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R. J. Monts

Member Since 2010

44
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 19 reviews
  • 149 ratings
  • 465 titles in library
  • 47 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
2

  • Freedom (TM)

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Daniel Suarez
    • Narrated By Jeff Gurner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5330)
    Performance
    (3277)
    Story
    (3297)

    In a world of conflicted loyalties, rapidly diminishing human power, and the possibility that anyone can be a spy, what's at stake is nothing less than human freedom's last hope to survive the technology revolution.

    James says: "wow - a must read"
    "Interesting Fiction - if Economically Flawed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Bottom Line: An interesting book with a Utopian vision of the future brought about by economic and violent revolution that just can't stand up to a basic understanding of economics.

    Audiobooks can be tricky to review because sometimes connections aren't clear and it's easier to miss a key plot point. And so with that disclaimer I will admit that this book felt like it had a big chunk of story missing. I feel like I missed the part where the evil corporations made a deal with the evil government to become evil-er. Maybe it's just assumed that the government conspirators were already in cahoots with the corporate guys.

    If you know something about economics, then this book will confuse you. It assumes that the market can sustain prices and growth - without demand for goods and services - just because a computer program is manipulating the stock market to make it happen. Since the setting of this book is very near future USA, this idea totally broke my suspension of disbelief and made the work harder to enjoy.

    And that's what threw me about this book. What began as a very interesting plot and premise dissolved into technomancy and economic wizardry to make an ideological statement. The book ends by asking whether the ends of the story justify the means. The narrative provides a clear answer, but I just can't bring myself to accept the Utopian vision that the author leaves us with.

    This book makes the case that good people can use theft and violence against bad people using theft and violence without being corrupted by the power they accumulate.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Battle of the Ampere: Michael Vey, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Richard Paul Evans
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (343)
    Performance
    (313)
    Story
    (314)

    The hair-raising action continues for Michael Vey in this charged third installment of the #1 New York Times best-selling series. In the third book of the electrifying Michael Vey series, Michael and his friends must continue to fight the Elgen and try to disrupt their plans to rule the world.

    Courtney Worrell says: "Excellent book, awful narration"
    "Starting to wear a bit thin"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The intrepid teen heroes are on the run in this book. They spend the majority of this book trying to escape from South America while rescuing their friends. A cliched moment in the book broadcasts the twist the at the end.

    Dr Hatch is again the ultimate evil of the book.

    This is an escape book, so the story lines from the previous books are largely ignored or left for the next book. The characters motivations and actions are being stretched a bit thin at this point. Michael isn't reunited with his mother and she presumably is okay with her 15 year old son going to war with evil corporation turned evil regime without guidance or support.

    If you found yourself liking the settings and characters from the first two books, then you will probably enjoy their continued journey. Older listeners may find this book a harder listen than the previous installments.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Rise of the Elgen: Michael Vey, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Richard Paul Evans
    • Narrated By Fred Berman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (519)
    Performance
    (468)
    Story
    (465)

    Michael was born with special electrical powers - and he’s not the only one. His friend Taylor has them too, and so do other kids around the world. With Michael’s friend Ostin, a techno-genius, they form the Electroclan, an alliance meant to protect them from a powerful group, the growing Order of Elgen, who are out to destroy them. The leader of the Elgen, Dr. Hatch, has kidnapped Michael’s mother, and time is running out. After narrowly escaping an Elgen trap, Ostin’s discovery of bizarre “rat fires” in South America leads the gang to the jungles of Peru.

    FanB14 says: "Good Series for Boys"
    "Huge setting change from the first book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Most of the events of this book take place in South America. It seems largely accurate in it's descriptions of places, but the setting change is so jarring from the first book. Michael Vey doesn't stay in Idaho, or even in America, but takes the fight to the evil ElGen corporation.

    Again, Michael's condition is largely ignored throughout the book. Which may be the point. Dr Hatch is again back as the main villian and the ElGen have developed new weapons and tactics in the 13 hours since we left our heroes at the end of the first book.

    The setting change, while jarring, does move the book away from the cliches of the first book. The heroes are virtuous to a fault and the bad guys are evil to the hilt.

    All in all it remains a typical teen hero fantasy in an unusual setting.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Richard Paul Evans
    • Narrated By Fred Berman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (937)
    Performance
    (813)
    Story
    (812)

    To everyone at Meridian High School, Michael Vey is an ordinary 14-year-old. In fact, the only thing that seems to set him apart is the fact that he has Tourette's syndrome. But Michael is anything but ordinary. Michael has special powers. Electric powers....

