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T. L. Walker

Montgomery, Al, USA
  • 55
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  • 108
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  • Star Wars: Lost Stars

  • By: Claudia Gray
  • Narrated by: Pierce Cravens
  • Length: 11 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,881
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,434
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,429

This thrilling young adult novel gives listeners a macro view of some of the most important events in the Star Wars universe, from the rise of the Rebellion to the fall of the Empire. Listeners will experience these major moments through the eyes of two childhood friends - Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell - who have grown up to become an Imperial officer and a Rebel pilot. Now on opposite sides of the war, will these two star-crossed lovers reunite, or will duty tear them - and the galaxy - apart?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Cure for the Aftermath Blues

  • By Matt H. on 09-18-15

A Look at the Conflict from Different Eyes

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

Reviewed: 02-09-17

Two kids from the “backwater” world Jelucan set their aspirations toward being top pilots for the Imperial Army. Ciena Ree is the daughter of impoverished people who live in the Jelucani valley. They descend from loyalists who chose exile rather than turn on what they believed, and they’re a very proud and familial group of people. Thane Kyrell is a second-waver, people descended from another group that settled on Jelucan some years after the valley kindred. They’re privileged, but Thane’s life is anything but happy as he deals with an abusive father and an indifferent mother. Ciena and Thane form an unlikely friendship and work together to become candidates for the Imperial’s military school and eventually move on to become Imperial officers. Romance is a core part of this story between the two leads. Ciena and Thane’s relationship often pits them on opposite sides of conflict even when they’re working for the same side. It does not overwhelm the story and many other things happen, but it is the driving force for this book, which spans almost twenty years of Ciena and Thane’s lives.

This book gives a glimpse of the Imperial rule from the viewpoint of people who aren’t mired in the conflict between the Rebels and the Empire, and I enjoyed this view of seeing just what normal people think is going on around them. The people don’t see the malevolence behind the Imperial rule. They see a governing body that promises opportunity for everyone. It was surprisingly refreshing to get this genuine view of the people on the “wrong” side. You get to see their hopes, dreams, and fears instead of thinking of them as the faceless, cruel officers whose only goal is to rule the galaxy. It has the added effect of making readers feel for some of the people whose destruction we might’ve cheered otherwise. You also get to view some of the events from the first trilogy through the eyes of the general population.

I haven’t encountered a Star Wars audiobook yet that didn’t have an excellent narrator–in this case, Pierce Cravens. As usual, it’s full production with music and sound effects. I didn’t have trouble hearing the narrator over the sound effects in the story. There’s nothing that makes the various fight scenes really resonate than hearing PEW PEW noises in the background. While there were a few things that annoyed me, they were such insignificant things that I won’t rant about them. Overall, this was an excellent listen.

  • Deadhouse Gates

  • Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 2
  • By: Steven Erikson
  • Narrated by: Ralph Lister
  • Length: 34 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,605
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,302
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,310

In the vast dominion of Seven Cities, in the Holy Desert Raraku, the seer Sha’ik and her followers prepare for the long-prophesied uprising known as the Whirlwind. Unprecedented in size and savagery, this maelstrom of fanaticism and bloodlust will embroil the Malazan Empire in one of the bloodiest conflicts it has ever known, shaping destinies and giving birth to legends.....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Thirsty Book

  • By Benjamin on 08-06-13

There is nothing small-scale about this story.

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

Reviewed: 06-02-16

There is nothing small scale about this story; there is nothing small about the difficulties it presents for these people. This continues to be a story that asks its readers to look at the broader picture.

As with Gardens of the Moon, readers are thrust back in this world at the thick of things. Unlike Gardens of the Moon, we are faced with the full force of the brutality that comes with rebellion and war. It’s a hard story to cut your teeth on with the excess of violence. No one is spared the brutality of this war. Villains don’t always get what’s coming to them, and heroes don’t always get to swoop in and save the day. Only a few familiar faces show up in this journey through the Malazan Empire, allowing us a little more time to become familiar with these characters, but Erikson throws a slew of new characters in the mix for our consideration as well.

