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Ryan D. Gilbert

RiddleofSteel

Huntington Beach, CA USA | Member Since 2006

116
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 29 reviews
  • 79 ratings
  • 388 titles in library
  • 9 purchased in 2014
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  • Railsea

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By China Mieville
    • Narrated By Jonathan Cowley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (82)
    Performance
    (75)
    Story
    (74)

    On board the moletrain Medes, Sham Yes ap Soorap watches in awe as he witnesses his first moldywarpe hunt: the giant mole bursting from the earth, the harpoonists targeting their prey, the battle resulting in one's death and the other's glory. But no matter how spectacular it is, Sham can't shake the sense that there is more to life than traveling the endless rails of the railsea - even if his captain can think only of the hunt for the ivory-coloured mole she's been chasing since it took her arm years ago.

    H James Lucas says: "Talented Mr Cowley a mismatch for Railsea"
    "Great idea, not crazy about the execution"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Let me start by saying, I really enjoy Mieville's books, especially Perdido Street. I know that it can take a little while to get into his style of writing, but once you do, it's a wonderful ride.

    Unfortunately for me, this book didn't do it for me. Even halfway through the book, I still didn't have a great visualization of what the world of Railsea really looks like, other than in generic terms. Compared to Perdido Street, the descriptions were very light, and not nearly as rich. I thought the character descriptions were great, and I really felt all of the appropriate empathy for the protagonists and disdain for the villains. This is also what frustrated me the most about the lack of depth in the Railsea world. I enjoyed the characters so much, but many times during the book I was still asking the most basic questions, "What the hell are angels?!?!", "Do they ever walk on land, or only in certain places, and how in the hell does that work?!?!".

    The pace of the book was crisp and I felt it moved along with a good pace. Fast at all the right times, and slow at all the right times. It was a nice mix of adventure, mystery, drama, and just overall cool stuff.

    Overall, if you're a Mieville fan than you will most likely enjoy this book, but don't expect one of his better books. If you're not a Mieveille, than I would not recommend this book as his books can be challenging to listen to at the best of times, and I would hate for your first experience to be this book as it could spoil you for his many other gems.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Perdido Street Station

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By China Mieville
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (516)
    Performance
    (343)
    Story
    (339)

    Beneath the towering bleached ribs of a dead, ancient beast lies New Crobuzon, a squalid city where humans, Re-mades, and arcane races live in perpetual fear of Parliament and its brutal militia. The air and rivers are thick with factory pollutants and the strange effluents of alchemy, and the ghettos contain a vast mix of workers, artists, spies, junkies, and whores.

    Cherry says: "Wish I could rate it higher - skipped audio"
    "So very good, but the ending killed it for me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This is a very well written book, and Mieville is a very talented writer. He has a wildly vivid imagination, and he was able to transport me thoroughly to his world he has created. It did take me a little to get into the story, because Mieville's writing style is pretty unique and it took a while for my brain to synchronize with his imagery. Once I got locked in though, it was pretty awesome. It's basically a steam punkish world, with sci-fi and fantasy all mashed together,and mashed together brilliantly. I was wondering when I would finally listen to a book like this, and I picked a very good one to start with.

    His character descriptions, to include all of the amazing different races were stunning. He just didn't lightly touch on each character in this world, but really fully flushed out each one, including even the minor ones which just made this world that much deeper.

    Mieville developed a pretty basic main story-line, but it was really just used as a fulcrum for all of the sub-plots and the shadow plot-line. Just reading the summary of the book, I didn't think it would hold me attention, but I was riveted until almost the end.

    Now, I do have one huge problem with this book, and it's purely personal. Mieville made some choices with how he ended this book with some characters and some of the plot lines which I hated, and pretty much tainted the whole book for me. For a writer of Mieville's obvious talent, he really picked some of the lame duck endings that sub-par writers would choose, and he knows better. I'm not going to spoil it for you, but you'll understand what I'm talking about when you see them.


