In a series of short stories, Ray Bradbury tells a tale of mankind's landing, colonization, and abandonment of Mars while covering many timeless social issues that are as valid today as when they were written about in 1958 and will be as valid in 2058 or 2558. Under the guise of not-quite science fiction, Bradbury points out timeless troubles like xenophobia, jealousy, and greed, touches topics including loneliness, madness, the spread of disease by foreign exposure, terraforming, the spread of religion, and an admonition of censorship. Which is somewhat ironic, in that one short story from the original printing of 'The Martian Chronicles' that addressed racism seems to be missing from the more modern reprintings.
The stories are imaginative, insightful, and the flow and pacing of the overarching tale is smooth and well formed. Scott Brick reads clearly and engagingly. The reader moves from piece to piece, smoothing over the scene changes and helping to increase the association between them.
If you enjoy slice of life stories, this book is for you.
Shai is a Forger. She can magically create forgeries so perfect that it is nearly impossible to notice the difference. And she can create works of art with only her own skill that are identical to those of even the greatest artists without relying on magic. So when the emperor is near death, Shai is conscripted to make him a new soul. A Forger must observe the world around her and know how to mold it to her will. Can she escape the prison she is trapped in? Can she recreate a soul and save the emperor's life? Or will she be executed for the blasphemies she is being paid to commit?
Brandon Sanderson is the great worldbuilder, and even here, in a short story, he creates a world with life and depth that will captivate his audience long after the story is finished.
Angela Lin has a beautiful voice, and her narration makes the story come alive.
If you like stories about defining beauty, soul-searching, or great escapes, this story is for you.
Stephen Leeds walks the fine line between genius and madness. He is just an ordinary man without any special skills to speak of. His 'aspects', hallucinatory personalities living with him, though, are all geniuses in their own fields. When he's hired to find a missing person who has a camera that can take pictures of the past, Leeds gathers a cadre from his aspects and heads to the rescue. But can Leeds, in managing his imaginary friends, save anyone? Or is he just crazy?
Sanderson writes a fantastic short story written in the real world, depicting a character who is relatable because of his normalcy, despite what would normally be considered a disability. Stephen Leeds and his aspects are characters that will be well remembered.
Oliver Wyman narrates this story and, as always, does a fantastic job breathing life into the story.
If you like mystery stories or stories about unique characters, this story is for you.
Charlie Benjamin's nightmares are more dangerous than those of other children. His can summon monsters. But when he joins a school that trains children with similar powers, the real fun begins. Watch as Charlie learns to face his fears and battle monsters and overcome the hardest hurdle of all—making friends.
Dean Lorey writes a good, fast-paced story that's easy enough for children to follow, but witty enough for parents to enjoy. This is the kind of book which teaches children simple, powerful lessons that will stick with them long after they forget the story, while giving parents a chance to bond with their children.
Oliver Wyman is a fantastic narrator. He animates the characters of 'Nightmare Academy' so they are easy to recognize and remember.
If you like books like 'Harry Potter', 'Charlie Bone', or 'How to Train Your Dragon', or enjoy simple stories to read with your children, this book is for you.
Note: Parents, be sure to read any books for your children _before_ you offer them to be read. You know your children best and know what they can handle. Parts of this story may scare some children, and the underlying lessons may not be the ones you wish to teach your children.
Odd Thomas left Pico Mundo to be a layman at an abbey that takes care of disabled children. But when one of the monks goes missing under strange circumstances and bodachs start paying attention to the children, Odd must brave the first snowstorm he's ever seen to try saving the abbey.
Most of the characters Dean Koontz has introduced in previous Odd Thomas novels are back in Pico Mundo, and don't show up in this one. So Koontz makes up for their loss by filling the abbey with a number of new interesting characters.
David Aaron Baker returns to bring life to the story. His portrayal of Odd Thomas continues to grow and change with the Odd stories, even as Odd's own life has changed.
If you like stories about espionage, the life of priests, or the connection between science and God, this book is for you.
When Odd Thomas is woken in the middle of the night to find the ghost of a friend's father leading him to the deceased's home, Odd must find and save his kidnapped friend. Worse, his friend has Brittle Bones Syndrome. And Odd is required to find the kidnappers alone according to their demands. It's a tough break, but what are friends for?
Koontz returns to the small town of Pico Mundo to tell an Odd story. Memorable characters from the first novel return, joined by new memorable characters while Koontz tackles one of the hardest of life's questions: what's wrong with mankind, the world, and the universe as a whole.
David Aaron Baker returns to narrate as Odd Thomas again, taking a phenomenal story and adding just that little bit extra. Making it a little bit more amazing.
If you like stories about friendship and soul searching, with a little supernatural intervention, this story is for you.
Odd Thomas is a simple small town boy who likes to keep his life as uncomplicated as possible. No car. No phone. An undemanding job as a diner line cook. A loving girlfriend. Oh, and he can see dead people. They don't talk but when they come to him, by God, he does something about it. Now Odd is seeing spirits called Bodachs that show up when something really bad is going to happen. Can a simple man save the day?
Dean Koontz is a master at two things: creating memorable and unique characters with glaring personality flaws and/or medical disorders, and making a story that flows swiftly and smoothly without ever feeling any more rushed than the narrating character is feeling. His first person narrative is engaging and doesn't feel like it is constantly rehashing the same information even when the narrator is mulling over those thoughts that often return to him. That's not an easy thing.
David Aaron Baker is the perfect voice for Odd Thomas. Quiet, almost halting, humble. He adds a depth to the story that is lost in the novel. Not because of any fault of the author, but because it is a natural thing for a story told to have a stronger effect than one read. The emotion of the words is given life when spoken.
If you like suspense with a dash of the supernatural, this is a book for you.
Once again, Brandon Sanderson creates a new world with exciting and wonderful uniqueness. And Michael Kramer again gives the story a voice that breathes life into that world.
The Rithmatist is set in an alternate of our own world. By changing a few small cultural and political arrangements alongside a handful of interesting geological changes he makes a world so much like our own, yet so different. Set in the United Isles of America, Sanderson tells a story about a young man who wishes to be a Rithmatist—someone who can work magic by drawing on the ground with chalk. Joel has the technical knowledge down better than most student Rithmatists his own age. But the Master didn't grant him the power to bring his lines to life. But that hasn't stopped Joel from studying. And when Rithmatist students start going missing, Joel is recruited to help search for them. But will he be able to fight the troubles to come? Or will his lack of magic make him more hindrance than help?
If you like low-magic steampunk, alternative histories, or who-done-its, this is a good book for you.
In the second book of the Mistborn series, Kelsier's crew has completed their goal of killing the Lord Ruler and overthrowing the Final Empire. Elend Venture is the King of Luthadel and has established the idealistic government he's always dreamed to make. But now, with enemy kingdoms closing in to take the Lord Ruler's wealth—which was never found—by force, a Kandra spy having infiltrated the crew, and the Mists staying out in the day and killing people, it seems things are about to get rough. Who knew killing God would be the easy part?
Sanderson again brings the Mistborn world to life, revealing more of its depth as we learn more about his characters and their abilities. He does a fantastic job posing many difficult life questions and giving a handful of answers for each.
Kramer again does a fantastic job bringing the story to life. His voice adds another layer to the depth of the characters and his performance captures each character well.
This is a quick little list and explanation of slang used during Prohibition. Some of the terms are still in use, and it's interesting to see how long they've been used. This list is written in a glib manner that allows slang descriptions to flow from one term to the next naturally.
If you like words or history, you may like this.
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