This story is complex, with such a sprawling narrative. I’m really amazed at how well Erikson was able to keep these first two books from spiraling into a mess. You can definitely see the dedication he has to the world and these characters. Granted, I think that this could’ve been much shorter than it was, but still, this narrative holds. It does take a bit of time for this to build up its plot, but it has much more of a focus than Gardens of the Moon. It’s well worth wading through a bit of narrative building if you can stomach all the atrocities this throws at you. However, by the time you finish this book, you just might feel like you’ve fought a war yourself.

  • Lightless

  • By: C. A. Higgins
  • Narrated by: Fiona Hardingham
  • Length: 11 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 128
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 114
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 113

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

Psychologically Gripping Space Opera

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

Reviewed: 06-01-16

Lightless is a psychologically driven novel that focuses on its characters more than anything else, so if you prefer your space operas fast and furious, this book may prove to be too slow for your speed. The story unfolds layers at a time as readers try to piece together what’s real and what’s not as the characters wage psychological warfare against one another. As the story soldiers on, you begin to see frayed edges of the main characters–their weaknesses, their prejudices, their fatal flaws. Despite their beliefs that they’re good at what they do, they fall apart. The ship’s continuing problems further aggravates this by playing into the familiar theme of man versus machine, which creates a tense backdrop that culminates to a chaotic, explosive end. Higgins employs the laws of thermodynamics to frame this narrative, using it to allude to the environment on the ship and the interactions of the characters with one another, their interactions with the galaxy/power structure at large, and their interactions with the ship itself.

"The amount of work done in one direction is the same as the amount of heat transferred in the other, or, the internal energy of an isolated system is constant. Because of this, a perpetual motion machine cannot exist, and all systems come to an end."

As interesting as this deconstruction of her characters was, and while I certainly understand why she went the direction she did with some characters, it didn’t stop me from feeling as if certain characters were a joke, a really bad joke. There were moments when I just felt these characters were completely incompetent and stupid, but that could go hand-in-hand with the overestimation of their abilities. However, I enjoyed this story, so I can forgive that.

Now, this book does suffer from being a bit too “talk-y.” I would expect a story like this to be more action oriented, to really capitalize on the claustrophobic, isolated feel of the setting, but a large portion of this book revolves around two characters conversing around the sections of the novel that focus on Althea and the ship. There’s nothing wrong with that, but in this case, it made the story feel tedious at times. There had to be better ways to convey the information they exchanged than to have two characters literally sitting in a room together going back and forward for a huge chunk of the novel. While I love a good psychological story, I expected much more to happen in this story than what actually happened. In fact, I feel like the last third of the book is where the pace really picked up and showcased the best of this story.

Fiona Hardingham narrated the story with the kind of straightforwardness you’d expect from a novel in this vein. While most of her men sounded largely the same, she did an excellent job with the female characters’ voices, especially a cold, calculated character named Ida Stays.

If you don’t enjoy “hard” science fiction, don’t fret. Aside from these brief passages about the laws of thermodynamics, the science in this novel is easy to grasp. The science is almost secondary to the conflict. Higgins has created an absorbing and thoughtful read with Lightless. Sabotage, intrigue, and terrorism meets loyalty, freedom, and even a hint of humor in this story. I’m definitely looking forward to visiting this universe again in Supernova, especially to see if we’ll be diving into the larger conflict now that we’ve established the characters.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Blue Lily, Lily Blue

  • Book 3 of the Raven Cycle
  • By: Maggie Stiefvater
  • Narrated by: Will Patton
  • Length: 10 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,866
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,734
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,729

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs. The trick with found things, though, is how easily they can be lost. Friends can betray. Mothers can disappear. Visions can mislead. Certainties can unravel.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Book 4 hopefully

  • By Laura on 01-12-15

Great Characters, But Plot Flounders A Bit

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

Reviewed: 05-17-16

3.5 stars overall

If you love a good plot to go with your characters, Blue Lily, Lily Blue might disappoint. As I mentioned in my review of The Dream Thieves, the plot has taken a back seat to the characters. What started as a fairly interesting plot has been reduced to flailing in the wind with these last two books. Stiefvater’s villains also continue to be a point of contention with me. Greenmantle, the antagonist from the last book, makes a personal appearance in this book, but this time he brings his mustache twirling wife along for the ride. However, just as with the first two books, there’s still not much compelling about these villains despite this extended look at Greenmantle. Even the other characters seem to barely spare Greenmantle and his wife more than an exasperated sigh for their troubles. They add no substance to an already sputtering plot that is really starting to become redundant in a droning way.

