoying a good story. The sheer fun.

    And this was.

    So, I recommend this work to those who seek the thrill, who want the fun, who want to enjoy the moment, for once. And maybe, if you like it as much as I do, twice, with the second book.

    Enjoy the moment.

    10 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Furies of Calderon: Codex Alera, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4263)
    Performance
    (2921)
    Story
    (2956)

    In the realm of Alera, where people bond with the furies - elementals of earth, air, fire, water, and metal - 15-year-old Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. But when his homeland erupts in chaos - when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies - Tavi's simple courage will turn the tides of war.

    Jim says: "Remastered into chapters from CD."
    "Lost Roman Legions...And POKEMON?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you follow my reviews, you know that I like to roll the dice, to randomly buy a series on a whim, on the luck of the draw. Sometimes, it's a bust.

    This time, it's a definite win, but if you go by how the series was created, you'd probably run in the opposite direction.

    Here's one for the books: Jim Butcher is well-known for his "Dresden Files" series, created a fantastic fantasy series on a BET. Yep, a bet. Read on.

    To quote the Codex Alera Wiki site, "the inspiration for the series came from a bet Jim was challenged to by a member of the Delray Online Writer’s Workshop. The challenger bet that Jim could not write a good story based on a lame idea, and Jim countered that he could do it using two lame ideas of the challenger’s choosing. The “lame” ideas given were “Lost Roman Legion", and “Pokémon”.

    It DOES sound lame.

    Well, Butcher makes it work. To the nines.

    I've finished this first novel, and I'm enjoying this unique story line of humans with Roman similarities binding with elemental furies. Add unique races, backstabbing, politics, military battles, duels and an interwoven story line that pulls it all together, and you get a fantastic story that's simply put, a VERY VERY good listen.

    The whole concept of fighting alongside elemental familiars used here is wonderfully executed. It's deep, well-thought magic-based partnership of man and magical creature is a pleasure to experience.

    So, what about the writing?

    Again, if you follow my reviews, you know that I love ENGAGING fantasy or scifi writing. Anything less won't do. And this is definitely engaging. There's great characters that plot, backstab, challenge, fight for their beliefs, devour their enemies, and celebrate their victories. You're taken on a great romp of a story, and in the end, isn't that what we all want in a good listen?

    I know I do, and I so enjoyed this first audiobook in the series, that I bought the entire series. Yep. And I'm not disappointed with the decision.

    Who knew that Lost Roman Legions and Pokemon could knock it out of the park?

    Home run, Jim. Home run.

    38 of 42 people found this review helpful

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