    Overall, this is a very good book and I love Mieville's writing style. If you've always wanted to listen to a world with very strong steam punk influence, sci-fi, fantasy, and any other cool genre you've liked than this is the book for you. Mieville is able to merge all of these worlds seamlessly and was such a treat to venture into. Just for my personal preference, I hated the ending, but for most of you out there this may not be an issue. Even with the lazy ending, I would still highly recommend this story and I"m looking forward to some more Mieville books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Jeremy Scahill
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (387)
    Performance
    (327)
    Story
    (334)

    From Afghanistan and Pakistan to Yemen, Somalia, and beyond, Scahill speaks to the CIA agents, mercenaries, and elite Special Operations Forces operators who populate the dark side of American war-fighting. He goes deep into al Qaeda-held territory in Yemen and walks the streets of Mogadishu with CIA-backed warlords. We also meet the survivors of US night raids and drone strikes - including families of US citizens targeted for assassination by their own government - who reveal the human consequences of the dirty wars the United States struggles to keep hidden.

    Lanlady says: "fantastic book -- and disturbing"
    "Glutton of editorializing spoils the meat of story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It quickly becomes obvious as to where the author stands with his view on war, and what he thinks of the United States when it comes to geopolitics. It's hard to discern fact from fiction, because the author integrates so much of his own hyperbole with hard facts, and first person testimony, it becomes a convoluted mess.

    There are some very interesting stories and research the author has done, but at times it feels like on Oliver Stone movie where he's presenting the data in a way that supports his opinion as opposed to just giving the reader the facts. Almost every personal testimony presents them as an innocent civilian, who has been unfairly targeted by the evil US government.

    I don't think there was any story the author presented where the US government was presented in a positive light. This is what irked me the most, because I'm not naive enough to believe that there isn't a ton of nasty things that any government does when it comes to Special Ops, but I didn't get this book to listen to an author give his opinion on this stuff. Just give me the facts!

    The only person I would recommend this book to, is anyone who is anti-war or who doesn't agree with how the US Government is handling the war on terror. This book would be very good for you, because it does present great information and your opinion will line up with what the author feels as well.

    For anyone else, I would NOT recommend this book.There are lots of other books out there that present this same information is a much more factual presentation, and with a more interactive writing style. By the end, I could barely finish listening to this book as it was just becoming unbearable.

    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Ready Player One

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Ernest Cline
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11621)
    Performance
    (10836)
    Story
    (10844)

    At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

    Julie W. Capell says: "I’m sorry I waited so long to read this book."
    "All Hail the King!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In my wildest dreams, I couldn't have written such a good and original book. There are thousands of reviews already, so I won't elaborate too much why this book is so awesome. Needless to say, Ernest Cline could easily have been one of my friends going up, playing D&D, rocking some serious Atari 2600, all the while listening to some Rush.

    This book is so good, I have placed it on my pedestal's as one of the greats, next to LOTR, early and late Robert Jordan, etc, etc. Every single scenario, every single character, and every single story thread I thoroughly enjoyed to the utmost. I loved this book so much, that I had to force myself to not listen to it too fast, so I could enjoy it like a fine wine.

    If you haven't listened to this book yet, I envy you as you are in for such a treat.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Tooth and Nail

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Craig DiLouie
    • Narrated By Steve Cooper
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (245)
    Performance
    (132)
    Story
    (128)

    As a new plague related to the rabies virus infects millions, America recalls its military forces from around the world to safeguard hospitals and other vital buildings. Many of the victims become rabid and violent but are easily controlled—that is, until so many are infected that they begin to run amok, spreading slaughter and disease.

    Flavius says: "Rough, but Enjoyable"
    "Very Average, but Enjoyable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    If you are looking for a decent zombie book, then yes. If not, than don't waste your time.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Better, believable characters. More coherent story line.


    What didn’t you like about Steve Cooper’s performance?

    I really didn't like his performance. There was not a huge distinction between each character.


    Do you think Tooth and Nail needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Again, if you are looking for a zombie book, than I would say yes. It was still an enjoyable book, and it had plenty of action.


    Any additional comments?

    Let's face it. We run woefully low on any type of decent zombie book. I find myself slumming from book to book hoping to find a zombie story that isn't terrible. Until the day arrives where we have a plethora of great stories on a consistent basis, we have to scrap by on what we can find.