    Kraig says: "Your never too old to enjoy a good story"
    "Typical Teen Fantasy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed this book. It is well written with a good pace. However it does use the standard cliches. The beautiful cheerleader who falls for the outcast loner. The smart, but fat and socially awkward best friend. The bully who turns out to be not so bad...You get the idea.

    There are a few moments that feel forced, one in particular near the end of the book, but those are few. The plot makes sense, and the characters have decent motivation for their decisions.

    I was disappointed by the protagonist. Michael Vey has Tourette's syndrome. This has no impact on the plot, the characters, or even their plans. And there are moments when a 15 year old with Tourette's should have to work harder or smarter to achieve what his goals.

    But this may be a fantasy book for teens who struggle with various ailments and just want to be accepted as normal.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Elantris

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Jack Garrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4629)
    Performance
    (3085)
    Story
    (3132)

    Legendary science fiction author Orson Scott Card calls Brandon Sanderson a writer to watch, and Publishers Weekly says his debut is "outstanding." Once the godlike rulers of the capital of Arelon, the inhabitans of Elantris have been imprisoned within themselves, unable to die after the city's magic failed years ago. But when a new prince falls victim to the curse, he refuses to accept his fate.

    Lore says: "What if your body could never heal?"
    "Would Love to See a Sequel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am torn by this book. On the one hand, I enjoyed it and thought it was fantastic. It is a fully satisfying and enjoyable story. On the other hand this book felt like an introduction to a series is that I want more of. And after checking the author's website, I couldn't figure out if there is a future installment planned.

    The story felt very similar to the Warbreaker novel by the same author. If you enjoyed Warbreaker, you will probably enjoy this as well. But if you enjoyed Steelheart, this may be a tougher sell. Steelheart is a comic book novel, this is a Sword and Sorcery novel.

    I also thought that the story was slow in places, but the ending was so good and tied together the slow parts that I easily forgave it.

    If you're looking for an epic fantasy story filled with intrigue and mystery, this book won't disappoint.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Steelheart: Reckoners, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7321)
    Performance
    (6830)
    Story
    (6859)

    Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills. Nobody fights the Epics...nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in. He wants Steelheart - the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father.

    D says: "He got the idea from a near traffic accident"
    "Eagerly Anticipating the Next Installment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book hit all the right notes for me.

    1. The world has rules that are internally consistent, easy to understand, and has a level of depth that makes surprises possible.

    2. The tone of the book is wonderful. It has the right amount of humor and drama mixed in at the right times. There are dark moments and light moments but these moments are intermixed and are not exclusive. There is a cynical humor or sober hope that spoke to directly to my particular tastes as a reader/listener.

    3. The pacing is on the money. It is not a constant thrill ride of excitement that never gives you time to breath and enjoy the characters, setting, and tone. But it is also not a plodding mystery with miserly reveals. It struck just the right balance for me. That's a largely subjective metric, but it worked for me.

    4. The highest praise I think you can give a series is continued patronage. And I will make sure to pre-order or purchase on opening day the next in this series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Broken Eye

    • UNABRIDGED (29 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Brent Weeks
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (524)
    Performance
    (490)
    Story
    (495)

    Without the protection of his father, Kip Guile will face a master of shadows as his grandfather moves to choose a new Prism and put himself in power. With Teia and Karris, Kip will have to use all his wits to survive a secret war between noble houses, religious factions, rebels, and an ascendant order of hidden assassins called The Broken Eye.

    Galaxie says: "Too much self talk"
    "This is a 'filler' book to the larger story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ok. I became a Brent Weeks fan when I picked up the Black Prism during an audible sale. I also credit Weeks for getting me interested in the Sword and Sorcery genre. After listening to the first two books of the Lightbringer series (this is the third book of that series) I also picked up the Night Angel Trilogy from Weeks, which is brilliant.

    That is why it is so hard to give this book a 3 star rating for the story. The second book ended on a cliffhanger, and I was very excited to return to this fictional universe as the action was beginning to ramp up. I ended the second book thinking that we would be getting answers to the long running series questions.

    Ultimately this book felt like filler to me. The characters more or less take a break from the conflicts that ended the last book and deal with domestic issues. It's a good book, just not a great addition to this series. I just kept feeling like this book was unnecessarily extending the series.

