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Robin

ratings
87
REVIEWS
78
FOLLOWING
11
FOLLOWERS
14
HELPFUL VOTES
86

  • 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
    (1053)
    Performance
    (967)
    Story
    (975)

    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"
    "Disappointing second act!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was so looking forward to this recording. I read Wool Omnibus, which is the first part of the saga in print, because listeners had a poor opinion of that reader. I found it compelling and devoured hundreds of pages in a few days. This recording has Tim Reynolds, who I've loved in other books, so I figured this would be even better. I was disappointed in both the book and its narration;

    In contrast to Wool, which takes place over a few weeks, this one takes place over centuries - and it feels like it. There's way too much detail of various characters endlessly enduring in grim environments. There's a plot in the middle that I think was totally unnecessary, apparently to give an idea about the Uprisings mentioned elsewhere. Finally at the very end, the story starts to overlap with the first part of the saga, but by then my interest had waned considerably.

    A strong feature of Wool was the opportunity for the reader to figure out what is going on. This one tries to explain it, starting in the 21st century, and I felt that made it less believable. Again there are way too many details of ordinary life in the near future, trying to show how what we have now could lead to the silo world. The whole construction and rationale just doesn't make much sense. Leaving some mystery would have been better.

    Some people felt the characters in Wool were flat, but I found them interesting and cared about what happened to them. In Shift, the characters are mostly one-dimensional and mostly passive. My overall feeling listening to this was depression. I had to avoid listening to it before bedtime. Sure, it's a dystopia but the characters could have some human connection and some agency, there's very little of either.

    As I said ,I loved Tim Reynolds reading the works of Michael J Sullivan, where he has a mainly English accent. In this one, he tried to sound American and sometimes just sounded weird. For instance, he pronounced "palm" as "pam". You'd be amazed how often that word came up and it jarred me every time. He did a decent job with the various characters but Howey didn't give him a lot to work with.

    I rarely regret the hours spent listening to an audiobook, even if it's not the greatest, but this time I did. I will probably read the 3rd installment in print so that if it drags I can skim through it.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Anthony Doerr
    • Narrated By Zach Appelman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (312)
    Performance
    (286)
    Story
    (282)

    Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is 12, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

    Tawney says: "A remarkable listening experience"
    "Didn't match the hype"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When I first heard about this book, I thought "I can't handle ANOTHER story from WWII. But the reviews said it was "luminous", "extraordinary", and that it dealt with the relationship of two young people during the war. I don't think it's a spoiler to say that their intersection takes up maybe 5 minutes of the book. And I wish I had listened to my original concerns.

    One theme of the book is the spiral as seen in shells, drains, etc. and the book structured in the form of a spiral. A number of elements start out far apart and as the story circles around and repeatedly comes back to them, they get closer and closer together until they reach the point of connection. A clever idea, but I think it would have been more effective if the author hadn't started the book with a scene from almost the end, then gone back to show how the characters got to that point, while sometimes interspersing scenes from the "present". I don't mind that the book isn't linear, though some readers did get confused, especially in audio. But since we know the direction the story will go, and we know how WWII turned out, there's not much suspense. I felt more dread - which manifestations of the evils of war will these particular characters have to suffer through before they arrive at the scene that opened the book? (cold, hunger, betrayal, illness, loss?)

    There are a number of big questions addressed and they aren't subtle. What is free will? What is courage? What is the power of human communication, human knowledge, and human imagination? What is guilt and what is innocence? The more the book went on, the less its characters seemed like real people to me and the more they were symbols.

    The narration was fine, and the narrator handled the French and German pretty well but it was so slow that I ended up using the double speed on my iPod, which I've never done before. Sometimes I wished I could have speeded up even more. That's an indication that the book was not grabbing me. For audiobooks I usually want them to last and I want to savor the performance rather than get through in a hurry.

    Please check out other reviews as most people loved this book and its writing. Maybe I just need a longer break from any book involving Nazis!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shotgun Lovesongs: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Nickolas Butler
    • Narrated By Scott Shepherd, Ari Fliakos, Maggie Hoffman, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (135)
    Performance
    (119)
    Story
    (120)

    It’s a place like hundreds of others, nothing special, really. But for four friends—all born and raised in this small Wisconsin town—it is home. And now they are men, coming into their own, or struggling to do so. One of them never left, still working the family farm that has been tilled for generations. But others felt the need to move on, with varying degrees of success. One trades commodities, another took to the rodeo circuit, and one of them even hit it big as a rock star. And then there’s Beth, a woman who has meant something special in each of their lives.

    Janice says: "Thirty-Something angst"
    "On Wisconsin! Great sense of place"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As a Midwesterner I enjoyed the setting of prairie and small town. Someone said the subject was the angst of 30-somethings, but I'd say it's more about the universal experience of never being content with what we have, envying someone else, not knowing they are envying you. It's about the age when people look around and wonder if this is how their lives are supposed to turn out. And it's about figuring out what is really important in life.

    I usually don't care for books with multiple narrators because I will hate at least one of them but in this book I thought all the narrators were excellently matched with their characters. The one female character may have been less effective, but I think that's because the male author didn't give her as much depth as he did to the men he created.

    It may be unrealistic the way some of the characters described the land in such poetic terms, but I thought it fit in just fine.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Attachments: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Rainbow Rowell
    • Narrated By Laura Hamilton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (524)
    Performance
    (461)
    Story
    (462)

    Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder, coworkers at The Courier, know the newspaper monitors their office e-mail. But they still spend all day sending each other messages, gossiping about their coworkers, and baring their personal lives like an open book. Jennifer tells Beth everything she can’t seem to tell her husband about her anxieties over starting a family. And Beth tells Jennifer everything, period. Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill still can’t believe that it’s his job to monitor other people’s e-mail.

    Julie says: "Just what I'd hoped for"
    "Narrator could have done so much more!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A large part of the book is comprised of emails between Jennifer and Beth. I assume they are supposed to have different personalities, but the narrator made them sound exactly alike, at least to me. I'm not sure why I didn't pick up on this with the sample as it annoyed me in the first 5 minutes of the book.

    It wasn't awful, but only mildly amusing. It wasn't the mail format that was the problem for me. I loved The Boy Next Door narrated by the inimitable Barbara Rosenblatt and also the Shopaholic books which contain a fair number of letters, emails, etc. Those made me laugh out loud and I'm sure this one could have with a more versatile narrator.

    0 of 0 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
    (5912)
    Performance
    (5617)
    Story
    (5627)

    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"
    "Terrific! and perfect for audio!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is an excellent example of a book I would never have read without Audible and all the great reviews. I'm not really interested in science, engineering or space BUT in my opinion that's not what this book is about. It's about human beings and the human spirit.

    I would have listened to this in one sitting if I could have. I couldn't tear myself away! The narration was perfect! I saw a couple of reviews online that found the hero's journal entries to be silly. I can see that written out, they may look that way, but on audio they are exactly right. Kudos to R. C. Bray who totally was our hero Mark.

    The story is gripping and exciting, but also heartwarming. It would make a great movie. And if I were to be stranded anywhere, this is the guy I would want with me.

    Remember how I said above that I wasn't interested in space? This week while I was in the middle of the book, there was a newspaper article on Mars and I read every word! That is the power of great fiction, to expand our interests and our horizons.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • My Bonny Light Horseman: Bloody Jack #6

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 1 min)
    • By L. A. Meyer
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    Overall
    (396)
    Performance
    (248)
    Story
    (238)

    In My Bonny Light Horseman, the infamous pirate, riverboat seductress, master of disguise, and street-urchin-turned-sailor Jacky Faber has been captured by the French and beheaded in full view of her friends and crew.Inconceivable? Yes! The truth is she's secretly forced to pose as an American dancer behind enemy lines in Paris, where she entices a French general into revealing military secrets--all to save her dear friends.

    Celia says: "Stunning & Engaging"
    "Our sailor now is on land"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It takes some rather odd circumstances to get Jacky into close proximity with Napoleon himself. But the upshot is that the reader is forced to consider that war is not simple with good guys all on one side and glory as the reward.

    Several characters remark that our heroine has 9 lives, it's probably more like 20, I've lost track of the many times she is at the point of dying when. . . something happens and she is saved! Ah well, that's the genre after all.

    Kellgren continues to surpass all expectations. In this book, she has to indicate that Jacky is speaking French with an American accent, while continuing to narrate in her original Cockney. She also gets to do German and Russian accents for a change. Without her, I probably would never have picked up this series written for a younger audience and wouldn't have gone past one or two volumes. I only wish I had children the right age to appreciate these books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ivanhoe

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Sir Walter Scott
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (256)
    Performance
    (171)
    Story
    (177)

    Wilfred, knight of Ivanhoe, the son of Cedric the Saxon, is in love with his father's ward, Rowena. Cedric, however, wishes her to marry Athelstane, a descendant of the royal Saxon line, whom Cedric hopes will restore the Saxon succession. With a colorful cast of chivalric knights and fair ladies, this action-filled novel comes complete with feats of derring-do, the pageantry of a tournament, and a great flame-engulfed castle - all of which makes it the most enthralling of Scott's creations.