If you don’t mind a thin plot and love characters, then this will definitely be a treat, as characters continues to be Stiefvater’s strength and is obviously what she enjoys writing. This continues to explore the characters that we have come to know and love and their relationship with each other. I loved how the relationship between Blue and the Raven Boys is described as them all being in love with one another.

"But what she didn’t realize about Blue and her boys was that they were all in love with one another. She was no less obsessed with them than they were with her, or one another, analyzing every conversation and gesture, drawing out every joke into a longer and longer running gag, spending each moment either with one another or thinking about when next they would be with one another. Blue was perfectly aware that it was possible to have a friendship that wasn’t all-encompassing, that wasn’t blinding, deafening, maddening, quickening. It was just that now that she’d had this kind, she didn’t want the other."

Adam learns to listen to Cabeswater’s needs, reconciling himself with the strange nature of its mutterings and manifestations, while coming to terms with his own feelings of inferiority and learning that his friendships are absolute and lasting. Blue discovers that she is so much more than an amplifier for other people’s “magic.” While the full extent of this isn’t explored in this book, it leaves open so many possibilities for her in the next book and beyond. Ronan continues to be Ronan, but we learn more about his dream things including a reveal about someone in his own life that he pulled from his dreams. Gansey seemed to have the least amount of development other than to start showing more frayed ends around that cultured, privileged perfection he tries so hard to show the world.

Other characters in this series continue to pop in and amuse readers such as the always acerbic Calla, and there’s an introduction of a new character that I suppose will be important in the next book, even if I felt his introduction at this points felt a bit forced. (I like the character, but it’s hard to see him fitting in the story at this point.) This book also begins to set the groundwork for what will come after their search for Glendower. They’re preparing to graduate and they’re thinking about what they want to do with their lives. There is disappointment and yearning in these moments as befitting to kids their age. This prods the readers to start thinking of the future (and the end of this story) for this group.

Will Patton returns as the narrator for this book, and even with my mixed feelings of his narration, this series wouldn’t be the same without his voice.

I think Blue Lily, Lily Blue tries to be more than it really is. Part of the synopsis says, “Friends can betray. Mothers can disappear. Visions can mislead. Certainties can unravel.” A mother certainly did disappear, but the rest of this doesn’t really seem to come to fruition. I can see it happening for some of those things, but it’s so murky. The plot is just not strong enough to really strongly support most of those claims. It’s not a bad book by any means, and there are plenty of revelations that come to light in this book along with a heartbreaking moment near the end. However, this book seemed more ambitious than anything. There was much going on with the characters, but it doesn’t really move forward much in terms of story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Anywhere but Here

  • The Starborn Ascension
  • By: Jason D. Morrow
  • Narrated by: Sophie Amoss
  • Length: 7 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37

In a post-apocalyptic world, where danger roams in many forms, 17-year-old Waverly seeks protection in the town of Crestwood after her boyfriend is ruthlessly killed by lawless raiders. But what she finds is a place wrought with mystery, shady dealings, and more instability than she anticipates.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Awesome post apocalyptic book!

  • By Todd (Toad) Vogel on 04-12-16

Good read if you don't mind tried and tested!

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

Reviewed: 04-25-16

A review copy of this book was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

This was not a bad book. In fact, I enjoyed it far more than I was expecting given the genre. My Kindle clocked it at about 454 pages, but the story moved quickly and didn’t dawdle about much. Even the back stories that we’re given for context are presented during points where the story is moving rather than giving readers a wall of exposition. It’s concise, to the point, and moves on with the story. The plot is familiar. Zombie stories often explore things such as morality because people and their machinations are scarier than mindless zombies. It’s typically bleak with the constant threat of raiders and starvation. There are some amenities still around such as fuel used for vehicles, electricity, and weapons, but everything is measured and used with care as you’d expect in the situation. There’s a little bit of romantic fluff in the book, but nothing that’s overwhelming. I did feel like maybe one character too easily started crushing on another character, but love in the time of zombies may warrant being hastier in these things.