    With that in mind, this story is not great, but at least enjoyable. It had plenty of action, and I didn't find myself being too annoyed with either terrible characters or ridiculous plot developments. Not to say that this book is devoid of those things, because it's not, but it's at least tolerable.

    I liked following around with the military in this story, as it's not done as nearly as much as the survivor perspective. I'm an Army veteran, so it was fun to follow these guys around from skirmish to skirmish. I tried to be not too critical of the military tactics or the "cordite" issue, as I want to enjoy the book and not get hung up on crap like that, although the constant cordite reference did start to bother me.

    All in all, if you are looking for a decent zombie book, where you get to ride along with an Army unit to battle the zombie hoards than you will enjoy this book. Be prepared though, as it's not a great book, but definitely serviceable.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Lawrence Wright
    • Narrated By Morton Sellers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1325)
    Performance
    (1184)
    Story
    (1172)

    A clear-sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the The Looming Tower, the now-classic study of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attack. Based on more than 200 personal interviews with both current and former Scientologists - both famous and less well known - and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology.

    Chris Reich says: "Scared the Hell Out of Me"
    "Wow from beginning to end."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Going Clear rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Great book for it's genre


    What other book might you compare Going Clear to and why?

    Can't


    Have you listened to any of Morton Sellers’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    If you could give Going Clear a new subtitle, what would it be?

    The New American Horror Story Called Scientology


    Any additional comments?

    After hearing about Scientology for SOOO long, I always wondered what was really true about this religion. After reading the reviews and discovering this Author's street cred, I figured this would be a great book to learn more about Scientology. Man alive, I'm very happy I did.

    The author starts at the very beginning of L Ron Hubbards life, which was very insightful. Getting all of that backstory really helped segue nicely into the birth of Scientology, as it made a lot more sense as to why LRH, I'm an old pro at that Acronym now, created Scientology.

    The bottom line is if you ever wondered what Scientology is all about, or if you are thinking about joining, this should be a must listen to. The author gives you all the information that he could find, and could be verified by any researcher, without making it droll or adding too much of his own commentary to flavor the story line. This books can have a tendency to become tedious after a while, but I never felt distracted or bored throughout the entire book. The author did a good job in how he presented the information and how he constructed the timeline.


    I went in knowing virtually nothing about Scientology, and now I've come out feeling much more informed and I'll tell you , Scientology terrifies me. Scientology itself seems ludicrous, but if it helps people and doesn't hurt anyone in the process I'm all for it. If you look at other religions around the world, they all have their bizaare dogma, and Scientology is not any different.

    The most frightening aspect of Scientology is not the religion itself but two other items. The first is how crazy L Ron Hubbard actually was, and how the current leadership is completely insane. This book really illustrates how LRH was such a prophetic liar, but because he was so charismatic, he was able to snow people throughout his entire life.

    The second bit of craziness is how the current leader of the church, David Miscavige, is a psychotic masochist. He has essentially hijacked Scientology and uses it as his personal playground to assuage his masochistic tendencies. I can't tell you how many times I daydreamed about meeting this guy in the streets and beating him to a pulp. Imagine Napoleon mixed with Hitler, and it gives you a sense of what he's all about. I actually feel sorry for any Scienotlogist, because regardless of what you think about their religion, they don't deserve to have someone like this use their beliefs as a weapon against them to get away with whatever he wants to do.

    I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in learning anything abotu Scientology, as it was a great listen and highly informational.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Wanted Man: A Jack Reacher Novel, Book 17

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Lee Child
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2458)
    Performance
    (2102)
    Story
    (2095)

    Four people in a car, hoping to make Chicago by morning. An hour behind them, a man lies stabbed to death in an old pumping station. He was seen going in with two others, but he never came out. He has been executed, the knife work professional, the killers vanished. Within minutes, the police are notified. Within hours, the FBI descends, laying claim to the victim without ever saying who he was or why he was there. All Reacher wanted was a ride to Virginia. All he did was stick out his thumb. But he soon discovers he has hitched more than a ride.