    One final note: The conclusion to the Night Angel trilogy was so good and tied together everything from the previous books so well that I have faith in this series. This was a book that included more set up for an epic conclusion, and I am still eagerly anticipating that conclusion.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Accidental Sorcerer: Rogue Agent, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By K. E. Mills
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (204)
    Performance
    (88)
    Story
    (86)

    Gerald Dunwoody is a wizard. Just not a particularly good one. He's blown up a factory, lost his job, and there's a chance that he's not really a Third Grade wizard after all. So it's off to New Ottosland to be the new Court Wizard for King Lional. It's a shame that King Lional isn't the vain, self-centered young man he appeared to be. With a princess in danger, a talking bird who can't stay out of trouble, and a kingdom to save, Gerald soon suspects that he might be out of his depth.

    John Williams says: "A good start to a new series"
    "The Magic System Hinders the Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Like other reviewers I enjoyed the start of this book. But there is a major flaw in the universe that the book is asking us to believe in. All offensive magic, or magic that can cause harm to an individual is black magic. The problem this creates in the story and in the entire series is that the villain usually has to do himself in because the heroes of the story can't match the villain with any force.

    The protagonist becomes a powerful wizard who cannot use his magic to fight - only to defend without returning force. This book is an origin story and I continued in the series because the end of this book has so much promise.

    Ultimately though this series fell flat for me. I can respect a hero with restraint, but this is a hero who never finds his confidence, is unsure of who or what he fights for, and is ultimately a passive force that the story happens to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Monster: John Cleaver, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Dan Wells
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (201)
    Performance
    (167)
    Story
    (165)

    In I Am Not a Serial Killer, John Wayne Cleaver saved his town from a murderer even more appalling than the serial killers he obsessively studies. But it turns out even demons have friends, and the disappearance of one has brought another to Clayton County. Soon there are new victims for John to work on at the mortuary and a new mystery to solve. But John has tasted death, and the dark nature he used as a weapon - the terrifying persona he calls "Mr. Monster" - might now be using him.

    Paul says: "Sympathy for Socios"
    "Darker than the first book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have read the first two books in the John Cleaver series and plan on getting the third. As a quick warning, I found this book to be much darker than the first book. And that is what makes this book difficult to recommend. I enjoyed it, but parts of it were difficult to get through.

    I also wonder who the target audience for this series is. On its surface it appears to be a young adult series. It features a teenage protagonist dealing with the struggles of feeling cut off from his peers in his small town environment.

    But the protagonist also deals with some very dark thoughts. He wrestles with his sexuality in the context of sociopathy and pyromania. This book also has extended scenes of torture and abuse that work in the context of the story and walk the line of becoming graphic and over the top.

    Overall, this is an interesting series which raises mixed emotions in me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Toymaker

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Chuck Barrett
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (460)
    Performance
    (407)
    Story
    (411)

    Former NTSB Investigator Jake Pendleton faces a dilemma as the line blurs between right and wrong. After his judgment comes into question, Jake is entrusted to his new mentor, an eccentric old man who sees beyond Jake’s flaws. A man who makes ‘toys for spies.’ A man known as The Toymaker. Jake’s first assignment reunites him with Gregg Kaplan in a daredevil mission to rescue a fellow agent held captive in Yemen. He risks his life to stop the first attack of an al Qaeda mastermind.

    shelley says: "Great book"
    "Story trying to be a blockbuster movie"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There are many things about this story that bothered me and made it difficult for me to get into the story that may not bother you. I can be a bit of a nit-picker. If you also nit-pick plot points and book scenes then you might agree with me, but if those things don't bother you then you may find this a very enjoyable book.

    First of all, I did not realize that this book was part of a series and that the title character is not the protagonist. The story actually features the Toymaker very sparingly. The protagonist is being introduced to the Toymaker as part of an extended origins story. So if you are looking for a tech-heavy book, this is more like a James Bond movie story. Q shows us the gadgets and then the hero uses some of them.

    The action scenes are also written like movie scenes with characters being thrown in feet and yards by explosions, bullets, and shells. This annoys me because it lacks any realism. If movie style physics and ballistics don't bother you in books, then you may enjoy it more.

    And finally, the characters in this book who are the best-of-the-best are rather incompetent. In one chapter, the heroes have tracked a bad guy to a boat and are able to take him completely by surprise, except that they screw up capturing the guy in a fairly spectacular manner.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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