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Neil

Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 27
  • reviews
  • 280
  • helpful votes
  • 129
  • ratings
  • The Nix

  • A Novel
  • By: Nathan Hill
  • Narrated by: Ari Fliakos
  • Length: 21 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,227
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,634
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,609

It's 2011, and Samuel Andresen-Anderson - college professor, stalled writer - has a Nix of his own: his mother, Faye. He hasn't seen her in decades, not since she abandoned the family when he was a boy. Now she's reappeared, having committed an absurd crime that electrifies the nightly news, beguiles the Internet, and inflames a politically divided country. The media paints Faye as a radical hippie with a sordid past, but as far as Samuel knows, his mother was an ordinary girl who married her high school sweetheart.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Nathan Hill is an exceptional storyteller.

  • By Bonny on 09-13-16

Absolutely Fantastic

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

Reviewed: 10-06-16

This is a book I found myself telling my girlfriend about over dinner. I have a feeling I will recommend it to all my friends. It hits this perfect middle ground between art and pulp and confidently walks that line the whole way through. The storytelling never allows itself to be predictable and by the end you'll really care about the characters.

It's entertaining as hell and also a very deep look at American in the last 50 years.

2 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits

  • By: David Wong
  • Narrated by: Christy Romano
  • Length: 15 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,164
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,874
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,867

In a prosperous yet gruesomely violent near future, superhero vigilantes battle thugs whose heads are full of supervillain fantasies. The peace is kept by a team of smooth, well-dressed negotiators called The Men in Fancy Suits. Meanwhile a young girl is caught in the middle and thinks the whole thing is ridiculous. Zoey, a recent college graduate with a worthless degree, makes a reluctant trip into the city after hearing that her estranged con artist father died in a mysterious yet spectacular way.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Insufferable characters and disjointed themes

  • By BadAndy on 04-10-17

Quirky and fun - the performance is fine

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

Reviewed: 10-06-16

This is my first David Wong. It's quirky madness that holds a cohesive narrative and plays by it's own rules. It's a punk-rock Neal Stephenson. I can't rave, but I can recommend.

Some reviewers have complained about the narrator. I found her performance to be a little uneven, but it really grew on me. I think she literally improved as she went. The first hour or so it dodgy, but she really hits her stride by the end. Don't be turned away by those warnings.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Monster Hunter International

  • By: Larry Correia
  • Narrated by: Oliver Wyman
  • Length: 24 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,887
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,429
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,401

Five days after Owen Zastava Pitt pushed his insufferable boss out of a 14th story window, he woke up in the hospital with a scarred face, an unbelievable memory, and a job offer. It turns out that monsters are real. All the things from myth, legend, and B-movies are out there, waiting in the shadows. Some of them are evil, and some are just hungry. Monster Hunter International is the premier eradication company in the business. And now Owen is their newest recruit.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • My second Monster Hunter book

  • By Randall on 06-29-18

Libertarian Fantasy

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

Reviewed: 09-01-16

I was looking for some pulp. I got that. What I didn't expect was hours and hours of Libertarian stump speeches inserted into a supernatural Rainbow Six. Seriously, the book was fine except for this. It wasn't really amazing, but it was doing it's job fine. But seriously the GOVERNMENT-MESSES-EVERYTHING-UP-AND-PRIVATE-INDUSTRY-IS-ALWAYS-RIGHT message is clear from the go. Then Larry Correia goes and has a character literally say just that. Then it happens again. And again. Seriously, Corriea should have gone all the way and renamed "MHI" to "Rand Industries." The plot of this book is like playing D&D with that one weird kid from your freshman dorm. Not recommended.

All that aside, Oliver Wyman is really a great narrator. Big points to him.

19 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • The Fold

  • By: Peter Clines
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 10 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31,142
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29,061
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29,013

The folks in Mike Erikson's small New England town would say he's just your average, everyday guy. And that's exactly how Mike likes it. Sure, the life he's chosen isn't much of a challenge to someone with his unique gifts, but he's content with his quiet and peaceful existence. That is, until an old friend presents him with an irresistible mystery, one that Mike is uniquely qualified to solve.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Fun premise, great performance, weak story

  • By J. Klinghoffer on 08-06-15

Don't Read Reviews: Just do it!

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

Reviewed: 07-02-15

Fantastic Fantastic Fantastic! I just finished this book 30 seconds ago and could not wait to rave about it. Original, Fun, Imaginative, Funny, Genre-bending terrific.

This was a blind buy for me - I knew nothing about it nor had a recommendation - I just liked the publisher's summary.Wow, what a treat.If you like the truly original, do yourself a favor and listen.

I'm going to try to (spoiler free) describe it below for those of you who might not be convinced:

Imagine Michael Crichton had an orgy with HP Lovecraft and Jasper Fforde, A baby is born of this unholy union, and the child then takes near overdose levels of LSD and reads "The Martian" and "The Road" back to back. If you can imagine a book written by such a child you'd be somewhere in the neighborhood of this book. Pop speculative fiction at it's best.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Girl on the Train

  • A Novel
  • By: Paula Hawkins
  • Narrated by: Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, India Fisher
  • Length: 10 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 132,889
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 117,354
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 117,230

Audie Award, Audiobook of the Year, 2016. Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. "Jess and Jason," she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good? Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Great Psychological Thriller Mystery

  • By Victor @ theAudiobookBlog on 01-23-18

A Trainwreck of a Novel, Dressed up in Fancy Duds

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

Reviewed: 04-15-15

This book is so utterly disappointing. There's a lot of interesting stuff going on with the characters through most of the book, and the main protagonist's addiction is frustrating and genuine. There's some good writing here.

But seriously, the 'reveals' and the 'wrap up' of the story are stupid beyond belief. This is, essentially, an Amnesia thriller. Amnesia is perhaps the single most tired, cliche, and lazy plot device in storytelling. Just because it's dressed up as something more appealing doesn't make it centrally less stupid.

On the plus side, the actual performance, with the three narrators is very good. This is not enough to redeem this trainwreck. Avoid.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Blackout

  • By: Connie Willis
  • Narrated by: Katherine Kellgren, Connie Willis
  • Length: 18 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,395
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,552
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,558

In her first novel since 2002, Nebula and Hugo award-winning author Connie Willis returns with a stunning, enormously entertaining novel of time travel, war, and the deeds - great and small - of ordinary people who shape history. In the hands of this acclaimed storyteller, the past and future collideand the result is at once intriguing, elusive, and frightening.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Double review - Blackout and All Clear

  • By Monica on 06-03-12

Interesting and informative, but not mind-blowing!

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

Reviewed: 02-18-13

After listening to the first book, I was invested enough to listen to the second, but wasn't particularly gagging for it either. After finishing the second book, my feelings hadn't appreciably changed in either direction.

What's good: Very well researched, great sense of the era, the war, the city, and great exposure to the inglorious and undertold parts of the British WWII story. I genuinely learned much more about the second world war, and found myself very interested in that.

LESS EFFECTIVE was the actual narrative storytelling. The characters are often 'prevented' from doing things that they'd like due to narrative conceits (according to the book the 'space-time-continuum') but I found myself thinking the characters were rather thick-skulled and were trying far too hard to be polite. Given the stakes, one would expect the characters to be more assertive. The pacing of the whole series was fairly poor -- there is no appreciable climax.

I would recommend this as a 'mood-piece' of historical fiction; as straight narrative it's fairly weak.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Ender's Game

  • Special 20th Anniversary Edition
  • By: Orson Scott Card
  • Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki, Harlan Ellison, Gabrielle de Cuir
  • Length: 11 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36,751
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27,226
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27,462

Why we think it’s a great listen: It’s easy to say that when it comes to sci-fi you either love it or you hate it. But with Ender’s Game, it seems to be you either love it or you love it.... The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Enter Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, the result of decades of genetic experimentation.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Enderverse

  • By Joe on 06-13-05

Superb Science Fiction - a deserving classic.

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

Reviewed: 11-02-11

I recently panned Frank Herbert's Dune in a review. I hated it. Somebody recommended this classic to me as an alternative and boy oh boy am I glad I listened. This is a classic deserving of that title.

I was aware of much about Ender's Game for a long time -- the young boy, the battle school, the training to fight an Alien War -- but that's only half the book. The other half is a wider picture of the world of this time -- of human nature at it's best and worst in a wonderfully realized world.

The pacing of this book is strange: The first 3/4 of it are predominantly focused on the Battle School and War -- and then the 'denouement' changes into something completely different. It becomes a poignant and philosophical book about morals and human nature -- and it extends beyond where a 'typical' novel would leave off.

If you finish this book, and like me, find the "Game" part of Ender's Game good, but what comes after it much much better, then please listen also to SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD, the sequel, which is more in this vein. This is shaping up to be my favorite science fiction series of all time.

3 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Dune

  • By: Frank Herbert
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick, Orlagh Cassidy, Euan Morton, and others
  • Length: 21 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 42,005
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35,091
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35,156

Here is the novel that will be forever considered a triumph of the imagination. Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Maud'dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family and would bring to fruition humankind's most ancient and unattainable dream.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good book!

  • By Scott on 04-10-08

Boo

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

Reviewed: 10-24-11

Is it Heresy to say that Dune is actually not very good?

Well, it's not.