    Bill says: "Wanted Man is Wanting ~ And I Want 14 Hours Back"
    "Tom Cruise has tainted Lee already"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Lee Child and/or Dick Hill?

    Everyone who's made it this far will say, "Of course!"


    If you’ve listened to books by Lee Child before, how does this one compare?

    Right in the middle


    Which character – as performed by Dick Hill – was your favorite?

    Racher


    Was A Wanted Man worth the listening time?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    In the midst of typing up my original review for this book, something dawned on me. I would almost call this book Reacher Light. It didn't have the normal doses of the things would come to expect and love from a Reacher novel. Not a lot of action, very light on the ass-kickery, very little gun scenes, and no romance to speak of. While the book itself is still a worthwhile listen, it dawned on me why this book is so watered down.I'm calling this the Tom Cruise effect.

    Since Lee has endorsed TC for the upcoming Reacher movie, he has unconciously tainted how he writes Reacher. Before endorsing TC, Lee still could creatively generate Reacher how he is meant to be, a big imposing figure that uses his size and strength to the utmost of his ability. Lee knew that Reacher's size and stature are just as critical to the story as the words Reacher speaks.After endorsing TC, in the back of Lee's mind he can no longer see Reacher as clearly as he used to.

    In scenes where Reacher wouldn't hesitate to smash someones face in, or break a knee, Lee's vision gets a little cloudy and he finds himself second guessing now what Reacher would do. His clouded "Jack Cruise" abomination isn't up to the same level of Reacher we are used to seeing. Hence, we have are left with a book like this. Not terrible, but not the normal Reacher we are used to seeing.

    For anyone who has followed the Reacher series, this book will feel not up to snuff and mite bit disappointing. Hopefully after Lee has paid his karmic debt, we will see his writing back up to snuff.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Zombie Fallout 5: Alive in a Dead World

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Mark Tufo
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    Overall
    (1580)
    Performance
    (1483)
    Story
    (1489)

    In the latest installment of Mark Tufo's zombie fallout series, Mike Talbot and his family continue their fight for survival as Eliza plots their demise.

    Teddy says: "Feels like Tufo was Stalling"
    "Went from fun to annoying in no time flat"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    All of the characters are exactly the same as they were from book 1. Not 1 iota of growth from any of them. Mike started out as a fun, interesting character, but quickly morphed into very one dimensionial and annoying. What made it worse is as the books went on, he seemed to become more shallow then from book 1 or 2.


    Has Zombie Fallout 5 turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No. It just makes me think twice before I get another book from Mark Tufo.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Narrator was decent


    What character would you cut from Zombie Fallout 5?

    I would cut the Author out.


    Any additional comments?

    I enjoyed the first couple of books, but they were maginal to begin with. I enjoyed more the novelty of the main characters as they were fun and original in the zombie genre. I was able to overlook some really poor story development and literary gambits. This book though was almost too much to bear.

    First off let me start with all of the ridiculous flashbacks that he uses in every book, but it was really bad in this book alone. Using flashbacks can be a powerful and useful tool in story development, but in this book there must have been four horrendously long and useless flashbacks alone. This has something he has done in every book, but at this point it really detracts from an already lackluster story.

    The second item I already discussed, but bears repeating. The lack of character development really hurt this story as time went on. By this book, all Mike every says or does is something sarcastic. So much so, that it has become very annoying. To make it worse, is the other characters who were pretty shallow to begin with are starting to begin mirror images to Mike. Everyone has become a comedian in this book, and too many comedians in one story is just not funny after a while.

    My other gripe is the ending of this story. You could tell that Mark Tufo had phoned this in. After everything you have gone through with his family and friends, it was very anticlimatic and borederline stupid. I don't want to put any spoilers out there, but as it was unfolding you will know exactly where it's headed and it's just the typical lazy author out.

    I could go on and on, but needless to say I am very disappointed where this story has ended up at this point. If this trend continues I could see this story heading in the direction of Laurell K. Hamilton's s Anita Blake series. Where the author will spit out book after book of the same canned stuff, just to get paid. I'm still hoping against hope that this story can be turned around, but I'm not holding my breath.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (49 hrs)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13540)
    Performance
    (11887)
    Story
    (11938)

    Dubbed the American Tolkien by Time magazine, George R. R. Martin has earned international acclaim for his monumental cycle of epic fantasy. Now the number-one New York Times best-selling author delivers the fifth book in his spellbinding landmark series - as both familiar faces and surprising new forces vie for a foothold in a fragmented empire.

    Ryan says: "Enjoyable, but a lot of setup"
    "Martin has been infected with Jordanitis"
    Overall

    After waiting so many years for this book to come out, it's sad to see the Martin has become infected with Jordanitis during it's creation. The symptoms are clear...

    Write a huge book that barely moves the plot along. Check.

    Spend counltess pages in describing characters thoughts and/or emotions that bring absolute no value to the story. Check.

    Introduce countless new characters to an already crowded cast of players. Check.

    Write chapter after chapter following side characters around only to realize the tedious journey of their storyline brings almost no impact to the overall plot.



    It becomes very obvious why it's taken Martin so long to publish this book. He had been struggling with where to go with the storyline and what to do with all of the characters, and this book is the proof of that. At no point during my listening did I ever get excited or yearn as to what was going to happen next. It was like taking a river boat ride down a lazy river. Going from chapter to chapter felt like I was reading instructions on how to build a model airplane. Even Tyrion's storyline couldn't lift me from the depths of boredom, although he was by far the best part of the overall story as usual.

    The production was just as terrible as everyone is saying as well. Roy cannot do female characters anymore. It's impossible to tell who's female and male in this book, and makes it terribly difficult to follow. If they added a second female narrator to this book, it would make it SOOOO much better. Instead, with the way Roy reads it, every character in my head is some flavor of an english/irish guy, who's either a lecherous drunk, a lord, or a Knight. Never does a female character materialize in my head during his narration, which makes for a very odd story progression.

    If you've followed this series from the beginning, then you are going to listen to this no matter what. Just be prepared for the pain!

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • The Rising

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Brian Keene
    • Narrated By Peter Delloro
    Overall
    (103)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (57)

    Nothing stays dead for long. The dead are returning to life, intelligent, determined...and very hungry. Trapped by the undead, escape seems impossible for Jim Thurmond. But Jim’s young son is alive and in dire peril hundreds of miles away. Despite overwhelming odds, Jim vows to find him—or die trying. Joined by an elderly preacher, a guilt-ridden scientist, and a determined ex-prostitute, Jim embarks on a cross-country rescue mission.

    Chris says: "You'll either love it or hate it. I love it!"
    "Do yourself a favor and skip this disaster"
    Overall

    (minor spoilers ahead)
    Wow, this book failed on every level. I'm not a zombie purists, or for that matter, a litererary zealot. If the writing is good and the narrator decent, I'm pretty happy. I just want to be entertained during my 2-3 hour drive in lovely LA traffic. I've been jonesing for a good zombie book as I've listened to most of the top authors already. After many hours of researching, I took a gamble on Brian Keene. It was a gamle I lost.

    Narrator
    This has to be one of the worst narrations I've ever listened to. I always felt like he was rushing through the book without ever taking the time to capture the essence of any of the characters or the book in general. It was like a kid who was forced to read a book in the front of the class who was more interested in getting the book done as fast as possible as opposed to really enjoying the book itself.

    Characters
    Brian Keene must have gone shopping at Wal Mart for his characters and got them on special. They were the most one dimensional cliche characters that could have possibly been written. Tough street-wise character, check. One flawed protagonist, check. Deaf special needs heart wrenching character, check (gee, I wonder what's going to happen to him?). The list goes on and on and they don't get any deeper then that.

    Plot
    I've seen porno movies with more intriguing and original plot. Firstly, the book starts so abruptly in what seems like the middle of the book I actually thought I had started Part 2 by accident. When I checked, I had indeed started at the beginning. Keene then rushed headlong into doing his cursory couple of paragraphs to talk about our protagonist, which you could care less about at this point. Then he tosses in the most irritating part of the entire book, the central reason our character must voyage out onto his journey. Based on what I've written so far you can guess on what it will be. What's the most used reason in any story. That's right, his child with his ex wife.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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