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Daniel

  • 29
  • reviews
  • 166
  • helpful votes
  • 256
  • ratings
  • Lightless

  • By: C. A. Higgins
  • Narrated by: Fiona Hardingham
  • Length: 11 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 116
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 103
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 102

Serving aboard the Ananke, an experimental military spacecraft launched by the ruthless organization that rules Earth and its solar system, computer scientist Althea has established an intense emotional bond - not with any of her crewmates but with the ship's electronic systems, which speak more deeply to her analytical mind than human feelings do. But when a pair of fugitive terrorists gain access to the Ananke, Althea must draw upon her heart and soul for the strength to defend her beloved ship.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Psychologically Gripping Space Opera

  • By T. L. Walker on 06-01-16

deus ex deus ex machine (excuse my poor latin)

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-25-17

I don't mind the verbiage that some reviewers complain about; the setup of this book as a gruelling prisoner interview is 100% promising.

However the story doesn't click for me; the main POV character Althea is a fairly limp sort, reactive and frustratingly recalcitrant, and viewing the tale through her eyes is like viewing a Sherlock Holmes mystery through the eyes of a Watson who attempts to shoot Sherlock or run away every time he attempts to reveal the perp. It might be natural for the character, but but it left me feeling constantly vexed by unnecessary plot delays introduced purely by people being irritating. If this were a film it would be in the cross hairs of the "How it should have ended" parody team.

Are the vexations worth it? The plot twists are present but not exactly powerful. Chekov's pistol principle violations abound. The subplots are full of arbitrary weirdness- the AI, the deus ex machina, seems less driven by comprehensible origin in the plot and more by the need to unfold in ways that will happen to produce very particular action set-pieces later on.

I dunno, there were lots of ingredients that I liked in here - amazing setting, interesting characters, nice framing. But I was just too vexed by how these characters collided with the exposition to enjoy this book.

  • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

  • Wayfarers, Book 1
  • By: Becky Chambers
  • Narrated by: Patricia Rodriguez
  • Length: 15 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 166
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 153
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 154

Firefly meets Mass Effect in this thrilling self-published debut! When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn't expecting much. The Wayfarer, a patched-up ship that's seen better days, offers her everything she could possibly want: a small, quiet spot to call home for a while, adventure in far-off corners of the galaxy, and distance from her troubled past. But Rosemary gets more than she bargained for with the Wayfarer.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Can't say enough good things about this

  • By Amazon Customer on 07-28-17

bland, saccharine firefly homage

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-05-17

This is a long, lulling document of an unusually bland workplace. Imagine your office, except all the moral ambiguity has been sucked out. Much like your office, day-to-day things proceed mostly smoothly, and most crises are quickly resolved. Unlike your office, you have the overwhelming sense that the moral ark of the story will stop anyone from getting anything other than their just deserts, that no-one will make any irremediable mistakes, and that good people will end up in good circumstances, because they are good.

If that's your bag, good. For me... I didn't hate it, because it's nice to have a lulling sleepy bed time story from time to time.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Rhapsodic

  • The Bargainer, Book 1
  • By: Laura Thalassa
  • Narrated by: Susannah Jones
  • Length: 9 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 808
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 752
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 752

Callypso Lillis is a siren with a very big problem, one that stretches up her arm and far into her past. For the last seven years she's been collecting a bracelet of black beads up her wrist, magical IOUs for favors she's received. Only death or repayment will fulfill the obligations. Only then will the beads disappear. Everyone knows that if you need a favor, you go to the Bargainer to make it happen. He's a man who can get you anything you want...at a price. And everyone knows that sooner or later he always collects. But for one client, he's never asked for repayment. Not until now.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I'm so glad I read this

  • By Killian on 04-11-17

spicy romance fiction with fae

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-03-17

This is a straight up romance novel, as seen in Harlequin-style books. If you want sexual tension as the main driver to a fairly arbitrary plot, strong-ish heroine and even stronger sultry mail lead, more power to you.

  • The Collapsing Empire

  • The Interdependency, Book 1
  • By: John Scalzi
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 9 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,441
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,809
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,776

Our universe is ruled by physics, and faster-than-light travel is not possible - until the discovery of The Flow, an extradimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transports us to other worlds, around other stars. Humanity flows away from Earth, into space, and in time forgets our home world and creates a new empire, the Interdependency, whose ethos requires that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It's a hedge against interstellar war - and a system of control for the rulers of the empire.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not the best of Scalzi

  • By Gonzalo on 05-11-17

posing space royalty getting comeuppances

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-03-17

Meh. Some arrogant imperials do things necessary to further the plot in a fairly cookie-cutter fashion. It's ok.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • After On

  • A Novel of Silicon Valley
  • By: Rob Reid
  • Narrated by: Sean Kenin, January LaVoy, Felicia Day, and others
  • Length: 22 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,448
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,358
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,356

Meet Phluttr - a diabolically addictive new social network and a villainess, heroine, enemy, and/or bestie to millions. Phluttr has ingested every fact and message ever sent to, from, and about her innumerable users. Her capabilities astound her makers - and they don't even know the tenth of it. But what's the purpose of this stunning creation? Is it a front for something even darker and more powerful than the NSA?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • All-too-real commentary on web culture

  • By Richard W Fronapfel Jr on 08-01-17

great start, tails off

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-03-17

The start of this book was incredible, and clever, full of minutely engineered entertaining portraits and parodies of silicon valley. But when actual plot has to happen, everything is way more, literally, *deus ex machina* than is satisfying. While the agency of humans is kind of, by definition, secondary, in this book, there must be a more thrilling and/or plot-twisty way of getting there, rather than just having all the high-tension black ops crises unravelled by rote.

  • Linesman

  • By: S. K. Dunstall
  • Narrated by: Brian Hutchison
  • Length: 12 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 497
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 460
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 464

The lines. No ship can traverse the void without them. Only linesmen can work with them. But only Ean Lambert hears their song. And everyone thinks he's crazy.... Most slum kids never go far, certainly not becoming a level 10 linesman like Ean. Even if he's part of a small and unethical cartel, and the other linesmen disdain his self-taught methods, he's certified and working. Then a mysterious alien ship is discovered at the edges of the galaxy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absolutely Excellent Story - Sci-fi Meets Fantasy

  • By Striker on 07-13-15

So many things will make me like a story

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-22-17

engaging characters, ingenious word building, an elegant plot, an interesting exploration of an intriguing idea from science, philosophy or economics, elegant phrasing... just one of these would have been enough for me to enjoy this book. As it was, I did not finish. I was unable to care about the protagonist and his angst about having to sing to get his magic powers, and the various plot developments which arose from nowhere and tended to be that the protagonist found a new power because the previous powers were getting boring. or something. At first I found it soporific and would listen to it to go to sleep; but then when it began to irritate rather than lull, I had to stop.

The narrator did a magnificent job given the material.

  • The Fall of the House of Cabal

  • The Johannes Cabal Novels, Book 6
  • By: Jonathan L. Howard
  • Narrated by: Nicholas Guy Smith
  • Length: 15 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 359
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 329
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 328

Johannes Cabal, a necromancer of some little infamy, has come into possession of a vital clue that may lead him to his ultimate goal: a cure for death. The path is vague, however, and certainly treacherous as it takes him into strange territories that, quite literally, no one has ever seen before. The task is too dangerous to venture upon alone, so he must seek assistance - comrades for the coming travails.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • One selfish plea

  • By Marianne on 05-07-17

Loved it despite the rough spots

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-20-16

This book was ace, and I really enjoyed it despite the fact that it clearly skimped a few edits and re-takes. The text has occasional gaps ("started by her startling innocence") and the narrator has quite a lot of odd choices of word emphasis.
That aside, the increasing humanity of Johannes Cabal makes it increasingly difficult to keep the oddball flavour of these books going.
Still, recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Dark Matter

  • A Novel
  • By: Blake Crouch
  • Narrated by: Jon Lindstrom
  • Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,976
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,753
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,752

"Are you happy with your life?" Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before a man Jason's never met smiles down at him and says, "Welcome back, my friend."

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Good premise, poor execution

  • By BenL on 06-06-17

Too hackneyed to finish

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-19-16

I couldn't care about the protagonist enough to get through this; His every thought is so boring and trite, the entire character set up so over-explained and plodding, and all in such limp prose.
I've pushed through bad prose before, when I felt that the author had something interesting to say, but this protagonist was just so annoying I couldn't make it; So he's an alternate-reality-hopping science genius who spends so long trying to be a relatable family guy that he can't actually act, and he is so bereft of personality that I don't care if he does act. Pfft.
Also, the narrator takes slow and vacuous prose and smears it out even thinner by reading veeeery slooooowly.
Maybe this prose won't take you so badly, but it rubbed me up the wrong way. Even when I started playing the book back at double speed I couldn't fight the tide of irritation.

17 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • The Annihilation Score

  • By: Charles Stross
  • Narrated by: Elle Newlands
  • Length: 16 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 544
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 500
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 499

Mo's latest assignment is assisting the police in containing an unusual outbreak: ordinary citizens suddenly imbued with extraordinary abilities of the superpowered kind. Unfortunately these people prefer playing superpranks instead of superheroics. The mayor of London being levitated by a dumpy man in Trafalgar Square would normally be a source of shared amusement for Mo and Bob, but they're currently separated because something's come between them - something evil.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Falls apart in all the wrong ways

  • By Ethan M. on 11-19-15

Nice ideas, but the plot failed to climax

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-13-16

Events kept on happening, and more of them happened oftener, but... yeah, none of the twisting cleverness I expect from a Stross. I really like the character of Mo, but I feel she could have... you know... triumphed in strange ways? learned something unexpected? Instead, she just experienced events and quoted the absent Bob. Hmf.

  • Uprooted

  • By: Naomi Novik
  • Narrated by: Julia Emelin
  • Length: 17 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,263
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3,042
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,033

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life. Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for 10 years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Fairy Tale for Grown-Ups (With Terrifying Trees)

  • By Dave on 09-08-16

Wonderful story

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-11-16

Maybe if you come from a small town where everyone speaks the same the accent is hard;
But I don't, and I don't get why so many the reviews are so fussy about it.
The plot is the star here: A moving, romantic and very Grimm tale, with hints of modern feminism. It's kind of the inverse of Seanan McGuire's Indexed series.