    Bill Dewey/Reclaiming Quarterly says: "Great Adventure, Good Rendition"
    "Historical that fantasy lovers can enjoy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listened to this because I loved Michael Page reading the Locke Lamora fantasy series. After all, medieval history isn't that different from fantasy. The narration was excellent, There are many characters and some of the speeches are challenging. The flowery language is pretty hard for us to accept (knights speaking in long complex sentences with classical allusions while bashing each other.)

    The funny thing is that Ivanhoe himself is rather a minor character. Good thing too, since he's pretty boring. Much more interesting are the mysterious black knight, the merry forest men in green (if I had known they were in this book, I would have read it long ago), the hearty Saxons, the persecuted Jews, and even the pig farmer and jester.

    As far as the storytelling, you have to remember that Walter Scott was inventing the genre. The stereotypes were new then, and although some plot developments are predictable, there were a couple of surprises.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Bellwether

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Connie Willis
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (486)
    Performance
    (231)
    Story
    (235)

    Sandra Foster studies fads and their meanings for the HiTek corporation. Bennett O'Reilly works with monkey group behavior and chaos theory for the same company. When the two are thrust together due to a misdelivered package and a run of seemingly bad luck, they find a joint project in a flock of sheep. But a series of setbacks and disappointments arise before they are able to find answers to their questions - with the unintended help of the errant, forgetful, and careless office assistant Flip.

    Carol says: "Clarity and Chaos"
    "Lightweight but charming"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Amusing office/academic/cultural satire, a bit dated but still entertaining. Narration is excellent and contributes a lot to the humor. Since I grew up on a sheep farm, I really enjoyed the part played by the sheep!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • METAtropolis

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Jay Lake, Tobias Buckell, Elizabeth Bear, and others
    • Narrated By Michael Hogan, Scott Brick, Kandyse McClure, and others
    Overall
    (1919)
    Performance
    (1685)
    Story
    (1721)

    Armed camps of eco-survivalists battle purveyors of technology in this exclusive, original production featuring five sci-fi masters and five all-star narrators.

    Anthony says: "Painful"
    "Concept better than execution"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this book because it was on special and because John Scalzi is one of the authors. It turned out that was the only one of the stories I really enjoyed. It was partly because I'm not a fan of dystopias or a techie person, and partly because stories and novellas rarely grab me. I like big, meaty books with a lot of character development and emotional content. The first story just left me thinking, "huh?" Some reviews said the last story was the best but I ran out of patience by then. I did like Scalzi, who is not capable of writing a grim or boring story. I thought all the narrators were quite good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hollow World

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Michael J. Sullivan
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    Overall
    (169)
    Performance
    (160)
    Story
    (159)

    Ellis Rogers is an ordinary man who is about to embark on an extraordinary journey. All his life he has played it safe and done the right thing. But when he is faced with a terminal illness, Ellis is willing to take an insane gamble. He's built a time machine in his garage, and if it works, he'll face a world that challenges his understanding of what it means to be human, what it takes to love, and the cost of paradise. Ellis could find more than a cure for his disease; he might find what everyone has been searching for since time has begun.

    Devin says: "Entertaining Read, Not Quite Exceptional."
    "Interesting concept but a bit preachy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I adored all Sullivan's Riyria books partly because they don't take things too seriously. But this book seems to have a lot of themes which you can practically see in Capital Letters - The Individual vs Society, The Role of Religion, The Future of Humankind, Love and Forgiveness, Good vs. Evil (including lengthy diatribes from the Evil side, in case it wasn't obvious enough which is which.)

    On the plus side, there are some surprising plot points and a kind of James Bond scene complete with timer ticking down to disaster. I did keep listening straight through about the last 2 hours. Also the description of the world itself is creative. The narration was good, but it must have been challenging for the narrator because part of the plot has to do with characters sounding alike.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Black Tower

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Louis Bayard
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (266)
    Performance
    (109)
    Story
    (110)

    Dr. Hector Carpentier leads a very quiet life, until he meets legendary police officer Vidocq, who has used his mastery of disguise and surveillance and his extensive knowledge of the Parisian underworld to capture some of the most notorious and elusive criminals.

    Booksmith says: "Truly Engaging and Clever"
    "Vidocq steals the show"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am a sucker for stories that take place in England or France from about 1700 to 1900 and I also enjoy a clever detective story. So I liked this very much. I was hoping it would be a series but apparently not. This book spans the period of the French revolution and it helps to have a little knowledge. But I appreciated that the author didn't spend a long time explaining the history, just let it emerge naturally.

    There were some plot twists I didn't expect, which kept my attention, but the most interesting character to me was the detective Vidocq. Possessed of a criminal past, an iron nerve, and an incredible talent for disguise, he was constantly fascinating. In comparison the narrator is rather colorless. Simon Vance did a good job with the different voice and pronounced the French excellently.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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