Morrow does try to give some explanation for what caused the outbreak instead of just dumping readers into the story where no one knows what happened which I appreciated. (Not that I necessarily have anything against stories using the “origins unknown” angle.) He did add a twist by adding characters who have developed “powers” during this outbreak. These people are called Starborn. Calling anything Starborn during a zombie apocalypse feels a bit frilly, but thankfully, that name isn’t overused in the story. How–or why–they developed these powers isn’t explored in this book, but since this is a series, I’m expecting we’ll get an explanation in later books.

Remi and Waverly were interesting as characters. There was a little more time invested in Waverly's story. For this reason, I connected with her more than I did Remi. This book was more focused on the “in the now,” so there isn’t a ton of character development. The action makes up for it, though. There’s always something going on in this book. One thing of note, I would’ve liked if Remi and Waverly’s stories converged a bit sooner than they did. It’s fairly easy to spot the significance the characters have to one another early in the story, but I felt like I was just listening to two separate stories about two people who happened to be inhabiting the same world for most of the book. I’m sure that was intentional, but it didn’t really work for me. It also made some of Remi’s parts feel like filler.

The narration by Sophie Amoss was top-notch. She voiced Waverly’s kindness and Remi’s tenacity well. Her characterization of other characters worked, too. You could hear the roughness in her voice with the raiders and more curmudgeonly characters. There were a couple of production quality issues in this, but nothing that was so glaring that I stopped listening.

If you regularly read zombie fiction, this may be a bit too formulaic for you, especially if you’re always looking for something innovative in the genre, but if you don’t mind tried and tested plot points coupled with fast action and a little bit of a twist, this book is worth checking out.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Crimson Son

  • By: Russ Linton
  • Narrated by: Mitchell Lucas
  • Length: 9 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 25
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 23
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 23

Spencer Harrington is the son of the Crimson Mask, the world's most powerful Augment. Ever since witnessing his mother's abduction by a psychotic supervillain two years ago, he's been confined to his father's arctic bunker. Haunted by nightmares and tired of eating cardboard rations in the "Icehole", Spencer launches into his father's dangerous world to uncover his mother's fate.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great story with a comic book feel

  • By T. L. Walker on 04-20-16

Great story with a comic book feel

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

Reviewed: 04-20-16

A review copy of this book was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

I have a weakness for superhero stories that portray a superhero’s personal life instead of focusing just on the hero while relegating their family to the background. You’d think that their familial relationships would be some of the most important and intricate relationships in their lives, and often, it’s rarely touched on or touched on in a way that supports only whatever the hero has going on. These relationships have to be some of the most complicated relationships that heroes have, and this books explores this in its own way. Spencer is a likable, sarcastic kid (and just like a kid he can get really annoying at times), and while he may not have powers, he has skills that are handy, showing that a hero doesn’t always have to have godlike powers to be useful. Spencer’s father does seem to truly care for his son, but his work has left him distant and controlling, and it felt perfectly understandable that Spencer would resent his father, especially in the wake of his mother’s abduction. Situations like that bring about tough questions such as why can his father save others but could not save the most important person in their lives?

This book was infused with humor, angst, and action. Spencer is pulled in deeper and deeper into his father’s world and learns that things aren’t so simple as he once thought they were. There’s something always going on in this book, but it does manage to still give readers a good sense of the characters and various relationships are explored throughout the book aside from Spencer and his family’s. This book takes time to process emotions and thoughts rather than skimming over them, and it really capitalizes on Spencer finding personal strength. The book is told from other point-of-views aside from Spencer’s, but Spencer’s story is told from first person where the others are not. This may be jarring from some readers, but regardless, the other sections are well-written and absorbing. Spencer can read a little younger than he is. This feels like a coming of age story, but I would think that maybe Spencer is a little too old for that categorization. Then again, we can all hit a late spurt.

