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Ryland H Garnett

Member Since 2014

  • 4 reviews
  • 8 ratings
  • 105 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2015

  • The Lives of Tao

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Wesley Chu
    • Narrated By Mikael Naramore
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    When out-of-shape IT technician Roen wakes up and starts hearing voices in his head, he naturally assumes he’s losing it. He isn’t. As of last night, he has a passenger in his brain - an ancient alien life-form called Tao, whose race crash-landed on Earth before the first fish crawled out of the oceans. Over the millennia his people have trained human heroes to be great leaders, to advance our species at a rate far beyond what it would have achieved on its own. Split into two opposing factions - the peace-loving, but under-represented Prophus, and the savage, powerful Genjix - the aliens have been in a state of civil war for centuries.

    Nathan says: "Realistic take on secret agent with aliens"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Overall, yes. The vast majority of the book was enjoyable, only beginning to wear as the main character continued to use the same tired lines of thought and worn out phrases to express himself. There was the sense that the author was trying to poke fun at or reference cheesy spy and action classic tropes, but being boring for the sake of being cute is still being boring.

    I will say that I became swept up in the world he created of secret behind-the-scenes alien warfare throughout history, and loved the basic concept of the book. Would even be interested to see more stories set in this universe, but perhaps with a different tone.

    The core problem was perhaps one of target audience. The further I got into the book, the more I felt that this would have made an excellent teen or young adult book, even though it was clearly not trying to be. It felt too toothless, the main character almost impossibly immature after a point, to be about adults. Perhaps if I had started it viewing it as a book for teens I would have been lenient.

    Would you ever listen to anything by Wesley Chu again?

    Probably. This felt like a sophomore attempt, a talented and imaginative writer still trying to break free of the bounds of convention and, for lack of a better term, self-doubt. Many times he began down a good path only to fall back on the same outcomes, situations, and phrases. The bulk of the work, however, was fine.

    Would you listen to another book narrated by Mikael Naramore?

    Yes. Naramore's narration was overall good, his inability to deliver an English accent not withstanding. HIs characters were clearly defined and consistent, which is important in a book that contains multiple simultaneous conversations occurring on different levels.

    Could you see The Lives of Tao being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Yes, but it would accused of being something of a "Chuck" rip-off. I think it would make a fairly good TV series. It could be fun to cast the voices of impressive older actors (Patrick Stewart springs to mind) as the disembodied aliens giving advice, with young up-and-coming TV talents in the leads.

    Any additional comments?

    I would recommend saving your money and hoping for a sequel. It's a great world, but the characters don't live up to it. Centuries of military wisdom and experience consistently give way to blind, short-sighted action, and the main character pretty stubbornly refuses to mature, think, or grow. Until a sudden last act change where he becomes a collected yet bloodthirsty freedom fighter without any real expectation.

    The book tries for high mindedness, but ends up feeling like it was written for 14 year old boys. I look forward to seeing whether this author can bring his visions in line with his talent in the future.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Treasure Island

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Robert Louis Stevenson
    • Narrated By Neil Hunt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    If you happen to find a map in a dead buccaneer's sea trunk, you can't very well ignore it, not if you are Jim Hawkins and his friends Dr. Livesey, Captain Smollett, and Squire Trelawney! But even with a map, buried treasures are not easy things to come by.

    Darwin8u says: "A Pirate's Life Indeed."
    "A Real Treasure to Find Again & Again"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Treasure Island to be better than the print version?

    Yes I grew up listening this reading, and had such fond memories of it as an adult that I had to find it again. It was even better to my grown up ears, and so fun that you may find yourself skipping around to re-listen to your favorite bits.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Yes. This detailed and fantastical look into the life of pirates and mariners is sure to captivate and fire the imagination when it comes to sea travel and adventure.

    Which character – as performed by Neil Hunt – was your favorite?

    This is definitely a novel of it's time, told almost exclusively through journal entries and logbooks, and with the careful attention to detail and order of a naturalist. This is balanced by good pacing and finely written action scenes.

    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Nothing! I know that's hard to say, but I love it, it's genuinely been perhaps my favorite reading of an audiobook I've ever found.

    Any additional comments?

    Please give this classic a try, it's cheap and you'll get a lifetimes worth of listening out of it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Seeing a Large Cat: The Amelia Peabody Series, Book 9

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Peters
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat

    Best-selling mystery author Elizabeth Peters has captured the hearts of thousands of readers with her spunky Victorian Egyptologist, Amelia Peabody Emerson. In Seeing a Large Cat, Amelia must ensnare a modern-day killer, a bogus spiritualist, and a predatory debutante in the awesome Valley of the Kings. Someone is sending ominous messages: "Stay away from tomb Twenty-A!" Intrigued, parasol-wielding Amelia won't rest until she finds the forbidden burial site.

    Nancy J says: "Top -Notch Story & Performance"
    "The Emerson Family Comes Into Their Own"
    Would you listen to Seeing a Large Cat again? Why?

    Definitely. Both the novel and the reading have a timeless quality to them, a textural richness that makes me quite contented. This was actually the first of this series I ever experienced, hearing it as a child on a cross-country road trip. As an adult I decided to go back and read/listen to all of them, starting again with this one. I was not disappointed,

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Mrs. Emerson. Each character in the family is by turns lovable, interesting, exciting, and exasperating, but Mrs. Emerson's unique balance of early feminist ideals and good-old fashioned English-ness is endlessly charming.

    Which scene was your favorite?

    Every scene involving excavating the tomb. The author's love of, and attention to detail regarding archeology and Egyptology of this time is evident. These scenes heighten the excitement and tension of everything around them, and give you a window into why all of these characters are there in the first place. Egyptology is their shared love, their passion and inspiration.

    If you could take any character from Seeing a Large Cat out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Ramses. I love his development into a bright and talented young man. He knows more than he lets on, and he feels things even deeper. I think it would be wonderful to allow him space to be seen as a grown-up, and to be heard.

    Any additional comments?

    This entire series i excellent (as far as I know, I am still working my way through it), but this was my entry point into it. It serves as an important marker between the solo and then married adventures of the Emersons, and the beginning of the entire family taking an active role in mystery-solving as well as Egyptology.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Emperor Mollusk Versus the Sinister Brain

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By A. Lee Martinez
    • Narrated By Scott Aiello
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Emperor Mollusk. Intergalactic Menace. Destroyer of Worlds. Conqueror of Other Worlds. Mad Genius. Ex-Warlord of Earth. Not bad for a guy without a spine. But what's a villain to do after he's done... everything. With no new ambitions, he's happy to pitch in and solve the energy crisis or repel aliens invaders should the need arise, but if he had his way, he'd prefer to be left alone to explore the boundaries of dangerous science. Just as a hobby, of course. Retirement isn't easy though.

    Kat Hooper says: "Hilariously wacky!"
    "Constant Smart Fun"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Emperor Mollusk Versus the Sinister Brain to be better than the print version?

    Although I have not read the print edition, I think this is a book that lends itself well to the audiobok format, and specifically to the talents of this narrator. The story is a travelogue of sorts, and as such there is a constant array of new characters to keep up with. The narrator's distinct voices were a charming surprise as we met each new race and being.

    What did you like best about this story?

    The wide variety of locales and individual faith systems which allowed the main characters to examine and discuss different ways of viewing the world. They were also funny, both in the unique ways in which they were brought to life, and the delightful B-movie shlock that clearly served as their inspiration.

    A three-eyed psychic T-Rex! The overly litigious lost city of Atlantis! Giant ants invade the heartland!

    Which scene was your favorite?

    About 3/4 of the way through the story, the main characters visit an underground city of evolved worms who have no concept of life outside their cave. Their gleeful ignorance is hilarious, and I found myself doubled over at most of their answers to the visitor's questions.

    It managed to be both a cool way of describing conversation between faith and evidence, and miscommunication comedy in the best tradition of Faulty Towers.

    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It definitely made me laugh out loud at a number of points, and the entire time I was listening to it I was enjoying myself immensely.

    Any additional comments?

    The narrator is great. I'm not sure this is a book I would have read, or even have listened to if it had been read differently. He made the wit sparkle, the action snap, and the few poignant moments hang. A great summer read, and one that I will recommend to my friends. Almost a must-listen for fans of old sci-fi and MST3K.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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