It's overwrought, overlong, and hard to access. It lacks empathetic characters, it's pacing is bizarre and inconsistent. It may have been a milestone book at one time, but it is not actually -- well -- good.

I've seen both the old film and the SciFi miniseries. The book is the best way to experience the story, no doubt. Too much of the plot revolves around mental control, subtle understandings, and 'magic' to translate well onto film.

However, just because it's the best doesn't mean it's good.

I didn't mind the "full cast" production for a long time, until narrators started switching towards the end. The sudden change in the voice of Vladimir Harkonen was particularly jarring.

Overall -- don't waste your time. This is a classic in the same way that a biplane is classic. Important in it's day, but you wouldn't want to fly in one now if you could avoid it.

5 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • The Master Switch

  • The Rise and Fall of Information Empires
  • By: Tim Wu
  • Narrated by: Marc Vietor
  • Length: 14 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,231
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 859
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 858

Could history repeat itself, with one giant entity taking control of American information? Most consider the Internet Age to be a moment of unprecedented freedom in communications and culture. But as Tim Wu shows, each major new medium, from telephone to cable, arrived on a similar wave of idealistic optimism only to become, eventually, the object of industrial consolidation profoundly affecting how Americans communicate.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Read

  • By Roy on 11-12-10

Very interesting history, biased conclusions

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

Reviewed: 10-24-11

I've never heard of Tim Wu before reading this, but he really knows his stuff as far as media/technology history goes. The best parts of this book were examining this history of prior "cutting edge" media (Telephony, Radio, Television) through the eyes of what we'd now call the "Open Source" vs. "Closed System" dynamic. Fascinating and informative. I found I couldn't put it down.

HOWEVER -- the last hour turns into a very biased analysis of what's going on today.

I take his larger point -- that the Internet's open-ended structure which we tend to think of as permanent is not, in fact, unassailable. I think it's a well-supported point and he makes some interesting conjectures as to how that structure could change.

But I feel he makes a serious error in his analysis.

Specifically, he reduces "fate of the communications future" to a simple dynamic: Apple vs Google, with his preference clearly falling on Team Google. I think this a fairly short-sighted, narrow interpretation. Unlike the Bell of RCA companies of yesteryear, *neither* company owns anything that could not be replaced through a process of consumer demand. (Neither owns the "wires") Apple is not the "too big to fail" monopoly that Bell was -- it just plays nicely with the companies that are. So while these two companies clearly have different ideologies vis-a-vis the internet, BOTH could be undone by a vertically integrated powerhouse!

Further, as another reviewer points out, it assumes an American dominance of the communications future. And, like it or not, the Internet has wrested that ability from any one nation. Let's assume that "Comcast-NBC-Verizon-Apple-Intel-Universal" (Hypothetical Conglomerate) were to make the internet "controlled" in the USA. This would be such an economic disadvantage the the US, that new pioneer firms would pop up in more free information markets. This will always serve as a disincentive towards central control.

My griping aside -- I can heartily recommend this book. Take some of the analyses with a grain of salt and make up your own mind -- but don't skip this book simply because it draws some dodgy conclusions. You'll learn a lot and it will make you think.

28 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • Helter Skelter

  • The True Story of the Manson Murders
  • By: Vincent Bugliosi, Curt Gentry
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 26 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,099
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,510
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,508

Prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial Vincent Bugliosi held a unique insider's position in one of the most baffling and horrifying cases of the 20th century: the cold-blooded Tate-LaBianca murders carried out by Charles Manson and four of his followers. What motivated Manson in his seemingly mindless selection of victims, and what was his hold over the young women who obeyed his orders? Now available for the first time in unabridged audio, the gripping story of this famous and haunting crime is brought to life by acclaimed narrator Scott Brick.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Everything I remembered about the case was wrong..

  • By karen on 06-22-12

Excellent ***LEGAL*** story...

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

Reviewed: 10-24-11

I was unsure, from the reviews, if I would like this book. I really did. But I wanted to write a small review to clear up a few things:

- This is *not* a horror book, nor is it likely to scare you if you can watch an average episode of CSI. Don't come here to be *scared*

- This book *is* a (mostly) subjective insight into one of the biggest cases of the prior century, and makes some interesting observations about human nature -- from the level of violence, culture, counter-culture, media, and law -enforcement. This is why I put the word "legal" in block capitals surrounded by multiple asterix in my headline. This is a fairly technical book about the crime, investigation and trial. It manages to be quite detailed without being at all dry or uninteresting.

- It's also not a sensational book. It feels mostly quite fair and impartial, with a few exceptions. If you're a Manson "fan" or a serial-killer junkie -- you'll probably not get too much out of this. This book deals with facts, and in my mind that's a lot more interesting.

15 of 21 people found this review helpful