The narration didn’t work for me. Mitchell Lucas wasn’t a bad narrator, but I found him to be a bit monotonous. Emotions I was expecting from passages just weren’t there, and it hampered my enjoyment of the book because it took me a while to look beyond the narration and focus on the story. I don’t know if Lucas is a new narrator. This is the first book I’ve read by him, but I think with a little more time and practice, he could be just fine. And it could’ve just been his reading for this particular book. Sometimes, I find that one book isn’t representative of a narrator’s talent and have revisited my thoughts about certain narrators after hearing more of their work.

This is an underdog story filled with familiar emotions in a superpowered setting. Comic book fans that enjoy X-Men or Superman will probably get the most enjoyment from this. The story is familiar and it has that comic book feel that appeals to comics fans. However, lovers of genre fiction and people who aren’t particular about genre fiction can enjoy this story as well with it’s easy, engaging story line.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Salvage Merc One

  • By: Jake Bible
  • Narrated by: Andrew B. Wehrlen
  • Length: 6 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 109
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 103
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 103

Joseph Laribeau was born to be a Marine in the Galactic Fleet. He was born to fight the alien enemies known as the Skrang Alliance and travel the galaxy doing his duty as a Marine Sergeant. He loved the life. But when the war ended and Joe found himself medically discharged, the best job ever was over, and he never thought he'd find his way again. Then a beautiful alien walked into his life and offered him a chance at something even greater than the Fleet, a chance to serve with the Salvage Merc Corp.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Chuckle-worthy Military SF

  • By T. L. Walker on 04-16-16

Chuckle-worthy Military SF

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

Reviewed: 04-16-16

To say that this book didn't get go where I was expecting at all would be an understatement. Okay, that's not exactly true. As far as space-faring mercenary stories go, this one did follow the basic formula. However, based on the synopsis, I expected a more serious tone than what the story actually gave me. This was largely a humorous story that brimmed with action and a little intrigue. Joe was a funny, endearing character, and it was an excellent decision to tell this story from his POV as it makes it very easy to connect with Joe. Narrating Joe's story is Andrew B. Wehrlen, and he was a great choice for this book. He does an admirable job of capturing the humor of the story and Joe's personality. He managed to find distinctive voices for most of the characters, and I thought he did a fair job on the female voices which can be a little hit or miss with me where male narrators are concerned.

The supporting cast of characters aren't as fleshed out as Joe aside from maybe Joe's partner who is described as a mix between an armored beetle and a Great Dane and tends to spout random facts. Regardless, Bible introduces us to many new races in this story, and while we learn a little about some of their physical characteristics, we don't learn much about them beyond that. Given that this book is supposed to be a fast-paced military merc story, I don't think these characters suffer from not being explored as the action is the driving force behind this book, and it doesn't fail to entertain.

There are a few portions of the story that left me a little foggy. One very big instance is when a story that is being told to Joe, but readers are never actually told the story. It's skimmed over, and all I know is that it involves a questionable death. Beyond that, there's no revelation or consideration for the reader even though it leaves Joe speechless. Then, there's the ending. I have mixed feelings about it. It sort of dived over into the science-fantasy genre for a bit there, which I love, but I don't know if that was exactly the best ending for a book of this nature. It felt too whimsical, a little too overpowered for this, even with the considerations made for the story.

I enjoy military science fiction, but I don't get to read it as much as I'd like. This definitely appealed to that part of me that enjoys stories in this setting. This sets up an interesting universe for a series (I'm assuming this will be a series), but works well as standalone book. Now, if you excuse me, there is some Mass Effect calling my name after reading this. Time to go save a galaxy!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Dream Thieves

  • Raven Cycle Series, Book 2
  • By: Maggie Stiefvater
  • Narrated by: Will Patton
  • Length: 12 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,184
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,018
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,016

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I took Chainsaw out of my dreams ...

  • By Melissa on 10-02-13

Really Enjoying The Raven Cycle!

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

Reviewed: 04-10-16

Surprisingly, I have been enjoying The Raven Cycle. I wasn’t really drawn to this series or anything. I had it on my TBR pile, but I had other books by Maggie Stiefvater on my pile as well. I just knew that I wanted to try something by Stiefvater, and after some deliberation, this seemed like the best place for me to start. I jumped into this book a few days after reading the first book. I was worried that I wouldn’t enjoy the second book as much as the first, but my fears were unfounded.

The Raven Boys ended on a huge note with a confession from the group’s bad boy, Ronan Lynch, that he can pull objects from his dream, and I knew it wouldn’t be long before I read the next book. I’m a sucker for dramatic cliffhangers. The Dream Thieves explores Ronan’s abilities and gives readers a taste of the darker workings of Ronan’s mind, which is understandable given he was the one who found his murdered father, a father who passed on this dream ability. Ronan isn’t completely incapable of showing other emotions even if they are lined with barbed wire. While Ronan is a large focus of this novel, it doesn’t forget to explore its other characters such as Adam Parrish who is trying to understand what his sacrifice to Cabeswater means while continuing to deal with what he feels is his own inadequacy, Blue Sargent who comes to terms with her feelings for Adam, and Gansey who isn’t sure how to deal with Adam after the events in Cabeswater. This novel also brought Blue’s psychic family to the forefront more, which was a welcomed treat.

Stiefvater’s characters continue to be the high point of the book. Many books work hard to make you love their protagonists, but Stiefvater has created a cast of characters that feel “real.” She certainly wants you to sympathize with her characters, but presenting characters with real flaws and strengths, characters that you may like one moment and loathe the next, trumps making her protagonists adored by the readers. However, I can’t really say the same about the antagonists of her story. Once again, I’m only lukewarm toward her antagonists at best. They’re one-dimensional, but this could just because of how the story is told. I think, for that reason, that her denouements where they’re concerned often feel a bit fragile as if they’re hanging on very tenuous threads. I don’t much care for villainy for the sake of villainy if it doesn’t feel like it connects to the overall story.

The search for Glendower feels secondary to the characters and their struggles. That’s not necessarily a bad thing since I enjoy characters, but I am interested in seeing where this search leads the character and how it will continue to influence their friendship and decisions. Part of the reason I enjoyed the first book is because I enjoyed how the plot worked with the characters. In this book, that part of the story felt very stagnant and didn’t make much forward progression. It’s easy to overlook that the search didn’t move very much because it’s easy to be swept up in the various personal things that the characters are involved in and forget that they have this quest for something that’s bigger than themselves. This still manages to be a very engaging story that will keep readers invested in these characters and their story.

Will Patton continues to be something of an anomaly for me as far as the narration goes for this story. I don’t hate his narration, but I still teeter between thinking he’s the best voice and thinking maybe he’s not the best voice depending on the section he’s reading. However, I can’t dispute the emotion that he brings to the story with his reading, and for me, sometimes the passion a narrator uses for a story is more important than any other feeling I may have about the narration.

The Dream Thieves ends much like The Raven Boys with a cliffhanger that begs the reader to continue the story as soon as possible, and since it involves a character that this book made me love more than I thought possible, I’m already gearing up to read the next book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Raven Boys

  • By: Maggie Stiefvater
  • Narrated by: Will Patton
  • Length: 11 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,029
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,718
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,721

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive. Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them - not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her. His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble. But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can't entirely explain.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Stiefvater does it again!

  • By C. ALLINGER on 09-20-12

Magically Alluring!

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

Reviewed: 03-25-16

This is my first outing with a Maggie Stiefvater book, and after reading some synopses on her other books, I think this was my best introduction to her writing. Stiefvater excels in many areas with this book. The story takes a little time to jumpstart itself. However, it is never dull, and it certainly lays the groundwork for a thoughtful story. Her handling of the supernatural elements are done in a way that could make them almost believable if placed in a real world setting while retaining that magical allure. She’s taken typical genre tropes, such as the “rich boy meets poor girl” and the “tormented bad boy,”and weaved into these familiar stories a complexity and nuance that both young adults and adults can appreciate. While I would’ve enjoyed just a little more depth of character for some of her characters, she does a fair job of presenting characters that you care about, characters that have their flaws and strengths. You love them. You cheer them. You get angry with them. One thing that kind of irked with me with the story, as far as character is concerned, is that the main antagonist felt so weak in the grand scheme of the story. This person had weak motivations, weak intentions, and no substance. I dislike antagonists that I can only feel apathetic toward at best. Antagonists should pull emotions from me I didn’t even know I had. Finally, as a history nerd and supernatural buff, the coupling of history and the supernatural kept my interest. This was almost Arthurian in a way without being about King Arthur.

As for the narration, I have a bit of mixed feelings about Will Patton’s narration. I feel his voice is both perfect and imperfect for this book. I enjoyed the almost hushed tone he used for the overall book However, parts of the book are narrated so brilliantly and other parts of the book, his narration felt jarring, a clash of tone and words. Funny thing is I can’t say whether there were more brilliant parts or more clashing parts, but it doesn’t turn me off to the narration. This is probably just another case of a narrator that I need to spend much more time with before I decide if I truly like them or not. One high praise I have for him is that I enjoyed his Southern accents, which I can be really finicky about as a Southerner myself. In fact, I enjoyed most of the voices he did for the characters in this book.

This book was quite a pleasant surprise, I didn’t expect to get as involved with as I did, especially since I wasn’t drawn to this book. However, the books I don’t feel any particular way about are usually the ones that manage to really capture my interest and imagination. Stiefvater has created something amazing with this story, and that ending certainly prods readers to seek out the next book.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Cry Wolf

  • By: Patricia Briggs
  • Narrated by: Holter Graham
  • Length: 10 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,933
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,106
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,119

Anna never knew werewolves existed until the night she survived a violent attack...and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack, she'd learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. But Anna is that rarest kind of werewolf: an Omega. And one of the most powerful werewolves in the country will recognize her value as a pack member - and as his mate.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • WOW!!

  • By Teleasa on 03-09-09

So Glad I Started This Series!

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

Reviewed: 03-24-16

This story was fast paced and exciting. I could barely stop listening to it to eat. It turned out to be so much more than the paranormal romance that I was expecting. The romance in this series is heavier than in Mercy Thompson, but it still managed to to weave a good story around the romance while allowing for character growth and exploration--especially exploration of Anna's Omega status. And this Omega thing, while interesting, still feels a little shaky. It's only the first book, though. However, I do feel that Anna as a character is explored in greater detail than Charles in this book. Maybe it's because Anna has so many more issues to get over than Charles who really worries more about how Anna will perceive him since he is the enforcer of the pack and seems a bit vapid at this point because Briggs seems to be holding on to that "Stoic Indian" stereotype. I am pleased with Anna's personal development. I was afraid she was going to turn too much into a special snowflake like Anne Bishop's Meg Corbyn in Written in Red. (I loved that book, but c'mon!) However, Anna became surer in herself. She didn't grow out of all her timid nature, and as an Omega wolf, she'll likely be more on the calm side in this series. She is allowed agency, though. She pushes herself, and when it's too much, she pulls back. I don't expect her to go from abuse victim to snarling badass, but I do appreciate what Briggs did with her. Also, I'm hoping later books will tell us more about some of the other members of this new pack, as it's mentioned throughout the book that Bran's (the Marrok and Charles' dad) pack is made up of werewolves with various issues such as Asil who never got over his mate's death and wants death and Sage whose past is hinted at as being abusive. Bran is the glue that keeps his pack sane, and you just get the feeling that he takes in the strays for their own safety.

The narration was a bit "meh" for me. It wasn't bad, but I don't feel like enough was done to distinguish voices. Most of the men sounded the same with the exception of Tag, who was described as having a high voice that belied his big size, and Asil, who looked Middle Eastern but, since he'd spent some time in Spain, sounded like Antonio Banderas' Puss in Boots. The women weren't too much better with only Sage really standing out because of her thick Southern drawl (that I found a little laughable as a Southerner myself). I will continue to listen to the books since I didn't dislike the narration. Holter Graham just might be the type of narrator that has to grow on me.

Being as this is about the pack that Mercy was raised in, I feel like I should be reading this side by side with those books. Part of me does want to take up the task of rereading the first book and continuing that series, as well. I look forward to reading more of Charles and Anna's adventures and watching them grow as a couple.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful