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Autumn

AZ, USA
  • 31
  • reviews
  • 95
  • helpful votes
  • 91
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  • The Mirror Empire

  • Worldbreaker Saga
  • By: Kameron Hurley
  • Narrated by: Liza Ross
  • Length: 17 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 99
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 92
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 95

On the eve of a recurring catastrophic event known to extinguish nations and reshape continents, a troubled orphan evades death and slavery to uncover her own bloody past - while a world goes to war with itself. In the frozen kingdom of Saiduan, invaders from another realm are decimating whole cities, leaving behind nothing but ash and ruin.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Captivating & thrilling

  • By Sean Higgins on 09-19-15

Suffers from narrator and front-loaded exposition

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

Reviewed: 08-03-17

Unfortunately this narrator manages to make every character sound like an affronted grandmother, except for Lilia, who sounds like a country bumpkin from the Charlotte's Web cartoon movie. I tried so hard to look past this but nearly every line felt delivered counter to the intentions of the author. The best narrators manage to imbue some sense of the character's own personality to the tone, and this one simply doesn't. Every character sounds exactly the same and it makes it an active burden to tell who is who.

For the story itself, it's all very intriguing but takes so long to make sense through the cripplingly heavy exposition, lack of real character details, and the veritable onslaught of named characters.

I think I'll like this book better on a second read-through. Probably in print.

  • Revenger

  • By: Alastair Reynolds
  • Narrated by: Clare Corbett
  • Length: 14 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 931
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 865
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 861

The galaxy has seen great empires rise and fall. Planets have shattered and been remade. Among the ruins of alien civilizations, building our own from the rubble, humanity still thrives. And there are vast fortunes to be made, if you know where to find them.... Captain Rackamore and his crew do. It's their business to find the tiny, enigmatic worlds that have been hidden away, booby-trapped, surrounded by layers of protection - and to crack them open for the ancient relics and barely remembered technologies inside.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great story, crap Mastering/Post work

  • By C.Dale on 03-23-17

Best narrator ever for this book

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

Reviewed: 08-02-17

The narrator alone sells this book for me. I'd never heard of her before but she was an incredible for this story. I still can't get over it.

This is one of my favorite Reynolds books, and I've listened to them all. I don't know if it's objectively the best or not, but it blends the flavor of sci-fi he's known for with something new. Even his other single-POV books didn't really capture the character personality the way this one does.

If there's just one thing to say about the book, it's that this is easily Reynolds's best character-driven book ever.

  • Ready Player One

  • By: Ernest Cline
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 15 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 208,582
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 194,739
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 194,334

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.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I’m sorry I waited so long to read this book.

  • By Julie W. Capell on 05-27-14

Pretty good, if a little YA-ish

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

Reviewed: 08-02-17

I think the only thing sitting wrong with me about the book is that it's obviously hoping to hook you with 80s stuff but it's written like a YA novel, snarky protagonist and narration and all, which doesn't seem like the target audience. Unless, maybe today's YA boys and girls with an interest in old stuff is he target audience.

The beginning of this book could honestly ha e been written more interestingly, but if even if you think 3 and 1/2 hours of expository setup is too much, I do recommend you push through anyway. I think it's worth the effort, all things told.

The women in the book were just baaaarely on that line where I was having trouble deciding if they were well-written or not. My qualms are probably related to the YA style again, so I won't harp on the point.

There weren't many profound twists and turns--the big surprise near the final fight was pretty transparent to me since there were only so many ways it could go with the pieces in play.

Good story overall, not overly concerned with the nitty gritty details so much as the bigger world concept, but good anyway

  • The Butcher of Khardov

  • The Warcaster Chronicles, Vol. Two
  • By: Dan Wells
  • Narrated by: Marc Vietor
  • Length: 2 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 152
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 142
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 142

His blind fury is infamous, his strength without rival, but the legend of the man known as the Butcher of Khardov was forged in a crucible of pain.... The legacy of the massacre near Boarsgate at the hand of the warcaster Orsus Zoktavir has followed him his whole life - but it is another memory that fuels both his rage and his will to live. Before he was one of Khador’s most potent weapons he was simply a young man striving to make a life for himself, and for his beloved, free of the violence that came so easily to him.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The tragic tale of Orsus Zoktavir

  • By Andrew on 02-16-14

So sad I put off listening to this...

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

Reviewed: 08-02-17

Honestly, I don't know anything about this universe, and while it was a little disorienting at first, it's so well written that I knew everything I needed to.

I was amazed at the writing quality. Like, damn.

  • On Writing

  • A Memoir of the Craft
  • By: Stephen King
  • Narrated by: Stephen King
  • Length: 8 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,365
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 6,738
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,684

The prolific, perennially best selling author recounts his early life and writing struggles, gives advice on the crucial aspects of the writing art, and talks about his much-publicized, near-fatal accident.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Who needs a print edition when King reads King?

  • By Cather on 11-18-05

Hard to treat as gospel, but a good thinking tool

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

Reviewed: 02-18-16

The biographical content here is actually quite good. When it comes to advice on the method of writing, you're probably best served by letting it inform your thought process, rather than use it as a template. Hopefully King's biases show through and you can discern them from the real meat of the discussion he's putting forward.

  • Poseidon's Wake

  • By: Alastair Reynolds
  • Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh
  • Length: 27 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 310
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 291
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 291

In the conclusion of the Poseidon's Children saga, the Akinya family receives an invitation from across the stars - and a last opportunity to redeem their name.... "Send Ndege". The cryptic message originated 70 light-years away from the planet Crucible, where Ndege Akinya lives under permanent house arrest for her role in the catastrophe that killed 417,000 people. Could it be from her mother, Chiku, who vanished during a space expedition decades earlier?

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Reads like it's lacking plot revisions

  • By Autumn on 02-18-16

Reads like it's lacking plot revisions

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

Reviewed: 02-18-16

There's something admirably simple about this trilogy, especially when you zoom out and look at the romantic bird's eye view, but something about its storytelling method just doesn't sit right with me.

The trilogy was rendered for us as a long string of montages between rather sparse events. Time and attention went into every scene, but it's all just characters standing around, with no ability to act on what little information they have. Subplots spring up everywhere, and turn out to be completely pointless as soon as the story moves on. The only result is that the character personalities are colored just slightly. Even the events that are at the heart of the story come off strangely. A transmission sent across 70 lightyears just for fun apparently, a sabotage plot that exists for essentially no reason, and of course the centerpiece of the whole series, Poseidon itself, completely ignored by the cast, even at the culmination of events.

The only reason the story has any purpose at all is because Eunice's character regularly forces narrative on the reader in the form of random conjecture, covering topics such as the Watchkeepers, Poseidon and its wonders, what the Endbuilders's must have intended for the universe, their solution to a universe-scale issue, what Poseidon must represent for other species. As a reader, it's all so hollow that you start to see through it rather quickly.

This story, most of all, communicated the uniqueness of everyone's relationships with other characters, and there are a couple of magnificent scenes that were likely At the core of Reynolds's vision for the story, and yet somehow all of the characters come up short in my view. They all say the predictable thing. They all complain in the expected manner. They offer each other perfectly reasonable but highly mundane comforts. They seem to act and think in a contextual vacuum, as if every scene was written independently, somehow only vaguely influenced by events that literally just took place.

When the story is somehow most vulnerable and begging for plot advancement, it's given to us in some supremely bizarre anti-"deux ex machina", something that puts a wrench in the whole story just so that the story should go where Reynolds imagined it should. Mpose's role, Kanu's ship damaged around Poseidon, the use of nanomachinery, the sabotage plot, Eunice's ability to send a message across 70 ly of space and yet can't produce a signal strong enough to contact a ship in the same system, Eunice's alarmingly selective loss of memory any time she might actually be useful... all of it exists just to give texture to something that is frankly quite boring. These are all just loose ends that I guess Reynolds thought there was no reason to tie back into the story, and none of the characters seem to notice.

As a fan of Reynolds, I don't begrudge him the time and effort that he put into this trilogy. The idea for the whole thing must have been infectious, consuming his attention. Now that he's finished it, I'll be happy to see him turn to other stories.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Frenchman's Creek

  • By: Daphne du Maurier
  • Narrated by: John Castle
  • Length: 8 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 183
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 169
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 166

Eventually Dona lands in remote Navron, looking for peace of mind in its solitary woods and hidden creeks. She finds the passion her spirit craves in the love of a daring French pirate who is being hunted by all of Cornwall. Together, they embark upon a quest rife with danger and glory, one which bestows upon Dona the ultimate choice: sacrifice her lover to certain death or risk her own life to save him

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • outstanding performance. Clear, perfect

  • By Ken Boheim on 03-06-15

A Romantic Adventure

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

Reviewed: 03-09-15

Great period romance from one of my favorite authors. The detail and poetry of the writing along with the measured performance of the narrator create a story which you can't help but visualize and which leaves me feeling as though I had watched a movie rather than listened to a book.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • The Abyss Beyond Dreams

  • Chronicle of the Fallers, Book 1
  • By: Peter F. Hamilton
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 22 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,239
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,964
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,963

The year is 3326. Nigel Sheldon, one of the founders of the Commonwealth, receives a visit from the Raiel - self-appointed guardians of the Void, the enigmatic construct at the core of the galaxy that threatens the existence of all that lives. The Raiel convince Nigel to participate in a desperate scheme to infiltrate the Void. Once inside, Nigel discovers that humans are not the only life-forms to have been sucked into the Void. The humans trapped there are afflicted by an alien species of biological mimics.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Confusing. Didn't hold my attention

  • By Thomas H. Kregel on 12-23-16

Awkward to get into, but sturdy by the end

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

Reviewed: 12-14-14

I jump at the opportunity to experience more of the Pandora's Star universe, and was pleased with the the opening scenes of this book.

After that, the story structure was pretty confusing, but eventually you have an opportunity to comprehend it. I was worried as I was 2/3s of the way through that this whole thing was just a feeble grab for Void-like storytelling with no clear bigger picture, but I was glad to discover that there is indeed a goal for this whole storyline. This story felt necessary to frame future events and make them feel connected to the bigger universe.

This book is a thing that is good as a whole, not necessarily because any given slice is a 5-star wonder. I do recommend it, but I suspect the followup stories will be the heavier hitters.

0 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • On the Steel Breeze

  • Poseidon's Children, Book 2
  • By: Alastair Reynolds
  • Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh
  • Length: 23 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 428
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 392
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 393

Chiku Akinya, great granddaughter of the legendary space explorer Eunice and heir to the family empire, is just one among millions on a long one way journey towards a planet they hope to call their new home. For Chiku, the journey is a personal one, undertaken to ensure that the Akinya family achieves its destiny among the stars. The passengers travel in huge self-contained artificial worlds - holoships - putting their faith in a physics they barely understand.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Earthier, narrower, more feminine than AR's work

  • By SciFi Kindle on 07-28-14

You unfortunately probably want the print version

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

Reviewed: 12-14-14

I think I'm pretty open minded, but sadly the audio performance on this story leaves a lot to be desired. It's a wonky combination of a story-bookish tone and missed nuances. The individual sentences are acted, instead of the scene or character as a whole.

I realized a few hours into this book that the narration was making me think less of Alistair Reynolds' storytelling ability. But when I imagined the scenes as acted by someone like John Lee, I realized the story could have felt so much more rich.

Instead of suspense, I felt apathy. Instead of urgency, I felt impatient. Instead of voice acting bringing personalities to life, I was repeatedly taken aback at how overly strong the accents were, including her use of unwritten, amazingly repetitive slurping inhales for the aquatics. The majority of dialog between characters intended for development instead feels flimsy because of the storybookishness tone. Everybody that isn't Russian or Southern-redneck uses the same African intonation, including the Japanese-named character (which got no special accent and is apparently African.)

I felt that the African style worked better in the first book. Despite my best efforts to enjoy the audiobook, I was constantly distracted by the audio medium. I frankly intend to repeat my experience of this story in print, in hopes that I can think more highly of the original text.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Way of Kings

  • Book One of The Stormlight Archive
  • By: Brandon Sanderson
  • Narrated by: Kate Reading, Michael Kramer
  • Length: 45 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 55,954
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 50,762
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 50,762

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter. It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow - 45 hours long and leaves you wanting more!

  • By Lore on 03-31-12

Woah

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

Reviewed: 07-03-13

This is a hugely satisfying story. Very emotionally powerful in those last several hours. That ending. This is going to be an incredible series.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful